Like a thief in the night, you whisk in under the cover of dark snatching deeply guarded treasures in order to turn night into day; or making people confess their atrocious crimes. This is but a daily life for simple phantom thief and high school student. Persona 5 by Atlus places you in control of an unnamed boy whose life was thrown into chaos and dire straights all because he stuck his nose into business that did not concern him. Then again every Persona game generally has a knack for throwing our esteemed antagonists into dire situations.
Persona 5 is no slouch when it comes to crafting a most elegant of stories. It is a tapestry that is interlaced with complex explorations of family, friendship, inner self and the desire to live life by your own terms. The game tackles these complex narratives and themes over the course of the title as you galavant about the larger Tokyo area. The emphasis on leading a normal high school life while tackling your dastardly life of thievery is something not for the faint of heart. The story progress on a day to day basis and one slip up could cost you the game if you aren’t careful. Fail to meet a required objective in the allotted time and it is game over.
While it sounds hard, the game is anything but; provide you have time management on your side. The starts us in the thick of a daring escape by our masked antagonist Joker as he attempts an escape from a casino. We have no clue as to why he is in the situation he is, only just that there is a teammate that sold them out. After a rough interrogation we are told to recount the events that lead up to this very moment, starting on April 9th, 20XX. The game does an excellent job of prompting the players to make the most of their day.
This core function can prompt players to prioritize what events, people or activities they take part in. Thus in turn this forces the player to realize that doing too much or too less of one particular activity could result in dire straights. Take not properly training or missing out on a Summer’s romance as brief examples of what miss-managed time could hold for you. This is far from a new concept for a seasoned Persona player, but for someone knew to the concept they may be in for a bumpy ride.
Also another concept is that of the eternal grind that is standard amongst all JRPG’s. For those expecting just a straight shot with some easy leveling, they are in for a world of hurt. Grinding is one essential aspect that has permeated the JRPG culture since as far back as the early Final Fantasy days. One must get into the habit of using the Mementos system to help supplement time spent out side of the games primary dungeons (referred in game as Palaces). I personally found that one must literally push their party to the utmost limit if they wish to succeed in progressing smoothly through the course of the game.
While Mementos is not necessarily required (it is for those who wish to further their relationships with several of the in-game characters), it is a nice option to have. If you want to just farm experience from the primary dungeons you are more than free to do so. Just make sure you have a competent healer and plenty of healing items if you plan on staying in a palace longer than needed. Touching back on fulfilling companion requirements, engaging more with your own squad of thieves and supporters is a great way to earn combat perks and rewards. These relations can be romances or just beneficial contracts that help both parties; it mainly just helps you though.
Through these contracts the player better understands the games deeper storyline; which tackles the human psyche and cognition. It is a deeply woven tapestry that frankly runs several real world hours of time and investment. Two articles that takes a lot out of someone looking for just a casual fling. For those willing to put in the time and effort, Persona 5’s story is so worth the initial play through. On top of the branching story and the expected dungeon grind, you also have the life simulator that I previously touched on. If you thought that the career for a Phantom Theif was all glam and riches, then you were wrong. Good grades and a healthy lifestyle is key for succeeding.
Attending study sessions or even going to a bookstore can be quite the reward for the player. Granting access to more skill levels, items and some fun events can be some of the rewards for diligence and perseverance. It is a fundamental part to a larger game, but I would argue that it isn’t as crucial as most paint it to be. I look at it personally as an investment that is worthwhile and engagingly fun.
At the end of the day, is this a game that will strike a cord in your heart or will it leave you unfazed? Well, that strongly depends on your personal interest in JRPG’s and the like. These sort of games take massive amounts of investment for some payoff. This latest Persona title racks the completion hours in at around 172ish hours (which I don’t believe is counting a second play-through). That is a enormous amount of time to dedicate to one game, which for many is just too much for a single player game. For those of you like myself, this is heaven and so much more. From the melodious and brilliant soundtrack, to the ever vast list of wholesome, well-rounded characters. This game has a bit of something for everybody out there. You just gotta wake up, get up, get out there.
OGZ Gives Persona 5 a 10/10
+Superb and bug free gameplay
+Excellent story that is dynamic and reaching
+Marvelous soundtrack that oozes love and depth
+Hours of replay value for the completionist out there
Persona 5 is available for purchase and play on the Playstation 4 and Playstation 3 platforms. For those of you who are collectors, if you can still grab a copy of Take Your Heart I would argue it is a more worth investment.
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