I honestly haven’t been looking forward to writing this review because despite having beaten the game once and also already being a third of the way through the new game plus mode, I still don’t know how I feel about it. So I thought we would find out together, I’ll bitch about the game for 700 words or so and at the end we will find out if it’s a great game with a few flaws or a load of old bollocks with some great ideas.
Persona 5 is a role-playing video game developed by Atlus. But despite the name Persona 5 is not a direct sequel to Persona 4, a game I absolutely adored and reviewed (read here if you’d like). The story revolves around a high school student who lives out a single year while attending school in Tokyo. The player is sent to live with a miserable, unfriendly old bastard after he stops a woman from getting raped, but rather than praise and thanks, the player gets probation (because Japan). Like the previous games, you and a group of high schoolers must work together to kill demons and change the world for the better, a pretty tall order for a bunch of teenagers and their prick cat!
(I love it when a plan comes together)
The overall story of the game is smart, interesting and pretty damn entertaining, but the connecting elements for around the first third of the game are so God damn lazy, it is insulting. Rather than contriving a good reason to drive the plot forward the writers relied on the main character being blackmailed 6 fucking times in a row!
This is the part that gave me the most cause for reflection, while all the characters each have a rich backstory, real flaws, real emotions and are working through their own personal issues, the majority of them are such pricks when you first interact with them, I honestly had no desire to learn any more about them. Unlike Persona 4: Golden, where the characters are intriguing from the get go and entice you into wanting to learn more about them, Persona 5’s cavalcade of perverts and blackmailers makes you wish there was a spit-in-face button. For example one character tries to blackmail your female friend into posing nude for a painting and then 2 hours later the fucker is sleeping on my sofa, because the talking cat that won’t shut the fuck up invited him to stay! But rather than saying no you can’t stay at my house I hate you, you end up spooning.
(Does this face look trust worthy to you?)
While I will admit to liking each of the characters by the game’s end, I have to say the only reason I got to that point was because you receive special abilities for getting to know them, it was obligation more than interest.
What I disliked
We’ll get the negative stuff out of the way first, the illusion of choice is so infuriating in this game, I mean why give us dialogue options if you’re just going to make me play your way game? Just make it a linear story for fucks sake! I think the reason it’s so obvious in this game is because rather than make decisions from the players perspective like it did in persona 4, i.e “I’m too sleepy to go out, I think I’ll head to bed” in 5 it has the cat tell you. “You’re too sleepy, go to bed”.
(Seriously, Fuck You!)
I also was a bit put off by how dark the game was, while the previous game was a murder mystery and contained all the death and violence any sane man had the right to hope for; we were introduced to it slowly. In this one however, BAM! Child abusing/molesting volley ball coach as the first boss and it turns out the entire fucking school and the parents “heard the rumours”. How in Satan’s feted foreskin does that scenario play out?
“Mommy, Daddy the mean volley ball coach punched me in the mouth and called me a whore” cried little Timmy, “but can he help you get in to college?” asked Dad, “I guess so, but I can taste blood!” protested Timmy; “walk it off champ” laughed Dad!
(The girl on the right is his student, it’s messed up)
What I liked
Given what I have written so far you could be forgiven for thinking I hated persona 5, but I don’t, there is so much to love about this game. Visually, it is amazing, the game has a cartoony/anime art style, that honestly looks gorgeous on the PS4.The stark contrast between the in game “real world” vs the dungeons is truly spectacular, while the game is colourful and vibrant all the time it seems much more fantastical and wondrous when in the fighting areas.
(Hurry, I need to water my plant!)
Like its predecessor Persona 5’s music is the big dogs biscuit, there is always music playing in the background, lending itself to any situation and creating a great atmosphere, in particular the battle music. While some game bosses have you snapping controllers in frustration at your third failed attempt, I found myself smiling because it meant I could listen to the badass final boss music.
Also I have to say, despite the fact I only got to know them better because of the promise of in game reward, I did find the characters interesting and sympathetic, the beautifully attractive girl unjustly labelled easy, the put upon little sister with high expectations thrust upon her, the young man who sacrifices his one passion just to survive or the cat that wants to bone the hot girl……………..well, not so much that last one but you get the point.
And finally, the gameplay, I will say this for Persona 5, the gameplay is the best it’s ever been, it surpasses its predecessor (a game in my personal top 10) in both combat and world exploration. Not only can you kill enemies, but now you can also intimidate them, extort them or join forces with them, and of course if you catch them all you get bigger stronger personas to fight with.
Well, here we are at the end and after writing it all out and venting my frustration with the games few problems I have to say, Persona 5 is a fun game. While there are a few plot points that will just seem stupid, Persona 5 kept me coming back for more, with its great art style, well written (mostly) characters, awesome music (that I will have played at my wedding) and interesting story.