Persona 5 Royal, much like the “enhanced” Persona titles before it, brings content to entertain new players and see veterans glued to their seats. An overhauled story, revamped battle system, an entirely new school semester, and a host of other additions warrant a fresh playthrough of one of this generations best JRPGs. Sit back, set sights on your husbando/waifu, hunker down, and lose yourself in the ultimate Persona 5.
Seeing as the Persona games have always been about the phenomenal stories, I will not touch on anything relating to the main plot of Royal. As mentioned in the opening paragraph, the addition of a full new semester should be enough to tantalize the story-hungry JRPG fans. Social Links, the staple of Persona games (outside of combat) has been expanded upon. Not just one or two, but every-single-one. Revisiting them felt fresh and rewarding, and not like retreading old ground at all.
Social Links, the staple of Persona games (outside of combat) has been expanded upon.
If this wasn’t already enough, an new district called Kichijoji has been added. This free to roam area contains a club, a temple, a jazz bar, and shops to visit. Billiards and darts minigames can be played to strengthen your relationships and empower your baton pass respectively. Two new confidants make their debut in Royal, giving Joker even more Social Link and activities to juggle while balancing his double-life.
As a small side note to the social portion of this review, fans can rejoice in the reworked social progression of everyone’s favorite detective: Goro Akechi. To say the least, no longer will Akechi’s Social Link effortlessly trial on as you progress through the campaign. It has been overhauled, that is all I’ll say.
New monsters, different puzzles, revamped boss mechanics, these all form part of a more fluid, refined experience when within a palace.
With so many new activities and Social Links to partake in, one might be fearful of not having enough time to do so. Atlus saw this and introduced a fair amount of time to enjoy all that is new. For instance, there’s a chance to gain stat and social points through the manner of a dream if you opt to do nothing during the evening. Some members in the game can also grant permanent increases, enabling new ways of approaching combat, or even lengthening your stay in a palace. Mentioning palaces, most of them have been tweaked to give players a new experience. New monsters, different puzzles, revamped boss mechanics, these all form part of a more fluid, refined experience when within a palace.
The Velvet Room, home to Igor and co., has been improved with a few small additions. Having a chance to sound an alert in Igor’s room after a normal combat encounter has the potential to massively boost your fusing results, some might even have implicit abilities not commonly found on them. There’s a catch though; misuse this feature, and your fused Persona might be a complete dud. Gunning for stronger Personas is desired, as some monsters have received quite the buff. So much so, that some of them have been boosted to easily wipe your battle if they are not finished within one party turn. The excitement, and subsequent anxiety, of encountering such a behemoth of a monster in familiar zones is enticing. To help the Phantom Thieves out during trying encounters, new combat moves have also been introduced, like a Showtime finisher and reworked baton pass system.
A complaint many a Phantom Thief had was the monotonous nature of Mementos. Thankfully, Atlus listened and re-invented it. The loop of yore is still present, but this time with more to do. One example is the inclusion of the mysterious Jose, who will trade you exceptionally powerful perks for collectibles found in Momentos. Another, and this is truly a massive quality of life change, is the ability to ram over enemies a few levels lower than you, while still netting you experience, items, and money: thank you, Atlus. These are just two changes made to the near-endless labyrinth, given everything that has been changed, the Mementos now feels like a location you want to explore, instead of having to.
I found the entirely new Thieve’s Den to be a magical place with Royal. The customizable area, which serves as a hang-out spot, comes with its unique features. Decorating the Den with statues of Personas, rewatching cutscenes, and listening to the sublime soundtrack can all be done here. Speaking of, 2017’s Persona 5 soundtrack has traveled with me since it was released. With the addition of new songs and some reworked originals, it’s not hard to see this new soundtrack accompanying me for the next 4 years. The soundtrack we’ve all come to adore essentially just got better, somehow.
With all that said, Persona 5 Royal is not merely the base game dipped in new garments, no. It’s a definitive edition of an already stellar edition, hand-crafted by Atlus while being inspired by years of feedback of their 2017 masterpiece. In an age where the old normal of hanging with friends, going shopping, and visiting movie theaters is no more, Royal, together with its 100+ hours worth of content, will spirit you away and let you experience the ways of old.
Persona 5 Royal
Persona 5 Royal is more Persona 5, along with plenty of welcomed gameplay tweaks and improvements that make an already stellar game better, somehow.