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Why You Should Play: Persona 5 Royal

Why You Should Play: Persona 5 Royal

Persona 5 Royal is a remake of Atlus’ hit JRPG, Persona 5 with extra content and quality of life improvements. But what does that mean? The term “JRPG” stands for “Japanese role playing game.” The game is structured such that the player places themselves in the shoes of the main character as if they were controlling a real human (Ren Amamiya more popularly known as “Joker” in this game.) Many may be turned away by the “5” in the title, indicating it is one of many in the series. However unlike most games or movie franchises, you don’t have to play the games in order to understand them. 

The game follows Ren in his hometown as he attempts to save a girl from a drunken man who is trying to attack her. The drunken man decides to sue Ren and of course, Ren loses the case. Afterward, he is sent to a district of Tokyo to attend school. On his first day of high school, he meets Ryuji Sakamoto, an ex-track and field athlete for the school’s team. As they walk to school, they find that the school looks more like a castle. After a bit of exploration, they find a cat named Morgana who teaches them about the metaverse, a world that is made of the collective unconscious of the human psyche. Morgana also tells them that they are in someone’s “palace” or an area that is made of someone’s distorted desires. 

Over time Ryuji and Ren awaken their titular “Personas” or the spirit of rebellion that lives inside of them. Eventually, they meet and recruit people like Ann Takamaki (Ryuji’s friend), Yusuke Kitagawa, the pupil of a famous artist, and many more characters as they try to take down the “rotten adults” of society. The group call themselves the “Phantom Thieves” and over the course of the game, we understand their motives for joining the cause to stop evil.

The game goes much further than the story, the gameplay has just as much love and care put into it as the dialogue. For example, each menu and bit of on-screen art is made to look extremely stylish. Each bit of gameplay from the metaverse to Tokyo is as enjoyable as can be. The battle system, a JRPG staple, is made with very unique mechanics. These mechanics include 1 mores and All-out-attacks. The 1 more system is a system that activates when you hit an enemy’s weakness. Once you do, you can go for a baton pass to combo weaknesses until you get a Hold-Up which All-out-attack. 

The All-out-attack is essentially a super powerful attack that has the potential to end the fight then and there, doing massive damage to all opponents. The Hold-up also allows you to take money or an item from the enemy or you can take the enemy yourself and turn it into a new Persona to join your roster. After obtaining said persona, you may use it normally or go to the velvet room to fuse it with another. The velvet room is a place that only the player character can utilize to either fuse, itemize, or strengthen Personas. 

Fusion takes 2 Personas and transforms them into a new, normally stronger persona. A feature exclusive to Royal is the addition of persona traits. Persona traits allow the persona to gain abilities that aid them in battle like extra damage. Itemization on the other hand, is more boring but can be extremely useful if you know how to use it. It allows you to remove a persona from your collection and turn it into something else like new weapons or consumables. Then there’s lockdown, an ability that has your persona stay in the velvet room for 1 in-game day to gain new abilities or strengthen their stats. Finally, strengthening allows the player to sacrifice one of their personas to gain another. 

Although, personas and battle tactics aren’t all. The game has you going through 8-9 (depending on skill) separate levels or “palaces” like the castle from earlier. All of the levels are unique and are based on how the palace “ruler” sees the location of the palace. For instance, one of the levels is a figure in modern art who plagiarizes his pupils for money. In this regard, he sees the palace location, his home, as a museum where all of his pupils are treated like assets and cash cows. 

Going through the game with design in mind, the player will notice how stylish each location, entity, song, and even menus are packed to the brim with style. 

Each persona is based off of some mythological entity, like the four horsemen, gnomes, demons, and the like, or in the case of the main cast, a thief from history like Robin Hood, Zoro, and Captain Kidd just to name a few. Each persona has many unique design details that make them all look great. 

This same level of detail is also seen put into all locations like train noise, people talking, lamps flickering at night, and they all do so with the understanding of not making the details the center of attention. The music is a genre known as “Acid Jazz” which is a fusion of Jazz and Funk that fits the games aesthetic really well. Some of my personal favorite, non-spoiler tracks are So Boring, Wake Up Get Up Get Out There, and No More What Ifs. 

Finally, I want to talk about the game’s “Confidant” system. For Persona veterans, this feature used to be called “social-links” and is still used as a term for the confidant system by many players, old and new. The confidant system is a system in the game that rewards players with quality of life improvements when talking to the game’s main and secondary casts. These rewards include perks like useful battle skills, aid in palaces and mementos, and general useful knowledge in the real world that may affect the metaverse. For those who are interested in playing Royal, I suggest improving confidants with Maruki, Hifumi, Futaba, and Kawakami. 

Persona 5 Royal is a must-buy game that is worth your time. Personally, I can’t get enough of the game’s music and gameplay. Heck, as I write this article, I’m listening to the games OST. The game has something for everyone and that should be a good reason why you should play Persona 5 Royal.

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