Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Nov 062017

Until this year, I never paid much attention to the Persona series. In fact, I left Persona 5 off of my 2015 list of upcoming turn-based RPGs, despite it being a huge turn-based JRPG fans were looking forward to.

But once Persona 5 came out and people began raving over what an excellent game it was, I decided to give it a try. And you know what? Persona 5 is definitely an excellent JRPG.

First of all, I’m just delighted that at a time when many people claim only action RPGs sell (despite Pokémon’s unending success) and series like Final Fantasy have backed away from turn-based combat, Persona 5 is a big-name JRPG with an enjoyable turn-based combat system.

Unlike a lot of turn-based RPGs where basic battles generally come down to using your basic attack over and over, it’s important to make use of elemental weaknesses in Persona 5. Hitting an enemy’s weak point stuns them and lets you attack again–and the same goes if they hit your weak point.

If you incapacitate all of the enemies in the battle, you have a chance to negotiate with them. This was fun. Instead of just beating your enemies, you could ask them for money or an item, or talk them into joining your team.

Fighting through dungeons and recruiting Shadows is only one side of the gameplay, however. In between dungeons, you have a lot of time to go through your daily life. Along with spending time with your friends to improve your bonds (one of the most important and enjoyable parts of the game), there were lots of activities to do: reading, studying, fishing, watching movies, playing games, etc. These activities use up time, however, so you aren’t able to do everything.

(Normally I dislike games with time limits and such, but Persona 5’s time passes when you complete activities, not in real-time. Since I could wander to my heart’s content without risking the deadline, it was much more relaxing.)

It’s difficult for me to say which side of the gameplay was more enjoyable. In the end, I have to say both, with how they fit together. The dungeons wouldn’t carry it on their own, but the daily life sections wouldn’t hold up as well without the dungeons in between. It’s a great system that really made it addicting to play.

And best of all, it’s heavily story-driven.

I play RPGs for their stories, and Persona 5 did not disappoint. I feel like it’s rare to have a 100+ hour RPG that’s this focused on stories and characters (usually that much time comes from lots of exploration or grinding), but Persona 5 pulled it off.

The story was filled with thrilling, epic moments, and as the stakes got ever higher, I was excited to see what would happen next. There were also lighter scenes and lots of funny moments, and I loved the characters.

Increasing my bonds with my confidants provided many entertaining moments and enjoyable characters arcs, with some parts that were funny and others that were sad. When the end of the game finally approached, I felt sad saying goodbye to these characters I’d grown so fond of.

I’m not saying Persona 5 is a perfect game. The main character seemed like they weren’t sure if they wanted a self-insert/blank slate character or a set protagonist, resulting in someone who came across as a set protagonist whose pre-determined personality involved him rarely speaking and having very little internal monologue. At that point, why not just give him a fuller personality and dialogue?

There were also some tonal inconsistencies from time to time, and I cringed every time one of the characters said something about “those rotten adults.” It felt like it was trying to push a “teens vs. adults” idea that wasn’t as present in the narrative as those line made it sound.

But those are just minor quibbles. Overall, Persona 5 was a fantastic game filled with exciting moments, and I’m really happy I gave it a chance. I can’t wait to go back and try more games in the Persona series after this!

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  12 Responses to “Persona 5 is a Fantastic, Epic JRPG”

  1. I only played 3 and 4 so far but the dungeons are weak in both of them as well to me. At least the dungeons in 4 were a major improvment over 3 imo. The main character being that way (having little input) seems to be a common theme in the series too. Although in the P4 anime the main character does have more personality..I guess he’d have to really.

    Seeing this reminds me how much I want the game. The only reasons I hold back is that a) chance of a PC release and b) I’d rather have it on PS4 than PS3 but I don’t have a PS4 yet. It looks like it’s beautiful on PS4, but to be fair it’s good looking on PS3 for a PS3 game.

    • I remember hearing that Persona 5 handled dungeons differently than the previous games did, because it has set dungeon designs. And yeah, I guess an anime adaptation couldn’t quite go with a silent protagonist very well.

      I’ve played a few games on my PS4 so far, so I’m happy I got it when I did. 🙂

      • Did you get it recently? It would be great to have one for P5, Bloodbourne, Crash Bandicoot and the new Shadow of the Colossus when that comes out. If there are any good Black Friday deals I might get one then.

        • I got mine last year, possibly during Black Friday. Either that or holiday sales. I wanted to have it in time for Kingdom Hearts 2.8.

          • We might both get ours at Black Friday then. xD the Playstation 5 will probably be announced soon, but since Sony seem like they don’t want to make their consoles backwards compatible it still seems worth getting a PS4.

            Ah, Kingdom Hearts.. will we ever see KH3..xD

            • I hope there isn’t a PS5 announced too soon.

              Yes, next year! I really believe them this time, KH3 is coming out next year.

              • I hope they won’t dissapoint you. Wasn’t it teased as far back as KH2? It boggles the mind how Square can be so slow.

                • No, that’s a misconception that has caused people to think it’s been much longer than it really has been. KH2 teased Birth By Sleep.

                  Kingdom Hearts 3 was only announced in 2013, and since every game in between has advanced the story in some way (especially Birth By Sleep and Dream Drop Distance, which are critical to the overall plot), it’s hard to really say it’s been slow.

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