Review of Persona 5 (PS4)

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Huzzah! After seventy hours of play I have finally beaten Persona 5. These days I try to avoid lengthy titles, as my leisure time is at a premium, but when a game of this quality comes out you have to make an effort to experience it. Sleep was sacrificed and I opted to play on easy to reduce the amount of grinding. Screw challenge. I am a filthy casual who is only concerned about the story. Let the masochist crowd, who can beat Dark Souls with a guitar controller, tackle hard mode in my stead.

YOU HAVE MAID A BIG MISTAKE

In this Shin Megami spin-off players assume the role of a hapless teenager who has been framed for assault. As punishment our semi-silent protagonist is whisked away to Tokyo and ordered to behave until the scandal subsides back home. Hopes of an uneventful yearlong probation in the capital are however dashed when he procures a mysterious app that teleports him into an alternate dimension infested with shadow creatures. Wow, these days there really is an app for everything.

Just like in Persona 4 the key to success is efficient time management. Dungeon crawling in the Metaverse is only a small part of the game. Aside from saving the world players have more mundane tasks to fulfil such as passing mid-term exams and fraternizing with a cast of twenty confidants. Boosting social stats is also important. There are numerous ways of enhancing your attributes. Some examples include bathing with naked men, stuffing your mouth with burgers and forgiving the maid cafe waitresses whenever they fumble your order.

PHALLIC CREATURES CAN BE DICKS

One of the best features about this latest Persona is that Atlus’ lazy level designers actually took the time to craft proper dungeons. Gone are the days of procedurally generated mazes were you stroll about searching for an exit. Every palace you explore has a distinct theme and is packed with puzzles/traps, which is a vast improvement over past titles. Navigating the stages was a joy, although I could have done without the stealth mechanics. Sneaking behind enemies is not a play style I enjoy. No tears were shed in my household when it was recently revealed that Hitman’s future is in jeopardy.

Combat for the most part remains unchanged. Encounters are resolved via turn-based battles, which are both tactical and snappy. Strategy boils down to exploiting a foe’s magical vulnerabilities. Hitting enemies with an element they are weak against rewards the player with an extra action. The types of spell that can be cast are determined by the demons under your command. In a sense, Persona feels like an edgier version of Pok√©mon. There are almost two hundred minions you can catch, ranging from cute snowmen to giant penis monsters.

VERDICT

Presentation wise Persona 5 oozes style. In fact it was initially too vibrant for my palate, as I prefer cleaner looking UIs. After a few hours I did however become accustomed to the slick visuals and appreciated how they meshed well with the jazzy soundtrack. Apart from the graphics I also liked the cut scenes, which are animated by Production I.G. On the audio side I have no complaints about the English language dub. Even the feline mascot’s voice is tolerable, although I wish he wouldn’t nag me so much about going to bed. Cats love naps almost as much as they enjoy vandalizing Christmas trees.

My rating for Persona 5 is five stars. JRPGs rarely get attention in the west, but Persona 5’s excellence has managed to buck that trend. The game has received universal acclaim from reviewers everywhere and it even managed to top the sales charts over here in Europe. We haven’t even hit June yet and I already suspect that 2017’s game of the year has been discovered. Huh, what’s that? Breath of the Wild is a contender for that honour too? Nah, I disagree. Zelda sucks. Okay, it’s time for me to leave. I suspect livid Nintendo fans are about to descend upon my blog with the ferocity of a miffed Cucco flock.