Imagine, being able to traverse another world. One where the desires and cognition of every living thing was accessible. Can you imagine being able to change those desires, make the worst of humanity change their hearts and confess their sins? Well, in Persona 5 you have the opportunity to do just that. From the creators of Catherine, Etrian Odyssey, Odin Spear and many other titles Atlus brings us the 5th installment in the Persona series. This JRPG (japanese role-playing game) puts you in the heart of Tokyo and gives you a glimpse at what regular life as a citizen in that magnificent city is like.
You take control of a 16 year old, second year high school boy. While you can name your character whatever you choose, his canon name in the manga (japanese comic) is Akira Kurusu. During my first playthrough I named the character after Motoko Kusanagi, the main protagonist from Ghost in the Shell and currently in my second playthrough I chose the given name for the protagonist to get as close to the real story as possible. While you don’t start the game in Tokyo, you actually start at what you would say is the middle of the game. While I won’t give anything away, you are carrying out your duties as a Phantom Thief, those who steal and change the hearts of Tokyo’s worst criminals. But in series of unfortunate events, you are caught and brought down by the police.
The real game starts here. Before moving to the city you encounter a man, one who is trying to sexually assault a women. So you are given the choice to go help her. But in doing so the drunk man gets injured and sues you. Given his influence you are branded a criminal, kicked out of school and are forced to transfer to Shujin Academy in Tokyo. It is here where throughout the game you meet the four others members that will be become your best friends and members of the Phantom Thieves. Your leader and navigator is none other than a talking cat named Morgana. Which for me was my favorite part of the game. With the help of Ryuji, Ann, Yusuke, Matoko, Futaba and Haru you try to reform the corrupt society in Japan and make a name for yourselves as Phantom Thieves. While I want to refrain from giving away too many story details, I can tell you this, there are many twists and turns in this story that keep your eyes glued to the TV screen. It is one of the best narratives I have ever witnessed and played through.
As far as gameplay goes, Persona 5 out did themselves. Like most JRPG’s P5 is a turn-based game. Involving a good amount of thinking and strategy in order to come out victorious. As the main character, his code name being ‘Joker’, you can take the powers of enemies you fight as ‘Persona’s’. Persona’s and basically companions that you can take on your journey to aid you in battle. Each member of the group has their own specific persona but Joker is the only one who can use multiple companions. Such is why he’s the leader of the group. Level up your Persona and take on the evil desires and your targets in their palaces as well as in the depths of mementos (the world underneath shibuya). The art style of P5 is also unique. It makes you feel like you’re watching/playing an anime episode. To top it off they actually added animated scenes in the game as well.
Persona 5 also gives you other things to do while you’re not running around being a Phantom Thief. You go to school, study, read, get part-time jobs, play video games and interact with the people around you. During mundane things in this game gives you points to level up your Knowledge, Charm, Kindness, Proficiency and Guts. Each of those categories gives you access to different people who you call ‘Confidants’. Every confidant has different abilities that can be granted to you so it’s crucial that you use your time wisely and spend as much time with people as you can. This will give you a huge advantage in battle, Especially during the harder segments at the tail end of the game. Your time is limited and precious in this game, so use it wisely.
After spending 90+ hours in this world during my first playthrough, I can confidently say that Persona 5 is the best RPG I have played in the past year. Quite possibly the best i’ve played in my career as a gamer. I bonded and connected with the world, characters and story more than I thought was possible. It felt like I was living through an actual anime. When I finally completed the game yesterday, I felt empty. I felt like I wanted more, that this couldn’t be the end. I was living through the Protagonist as though I were him. Luckily for all the gamers who felt like me at the end, Persona 5 offers a New Game + mode, which allows you to replay the game and carry over your money, persona compendium percentage, social skills levels and equipment from your completed save file. Allowing you to relive the beauty that is Persona 5 once again, giving 100+ hours of your life, again. Also, with the amount of DLC on the online store, I can pick and choose what costume I want my characters to wear this time and also play the game with its original japanese voices. Which i’m very excited about.
I am very excited to start my second playthrough of this game today. I have my eyes set on the Platinum Trophy and I will not stop until I obtain it. For those who have yet to play this Playstation 4 exclusive, I highly recommend that you do so, today. It will steal your heart and change your view on video games forever. As a avid lover and advocate for the japanese culture, this game has truly made my love for Japan and its games ascend its original heights.
Platform: Playstation 4