Title: Persona 5 Royal
Available On: PlayStation 4
Official Site: Persona 5 Royal
Release Date: March 31st, 2020
Version Tested: PlayStation 4
Where to Buy it: PlayStation Store
Persona 5 released in September 2016 to raving reviews complementing its captivating story, gorgeous visuals, and depth-driven gameplay. And this fantastic addition does not disappoint. Somehow the development team truly outdid themselves in Persona 5 Royal with new characters, battle elements, locations, and story arcs meant to thrill the Phantom Thief inside all of us.
Persona 5 Royal follows the same story as Persona 5. In an effort to change the world for the better, The Phantom Thieves infiltrate the mind’s of the corrupt to change their ways:
Don the mask of Joker and join the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. Break free from the chains of modern society and stage grand heists to infiltrate the minds of the corrupt and make them change their ways! Explore Tokyo, unlock new Personas, customize your own personal Thieves Den, discover a never-before-seen story arc, cutscenes, alternate endings, and more!
One of the most thrilling additions come in the gameplay. All final boss battles have new challenges and segments implemented in each one. New enemies, like Disaster Shadows, shake up normal combat along with new abilities within the Phantom Thieves team dynamic. These challenging new aspects really force the player to approach and address a fight strategically. It might take a few tries to find the right strategy, but the victories are just oh-so-sweet afterward. Setting the player in an ultra-strategic mindset lends another deep layer to already well-established gameplay.
On the discussion of depth, two new confidants fill out an already bursting cast of characters. Kasumi and Maruki are two new confidants in Persona 5 Royal. Players might already recognize Kasumi as the brand-new Phantom Thief. While it is a slight bummer that she doesn’t actually join the group until around the new end-game palace, her story and appearances are peppered throughout the game as a whole. She is worked in organically, and it’s interesting to see the way the developers included her. While she isn’t a part of the team until later, both confidants offer pretty awesome bonuses. Kasumi gives an impressive dodge ability and boosts Joker‘s HP while Maruki boosts SP.
These boosts are absolutely crucial when it comes to the extended playtime in palaces. As it’s already been touched on, the boss battles are more extended and more demanding, but that’s not all. The palaces themselves have been equipped with new goodies. Joker’s new grappling hook allows for further exploration within palaces, and you’ll want to. Each palace now has hidden Will Seeds inside. These seeds are hidden behind puzzles, hidden doors, and tough mini-bosses. When traded in the Mementos, these seeds bring the player some powerful gear and moves, so it is well worth scouring the palaces for each one.
Everything great about Persona 5 still holds true in Persona 5 Royal. The visuals and art style are better than ever, and they bring the Phantom Thieves to life in a unique way – whether it be gameplay or in the anime cutscenes. Sound design and music still pump this experience full of energy and liveliness. In-depth conversations with confidants and others lend a meaningful touch to the overall experience of Persona 5 Royal. On top of that, the new story arc elevates an already satisfying ending to a whole new level.
The only real complaint is a tiny one: the theme song. Speaking of Persona 5, the music is consistently stellar. From start to finish, the songs and themes capture the mood and spirit of fights, bosses, and everything in between perfectly. And while most of the music has that familiar energy, the theme for Persona 5 Royal just doesn’t set the tone the way the original one does. That being said, the beginning cinematic is just as vibrant and captivating as Persona 5, so at least it’s still fun to watch!
All in all, whether you’re enjoying Persona for the first time or are a long-time supporter of the Phantom Thieves, this is a rich experience full of challenging sequences and deeper lore. While the story feels super familiar, the enhanced battle sequences and social interactions bring new life to this already phenomenal game.
Verdict: Persona 5 Royal follows the same story as the first. The Phantom Thieves are in the business of changing hearts and eradicating the corrupt people from society. However, the additions to gameplay, story, character, and locations make an already great game even better. Palaces are filled with more intricate enemies and more challenging boss battles, forcing players to think more strategically. New confidants and locations encourage more in-depth interactions for richer gameplay. All in all, new playable sections and characters elevate this already phenomenal experience to brand new heights.
- Challenging boss battles
- New enemies and battle elements
- Deeper social connections and experiences
- New characters and locations to explore
- The new theme song