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Persona 5: early impressions


Well hello there, you cute little ninnymuggins! How have you been? I haven't really done this sort of a thing in a while - blogging that is. Have you noticed?...no? Well that's okay. Being popular is sooo overrated, and I find writing to be more of a therapeutic activity, anyway. 

Cat bus

So Persona 5 is out, and is being met with extremely high acclaim. Ever since playing Persona 4: Golden, I too have become a rather big fan of the series. Having gone back to the PS2 so that I could experience P3, and even picking up Tokyo Mirage Sessions to help keep me tied over, I think it's fair to say that I'm a moderate fan of the series and similar spinoffs (in before P1 and P2 hipsters drop in to dog on me like a bunch of nerds). 

Anyway, I've put in around 12 hours or so, and I'm barely even touching the surface. I've certainly adapted to the general flow of the game however, and I'd like to share some of my early impressions - ya know, get a couple of things off of my chest. I don't intend to give any direct spoilers story wise, but I will certainly bring up the vibes and general theme of the game, so if you're one to get worked up over such details, you'd be best to stop reading now. 

Let me start out by saying that P5 (I'll get tired of writing the name out in full if I don't abbreviate), is a much darker game than P4. That much is evident within the first 30 minutes or so of gameplay. Now that's not to say that it's a morbid, overbearing, soul-crushing game, but it's certainly not the happy go lucky story that you are thrown into in P4. You're going to find that the main character takes a lot of abuse from just about anyone who he crosses paths with, so just be emotionally aware of that going in. 

Is it quite as dark as P3? No, not really. I mean you're not blowing your brains out to summon your Persona. You do, however, rip masks off of your face, leaving characters bloody and writhing in pain briefly. The music helps to keep things bouncy however, and the general interactions between story characters is otherwise upbeat and lively. Truth is, this game embraces the 'inner rebel' theme and really drives it home. 

None of this should be an issue for most fans of the series, as every Persona game is unique and has it's own identity. It doesn't take very long for P5 to show you what you're getting into, and making that mental adjustment will vary from user to user. 

When it comes down to the core gameplay, it shouldn't take you long to feel familiar with the game. All of your essential commands and functions are there, only with a slightly revamped system, and a few new battle options. Having a gun to accompany your fighting tactics is a neat new alternative, and offers diversity in how you approach your battles. Sneaking up and ambushing enemies feels a little different too, as being a 'thief' and stealth is a big part of the overlaying theme. It's different, but it's not an unwelcomed change. 

Adopting new Persona's is a little tricky. As in prior entries, you want to exploit your enemies weakness so that you can get the upper hand in battle. Doing so with all enemies will allow you to either finish them for max exp and money, ask for additional money, ask for an extra item, OR lend you their power. You can obtain their power if you are on the same level as them (or higher), IF you go through a proper dialogue exchange with them. It's...different, to say the least. I don't want to say that I dislike this new function...but it's honestly a bit more tedious than I'd like it to be. 

*sigh* Morgana...or Teddie. Hmm. Both are rather obnoxious, and aim to provide comical relief throughout the story. Morgana is certainly insightful, and instantly will aid you in battles, whereas Teddie pretty much acted as a guide for the first half of P4. My biggest probem with Morgana, is that he's a pushy little shit. "Go to bed!" "Let's go do this!" "You need to make these!". There have been many, many scenarios where I needed to get other things done in town, but I simply couldn't because Morgana wanted to go to bed, or to go do something else. I mean talk about high maintenance! I've had to pay late fees TWICE for dvd rentals because of this stupid cat!

That being said, having an adorable cat with you everywhere you go is kind of nice. I do like how he will help you answer questions during the school day, and honestly his dialogue is (for the most part) witty and charming. Think of Morgana as your perpetual guide throughout P5, and you'll do just fine. Just...don't go renting any movies early on, for crying out loud. 

Overall, I'm enjoying my adventure so far, however I can't help but feel like Persona 5 is lacking in something. The world is vast, the characters are mostly enjoyable, and the dialogue is solid (TAH-KAH-MAH-KI, FUCKING LEARN HOW TO SAY HER NAME RIGHT). I can only assume that it'll get better from here though, because otherwise I'm at a loss as to why this game is being critically received so highly. As a Persona fan, it's par for the course - for better and worse. I'm very curious to see how the story unwinds, and witness the development of these very unique characters!

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About JuIc3one of us since 9:12 AM on 02.12.2017

Middle aged teacher, otaku and gaming nerd, JuIc3 is somewhat of a lost Destructoid relic that just doesn't know what to do with himself.

Former Community-Manager/Editor here at Destructoid, I now take solace in the community, where I sparingly blog about whatever the hell strikes up my fancy.

If you like my stuff, be sure to check out my wife, Malika chan. Contrary to popular opinion, we aren't conjoined twins or anything like that. That would certainly make things awkward.


Anime reviews guideline - I rate my anime series with stars. Star ratings correspond as follows:

★★★★★ - a true masterpiece! An enticing story, amazing visuals, and characters that will stick with you forever. There are few out there that achieve this level of excellence.

★★★★ - a fine show. Some little quirks or pacing issues, but nothing to ruin the overall presentation. The show is bound to have many fans, and should be relevant for years to come.

★★★ - good, but not amazing. Noticeable flaws that will keep the show from truly being embraced by the masses. Likely to have a favorable following, with many good elements to be observed.

★★ - a weaker offering. Features some enjoyable moments, but overall feels very flat and bland. Lacking of originality, a strong hook, and features characters that are forgettable.

★ - anime was a mistake. No coherent point of interest or pacing to be found. Lacking in style, taste, and talent. Don't go near it, for your own safety...