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Persona 5 Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . I think it's safe to say that fans of the series will absolutely love every second of Persona 5. It's an incredible adventure full of cool palaces to explore and characters you will actually want to hang out with. It's also great for new players who have always been curious about the Persona series. With so much to do and so many inventive enemies to fight, I can't imagine anybody being disappointed with this 100 hour package. Persona 5 is easily the best Japanese role-playing game I've played this entire generation. Rating: 92%
Persona 5
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Few games have been able to capture the importance of friendship like Persona 5. The bonds you make in this long-awaited sequel are not just there to help you fight monsters and take down your enemies, but also help you grown as a person. They stick by you when things are at their worst and are always ready to celebrate when everything goes your way. And best of all, it's fun hanging out with your friends, which is incredibly important when you plan on spending 100 hours with them in an epic role-playing game.

If you've played a Persona game before, then chances are I don't need to tell you the importance of friendship. This is a series built around the idea of cultivating relationships and strengthening the bonds with those closest to you. This brand new fifth chapter is no different, giving us a strong cast of broken characters who each manage to grow and heal thanks to the friends they make. It's one thing for a game to demonstrate why you need a strong team to take down a fire-breathing dragon, but Persona 5 is good about showing you why these special relationships are important in all facets of life.


The hero of the piece may still be a teenager, but he's already had a troubled life. After intervening in what appeared to be an assault, the tables get turned on him and he's found guilty of a crime he didn't commit. Hoping to avoid the stigma from the trial, the teen is shipped off to Tokyo, where he'll live under the watchful eye of a cranky old man who runs a failing restaurant and has zero patience for a delinquent kid. With no friends, a criminal record and only a storage room to live in, things are looking bad for our hero.

But life begins to improve once he meets Ryuji, a former track star who has a troubled past of his own. The two hit it off immediately and quickly become close friends, thanks in large part to a shared experience where they end up getting transported into a mysterious castle run by one of the school's creepy teachers. This sets up a fun mystery where they not only attempt to bring the teacher to justice, but also figure out why they are able to seemingly jump from one reality to another and summon magical creatures known as personas.

It won't take long for our hero's circle of friends to expand and form into a group called the Phantom Thieves. This name is derived from the fact that they are literally jumping into a person's metaverse and stealing the thing they desire the most. Without getting technical, this will force a change of heart and make the wrong-doer confess their sins and accept responsibility for their acts. It's an addictive little power that proves to be too enticing to do just once, so the rag-tag team of wannabe superheroes constantly finds themselves on the hunt for more adults committing evil acts.

The truth is, this only barely scratches the surface of what happens in this 100 hour epic. There's a story early on about weird car and train accidents that keep happening throughout Tokyo, a famous artist with a shady past, the existential crisis of a talking cat and a school principle that will seemingly stop at nothing to find those pesky Phantom Thieves. And I didn't even mention that most of the game is told through flashbacks, since we see at the start that our hero, codenamed Joker, has been arrested by the police and is being interrogated deep underground in a small windowless room. All these threads (and many more that I don't dare mention in this spoiler-free review) eventually come together in a long and immensely satisfying story that is equal parts exciting and emotional.

Persona 5 (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

While things may be spiraling out of control in the real world, the same cannot be said inside the metaverse. It's here that the Phantom Thieves have all the power, thanks to their powerful personas and ability to wield guns, swords and all kinds of other weapons. The combat in Persona 5 is fast and streamlined, giving us a system where things like attack, guard and items are all mapped to face buttons and most battles happen at a rapid pace. In fact, the combat is so fun and easy that it's the type of thing just about anybody can get into, even those who normally shy away from JRPGs.

Beyond the speed, I really like the variety found in each battle. One of the fun tricks is looking for a weakness, which will dizzy the enemy and allow the squad to rush in for an all-out strike that is every bit as stylish as it is effective. And if you're feeling generous, you can hold up the enemies and steal their powers, rob them of money and even take items you might need for tougher fights. This is on top of summoning the many cool looking personals for a staggering amount of physical attacks and magical spells. There's really a lot to like about the way the fights play out.

There's also a lot to like about the enemy designs. I love that Persona 5 is more than just the typical orcs and goblins, giving us a wide variety of bad guys that are dripping with creativity. The unorthodox story allows the developers to come up with all kinds of unique enemies to fight, and I couldn't wait to see what each palace had in store for me. This extends to the bosses, which often require real strategy and not just brute force.

Speaking of which, since each palace is based on a different person's heart, you won't find a lot of repetition between them. For example, the first palace is a creepy dungeon based on a high school, while the very next location has us running through paintings at an art gallery. Every palace has its own style and set of puzzles, and they do a good job of mixing things up from one setting to the next. I don't dare spoil some of the cooler locations, but rest assured that the game is filled with the types of clever ideas you don't normally see in this type of game.

Persona 5 (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

And that's the thing about Persona 5 -- it's full of ideas you rarely see in role-playing games. In fact, there are long stretches of this game where it barely feels like a JRPG. So much of this game has you trying to juggle the dungeon crawling with the everyday responsibilities of being in high school. You'll have to study for tests, socialize with friends, go on field trips, take on part-time jobs, keep up with the texts you get and even date. And with only a limited amount of time in each day, you'll have to make sacrifices in order to get everything done and steal the treasure in time. Persona 5 is constantly pulling you in a bunch of different directions, which helps to remind you what it's like to be a teenager with an active social life.

While none of these ideas necessarily reinvent the Persona formula, this fifth installment takes everything that was good about the first four games and adds to it. There's an overwhelming amount to do and see, and even at 100 hours, I still felt like there were a lot of things I should have experienced before beating the game. The fact that I was constantly on the edge of my seat throughout the entire adventure is a testament to the quality of the writing and storytelling, and this is easily the best JRPG since, well, Persona 4.

As a longtime fan of the series, I found myself constantly wanting to compare this game to the previous two installments. While certainly better than Persona 3, I might make the argument that I enjoyed the story and characters more in Persona 4 Golden. I also think the formula felt a lot fresher at the time, whereas this brand new game is more of an evolution on what we've seen before from this series. Of course, that's not really a bad thing, since the game is an insane amount of fun and the formula doesn't feel stale yet.

When it comes to the negatives, there really aren't that many worth talking about. My biggest gripe is that some of the palaces go on for a little too long, especially a couple towards the very end. You'll see a palace repeat the same puzzle a couple extra times, which sometimes felt like filler. Then again, I have to wonder if I would have felt the same way if I wasn't racing through the game for review. If I was going at a leisurely pace and only playing a few hours a day, chances are I would have enjoyed some of the longer dungeons more.

Persona 5 (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

One thing I can't complain about is the graphics. While it's not the best looking PlayStation 4 game from a technical perspective, it's hard to deny the incredible style that oozes out of every level and fight. Even simple things like the post-battle wrap up are full of style and charm, giving this a look all its own. The same can be said about the music, which is both catchy and filled with songs with actual lyrics. I found myself singing along more than I would like to admit and I had a few of those songs stuck in my head long after I stopped playing the game. The Persona series has always had a killer soundtrack, and this fifth chapter is certainly no exception.

I think it's safe to say that fans of the series will absolutely love every second of Persona 5. It's an incredible adventure full of cool palaces to explore and characters you will actually want to hang out with. It's also great for new players who have always been curious about the Persona series. With so much to do and so many inventive enemies to fight, I can't imagine anybody being disappointed with this 100 hour package. Persona 5 is easily the best Japanese role-playing game I've played this entire generation.
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