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On the surface, persona h game Persona game sounds rather dull. These are games that require patience. This delicious recipe — spiced with a stylistic swagger and some stellar writing — has turned the series into something of a cult phenomenon.
After breaking out in the West with the release of Persona 3 init has continued to grow with another main entry, and a handful of spinoffs. Persona 5the first main entry in the series in nearly a decade, continues a tradition of refinement. It retains the essentials — style, story, and an impossible to pin blend of genres — but carefully streamlines and improves them.
Which is to say: it takes something special and makes it better. Much like in its predecessors, Persona 5 stars a quiet teenage boy who has just arrived in a new town. A morally muddy run-in with the law sends him from his home to the attic of a Tokyo cafe. His goal is to spend a year in the big city and prove to the adults in his life — teachers, employers, the police — he can live a clean, crime-free existence. A couple hours into the hour story yes, reallythe young man, who you name, becomes the leader of a group called the Phantom Thieves.
They steal hearts. They decide to use this power for the public good, delving into the realm with the help of a magical smartphone app. A lecherous gym coach, for example, is the king of a castle filled with cruel machines that torture and sexually humiliate his pupils.
By stealing a heart in the metaverse, the evildoer typically has change of heart in the real world, and they voluntarily confess their crimes — without ever knowing what caused them to do so, Inception- style.
The villains start out relatively small, but over time the thieves become part of an internationally sized story, fighting prominent hacking groups and getting mixed up with corrupt political leaders. As with the rest of the series, Persona 5 is structured around a calendar. You go through your virtual life one day at a time, and different events and obligations transpire depending on the date. A typical weekday will start with you taking the train to school, eavesdropping on the latest gossip in the hallway, answering a question in history class, and then heading off to explore the metaverse after the bell rings.
Many of these moments play as short vignettes; you simply watch and listen as a your guardian teaches you about persona h game beans, or you grab a burger with friends in Shibuya. When exams come up, you have no choice but to sit through them.
I always found myself looking forward to Sunday, the one school-free day of the week in Japan. In many ways this structure is the antithesis of other big role-playing games. Series like Fallout and Mass Effectand even the most recent Final Fantasyare built with massive worlds and the freedom to decide what you want to do in them. You can lose yourself for dozens of hours exploring, ignoring the urgent mission to save the world while you collect materials or wander from one side-quest to the next.
Personaon the other hand, is structured and deliberate. Limiting your time, fittingly, makes your choices more precious. Once you get accustomed to it, this structure creates a pleasing rhythm. Persona 5 is often joyfully strange and alien.
You use toy guns as lethal weapons. One of your teammates is a talking cat.
And the enemies are cartoonish depictions of mythical figures and spirits from across the world and throughout history. The game is fixated on reality, and recognizes colorful abstractions — like video games — are simply a means to persona h game larger questions. You may be fighting an abusive king, for example, but the villain and his world is merely a metaphor for the real-world issues of sexual harassment and the willingness of some adults to protect abusers to maintain the status quo.
Choice also plays an important role, though not in the way it does in most games. Instead, choice amounts to how you spend time. If you want to become friends with someone, you simply make sure they get your attention. It becomes a balancing act. Do you study before exams even though a good friend wants to hang out? Do you explore the metaverse or indulge your desire to learn the secrets of cooking a nice curry? For instance, having close friends will help you unlock more powerful monsters to summon in battle. Befriending the local doctor will get you access to new kinds of medicine, while learning to make great coffee provides a restorative drink for tough battles.
Virtually every aspect of the game feeds into the larger story of your life as a teenager and role as the leader of the Phantom Thieves. Even the little details. Saving your progress is presented as keeping a journal of daily activities for your probation officer.
The dungeons are a particular highlight. Past Persona games featured procedurally generated dungeons, which changed every time you played, with new layouts and monster placement. The venues are creative and clever, punctuated with simple puzzles to help break up all of the fighting.
Persona 5 does have an ongoing procedurally generated dungeon as well, called Mementos, which is somewhat optional and can be explored in between completing the palaces. The combat is also more accommodating in small but welcome ways.
There are more kinds of attacks, including the introduction of ranged weapons like guns, that not only provide more options, but more opportunities to link attacks together persona h game satisfying ways. Like the Shin Megami Tensei series which Persona initially spun off fromyou can talk with enemies in the midst of battle. Typically, they will beg for their life, and you can choose to invite them to your roster of summonable monsters, extort them for cash and items, or simply kill them. Collecting monsters is, particularly early in the game, the obvious strategy.
They can be merged into other persona, sacrificed for upgrades, or trained to learn new skills. Persona 5 also benefits from a fast start, something its predecessors struggled with. I found myself absolutely engrossed by their story, as the group slowly grows in importance and infamy. It tells a more complex and ambitious narrative than past games, and Persona 5 balances the rapid pace of a thriller with the more subdued momentum of a slice-of-life drama.
It has a confidence blockbuster games so often lack. The story is buoyed by a great cast of characters, who — in typical Persona fashion — start out as forgettable teenage archetypes, before revealing themselves to be layered, lovable individuals. Outside of the metaverse, the Phantom Thieves look like an anime Breakfast Club ; from an angry ex-jock to the shoehorned pretty girl to the detached loner. As you learn about them, though, they start to feel like real people. Because for all of its goofiness, Persona 5 deftly deals with a of dark, challenging topics, particularly around abuse and exploitation.
That said, I do wish there was a slightly greater diversity of characters and stories. Persona 4in particular, dealt with important young adult questions around gender and sexuality, and the absence of such subjects — and in certain cases, the inclusion of tasteless caricatures of gay men — is a misstep in a game dealing with contemporary teenage persona h game and the power of empathy.
As I said, it will easily take hours to complete the story, though the game does an admirable job at keeping things fresh over that lengthy playtime. Each dungeon feels like a new space to explore, and characters, abilities, and other surprise features are introduced constantly. For all of these quality-of-life improvements, Persona 5 is still an acquired taste.
Much of your time will be spent listening to characters talk, and reading text messages between friends. Not everyone will find making a virtual cup of coffee fun after the 10th time. It defiantly ignores the open-world trend and instead holds steadfast to the idea that a more guided, linear RPG can still work in As for me, well, the story is over.
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