Persona 5

Persona 5
 
 

Persona 5 is finally here. After many years of waiting and too many delays to count (it was originally announced for a 2014 release), we’ve finally got a new Persona game that isn’t a spin-off. All that waiting has paid off, because Persona 5 is very, very good – even if it falls short of the expectations that come with being a follow up to one of the greatest games of all time.

What’s apparent from the moment you turn on the game is just how stylish Persona 5 looks. From the acid jazz score, to the stark use of red against a black-and-white background, the presentation of the main menu alone stands head and shoulders above whole games. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though; Persona 5 is a tour de force of vibrant colour, smooth tunes, and inspiration from every counterculture art movement from surrealism to hip-hop. Without a doubt, it’s the best-looking game around, not because of technical achievement or “good graphics” but thanks to P Studio’s unmatched sense of art direction.

 
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Far more than just some superficial set dressing, the art ties into a sense of rebellion that’s at the heart of the game. Persona 5 tells the story of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, a group of teen outcasts who feel trapped and betrayed by a society where corrupt adults seem able to do whatever they please. With the ability to navigate “Palaces” born of people’s warped views of the world, the Phantom Thieves find their place in society as masked vigilantes who force criminals to have a “change of heart” and confront their sins.

Take the first villain as an example. Kamoshida is a teacher at Shujin Academy (where most of the Phantom Thieves go to school) and the coach of the volleyball team. In real life, he’s a violent, abusive teacher who’ll do whatever he can to push the team to victory, and his Palace is a manifestation of that distorted perspective: a castle where he is king, and all the students in the school are his slaves. By infiltrating this castle, confronting Shadow Kamoshida, and stealing his most prized possession, the Phantom Thieves force real-life Kamoshida to acknowledge his crimes, and confess under the weight of his guilt.

So the Phantom Thieves of Hearts set about to reform society, one corrupt adult at a time. But the question must be asked: is what they’re doing right? They certainly think themselves just, but they’re effectively brainwashing people into conforming to their ideals in the same way that they’re unable to conform to those of society. Through the veneer of a supernatural picaresque fantasy, Persona 5 explores vigilantism, conformity, rebellion, trial by media, and generational conflict in that thought-provoking way that’s typical of the series.

Where the main plot is very focused on those grand ideas, Persona 5 uses the series’ trademark Social Links (called Confidants, this time around) to explore similar ideas on a more personal level. As you play, you get regular opportunities to choose who to spend your free time with, deepening familial bonds and uncovering character stories. Yusuke is an art student trying to find his muse after being betrayed by his mentor. Hifumi’s an expert shogi player, but she has no interest in the fame being forced upon her by an overbearing mother. Futuba has PTSD and severe social anxiety after witnessing her mother’s suicide.

There are some 20 of these Confidants, each with a captivating story that ties into the bigger themes of corruption, betrayal, rebellion, and redemption. That said, I do wish that they were better integrated into the main scenario. Persona 5’s overarching story is very focused on plot and villains, with little time left for character building – and this is where the game falls short of its predecessor. In Persona 4, the characters were the story; here, they’re almost tangential to it. It’s all about the villains, the scheming, and the Phantom Thieves as an organisation, with the individuals who make up that group relegated almost entirely to the Confidant side quests. Each character gets a bit of groundwork when they first get introduced, but that quickly falls to the wayside in favour of more attention on the villains and their machinations. This is why, despite being rather thought-provoking, Persona 5’s main story can be a drag – it doesn’t have the heart to carry it through.

Continue reading on page 2.




 

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Comments Comments (16)

 
Posted by Paorio
On Wednesday 3 May 2017 12:03 PM
3
I can see where you're coming from with the game being so long. Personally it didn't effect me. Also, I kind of feel like this review reveals too much for people who haven't played the game (The Futaba part was kind of unnecessary). Anyway thanks for the review!
 
 
 
Posted by kniteowl
On Wednesday 3 May 2017 2:09 PM
2
Just scrolled to the end to check the score (to avoid spoilers)... it's good so I'm looking forward to getting some quality time with it
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Wednesday 3 May 2017 4:39 PM
-6
sucks ill never play it since i can't be bothered buying a ps4.
 
