Persona 5 Thoughts:
Story: 10 out of 10
Gameplay: 10 out of 10
Graphics: 10 out of 10
Aesthetics Interaction: 10 out of 10
Music: 10 out of 10
Characters: I like them – The characters feel like interacting with real people to me, so I have my personal favoritism deep down!
So, I feel as though I can compare the past Persona games with these thoughts, because all of the areas are connected. For instance, you see the characters in Persona 3 visit Inaba, where Persona 4 takes place. There is also reference in Persona 5 that some of the characters from past Persona games have been in the area (though I’m personally miffed at no Akihiko reference at Protein Lovers Gym – that’s Hallmark Akihiko right there, unless it is reference to him but doesn’t bring him up). So take in mind when I make a cross-game comparison, it’s because it could have been a thing considering the past Persona characters could just take a train in to Persona 5 locations.
The story did re-use many themes from past games and I guess you could say “paraphrased” the situation with a similar concept. Past Persona games were filled with corrupted corporations, schools, yakuza, leaders, murderers, etc – just implemented differently in the other games. As far as I’m personally aware, the various Persona you can obtain have existed since Shin Megami Tensei and earlier Persona games. Social Links changed a bit – there were also different social links in past Persona games. There are still similarities with Social Links too, though, like being able to take a mortal blow for the main character, certain advantages over monsters, items, character playstyle, etc.
That aside, I submit that Persona 5 dove right in to the third eye concept – past games have always hinted at spirituality behind chakras and meditative/spiritual states of being. This combined with the fact you literally rely on the main character’s third eye makes the game all the more interesting! Atlus hung out in real areas of Japan and re-created them – people on Reddit have posted photos of these re-created areas. Taking the train is pretty much the same as taking the train if you were in Japan (I missed mine quite a few times due to being lost). The fact you can open up the Metaverse app in areas outside of dungeons is very third eye symbolism-heavy! You don’t need to go TV hopping in order to see Inaba in another multiverse, either, just rely on your third eye and Metaverse app, and boom! You see the truth happening around you via abstractions. So. recreating Japan and then making a Metaverse version of the areas you were in made the game stand out!
Persona 5’s battle system ended up being comprised of what everyone loved about the battle systems from the previous games. Lo and behold, you can start talking to monsters again to recruit them, or get something out of them. The only downside is it isn’t like older Persona characters where different characters in specific would have a different outcome talking to the monsters. I can’t recall Joker trying to teach anyone the art of manliness, but regardless, it was fun being able to interact with monsters more! I don’t think guns were really needed to exploit certain weaknesses unless a battle called for guns. Besides you had gun users in past games, but now everyone is entitled to a gun in this game which is perfectly fine.
Gameplay is much more interactive in Persona 5 – you aren’t for the most part wandering around what seems to be a cubicle maze, or a dungeon crawler. In fact, you now get to jump around in a fully decorated room, aside from just running through halls. You can also sneak around and stealth in your environment, which is a lot of fun! Since you are a Phantom Thief, there is also the chance of getting caught too many times, which is a nice feature added to a Persona game. While Persona 3 and 4 had potential for this kind of game play, I don’t think the Playstation 2 could have handled how graphics-heavy stealth is in addition to the environment.
Persona 5 has great music, with the soundtrack this time around focusing more on disco. Persona 4 had more of a pop vibe, Persona 3 rap, Persona 2 metal, and the original Persona focusing on techno. I can’t say a Persona game has ever had bad music – but music is such a subjective topic that I don’t want to dive into that too much. While I was a bit saddened that I didn’t see Shoji Meguro anywhere, I know he will be doing music for Persona 5 Royal, and he also did music for Persona 5: The Animation. Shoji Meguro is one of my favorite video game musicians, so to me not hearing Shoji Meguro is like hearing a Yoko Taro story re-told by someone that isn’t Yoko Taro. However, the music in Persona 5 is still fantastic and gets stuck in my head all the time!
I am going to dive too deeply into the characters here. This is because Waifu Wars is what really turned me off from Persona 5, which is why I like to say Yusuke is my Waifu. There was too much emphasis on ‘Waifu’ in general, because what kind of girl wouldn’t want to jump Joker’s D after hearing why he’s on probation? I personally wouldn’t just for that reason alone – I would need to also take in mind what Joker’s real personality is like ‘behind the mask.’ I have read that the third option in all dialogue is what Joker would actually say, so you can get a hint at what his personality is like through the events of the story. Keep in mind I read this somewhere on the internet from a fan so I’m not sure if it is 100% a legit fact or not. But I do want to say even though I’m female, Naoto is my all-time Persona Waifu, so Makoto obsessed nerds BRING IT ON hehe! I would kill to see a cat fight between The Detective Prince and Queen!
That being said, I did feel as though some characters in Persona 5 had more growth potential. Others seemed to be knockoff characters of previous Persona characters, but not written nearly as well. I know Atlus had a budget cut, and Hifumi was planned to be Queen originally (it was made fairly obvious the way her arc was written). It was like the story was leading to great character growth, and suddenly the character just sorta stays surface level (I think this was due to the budget cut and lack of time for Atlus). The only character who seemed to not be “tied” to the identity of being a Phantom Thief was Yusuke, like he didn’t need the ideals of being a Phantom Thief to shape his identity, though it did help his art perspectives that’s for sure! I feel as though I am not in a position to say more about Haru, as it was stated she is actually getting more screen time in Persona 5 Royale. Akechi seemed confident about his life outside of being a Phantom Thief as well, maybe a bit too much!
All in all, I would say play Persona 5! From personal observations, if Persona 5 is your first game from the series, the other games may not be as interesting (this was stated by many fans). Persona 3 was my favorite Persona game, though it is an older game and it shows quite a bit. I would suggest Persona 3 Portable, as you can play both Minato and Minako (the female protagonist). Persona 3 Portable gives you the option to date guys and see the story from your female friends perspective much easier than if you play as Minato. Though I would never say don’t play Persona 5, definitely give it a try! I have read some people cannot stand the characters in Persona 5, but even if you dislike the characters, I think the good gameplay would make playing the game worth it! There are games I’ve played and couldn’t stand the characters, but the gameplay was so much fun I couldn’t help but keep playing. I have also read that people adore the characters in Persona 5, so you could be one of those people! Persona 5 is a gem that I can say I figuratively would shove into my heart and keep there (don’t you dare try and steal my gem)!