Monday, 8 May 2017

Persona 5

Gamespot Score: 9.0 (Superb)

My Score: 10

(+) Pros: - Brilliant story and cast of characters, -Extremely stylish and visually impressive, - Excellent world and real life sim mechanics, - Dungeon crawling is easily the best in the series so far, - Soundtrack is oozing with style and delight, - Addictive combat and persona management, - Confidants (Social Links) feel a lot more useful and rewarding now, - Tons of worthwhile content in the game.

(-) Cons: - Very minor issues, basically nitpicking (mostly on the camera and controls during dungeons).

Game Play time: 110 hours and still going strong

No, I haven't kicked the bucket on this blog just yet. If you need an excuse for my absence, blame it on this game. Seriously ever since its release, I simply COULD NOT take my hands away from this game. The moment I get home from work, I release myself from the clutches of reality and simply delve myself into the wonders of "Persona 5". Despite having myself go at the game for hours and hours on end for the past few weeks, this game still has me HOOKED to no end. I'll be perfectly honest, I'm well on my 2nd playthrough and I still feel like I haven't had enough of this game, but I'll just put this up here.

This is now my favorite video game of all time, surpassing "The World Ends With You" and even "Final Fantasy VII". It's just THAT good, I'm seriously surprised that Atlus didn't disappoint with "Persona 5", and even managed to deliver FAR beyond everybody's expectations.

This game is RAVING right now, scoring minimum scores of 9 all over game critic sites. It simply improves from P3 and P4 on so many levels, making it an almost completely new, yet incredibly familiar game to play. "Persona 5" is most definitely a shining example on how to develop a sequel without completely ruining it. "Persona 5" is now the hallmark and perfect example on how to make a JRPG, there is simply no game in the genre right now that has it beat in my opinion. I usually wait on games before giving my opinion on them so that I can get to the older games on my list, but screw that, we simply HAVE to talk about this game RIGHT THE F**K NOW!!

Introducing: The Phantom Thieves.

In "Persona 5", you once again play as a high school student transferred into unfamiliar territory. The game starts you off in a prologue sequence where you play as a thief of sorts, code-named Joker, You seemingly escape from a casino with guards chasing you, and in the end, you are caught by the police and brought to an interrogation room. You are then interrogated by a prosecutor named Sae Niijima, who states that you were "Sold out" by one of your friends. You then recall all of the events prior to your capture, which starts in April of the same year, where you just arrived in Tokyo. You were transferred into Tokyo by the police form your hometown after you attained a criminal record for assaulting a man of sorts. Of course, its all corrupt bullshit, because you were helping a woman as she was being assaulted by a man. The man fell on his own and hurt himself, but sued you anyway, which got you your record as you were sent to Tokyo on probation under the guidance of a Cafe owner, Sojiro Sakura. And so begins your new life in Tokyo branded as a criminal, only there's a twist. Your main character is invited to the Velvet room one night, and is forced to form a contract with a certain long nosed man and his attendants...

Welcome to Tokyo country boy.

"Persona 5" does so many things right and builds upon the current "Persona" formula in so many ways, making it a massive step up above the previous games. As usual, the game is split into many phases and takes place over the course of the 1 year that your main character has when he is thrown into Tokyo. You progress through the days with a mixture of story scenes, free time, dungeon crawling...and deadlines, of course. Your team of super-powered teenagers have the ability to invade the meta-verse as special individuals known as the Phantom Thieves, which summon personas and use their insane strenght to plow through personas. Following the pattern of "Persona 4", your team goes to school in the morning, goes super power dunking in the afternoon after school, then retires to their homes during the night. It sounds simple, but of course, like previous games, there is a metric WEALTH of content that you can explore in "Persona 5".

