Liam Ferguson takes a look at what makes Persona 5 so special
Picking a favourite Persona game is like picking a favourite ice cream flavour
Japanese game developer Atlus are no strangers to making masterpieces. From Persona 3 to Catherine, the company has consistently released certified bangers onto the market. But nothing, in my opinion, has displayed their excellence quite like 2016’s Persona 5. Persona is a storied gaming franchise, originating as a spinoff to the Shin Megami Tensei series but quickly eclipsing it in popularity and mass market appeal. Picking a favourite Persona game is like picking a favourite ice cream flavour in many ways, there is not really a wrong answer, just a matter of preference and all are very valid. However, today I will be focusing on the fifth entry that managed to take my heart.
Dungeon crawling is fun, but what if it was mixed with the most beautifully jazzy score possible and a bright red aesthetic flair? The goal within the game’s dungeons is simple: steal the heart of a relevant final boss in order to have them confess their sins in the real world while manoeuvring a different unique palace for each relevant antagonist. The turn-based combat is extremely rewarding and the right amount of challenging as its stylish presentation helps bolster the combat and exploration immensely.
However, the combat is actually the least interesting aspect of Persona 5. The game thrives in its approach to having the player live day by day as an ordinary high school student. Each day passes by in three stages, taking the protagonist through classes, days off and conversations with friends and peers. Through a unique and rewarding social system, bonds are built up with confidants around the player that allow for story progression and rewards within the metaverse, where combat takes place. There’s a vast array of minigames to play, yet the dialogue between confidants is what shines through as the best part of the game. A ridiculous amount of characters all have the capacity to display immensely engaging arcs with your help, all you need to do is spend time with them. The main story itself is also fantastic on its own and is only bolstered by gaining a deeper understanding of the cast around it.
The game is easily over 100 hours long on a quick playthrough and somehow manages to never get boring. The day by day approach, aided by the game’s motto of “take your time” seen on every loading screen, fantastically maintains the pacing. I have played both the base game and the revamped Persona 5 Royal which added an extra layer of story content, a practice common for the series, and enjoyed each 100+ hours throughout. It somehow only gets better as time goes on and is truly a game worth experiencing for anybody with a remote interest.