This comment has been down-voted by the community.  
 
Posted by Bank
On Thursday 4 May 2017 12:39 AM
1
3 May 2017, 04:39 PM Reply to ThatUndeadLegacy
sucks ill never play it since i can't be bothered buying a ps4.
That actually makes a lot of sense. I think you're right.
 
 
 
Posted by Coddfish
On Thursday 4 May 2017 1:16 AM
3
3 May 2017, 04:39 PM Reply to ThatUndeadLegacy
sucks ill never play it since i can't be bothered buying a ps4.
Just play it on your PC imo, I mean, PC is so much better than consoles and all that.
 
 
 
Posted by Blackfox
On Thursday 4 May 2017 9:01 AM
1
The game is definitely far too long, dungeons seem to get longer each iteration and it deviates you from the main the plot (not to mention momentos). Story wise though, its not as good as its predecessors, however its great Tokyo sim, a tad too literal at some points but fun.
 
 
 
Posted by SpawnSeekSlay
On Thursday 4 May 2017 10:05 AM
-
3 May 2017, 04:39 PM Reply to ThatUndeadLegacy
sucks ill never play it since i can't be bothered buying a ps4.
Why can't you be bothered? Come join the Console Master Race, we have epic games!! Oh but we don't have Mount & Blade sorry :(
 
 
 
Posted by Bank
On Thursday 4 May 2017 10:16 AM
-
4 May 2017, 10:05 AM Reply to SpawnSeekSlay
Why can't you be bothered? Come join the Console Master Race, we have epic games!! Oh but we don't have Mount & Blade sorry :(
Uhhh ee-yes we do xx
 
 
 
Posted by Coddfish
On Thursday 4 May 2017 10:40 AM
-
4 May 2017, 09:01 AM Reply to Blackfox
The game is definitely far too long, dungeons seem to get longer each iteration and it deviates you from the main the plot (not to mention momentos). Story wise though, its not as good as its predecessors, however its great Tokyo sim, a tad too literal at some points but fun.
Pretty much sums up my thoughts, and in far fewer words! :P
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Thursday 4 May 2017 12:52 PM
-1
4 May 2017, 01:16 AM Reply to Coddfish
Just play it on your PC imo, I mean, PC is so much better than consoles and all that.
Yeah your right! i will wait to emulate it, if the devs dont want my money.
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Thursday 4 May 2017 12:53 PM
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4 May 2017, 10:16 AM Reply to Bank
Uhhh ee-yes we do xx
but you don't have the dlc, which is much better than the game itself.
 
 
 
Posted by SpawnSeekSlay
On Thursday 4 May 2017 1:24 PM
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4 May 2017, 10:16 AM Reply to Bank
Uhhh ee-yes we do xx
Oh my bad :) Then more reason for Undead to join the fun with the console peasants then! :D
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Thursday 4 May 2017 8:08 PM
-1
4 May 2017, 01:24 PM Reply to SpawnSeekSlay
Oh my bad :) Then more reason for Undead to join the fun with the console peasants then! :D
Lol i already rule 90% of the viking conquest lands, so i will have to go to mods next, im going to rule Japan, and then maybe be a nazi.
 
 
 
Posted by ptys
On Friday 5 May 2017 6:48 AM
-
Reviews are dumb btw. I'm still playing Persona 4 after 4 years of owning a Vita, my excuse is that I lost the cartridge 3 years ago. I think I'll play this next year.
 
 
 
Posted by Nick2016NZ
On Saturday 6 May 2017 9:59 AM
-4
5 May 2017, 06:48 AM Reply to ptys
Reviews are dumb btw. I'm still playing Persona 4 after 4 years of owning a Vita, my excuse is that I lost the cartridge 3 years ago. I think I'll play this next year.
All this douchebags reviews are dumb, he's a hipster and arrogant as f**k, what you expect?
 
 
 
Posted by Coddfish
On Saturday 6 May 2017 3:13 PM
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6 May 2017, 09:59 AM Reply to Nick2016NZ
All this douchebags reviews are dumb, he's a hipster and arrogant as f**k, what you expect?
Are you okay? I'm concerned for your well-being.