Persona 5 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Lilly K. 04.06.2019

Review for Persona 5 on PlayStation 4

Persona 5 was developed by Atlus and released in September 2016 in Japan, and in April 2017 worldwide. Atlus has been known for the development of the Persona series, as well as Etrian Odyssey and Trauma Center. Since 1986, Atlus has been working on developing video games. Other products later included amusement equipment and karaoke equipment. The very first game that was released under their own name was Puzzle Boy for the Game Boy in 1989.

Persona 5 is the latest entry in the well-known and successful Persona series.

In Persona 5, the player assumes the role of a male high school student that runs into trouble and has to be transferred to another school. In the process of doing so, he learns about his special ability of summoning and using a 'persona' in the cognitive world, also called the 'metaverse.' This persona can be used to fight against enemies that are encountered in the metaverse.

The metaverse describes a world in which peoples' distorted desires take shape. If a person has a very bad character and lives his or her life by letting it be governed by his/her distorted desires, it may manifest as a palace in the metaverse. In order to make a person confess their sins and understand their own wrongdoing, it is necessary that their treasure is stolen from inside the palace.

The protagonist decides to form a group called the Phantom Thieves with his friend to fight against these distorted desires. They need to infiltrate the palaces and steal the treasures. The palaces however are being monitored by shadows. Encountering one of these will result in battle. Battles ensue by either ambushing an enemy by jumping on it, or by being detected by one in which case the group is surrounded. Enemies will walk in patterns, which gives the player the chance to either ambush them or attempt to sneak around them without being seen.

Screenshot for Persona 5 on PlayStation 4

The group that takes part in a battle always has the main character in it, aided by three of his friends. The player can control the actions of each person involved in the battle, but only then is he or she in charge of their behaviour. Palaces are part of the main story and the events connected to them are set. Each palace infiltration has a deadline, before which the treasure must be stolen. It is also possible to explore mementos, which are dungeons that are randomly generated (the layout of palaces stay the same). Mementos offer side-quests with weaker bosses.

This uses a day-night cycle, and there are only a limited number of actions the player can do during the day. Additionally, weather can change and affect enemies in the metaverse as well. Throughout the game, the main character also has to attend school, make friends and allies and increase levels of intelligence, proficiency, charm, guts, and kindness. With limited time to spend, it is essential that the player carefully decides on what to spend time on. Each task, such as increasing stats or improving relationships, makes time pass - and so does visiting the metaverse.

The turn-based battle system allows for players to strategically beat enemies. Without any time constraints, one can consider which actions to take in order to win. This is especially handy for people who are not seeking for an action experience. Yet, the action does not go amiss due to the sneaking and ambushing possibilities. Due to the massive amount of opportunities you have during battle, the controls could be a bit overwhelming, if it wasn't for the genius developer at Atlus who had the idea of showing which button does what in every battle. Each choice is shown with the corresponding button right next to it, so the player does not need to worry about forgetting that attack is 'X', summoning the persona is 'triangle,' and using gun attack is pushing up on the d-pad. While this seems over the top, the unique art style allows for this option to fit into the game without any repercussion.

Screenshot for Persona 5 on PlayStation 4

Each of the main characters has their very own personal story and character. One positive aspect is the balance of both male and female characters, making identification with one or more of them possible for most people. Another enjoyable element is some of the conversations in which the player has to pick an answer. These can sometimes be very ironic or sarcastic, and may trigger a chuckle or two. The game is set in modern day Tokyo, in the year 20XX. This allows for the character to visit different real life places in Tokyo, such as Akihabara or the Meiji shrine. While the distinctive art of the Persona games obviously give every place a... Persona-ish touch, it can still be very exciting to unlock all these places to visit.

Speaking of art, Persona's art style is unique and amazing to look at. It is different and yet exciting. Additionally, the music used is one of the best game soundtracks out there. Even though music is looped, it does not become too much, and the sounds change depending on where the player is in the game and what is happening. While the description of the game can seem overwhelming, it makes an excellent point of explaining each part, feature and strategy in its own time so the player can understand what is happening and what is needed to be done.

The gameplay and opportunities make for diverse choices and ensure that no playthrough is like another. This means that every player is writing their personal story, while the overarching plot stays the same. The story itself has funny elements, as well as outrageous ones when the unfairness of some people is being portrayed - but also dramatic and sad moments are part of the story. There is a definite possibility that the player may have to wipe away a tear or two. The story is incredibly intriguing, with the player wanting to press on to reveal the next secret.

Screenshot for Persona 5 on PlayStation 4

Due to the time constraints or deadlines, the story also keeps flowing, and does not simply stop because the player feels like it. With all the possibilities of actions, it may annoy one or another player that there is only a limited amount of time. However, this is also a core part of the gameplay; the decisions of which action to take and which goal to push. Side quests allow for extra storylines, experience, items and even new acquaintances. But these also make time pass!

The only downside is some of the translation of conversation and questions asked in class. The difficulties to translate questions for Japanese players to questions for western players, is obvious at times, and makes it difficult to deduce the correct answer. However, these are minor incidents that do not hugely affect the gameplay.

All in all, Persona 5 is an amazing experience. Since it allows players to make their own decisions, it is difficult to review each and every play-through possible. It is very unlikely that anyone will have the exact same experience with any other player, but perhaps this is what makes this game so special. The art, the story, and the music, as well as great use of the controls, make for an absolutely unique experience. It can only be recommended to give it a shot!

Screenshot for Persona 5 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Persona 5 is an absolutely amazing game that convinces with its art style, music and story. It has anything one could ask for such a game and more. The turn-based battle system offers a wide array of opportunities. While it may not be everyone's cup of tea, it is definitely recommended to give it a go.

Developer

Atlus

Publisher

Atlus

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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