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Video Game Review: "Persona 5"

Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

The official "Persona 5" cover for the US PlayStation 4 release.

The official "Persona 5" cover for the US PlayStation 4 release.

Quick Info

  • Developer: Atlus
  • Publisher: SEGA
  • Genre: Turn-based JRPG
  • Released: April 4th, 2017
  • Platform: PlayStation 3 and 4

What Is Persona 5?

Persona 5 is a turn-based JRPG where you are an ordinary high school student bestowed with the mysterious power of “Persona," the ability to summon powerful beings to fight monsters called “Shadows." You are the leader of the mysterious group known as the Phantom Thieves, with whom you traverse an alternate dimension known as the Metaverse, changing the hearts of people with distorted desires. After being captured during a heist, you must recount your activities during the last year to prosecutor Sae Nijima.

The Gameplay Is a Blast!

The turn-based gameplay is so much fun. While I love JRPGs, I don’t play too many turn-based games, aside from some of the older Final Fantasy titles. But I enjoyed Persona 5 a lot. The gameplay is fun and exciting, and while it does have a steep learning curve, the tutorials do a great job explaining how the game systems work. So pay attention when the tutorials come up.

Each enemy has strengths and weaknesses, so if you can exploit their weaknesses, you can defeat them quickly and easily. But they can also attack strategically, so you should have a Persona equipped that is not weak to the enemy’s elemental affinity.

You can use physical attacks and guns as well, but they cost hit points or HP. Spirit Points or SP is the magic in this game.

Another aspect that makes the gameplay fun is daily life activities. You can do various activities when you’re not infiltrating a palace, like hanging out with your friends, going to eat at a café while studying, going fishing, participating in a giant hamburger challenge, working out, and many other activities that will raise your stats These activities help you unlock more Confidants, people to hang out with, and new locations.

These stats will give you various boosts that will help you when you’re in Mementos or a Palace—so balancing both activities is very important since you do have a limited amount of time in-game.

While you can play the game any way you like, there are many incentives for multiple playthroughs, like seeing the Confidants you missed or choosing a different girlfriend.

There are tons of activities and not enough time, so you’ll never be bored in Persona 5.

Persona 5 Batting Cages

Persona 5 Batting Cages

The Graphics Are Impressive

Persona 5 oozes style and flair. The bright and bombastic color of the user interface and the stylized graphics and art design are impressive, especially when you compare it to the PlayStation 2 Persona games. They were always stylized, but the graphics are dated by today’s standards.

The graphics are amazing to look at and I really like the stylized design of the characters. The character sprites are an improvement when compared to previous entries, as are the character's facial expressions. The sprites have also been improved in Persona 5: The Royal, the updated rerelease.

The stylized city of Tokyo is bright and vibrant. It is a great representation of the real Tokyo, down to the smallest details, save for the buildings that are unique to locations in the game that don’t exist in real life.

The art style and the jump in graphics quality make the game stand out compared to Persona 3 and Persona 4/Persona 4: The Golden. They are a huge leap for this franchise.

The English Dub Is Amazing

The English dub for Persona 5 is very well done. I enjoyed the voice actors used and they all did an excellent job. There are so many voice actors that make up this large cast of characters.

There are many outstanding performances in this game, but I’ll highlight a few of the best.

Goro Akechi

Robbie Daymond is a stellar voice actor and I’ve heard him other things, but I really loved his voice work in this game. He brought a range of emotions for Goro Akechi to life, and I’ve seen people break down and cry because of his performance in the game. He was fantastic and one of the many highlights of listening to the English dub.

Joker

Xander Mobus is excellent as the Protagonist, AKA Joker. Since you can give your character any name you wish, I will just call him Joker, but I did name my character Shirou Emiya after the Fate/Stay Night visual novel and anime character during my first playthrough.

Xander Mobus didn’t get to emote very much during the game since his character Joker is mainly silent, but he does shout many Persona names during battle, so you can hear him emote. He did much more speaking in the anime, but that’s different.

Ann Takamaki

Erika Harlacher is a great choice to voice Ann Takamaki/Panther. This was the first piece of media I ever heard her in and I enjoyed her vocal performance in this game. I have heard her in other mediums, I’ve heard her voice work in the Netflix exclusive anime Violet Evergarden (2018) and I loved her work a lot so if this is your first time hearing her voice acting then you’ll be happy to know she still does great work not only in this game but in anime as well.

The Japanese voice track can be downloaded from the PlayStation Store and the Japanese cast is some of the best seiyuu in the business, so you’re in for a treat no matter what voice track you pick. Just pick your preference and enjoy the ride.

