An In Depth Look at “Persona 5 Royal”


Daniel Sokolski, Editor

The scene fades 

A lively smoke-filled casino in 2000’s Tokyo.

The camera slowly pans up above the crowds of people to reveal a slender young man in a black cloak, with slim red eyes beaming through the pale white mask on his face. Suddenly, alarms go off and our caped crusader beams across the lighting rigs and chandeliers above the sea of people to a sudden dead end. Seemingly cornered, he dives through the cyan mosaic that crowned the casino building, shards of glass splintering everywhere.Plummeting to the hard concrete below he sticks the backwards landing.

But his victory is short lived as the blaring sirens and lights from over fifty police vehicles drown out all his senses and he is quickly handcuffed and knocked out.

This is the opening cinematic to Persona 5, a video game created by P Studio (a subgroup of Atlus) in 2016. Originally a Playstation 4 exclusive title, a remaster called “Persona 5 Royal” has recently come to all platforms. It has been met with great reception, as it adds a lot of brand new content, characters, and more!

Persona 5 is an engaging hybrid between a JRPG (Japanese Role Playing Game) and a life simulator game that puts you in the shoes of a high school sophomore (later referred to as “Joker”) who is transferred over to a new school after he was falsely accused of assaulting a man. A mysterious phone app (which refuses to be deleted) transports him and his friend to a place called the Metaverse, which is where the corrupt desires of society manifest themselves into huge horrifying dungeons called Palaces. These are meant to be a reflection of the person’s heart and how they view others in their lives. It usually houses a relic which without it, would cause the palace to crumble apart, symbolizing a change of heart in real life for the person.

Throughout the game, Persona 5 drip feeds luscious small morsels of new content to keep the experience engaging inside and outside of the combat, which can be compared to that of Pokemon, with the monsters you meet being able to fight on your side, but with a twist of being able to merge with other creatures, and inherit some of  previous monster passive abilities, skills, and more. This allows the player to customize their “personas” (creatures) into anything they want or need, which the game promotes by providing merged personas with huge stat boosts.

But where the game shines, is how the individual stories of each character not only give depth and personality to what would otherwise be a generic cast, but also reward the player for investing time and effort into their favorite cast members by giving them special abilities and passives in the Metaverse. I will warn you, the game can get into some pretty heavy topics, so player discretion is advised.

And with the whole game being a recollection of past events with frequent calls back to reality, where your character is now in the future and being interrogated about his crimes, all the while mysterious metal breakdowns are occurring in the city which threaten the livelihood of Tokyo…and a larger threat is constantly looming over you which keeps you on your toes desperately wanting to see what will happen next.

All of these factors contribute to Persona 5’s addictive gameplay loop, which consists of finding a target, infiltrating their Palace, stealing their treasure…and then using the spare time to do whatever you’d like! Do you want to grow closer to a specific character you like? Do you want to purely raise your stats? Or work a part time job to gain money? Or do you simply want to stay at home and study because midterms are ever approaching (And yes, they do matter).

One may be overwhelmed when given so many options, but with the game heavily pushing their “New Game + “ option, which increases the difficulty and allows you to go back and play the game again, but with everything you gained in the previous playthrough, it gives the player the freedom of choice and the ability to tailor their experience to their own liking. I highly recommend anyone playing it for the first time to not worry about trying to see everything available, as there isn’t enough in-game time to do so.

Here are some things new players should know:

  1. Increasing the bonds between cast members is the most crucial part of the game, as some characters can give you insane abilities.
  2. If a character has a White Card above their head, that means that you can spend time with that person to increase the “relationship” points you have towards them. By picking dialogue options which the other person would like based on their personality, you get more points overall, which are indicated by the cyan music note icons which pop up.
  3. Increasing your social stats in the real world (Guts, Kindness, Knowledge, Charm, and Proficiency) is also extremely crucial as they can open up completely different dialogue options or allow you to further increase your relationship with different people giving you access to high tier abilities and passives. My favorite ways to increase these stats are by watching DVD’s, reading books, and studying when the weather in game is stormy.
  4. The part time jobs available are okay at best. They should not be a priority since they make time pass, give mediocre pay, and okay increases in social stats. Looting treasure in the Metaverse should give you more than enough money.
  5. Experimentation is the name of the game! Joker is the only character in your party who can change his Persona on the fly, so experiment with different team compositions that compliment a certain character or persona. Plan moves ahead of time to maximize your damage.

Overall, I highly recommend anyone to give Persona 5 a try, as it has such a crazy and engaging story with many twists and turns, tons of content to keep you hooked for hours, and the ability to tailor your gaming experience however you’d like.