When it comes to delivering the captivating life of high schoolers, Atlus’ Persona series undoubtedly nails them down to the “T”. Each of their engaging stories mixed with the supernatural and somewhat disturbing realities has been really making huge impacts on the overall experience. And despite its usually overstayed welcome thanks to its long winding transitions for each of its main chapters, they always tend to enrich the entire experience to make both your time and energy spent well throughout their hundred-hour adventures.
And Persona 5 Royal only makes an already great game even better. Starting from two brand new characters you can interact with, namely, the cheery and upbeat Kasumi Yoshizawa. She’s a first-year honour student that really manages to melt into Persona 5’s main campaign just like butter on top of fluffy layers of pancakes thanks to her quirky nature that makes it even more engrossing to expand into her unique story. On the other hand, we have the newly appointed school counsellor, Takuto Maruki. A goofy yet approachable teacher that really lightens the mood as he gets introduced into the early parts of the game – just after the scandal that took place with the school’s PE teacher.
Atlus has done a good job of making them feel like they were there in the first place. It never felt like they were just something that got awkwardly injected in the last minute and their addition to the roster solidifies that there’s always room for improvements, even at the face of an already good game. However, while they do already feel like irreplaceable parts of the main story, Kasumi still feels more like a side character that pops into the story but as quick as she gets in, she exits just as quickly. This makes her time to shine in the spotlight a little bit too short-lived despite her constant appearance in the main story. It also doesn’t help that newcomers to the game or the series would find it easily missable to unlock the new content if they choose to go in blindly.
Although aside from the brand new characters that you can leisurely spend your time with, gameplay-wise, there are a couple if not more than enough things to keep the entire experience fresh which allows for an even more engaging traversal throughout its gorgeously re-worked dungeons called Palaces. Joker now gains access to a grappling hook which allows for even more freedom while also giving more emphasis to the art of being a true phantom thief as they skulk around in the shadows, trying to not be seen nor heard. And with its implementation, new areas become available such as the newly injected rooms containing Will Seeds that rewards the players with some powerful accessories to equip in battle. Pair that with the many quirks that dungeons tend to have, then each of the dungeons while initially the same never felt repetitive nor boring. Whether it’s their unique looks from the colourful and vibrant lights of the casino to the grotesque and distorted environment of Mementos.
But speaking of Mementos, while it isn’t as groundbreaking as new mechanics to boss battles or the grappling hook, Mementos also now comes with its very own new character in the form of Jose. A child that wanders the depths of Mementos that would occasionally pop up as you move from area to area that can trade you with items or initiate a change to Mementos as a whole. These items range from a number of things like blank cards or consumables while the change to Mementos is limited to increasing experience, money or items gained in battle. Although these can only be utilized by obtaining flowers and stamps that are scattered throughout Mementos which makes the rather dull exploration to a slightly more rewarding experience than a long and boring subway of curves and turns. But if you didn’t like Mementos before, it won’t particularly change your cognition but the changing soundtracks as you dig deeper does help give the dull layout a more forgiving outlook.
There’s a mouthful of additions the game has to offer and we’ll be here all day talking about it so I’ll just be switching to brief introductions from here on out. Kichijoji is a new area you can visit with your confidants and its home to the jazz club, a few notable shops as well as a recreation area with billiards and darts. Coming here to play the darts mini-game improves the baton pass mechanics as well which is an improved version that not only increases damage but at higher levels can recover some HP and SP.
The Persona Fusion system also adds the new Fusion Alarm mechanics that becomes available after some time during successive battles. These, in turn, make your next fused Persona stronger with the ability to change or improve some of its skills randomly. Personas also now come with its own traits that can also be passed through fusion. These are passive skills that greatly improves a Persona’s abilities such as increasing its damage when exploiting an enemy’s weakness or lower SP costs to certain affinities.
Other than that, your teammates’ personas also gain a third awakening aside from the inclusion of a tag team-based showtime that initially would start with just two characters and as you progress through the main story, it would unlock more showtimes for other characters. These just as the name implies, is a flashy move that deals tons of damage aside from having an eye-catching cutscene whether its Morgana giving a bouquet of flowers to Ann before pulling out an SMG inside it or the double elbow drop done by the ladies Makoto and Haru.
Persona 5 Royal also introduces the Thieves’ Den which is a hangout spot outside of the main game where you can view your achievements, watch animated cutscenes, take control of other characters, purchase and decorate the room as well as play card games with your fellow Phantom Thieves. There are definitely a lot of things that make P5R the very definition of a game gone Royal and Atlus has done a fine job at recreating Persona 5 into an experience that is even better than before. “This is how a great JRPG is done” is probably the highest praise I can give to Persona 5 Royal and it’s one that both fans and newcomers to the genre need to have in their collection.
In a nutshell, Persona 5 Royal gives the game a brand new makeover from the ground up. It delivers the royal treatment it deserves and deepens the entire experience into one cohesive plot about a group of teenagers trying to change the hearts of shitty adults. While vanilla Persona 5 didn’t particularly have the perfect pacing and at times the early parts of the game feel somewhat repetitive as you jump from one chapter to the other, the amount of things you can do and the confidants you can interact with helps lift up the game for the better. And that is what Persona is really all about. A social sim RPG that gives you the freedom to be whatever, to live your life for the better and to enjoy what you really like doing the most. And it’s that where Persona 5 Royal pushes its attention to.
Persona 5 Royal is out now, exclusively for PlayStation 4 and you can purchase it right here on PSN.
Visit the official site here: http://atlus.com/P5R
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Persona 5 Royal
Prepare for an all-new RPG experience in Persona 5 Royal based in the universe of the award-winning series, Persona! Don the mask of Joker and join the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. Break free from the chains of modern society and stage grand heists to infiltrate the minds of the corrupt and make them change their ways! Persona 5 Royal is packed with new characters, story depth, new locations to explore, & a new grappling hook mechanic for access to new areas.
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 49.99