Persona 5 Battle Gameplay

Persona 5 Battle Gameplay

The Soundtrack Fits Perfectly

Shoji Meguro’s soundtrack is a joy to listen to. He chose the music style of acid jazz for the Persona 5 soundtrack and all the music fits the tone of the game no matter what activity you’re doing in-game.

The “Sweatshop” track is grating for a reason that has to do with the story and level design, but the music suits the tone of the game. The soundtrack is absolutely perfect and you’ll enjoy the music even if you never play the game.

The soundtrack is available on iTunes, which is rare because video game soundtracks don’t usually come to iTunes. But Persona 5 is very popular and it’s nice to see that you can buy the soundtrack without purchasing the out-of-print deluxe edition of the game.

Baton Pass Being Locked Behind Confidant Link Level Is Annoying

The Baton Pass is an ability that can keep damaging an enemy going by passing the attack strength to other characters after you successfully knock down an enemy. Unfortunately, getting this ability requires you to have a level 2 Confidant Rank with a party member, and members like Haru, who don’t come into your party until later cannot start their social link until a certain point.

You can’t start Haru’s until after her dungeon is over, making her kind of useless in her own dungeon, which is ironic. This is one of the things they fixed in Persona 5: The Royal, but I’ll review that on its own.

The Airlock Puzzle Is a Pain

Okumura’s palace also features the most obnoxious puzzle in the game. You have to jump from airlock to airlock and hit the right switches to create a path to the other side. While I didn’t have too much trouble with this puzzle, there were plenty of people that were annoyed with this puzzle. This was overhauled in Persona 5: The Royal, but it is still one of the most obnoxious puzzles in the entire game.

Just make sure to check your map and you should be fine, but I can see why everyone hated Okumura’s palace.

Ann in Battle

Ann in Battle

Reader Poll

Persona 5 Is Very Close to a Perfect JRPG

Persona 5 has so many great things going for it. It has an engaging plot and a colorful cast of characters that players will love. You’ll certainly find a favorite among the cast.

The art style and graphics look fantastic and flashy. The visuals have a unique flair. The stylized version of Tokyo looks very similar to the real Tokyo, with some liberties taken for the story.

The voice acting is great and you’ll enjoy it no matter which voice track you chose to listen to. Everything about the actors' performances shows they gave it their best shot in the recording booth.

The music is amazing and fits the game so well. I enjoy listening to the soundtrack, and I have purchased songs on iTunes so I can listen to them without playing the game.

All in all, this is an amazing game that every fan of JRPGs must play. Try it out!

Quick Summary

What WorksWhat Doesn't Work

Great story, plot and world-building

Some of the puzzle designs are annoying

Hundreds of hours of gameplay

You can't use Baton Pass until Confidant link level 2

Amazing art style and graphics

Morgana runs your sleep schedule because the plot demands it

Great voice acting in both English and Japanese

 

Amazing soundtrack

 

"Persona 5" is an amazing experience that everyone should play at least once. It’s a special game that stays with you.

— ReViewMeMedia

My Grade: A+

Persona 5 is an amazing game and I love it. I played it while in lockdown and it kept me entertained for a very long time. It is an amazing experience and I loved it.

Although I didn’t buy it when it was at full price at $60 after launch, I still enjoyed it. Now that it only costs $19.99, it is very inexpensive. And if you wait for a sale, you can buy an inexpensive digital copy.

The PlayStation 4 copy that I have runs great on my first-generation PlayStation 4 and I don’t have any issues with it.

It’s worth your time and money despite the updated rerelease of Persona 5: The Royal. It’s a blast to play and I loved every second of it, despite its game design flaws and how annoying Morgana can get.

The game handles dark and mature subjects but is also engaging and light-hearted. It discusses many societal issues and despite being mainly about Japanese society—people all over the world can connect to the story and learn something from it. It does earn the M rating, not just because of the fanservice, but because it handles many dark issues that are only appropriate for an adult audience. It’s still a great game, but it’s not for kids just because it has an anime style in the art design

Persona 5 is an amazing experience that everyone should play at least once. It’s a special game that stays with you. I highly recommend this game. It is worth your time and money and it’s also a great game to start with if you’re looking to get into the Persona series.

Persona 5 won awards and accolades and deserved every one of them. It will have a special place in my heart for being the only Persona game I’ve beaten so far. I have Persona 4: Golden and Persona 3: FES, but I have yet to beat those games, so I am very proud of myself for completing this game.

There’s so much to do in the game it can be overwhelming, but take your time, it’s worth every second, and the Phantom Thieves will steal your heart.

The direct sequel Persona 5: The Phantom Strikers has been released for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC on Steam.

My Rating

© 2021 ReViewMeMedia

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