Persona 5 Review

On the 4th of April, 2017, the rest of the world was treated to one of the most anticipated JRPG’s to ever be released, but was all the hype really worth it for the 5th main entry in the Persona franchise? I guess it’s about time that we went and found out in this Persona 5 Review.

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Persona is and always has been a JRPG that focuses incredibly hard on its story and Persona 5 is absolutely no different in this regard. The story revolves around a group of high-school friends who awaken to the power of the Persona to fight off shadows when they enter “the other world”, also known as Palaces. Inside these palaces these friends become “Phantom Thieves” and the only way they can dismantle the palace is by stealing the treasure that lies deep within.

Story decides to pull something The Witcher 2 does, and that’s by starting off the game with a short, intro stage that leads to the main protagonist being caught and arrested. From there, the main character proceeds to tell his side of the story of what he’s been doing and it bounces between the main gameplay of dealing with high-school life and improving your character; with the occasional jump back to the present to partake in the interview he is undergoing.

As with all previous Persona games, the main reason for your actions is due to the end of the world slowly coming to its unfortunate and brutal conclusion; resulting in only you and your friends being able to stop it. I won’t go any further into the story for spoiler reasons, but I can safely say that it’s a story that you won’t be easily forgetting as you play through it.

Persona 5 Review
Persona 5 Review


Gameplay comes in the form of your typical turn-based JRPG, at least when it comes to combat. You choose how you want to attack, either with your ranged weapon, your melee weapon, or through skills that you acquire because of your currently equipped persona. Outside of actual combat, you will be tasked with exploring throughout the palace and avoid being spotted by enemies, as there is a bar that once it reaches 100% you are forced out and must return another day. Thanks to this design decision, the game has a fair emphasis on stealth; at least a simplified version of it anyway. Stealth boils down to – “don’t get seen, press X to warp to an even closer hiding spot, ambush the enemy when they’re close enough.” Thankfully the stealth isn’t too much of a hassle to deal with a lot of the time, so you shouldn’t be concerned about going into this game thinking it’s going to be similar to the MGS series – it’s far from that!

When you’re back in the real world and spending your time as normal high-schoolers, you’re expected to balance out spending time with your friends, improving certain attributes about your character, and making sure that you make it to the end of your school year with decent grades and without getting into too much trouble. If you’ve ever played a Persona game before then you will know exactly what to expect in this game, as it’s no different from the previous titles.

Persona 5 Review
Persona 5 Review


In terms of positives, Persona 5 certainly has a lot of them; one of the main ones would have to be the aesthetic and graphical style that the developers decided to go with. Every inch of the game is incredibly stylised and as a result it is gorgeous everywhere you look – whether that’s the NPC’s, the world itself, or even personas – just everything about the game looks incredibly stylish.

Combat as per usual is another element of this game that is incredibly fun and satisfying and just like all the previous Persona games, collecting and upgrading all of your personas is half the fun of this game. A nice feature that was brought back into the series that hasn’t been seen since Persona 2 is being able to talk to these shadows. You can talk with shadows to see if they will give you an item, some money, or if you can figure out how to win them over you can even acquire their power and collect them as a persona. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not quite as detailed as the original games, as this one is a lot more simplified, but it’s an aspect of the series fans will appreciate to see back; myself included.

Story has to go on the list of positives, as it starts out strong and simply proceeds to get better and better with each passing day you play out. Despite the fact the game focuses around a group of older teenagers, the story can tackle some truly heavy topics at times and while it might be hard to experience some of these topics, I appreciate the developers and their decision to put the characters in some difficult emotional spots – as a result it makes them seem more human and helps develop the characters as their own individuals; rather than just a model that’s saying words.

Persona 5 Review
Persona 5 Review


With everything good, there must come the bad and unfortunately that’s not something even Persona 5 can ignore. One of the first things that came to mind is the fact that it can take around 6 hours before you feel like you’re actually in control of your character. Yes, you’ll be controlling him through his decisions and in combat, but for the first 6 hours you’re sort of locked in to the tutorial part of the game that you can’t get out of any faster. For a first time play-through it’s not so bad, but if you want to play the game again and make some different decisions, you’ve got roughly 6 hours of gameplay to force yourself through again; most of the segments don’t even require your input a lot of the time.

Ever since I started Persona 5, there was this one story element that really bugged me and that’s how everyone treats the main character – all because he has a criminal record. Why does he have a criminal record? Well, he saves a young girl from being kidnapped and possibly worse, by punching a drunk man and knocking him down; only to be told that he’s going to sue him for beating him up. Despite the drunken man being completely in the wrong, due to his stance on the matter the main character is arrested, expelled from school, and sent out on probation with a criminal record. From a legal perspective it makes “some” sense to a degree, but everyone he comes in contact with him treats him like dirt; despite almost everyone knowing about the situation he was presented with that possibly saved this woman’s life. As a result, the main character is treated as complete scum by everyone expect his new-found friends – friends who actually decide to take his side like I feel most normal people would – rather than treating him like a criminal for the rest of his days because he actually helped a woman in dire need. Of all my time I’ve spent in Persona 5, this is quite easily the biggest gripe I’ve found in the game and I haven’t seen it going away any time soon.

Persona 5 Review
Persona 5 Review

Final Verdict

First thing first I hope you enjoyed reading this Persona 5 Review. Overall, I can’t deny that Persona 5 is great and is bound to be many people’s game of the year, even though we’re only one third through the year. Everything positive about the game completely outshines any negatives and it makes it one of the easiest recommendations for a JRPG or a game in recent years. If you hate JRPG’s, this isn’t the title that’s going to change your mind, but fans of the Persona series or of JRPG’s in general have got one incredible game on their hands that I wouldn’t recommend letting slip through your fingers if you’ve got the chance.

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