Glo­ri­ous role player

New Straits Times - - Bots -

MANY gamers love a good role­play­ing game. It en­ables them to ex­pe­ri­ence what it’s like to live in a fan­tasy world where physics and logic don’t nec­es­sar­ily ap­ply, which lets us for­get about the real world, if only for a brief mo­ment. The mas­sively pop­u­lar Per­sona 5 is one such game.

THE PLOT

One fine night, the pro­tag­o­nist is walk­ing around and hears a pedes­trian call­ing for help.

It is from a woman who is be­ing ha­rassed by a drunken man. Feel­ing ob­li­gated to help, he strikes down the ag­gres­sor. Turns out, the man has po­lit­i­cal con­nec­tions and de­cides to sue the pro­tag­o­nist.

Some­time later, the pro­tag­o­nist is forced to move to Shu­jin Academy and as­sume a new life due to the in­ci­dent. On his first day at school, he finds him­self trans­ported to a dif­fer­ent realm known as the Me­ta­verse, a de­monic ver­sion of the usual realm. The Me­ta­verse was orig­i­nally a realm of hopes and dreams but be­came cor­rupted by adult au­thor­ity fig­ures.

The pro­tag­o­nist then finds him­self with a new­found abil­ity to bat­tle the twisted realm — per­sona pow­ers.

By a twist of fate, he meets a group of peo­ple in Shu­jin Academy who pos­sess the abil­ity to re­store the Me­ta­verse to its orig­i­nal realm. To­gether, they form a vig­i­lante group known as the Phan­tom Thieves of Hearts, and it is up to them to save the peo­ple from cor­rup­tion and re­form the city.

A THINK­ING GAME

The great thing about Per­sona 5 is that it has a new set­ting and story, so you don’t have to worry about play­ing through all the pre­vi­ous in­stal­la­tions to get a clear idea of the game. De­spite its name, Per­sona 5 is ac­tu­ally the sixth en­try in the Per­sona se­ries as there are two Per­sona 2 games — In­no­cent Sin and Eter­nal Pun­ish­ment.

Per­sona 5 is a role-play­ing game that can be stress­ful at times. You have a spec­i­fied time to do things and once it is over, there’s no way to go back. Dur­ing the day­time, you will be go­ing through the game as if you’re play­ing a stu­dent sim­u­la­tor game. This means tak­ing part-time jobs, sit­ting for ex­ams, and choos­ing who to spend time with. What you choose to do here can se­verely af­fect the out­come of the game.

Night is when you tra­verse through the treach­er­ous Me­ta­verse, which is also where the bulk of the game’s mys­ter­ies come from. This part of the game is more straight­for­ward as it just means go­ing through the dun­geons. How­ever, if you end up mak­ing mis­takes over and over again, there is an in-game threat me­ter that will con­tin­u­ously in­crease. The mo­ment the me­ter fills up, you will be forcibly trans­ported back to re­al­ity.

In other words, you can’t just care­lessly go through the game if you want a good ex­pe­ri­ence. You need to care­fully think about every step you should take, and choose your words wisely. The last thing you need is end­ing up in a bad sit­u­a­tion with no hope of re­turn­ing, as it means hav­ing to start the game all over again.

TURN-BASED COM­BAT STILL WORKS With so many tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances in to­day’s gaming in­dus­try, many be­lieve that turn-based com­bat sys­tems are ob­so­lete. This is also why many role-play­ing games now are re­sort­ing to a more ac­tion-based com­bat sys­tem like Fi­nal Fan­tasy XV. Not only does Per­sona 5 prove that turn-based com­bat sys­tem still works, it also does an ex­cel­lent job of it.

In bat­tles, you can have up to four char­ac­ters in a party at once. Each will have a set of ac­tions they can per­form. You have ba­sic com­mands such as At­tack, Guard, Items, and Or­der (change tac­tics). Then you have the Per­sona com­mand that can vary from char­ac­ter to char­ac­ter. With the ex­cep­tion of the pro­tag­o­nist, each char­ac­ter has their own unique Per­sona. The pro­tag­o­nist can have mul­ti­ple per­sonas that can be equipped.

You can think of Per­sonas as sim­i­lar to poke­mons; akin to a pet with its own unique set of skills. When you strengthen the Per­sonas, the char­ac­ter equip­ping it will also be­come stronger. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for the pro­tag­o­nist as dif­fer­ent Per­sonas will yield dif­fer­ent re­sults, al­low­ing for per­son­al­i­sa­tion to fit your play style.

Later on, each char­ac­ter will gain the “Gun” abil­ity, an at­tack that will have a lim­ited num­ber of bul­lets that can only be re­freshed once you’ve ex­ited a dun­geon. Why do you have so many dif­fer­ent at­tacks?

That’s where the weak­ness sys­tem comes into play. If you suc­cess­fully ex­ploit en­e­mies’ weak­nesses, they will be tem­po­rar­ily stunned so you can ini­ti­ate even more com­mands.

If the en­tire en­emy party is stunned, you will ac­cess a spe­cial mode where you are al­lowed to do com­bi­na­tion moves, bribe en­e­mies, or even cap­ture them as part of your Per­sonas. There’s so much depth in the com­bat sys­tem that it takes time to learn it. Once you get the hang of it, it can be­come quite ad­dic­tive.

CON­CLU­SION

Per­sona 5 is one of the best Ja­panese role­play­ing games around for the PlayS­ta­tion 4. It’s no won­der why peo­ple all over the world are so ex­cited for the game to be re­leased. The story can be a bit slow in the be­gin­ning but once the im­por­tant plot points start to hit, you will be com­pletely im­mersed - and it will be tough to stop play­ing.

To be frank, it’s not a role-play­ing game for ev­ery­one. If you don’t like play­ing games that re­quire a lot of think­ing, it’s best to avoid this. How­ever, if you like a good chal­lenge, this will def­i­nitely not dis­ap­point.

Ver­dict: 4/5

PROS

Sto­ry­line that will keep you hooked into the game

Ad­dic­tive com­bat sys­tem.

Com­bat sys­tem has plenty of depth, which keeps you from get­ting bored. En­ter­tain­ing cast of char­ac­ters. Choices made by play­ers can have an ef­fect on the story.

Has good re­play value.

CONS

Story starts out a bit slow in the be­gin­ning.

Lim­ited time to do things can be stress­ful.

Re­quires a lot of think­ing, which can leave play­ers feel­ing tired.

Gamers need to in­vest a lot of time into the game to get the full ex­pe­ri­ence.

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