“Show me your true form!”

Title: Persona 5
PS3, PS4 (Played on PS4)
Developer: P-Studio
Publisher: Atlus
Role-playing, social simulation

I want to get this off my chest; I LOVE this game. There’s something about it and the rest of the Persona franchise that ticks all the right buttons for me. Since the day publisher, Atlus announced the game back in 2013, it instantly became my most anticipated video game ever. Once it finally released, after multiple delays, I bought it day one and have since poured almost 300 hours into the title!

Persona 5 follows the protagonist, Joker, who had recently transferred to a new school in the city of Tokyo after an incident back in his hometown. Immediately, he is thrown into trouble with his newfound friends and together they awaken the power of Persona, a physical manifestation of their inner psyche. With their new power, the group forms the Phantom Thieves and vow to change the world by entering the hearts of corrupted adults, stealing their warped desires, and forcing them to reform.

What’s so unique about Persona is its rich combination of gameplay elements. On one hand, it’s a turn-based roleplaying game and on the other, it’s a social simulator. Allow me to break them down.

When entering the palaces of corrupted adults, the Phantom Thieves often must fight Shadows, monsters born from wicked desires. Once the player enters a battle, they must fight using their Personas. Persona possesses certain skills to help fight back. From there, the battles become a rock-paper-scissors match as the player attempts to find the Shadow’s weaknesses, exploit them for massive damage and completely wipe out the enemy (similar to Pokemon). This pretty much goes on for the entire game.

Unlike most games, Persona 5 features a calendar system that starts from April and ends in December. On top of being a Phantom Thief, players are tasked with keeping up with their daily life. There are a lot of activities to do such as, going to the movies, studying for an exam, hanging out with friends, hitting the gym, playing video games, baseball and so, so much more. It’s up to the player to decide how they want to spend their time.

What’s so great about this system is how it all ties back to the turn-based elements of the game. Spending time with friends grants players more gameplay elements for tackling Palaces. Want the ability to switch party members in battle? Gonna have to spend time with the friend that owns that ability. It can be applied to all activities within the game. Everything in the social part of the game increases a certain stat making it all worthwhile.

There’s so much more to talk about as Persona 5 is a huge game to dissect. The first playthrough will more than likely cap at around 100 hours which is honestly asking for a lot, but let me say this, your time is worth spending here. From the smooth acid jazz to the bonding elements of the game, I feel there is something for everyone with this title. Do not miss out if you own a PS4. There are rumors of the game heading over to the Nintendo Switch as well so there’s that option too if it’s all true! Personally, a meaty game like this would be perfect for a handheld device.