What can be said about this beautiful, immersive slice of Japan that hasn’t already been stated? Highly acclaimed Persona 5 takes the idea of the classic RPG and turns it on it’s head. Between balancing relationships with friends, studying for tests and trying your hardest to eat the biggest burgers to gain stat boosts, Persona 5 is the RPG in its truest sense. Like the Personas that came before, the game revolves around our hero - a Japanese high school student who happens to be in trouble with the law AKA Joker.
Joker is sent to live in Tokyo for a year with a new parental guardian and attend a new school. He gathers an interesting group of friends, including a former track star, a teen model and … a cat? These friends discover that they each have a secret power. This power is called their “Persona” and enables them to summon creatures to fight by their side. Joker has the special ability to capture, collect and summon many different Personas. These friends begin to call themselves "The Phantom Thieves".
Much of the game is spent building bonds with your confidants (which could be your teammates, friends or even your doctor) to build rapport. This gives added buffs and bonuses. You also want to increase your stats. By eating the largest burger you gain stats in guts or toughness, by studying in the library you increase your knowledge, working at the restaurant increases proficiency and simply watering plant increases your kindness. These are just a few of the many things that you can do in the game. The higher the stats means you can unlock more with your confidants. Confidant boosts include things like your teammates risking their lives for you, cheaper healing items from the stores and improved accuracy with your guns.
The other half of the game is spent stealing hearts. Sounds gruesome! But the Phantom Thieves are a team of high school kids who are fed up with the antics that adults have caused the younger generations. They are a team of kids who are fighting back against the status quo and showing that even the nicest adults can be sinister and dark. In order to cause change, they enter the ‘Metaverse’ and use their Personas to battle against the shadows in evil adults hearts. Stealing hearts is just a metaphor for stealing the adults darkest desires - greed, lust, wrath, etc. The Phantom Thieves goal is create change and make their world a better place. Sounds cliche but the goal is approached with logic and ingenuity.
Persona 5 is a stylish, beautiful portrayal of Japan that has a lot of occult imagery laced through it. From the use of tarot cards to the names of certain monsters and Personas, there is a depth to the game that is complex and simple at the same time. It is a long and extensive game that never stops feeling new and interesting. The battle system is easy to grasp, fun to watch unfold and as quick or as slow as you want it to be. The key to this game is time management and making sure you use your time wisely every in-game day.
As for me, I have dropped about 100+ hours into Persona 5 and now I think I am going to play through it again just to see new scenes and gain new talents . I also want to get the perks that come to a player who is playing through again for a second time - like new outfits, keeping all of your stat bonuses and confidant rankings. Persona 5 is available to play on Playstation.