(Featured Image – Atlus)
Persona 5 Royal
Platform: PlayStation 4
Persona 5 Royal is a well-done update to the now-iconic game. It is well worth the $60 price tag. Book yourself an appointment Velvet room.
Often when we revisit a game, it’s because of nostalgia. A new version of an old game is usually met with negative reactions due to most re-releases only having a few extras added or DLC for the same full price tag. Then comes a game like Persona 5 Royal, and what we get is more like a fresh experience rather than a rehash.
Persona 5 Royal is just as lively and vibrant as the original iteration of the game but done so much better. With new moments and interactions added to the story, it gives players who enjoyed the 2016 version, answers to questions they may have still had, and discoveries about the world of Persona 5. With new revelations, deeper dives into the character motives, and better looks into their backgrounds, the game’s adventure has greater strength.
Royal adds new characters, helping to expand the narrative and makes for an even more captivating story than before. Two of the new characters that stand out are guidance counselor Takuto Maruki and the playable Kasumi Yoshizawa.
The guidance counselor adds a new confidant to the game but also makes it believable that these teens have been going through hardships in their lives; that these kids have problems and it’s his job (and yours) to hear them out and understand them more.
Kasumi brings the air of someone that has it all together. Her path, like the other playable characters, explores what it means to be free, expertly presented in a unique way that belongs to her. Kasumi’s a new, well-designed confidant. Her inclusion has made it clear that the previous version of the game was missing something. An element of the party make-up and team that she perfectly fits.
Along with characters and narrative elements, new story events happen, which I won’t spoil here. They make this entry well worth buying to experience what this expanded chapter of Persona has to offer.
The gameplay is generally the same as the previous version. This time though, they give you certain things like “Baton Pass” right off the bat. It feels very welcoming. I can’t tell you how many times in the original version I would get a new character and didn’t have time to build a social link before dealing with certain enemies, the fights tediously dragged out due to being unable to pass to a companion who would have the damage-type I needed. Another addition is a collectible called “Will Seeds,” skulls you can collect in the remapped dungeons. Collecting Will Seeds will unlock special rewards that you won’t want to miss out on.
Most dungeons are now redone to add Will Seeds and incorporate the use of new the grappling hook item the Phantom Thieves have at their disposal. This item allows Joker to swing across stages or up to higher areas-of course only if there is a prompt.
But it certainly looks cool.
They also added another location to explore and spend time, along with new locations to do group hangouts with the Phantom Thieves.
Online play is a bit more precise this time around. Before you were able to see what others have done and the choices they have made. But with the inclusion of the thieves den, which is customizable, you are also able to press a button and go to a recommended place that you can spend your time at. It certainly helps people like me who are indecisive and unsure what to do with the limited time the game gives you. The game also adds an additional month of in-game time that was previously unplayable, giving you a greater chance to fully experience this new Person 5.
The brilliant art style is generally the same, or so I thought until I really looked at the portraits used when the characters were speaking, all redone with crisp images and a better profile of their faces. They are more expressive, with the characters able to show a lot more emotion in a still frame than in the older Persona 5 release. The new dungeons, the design of the new characters, and animations of group attacks show the Atlus team at their best.
I was constantly amazed at the new team attacks and animated cutscenes, along with the twirls and flips of Kasumi the gymnast.
The soundtrack is as usual, sharp and amazing. Certain tracks return, but new ones like “take over,” which is the theme when you surprise attack an enemy, is fresh. It gives you a feeling that not only is this a new game, but how did you live without these tracks before. Some dungeon themes have also been redone, and with new places to explore, more tracks have been added to make for a marvelous experience on your ears.