Persona 5: Game Review


Persona 5 is the latest installment of the Persona series, a popular JRPG series featuring turn-based combat. It was released on April 4th, 2017, by the publisher Atlus. The game takes place in a modern day Tokyo, where the main protagonist has been sent to on probation. He is taken in by a local coffee shop owner and made to attend Shujin Academy where he quickly learns something weird is going on.

After the protagonist has a fated encounter with Sakamoto Ryuji, the two unknowingly slip into the world of “palaces,” a structure created from the distorted perception of adults in the world. It’s here where the duo unlocks the power of “Personas” which are manifestations of the heart of the user which can be used to fight the shadows which defend these palaces.

After unlocking these powers, the main characters team up with another student, Takamaki Ann, and a human who was turned into a cat, Morgana, and form the “Phantom Thieves” to dive into these “palaces” and steal the treasure of the one who’s distorted desires created it and in doing so, force a change of heart into these corrupt adults.

The main part of the game, the combat in the palaces, is great. The turn based combat system is fast paced and feels so satisfying. It’s very reminiscent of final fantasy turn based combat, but with some aspects of the element system from Pokemon games. The combat works so well with little grunts to make it quick enough so you aren’t spending 5 minutes per battle with random weak enemies, but also works great enough to slow down the pace for the more important mini-boss and boss battles, which makes them feel much weightier and important.

Outside of the palaces, your character is just trying to live the life of a normal high school student. You have to study, hang out with friends, read, or just have some downtime at a hot spring or a batting cage. The social stats you build outside of palaces become very important for getting new equipment and The confidant system makes it very useful to develop meaningful relationships with your friends to provide out of combat perks and perks for combat.

An example of this is the “death” confidant, Takemi Tae, who is a shady doctor stripped of her medical licenses. She actually turns out to be an outstanding doctor who you can help by being her guinea pig for medical experiments. The more you help her with experiments, the more medical supplies she’ll sell you, which become absolutely essential when running through palaces.

One thing this game does great is it makes all of your actions outside of the palace affect how you perform in the palace and vice versa. For example, increasing your “Guts” social stat allows you to get better weapons to perform better in palaces. And in palaces, when you defeat shadows you receive some Japanese Yen and items which you can use to buy stuff in the outside world and craft items which become useful in palaces. So everything you do is connected both in the outside world and in palaces which is really great game development.

Another great aspect of this game is the music. It’s all got this jazzy coffee shop vibe and has many different renditions of each piece which change in game depending on the weather and your character’s mood. The music provides great ambiance in and outside of combat. The opening song that comes on when you first open the game along with the great visuals of the main characters all ice skating on concrete (somehow) is amazing and really sets the mood for the rest of the game. The music in this game is easily some of the best music out of any game I’ve ever played, and I’ve played a lot of games in my 18 years on god’s green earth. The music will get stuck in your head and you’ll be humming it for days on end, it’s just that catchy.

Overall this game will take you roughly 100 hours to complete, which is much longer than the average game would take to beat. Also the game has a New Game Plus mode which allows you to replay the game with all the stats and personas you acquired in your first play through. So to beat this game you’re going to have to pump a solid amount of time into it, so maybe it isn’t the best game to buy if you aren’t willing to give days of time to one game. But if a long game that you can devote a lot of time here and there to is something you’re looking for, as a single player game story driven game, Persona 5 is basically second to none.

In conclusion, this game has great combat, has fun things to do outside of combat, has meaningful dialogue and an intriguing story. Overall I’d give this game a 9.75/10, but rating based off enjoyment, I’d give it a 10/10. I love the combat, I love the music, and I love the game. Potential game of the year and definitely the best JRPG I’ve ever played.