Atlus has put the last three years to good use. So far, we have not seen a PS4 exclusive Japanese role-playing title receive so much hype. As if the original Persona 5 was not good enough, Atlus has come out with a new title, Persona 5: Royal. This is not something one would refer to as a remake, neither is it a sequel to the original game. It is more of an extended version of the 2017’s Japanese role-playing game.
For those who have not played the original game, Persona five is a Japanese role-playing game that puts you in the shoes of Joker, who is the protagonist in the game. I usually do not regard a Joker as Joker if his voice over isn’t done by Heath Ledger himself, but I have made my peace with it since this is the only Joker we would be getting for the game. The game is set in Tokyo and it portrays a life of a Japanese high school teenager. Joker is no ordinary teenager, but he possesses a strange power. The society you live in is not a sane one either and it houses several antagonists that the game will put you up against.
The game portrays the typical teenage life crisis. You will not be alone and you will come across several other characters throughout the game. Each of the characters that you will come across during your gameplay will have a different story to tell, and their life experiences will define the person they are. In this way, the storyline will keep developing as you meet more and more people.
You will meet people once you go out roaming the streets in between the lecture breaks. Once you meet people and know about their story, you will have the choice to stick with them, develop your interest in them and get to know them more as you proceed through the game. Most of your special abilities will be linked to finding better friends, and once you find them, your abilities will enhance. Not only can you enhance these superpowers for battles, but you can also improve your real-world skills. There will be several jobs you can find or even work part-time at places. Since you are a high school student, you can also spend time studying and reading books. Anything you do will affect the course of the game, so you will have to make your decisions wisely. The game reminds me of Bully, only that it is bigger, and it is better. The game has some underlying role-playing principles that are similar to those you see in Bully. As you go out exploring the city and interact with new characters for your character’s development, it tends to remind you of the Pokémon games from the Gameboy days.
The game might sound interesting to the new players, but for those who have been loyal to the game for the last three years, is it really worth spending all the money for a new semester and a 20-hour additional gameplay to the already 100-hour long game? Well, there are definitely some differences to the game which I’ve discussed below.
Foremostly, we will be getting two new characters which will add more colors to the already-existing, long lineup of secondary characters. The game will also have a new gymnast that goes by the name of Kasumi Yoshizawa, and a counselor who we will be calling Takuto Maruki. The characters have been included in such a way that they slide in smoothly into the storyline developed from the previous title. But these two new character additions are not where the real magic happens. There are several minigames spread throughout the city, waiting to be explored by you. There are chances that you will enter a shop only to find yourself in front of a darts board with the darts in your hand.
The turn-based combat is now more interesting than ever, especially because of the overhaul that the guns have received. The next major addition to the combat is the showtime attacks. To perform such an attack, you pair up with a member of your team and land the ultimate combo. The attacks are followed by amazing cutscenes with animations that seem from out of this world. The enemies have grown more intelligent and they have received some new combat tactics as well, hence, watch out for their counterattacks. But not all improvements in the enemies are to your disadvantage. Some types of enemies will explode once you throw a certain amount of damage at them. They will not only blow up, but they will also take along a few others of their kind. Use this to your advantage and devise your strategy properly. Turn-based tactic combat is not about your reflexes but the mind you put into it.
Other role-playing factors of the game have also been improved. In case you entirely waste an evening, there are chances that you have a dream that night, and that dream will contribute to the storyline of the game.
I heard there is a new hangout spot in the game, and it goes by the name of Thieves’ Den. This would seem very ironic since the team that you lead is known by the name of Phantom Thieves. If you like the music tracks that pop up during the game, or if there was a cutscene that had you falling in love with it, then head down to the Thieves’ Den to play your favorite music and re-watch the cutscene till you are satisfied. The place has all the tracks from the previous titles and the current title.
Moving on to the graphics of the game, the characters of the game seem as if they are out of an anime movie. This, however, is not surprising and most other Japanese role-playing games have similar character designs. Even the beginning of the game feels like an opening of an anime TV show. The fonts and color palettes used in the intro of the game also have this comic book vibe to it.
One can’t really complain about the graphics, but they did seem slightly dark to me. The alleys have a greyer tone to them, and it would have been nice if the color scheme of the game would’ve been kept a little brighter.
If we talk about the overall tone of the game, others like calling it stylish, but I would refer to it as funky. Every time you have a dialogue with some character in the game it shows up so aggressively on the screen that it makes you feel like you are going into a battle with them when you’re really not.
The date showing up on the top left corner of the screen reminds you how important time is and you should be making constructive use of it.
Persona 5: Royal is the best Japanese role-playing game out there at the moment, however, if you have already played the original Persona 5, spending $60 for an extra 20-hour gameplay might not seem like a very sensible option.