When it rains, it pours. In this case, it’s a damn good thing. Just a few days ago, I just finished up reviewing Soul Hackers 2. Now, here I am doing a review for yet another Shin Megami Tensei game, Persona 5 Royal.
I don’t mind. The Persona series is undoubtedly the best spinoff to come out of the main SMT games.
Great music, awesome story and from Persona 3 onwards, awesome artwork and design! There’s a reason why the Persona games are so beloved!
With the best version of Persona 5 finally hitting the Xbox, is it still as great as it was on the Playstation?
Read on to find out!
What is Persona 5 Royal?
Persona 5 Royal is the enhanced version of Persona 5, which is a single player JRPG developed by Atlus and published by SEGA. It is the fifth mainline Persona game but is just one of many, many entries in the Persona series (which include rhythm and fighting games).
Our copy was provided to us by the awesome folks at SEGA Singapore.
For those who’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, Persona 5 is hands-down, one of the best JRPGs in recent memory.
It’s a story about the Phantom Thieves, a group of high school kids who have the ability to enter a person’s subconscious (or Mind Palace as it’s referred to in-game) to steal their treasure (their deepest, corrupted desires).
By stealing the treasure, the Phantom Thieves effectively reform the target, making them better persons.
There’s a bit more to it that than, but to say more would be spoiling things.
Persona 5 Royal isn’t just a regular JRPG, it’s also a slice of life simulator.
You’re basically living out the life of a Japanese high school student for a year. That means going to school, studying for exams, going out with friend and the like.
In doing so, you forge relationships (which nets you bonuses on the Personas you can summon) as well as make your party members stronger and more resilient. Pretty much anything you do will feed back to you in some way.
There’s no right or wrong way to play the game, though there are certain conditions that need to be met to get you the best ending. The joy of playing Persona 5 is just to experience the game and its quality writing, plot and voices.
A rarity, but the English voices in Persona 5 are MUCH better than their Japanese counterparts. I’ve played the game multiple times over the years, and every single time will change the voices back to English after starting off with Japanese voices.
It makes the cutscenes, dialogue and bonding sessions much more satisfying.
In between bonding sessions (or working), you’ll be delving into various Mind Palaces.
These are a must to clear before certain dates.
Failure to do so, and you basically game over.
It’s not hard to clear the palaces, so just dive right into them whenever they first become available. You’ll steal the treasure within two or three trips (provided you accomplished the set goals first). and then have the rest of the dates (up to the deadline) to do as you please.
For training (and more later), there are also the Mementos.
It’s a huge nearly unending dungeon that takes the form of Tokyo’s subway, though warped beyond recognition. Here’s where you’ll be spending most of your time (rolling around in a cat van), trying to get stronger demons to join you.
Unlike Soul Hackers 2, Persona 5 Royal gives each member their own unique Persona…well except for the main character, who can use any Persona that’s allied to the group. A Joker if you will, since he’s a wildcard.
Personas come out during the game’s turn-based battles, where (similar to Soul Hackers 2), dealing damage that’s the same element as an enemy’s weakness, stuns them AND gives the character who stunned them another free turn!
Stun the whole enemy group and you can pull off a massive All-Out Attack with every member of your party that’s in the battle. That’s the best way to kill off groups since damage is dealt to every enemy that’s still alive at that point.
Alternatively, you can also negotiate with demons to make them join you. Negotiating has you picking out the most appropriate responses that resonate with a demon’s personality. It’s a guessing game most of the time, though you’ll get insights on how demons think by their dialogue.
Answer well and the demon joins you, ending the battle. If you don’t the demon runs away, gets angry (and thus becomes harder to fight) or attacks your crew…so try not to mess up.
Battles in Persona 5 are fast and furious and you’re heavily encouraged to have a Persona group that’s ready for all contingencies so you can prey on the enemies’ weaknesses and end battles in a snap.
Since the enemies are visible in the Mind Palaces (and Mementos), you’re heavily encouraged to play smart. Hit them when their backs are turned and you’ll get an advantage. Be careless and get ambushed and the dungeons get harder.
Honestly though, it’s not that hard to get the drop on enemies so unless you’re really careless you won’t need to care too much about being ambushed and the like.
The biggest draw to Persona 5 is its visuals and music.
To put it plainly, the art design (and the heavy use of red and black) is simply striking. While the regular environments are fine, it’s the Mind Palaces that steal the show with their grandiose designs. Even the UI is spectacular, with heavy usage of panels cutting in and out to highlight dialogue or actions.
It’s like viewing an interactive comic book (or manga).
Character designs are a bit of a hit or miss though. I love Joker, Queen and Morgana but the rest of the cast isn’t as well designed in my opinion. Enemies are still great, as most of them are returning from past SMT/Persona/Devil Summoner games.
Speaking for the music, the game’s jazzy tunes are a drastic departure from the upbeat pop stylings of Persona 4, including the infamous Reach Out to the Truth battle theme.
It’s not a bad turn, but it’ll definitely take some time to grow on you if you’ve gotten used to Persona 4’s music.
The Bottom Line.
It’s high time Xbox gamers get to finally taste what Playstation players have been raving about for so long. Persona 5 Royal is truly an amazing JRPG in every aspect. The game has lost nothing in the jump from the Playstation, which means every single facet of the game is just as good as it was originally.
Unfortunately, SEGA’s mum on whether its sequel/spin-off Persona 5 Strikers will make the leap too. It’s a shame because while Persona 5 Royal is great, it’ll leave you wanting more of the gang when you finally do finish it.
Hey, but look on the bright side. At least Persona 5 Royal is now on Xbox. That’s something, right?
Phenomenal JRPG with excellent production values, art, music and gameplay.
- Battle system.
- Art style.
- Some character designs aren’t as great.