Let's start with the daily life aspect. As usual, you are plunged into the world of modern day Tokyo as a high school student. You go to school in the morning, you get picked on by teachers in class to answer their questions, you peek at your cell phone during class to listen in and answer instant messages like a bad kid. Then during the afternoon after school, you get to choose between PLENTY of daily activities. As usual, your main character is presented with a grid of his statistics that he can build upon. This time (like "Persona 4"), your dude has 5 stats to build upon, Knowledge, Guts, Charm, Kindness and Proficiency. Same with the previous games, these affect a lot on your daily life, and you'll need to keep these as high as possible if you want to do certain things or hang out with certain people. 

Once again, we have a female team mates with
the Lovers arcana...

So you can do the usual meat of the "Persona" game's free time sessions: hanging out with friends...or building up your social links. In "Persona 5", due to how Igor, your long nosed friend in the Velvet room names them, your friends are called "Confidants", and hoo boy, do they go all out on these guys. As with previous games, your confidants all have their own little story to tell that's completely outside of the game's main story lines, they are people with stories to tell and for yourself to get invested in. Spending time and deepening your bonds with your confidants grant you more powerful Personas when you fuse them in the Velvet room....that's how things would have worked before, but in "Persona 5", your confidants are A LOT more useful this time around. Instead of just simply power boosts for fusing Personas, your confidants now have extra bonuses everything you rank up their confidant level, these bonuses vary depending on the person in question.

Your personal team mates will grow more attached to you and assist you in many ways in battle when you up their confidant ranks, these include baton-passes, following up your attacks in battle without eating up a turn, helping you recover from status ailments automatically, or even going as far as to take a fatal hit in your place during a fight. Those outside of your team benefit you differently, your doctor will sell you better meds that you can use in the Meta-verse for healing, your gun shop owner sells you better stuff for cheap, and even helps customize your weapons. Your teacher let's you skip classes, a former politician will give you better speech options when negotiating, a shogi player gives you more tactics on and so forth. Your confidants feel so much more USEFUL now, being more than just simple power-ups when you're gathering Personas.


Alrighty then! Now, the protagonist and his friends are faced with...some difficult situations in their lives, especially shitty since it concerns some really crappy adults. Since taking them down in real life would not only spell trouble when it comes to the law and their well beings, they have to do something in the other world...the Meta-verse. During the after school hours, you can take your friends to the Meta-Verse to attack the heart of a certain corrupt individual. Someone in the real world with a distorted heart (this usually means assholes) will have palace in the Meta-verse, which takes forms from their twisted desires. By stealing the treasure from each palace, the person in real life undergoes a change of heart, making them into a somewhat "good" person. Our heroes go into this world as phantom thieves to do so. Things aren't as easy as simply walking in to take a treasure though, each palace is filled to the brim with shadows and traps depending on the palace. A castle dungeon has you looking for books and running on castle walls. A museum dungeon has you leap into paintings, a bank has security cameras and guard dogs...each dungeon is SO unique unlike in previous games, giving each new palace a fresh experience for players to play through.

Shadows now take the form of Personas, which is a much different take from before. Of course, the combat in "Persona 5" is similar to that of previous games and most games from the SMT franchise. You either attack normally, or attack an enemy with a Persona ability. Oh, they also managed to fit guns in this time around, another neat little aspect from other SMT games that finally manages to sneak its way into "Persona". Hitting enemies with abilities that they are weak to will put them into a downed state, decreasing their defenses and giving the attacker 1 more turn to act. Unlike before though, in "Persona 5" you get to do a baton pass during "1 more", allowing the user to pass his extra turn to another party member, giving them increased attack and recovery. This allows for more strategic battles and efficient weakness proc-ing on the enemy. Of course, when you manage to send all enemies into a downed state, you can trigger the new and improved, all-so orgasmic "All-Out Attack", which has your team decimate the enemies with a flurry of stylish strikes.

Now that is one nasty looking fella!

Another new aspect in "Persona 5" that brings its combat up to par with that of many SMT games is the negotiation system. Now that your enemies are finally personas themselves, you can sucker them into joining your team, just like how your negotiate with demons in SMT games. After knocking all enemies down, before unleashing an "All-Out Attack", you'll go into "Hold Up", which is the segment where you can decide what to do with your now weakened enemies. You can either finish them off with AoA, or negotiate with them. As with most SMT games, your options are to either ask them to join you, extort money from them, or ask them for an item. You will then be presented with the classic choices and questions from personas (or demons) of many different personalities, in which you must answer correctly to gain their favor. 

