A game of shad­ows

Per­sona 5

GAX (Malaysia) - - REVIEW - By Bryan Chan

Bril­liance re­turns

The Per­sona games of the past have been bril­liant, and the lat­est in­stall­ment, Per­sona 5, con­tin­ues this trend. Its pre­sen­ta­tion is in­cred­i­bly stylis­tic, game­play is easy to un­der­stand, its char­ac­ters re­lat­able, and its sto­ry­line well-writ­ten. All these fac­tors come to­gether to make Per­sona 5 the best Per­sona ti­tle to date.

Like the pre­vi­ous two Per­sona ti­tles, Per­sona is as much an RPG as it is a social sim­u­la­tor. You take on the role of a high-schooler who, along with his cir­cle of friends, be­comes en­tan­gled in var­i­ous a airs that ul­ti­mately lead up to you ‘steal­ing the hearts’ of in­di­vid­u­als for the bet­ter good. This is done by you gain­ing the abil­ity to en­ter an al­ter­nate re­al­ity called the ‘Me­ta­verse’.

Hid­den re­al­i­ties

The RPG as­pect comes into play when you en­ter the Me­ta­verse, which is ba­si­cally an al­ter­nate re­al­ity cre­ated by the thoughts of in­di­vid­u­als. It con­sists of ‘palaces’ that are the man­i­fes­ta­tions of these in­di­vid­u­als’ in­cred­i­bly strong de­sires and im­pres­sions. Through­out the game, you will get the chance to e plore a mul­ti­tude of palaces, in­clud­ing a cas­tle, a pyra­mid, and an art gallery, among oth­ers. Each palace has its own set of chal­lenges and en­e­mies, and the en­e­mies are them­selves the var­i­ous per­sonas that you can re­cruit.

Re­cruit­ing per­sonas in this game is a bit more of a chal­lenge com­pared to the pre­vi­ous ti­tles. With­out spoil­ing the game too much, you es­sen­tially need to con­vince the per­sonas to join you by choos­ing the right dia­log op­tions based on their per­son­al­i­ties. These dia­log op­tions will only ap­pear if you man­age to ei­ther e ploit their weak­nesses, or (oc­ca­sion­ally) once you’ve man­aged to drive their health low enough and back them into a cor­ner.

Speak­ing of weak­nesses, Per­sona vet­er­ans will be glad to know that Per­sona 5 re­tains many as­pects of com­bat from the pre­vi­ous games, from the mech­a­nism to the names of the skills. ow­ever, there are new types of dam­age in­tro­duced, in­clud­ing gun, psi, and nuke dam­age. This makes the game more chal­leng­ing, but is a wel­come ad­di­tion none­the­less.

True to life

Although the pro­tag­o­nist gains the abil­ity to sum­mon mul­ti­ple per­sonas, which makes him some­what of a one-man-army, it’s im­pos­si­ble for him to take on an army of bad guys alone. Thank­fully, he’s got his trusty group of friends to back him up. From the beau­ti­ful Ann to the pe­cu­liar Yusuke, each char­ac­ter brings a di er­ent set of skills to the ta­ble. As you go about on your ad­ven­ture, these char­ac­ters will be able to do more in com­bat, de­pend­ing on how close you are to them. Peo­ple you can be­come closer to in Per­sona 5 are called Con dants, and they aren’t lim­ited to your group of friends. Ev­ery Con dant rep­re­sents an ar­cana, and sim­i­lar to pre­vi­ous Per­sona games, the higher your ar­cana level, the eas­ier it is to cre­ate stronger per­sonas dur­ing fu­sion. This brings us to the social sim­u­la­tor part of the game.

You get closer to a Con dant by spend­ing more time with each and ev­ery one of them. Out­side of com­bat in the Me­ta­verse, you will have the chance to do things any nor­mal Ja­panese high school teenager would do – get a part-time job, hang out at din­ers, en­joy a movie, and even go on dates. In Per­sona 5, the lo­ca­tions that you can visit for these activities are based on real-world lo­ca­tions, such as Ginza and Shibuya among oth­ers. Some of these lo­ca­tions are cap­tured faith­fully in the game, adding to the over­all im­mer­sion of the game. What makes Per­sona 5 (and ear­lier

Per­sona ti­tles) in­ter­est­ing, is that you have a set amount of time in the game. Time will pass based on what you de­cide to do in a day, which adds weight to ev­ery de­ci­sion you make. It all comes down to how well you jug­gle be­tween con­quer­ing dun­geons, lev­el­ing up your Con dant links, and day-to-day tasks like study­ing for e ams and work­ing out.

CON­CLU­SION JRPG lovers who have been look­ing for some­thing to sink their teeth into after Fi­nal Fan­tasy XV will not be dis­ap­pointed with Per­sona 5.

In ad­di­tion to ex­plor­ing dun­geons, you’ll also need to man­age your social life.

In the Me­ta­verse, your goal is to steal ‘trea­sures’ to in­still a change of heart in peo­ple.

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