As usual, as the end of all palaces lie a boss, which is usually the shadow version of the palace owner in real life. Bosses are again, a highlight in "Persona 5", all of which are fun, bring their own battle mechanics and sport a kickass battle team. Oh yes, Shoji Meguro killed it again, the music in "Persona 5" is f**king excellent. I don't know how he managed to do it, but he topped the music in both "Persona 3 & 4", making some of the best sounding themes in the franchise yet...hell, I'd go as far as to say it's some of the best in the JRPG market. Remember how I mentioned dead lines? As with previous games (once again), you are given a certain time frame to clear a palace before the game comes to an abrupt bad end, so do take note of that. Outside of palaces, there is also a random generated floor dungeon like Tartarus in the Mementos, which is basically the Tokyo Subway in the Meta-Verse that's filled with Shadows. You can go there during free time periods to take requests from the general public and purge the shadow version of small time crooks within the Mementos.

You can do a 50:50, you can ask the audience,
or you can call a friend. Well, what's it going to be?

I haven't even covered EVERYTHING about the game, there's just TOO freaking much in here! The menus are stylish as f**k, it almost feels like there's some anime explosion every time you click a freaking button. During dungeons, they've added some stealth cover mechanics to make the game more fitting towards the whole "Phantom Thief" theme. Getting spotted will raise an alarm meter, which makes the palace owner's awareness increase, having the meter go too high will automatically boot you out of the palace as the security is too high at that point. There are even fusion alternatives in here for the Velvet room! Besides just doing the 1 on 1 fusion and the multiple persona fusions, there are new features in the Velvet room like turning a persona into an item (which can net you FANTASTIC results), putting a Persona into lock down so that you can level it up WITHOUT actually using it, or even sacrificing a Persona to power up ANOTHER Persona. 

There are a wealth of activities during free time periods, including renting and watching DVDs, going batting in batting cages, working part time at various job locales, eating at the local burger joint to take their burger challenge, buying books to read during train rides, visiting maid cafes, going fishing, hitting the gym, doing your laundry, studying at the diner....dude, the list goes ON and ON. Since this IS Tokyo we're talking about, the free time possibilities do seem somewhat endless, its insane, really. You can invite your friends to various locales in Tokyo, you can play freaking video games in your video game! There's so much to do that I even missed out some of the activities in the game during my first play through.

Me too friend, me too.

Now I gave this game a 10/10, but there are some issues in here, though they are very minor...and it's basically me nitpicking. For one, this game looks like it has been in development for a LONG time, so there are some assets that look somewhat out dated. The graphics and visuals are sometimes amazing, but if you look closely, some textures are pretty bad. Also, the dungeon's cover mechanics are really iffy, when you're trying to ambush a shadow from behind cover, you will need to shift yourself to a very specific angle before you can even strike them. You will fiddle yourself so much that you may very easily shift yourself out of cover, only to get yourself spotted. The game is also a little bit on the easy side, at least on Normal difficulty, which is surprising to me considering how much "Persona 4" used to kick my ass back in the day.

"Persona 5" is the pinnacle of JRPGs in this modern age. I honestly thought that the JRPG genre was starting to disappoint me as of late, which is very disheartening considering that it's my favorite genre. "Persona 5" just re-invigorated me to no end. After 2 runs I'm content to put this down so that I can pick it up again in the future. "Persona 5" is the best "Persona" game to date, and is currently favorite video game of all time. I eagerly await for the future of the series, and to be honest, I'm scared. How the hell is Atlus going to top "Persona 5" with future installments? I guess only time will tell. Now let us welcome the endless amount of spin-offs that "Persona 5" will spawn, considering it's overwhelming popularity, I can assure you, they're going to come.

Happy gaming!