So I just got done playing some Persona 5 after it was released digitally!
And I must say my first impressions of the game are quite positive! First off, the graphics are pretty great in this game. In particular, the art style. This art style is oozing with style and the animations of the game look great. Persona 5’s art style has a distinct cel shaded comic book type of style to it that to me is an art style that represents what video games are which is simply that they’re games and a world unto themselves.
This game’s art style I must say it gives you that feeling when you’re playing through the game that you’re really in a fantasy world and it immerses you. While cutting edge graphics are impressive and there’s some games that can create realistic looking worlds, it’s nice to go into fantasy type of worlds as well. Persona does that very well. It has a world filled with fantasy like castles filled with fantasy creatures, talking cats, cities brimming with lights illuminating the streets and the world does this well.
When you play it, you feel like you’re in a actual world where it feels like you’re going through a living comic book. The art work of the game with the character’s quirky facial expressions when speaking, the stylish and interesting ways the menus and dialogue boxes are designed is done in a way that is incredibly great.. What’s further impressive though is that, the artistic style applied to this game also makes the game’s art direction feel like it’s own unique brand of art and it feels distinguishable from other games.
Beyond the art though, is the game itself. I’ve played nearly 2 hours of the game and I must be honest the game is a slow burner. If you’re someone who is fine with story heavy beginnings in RPG’s you won’t mind this at all. However, if you’re someone who like a good balance of gameplay and story especially at the beginning of a game then this might bother you. Like Persona 4, the first hour and beyond of the game is heavily story focused. You’ll be watching many cutscenes, exploring around and reading dialogue, but that’s not to say there’s no gameplay.
Early on, there is some gameplay. Notice I said some though. You’ll get to do two tutorial sort of gameplay parts of the game where you learn basic mechanics like how to explore areas or how to battle enemies. In the entirety of the first hour and a half almost of the game though, you’ll get into around three battles or so. All three of these battles are tutorial battles to teach you the mechanics of the combat in the game. If you remove that and the short 5-10 minutes of exploration/tutorial segments in the beginning it’s pretty much pure story though.
You’ll get the chance to walk around and explore the world/areas of the game, but as far as fighting enemies, exploring dungeons and more traditional RPG combat type of gameplay you’ll have to wait until you get a fair amount into the game. In terms of combat, Persona 5 is turn based like previous games. The Once More combat system returns and hitting a enemy’s weakness knocks them down and grants you an extra turn. If you hit all enemies down you can do a powerful all out attack that hits all enemies and causes massive damage. Then there’s the dungeon exploring aspect.
Exploration of dungeon areas filled with enemies has been improved in Persona 5. You can now jump across gaps to traverse dungeons and the dungeons seem to have more puzzle elements than previous games. For example, you’ll sometimes find a bridge you need to cross, but you need to lower the bridge to cross it. In order to do so, you might need to find a nearby switch to pull in order to lower the bridge. What’s also cool is you can now sneak behind walls or boxes and other objects to sneak up behind enemies and gain an advantage in battle by attacking them when they’re off guard.
Outside of the dungeon areas, the game plays like Persona 3 and 4 in gameplay structure. You go home and study or do other various activities then go to sleep and wake up the next day. Upon waking up the next day, you go to school unless you have the day off. At school, you can speak with friends/classmates to do social links and learn more about them along with strengthening your personas whom you use for combat. You can also study or do other activities to improve stats which have various benefits like allowing you to get more social links with people. As for the story, it’s incredibly interesting so far.
You start off making an escape from a casino after an assumed heist and shortly after are caught and arrested. It turns out you were betrayed by a former ally and you’re now being interrogated by police after arrest. The protagonist whom is a silent protagonist that you name tells an investigator about his past experiences that led to this event happening . There’s a lot of story early on, but fortunately there’s good news. Fortunately, Persona 5’s story is quite well written. I immediately was invested into most of the characters introduced especially the caretaker of the protagonist who’s named Sojiro.
He’s one of the more interesting characters of the story because you almost immediately see character development in him. When he first meets the protagonist he is incredibly strict and acts uncaring towards the protagonist. However, as time passes you begin to see his hard tough as nails attitude and exterior crack and Sojiro begins to show concern for the protagonist. One instance of this is during a heavy rainstorm that happens one day. The protagonist goes out forgetting his umbrella and Sojiro worries about if he forgot his umbrella or not and if he’ll get sick from being out in the rain. So in terms of the writing and story, the game is quite good so far. One final thing I would like to mention is the music and voice acting.
Although, I haven’t heard too many songs due to being at the beginning of the game the music so far has been solid. In particular, one of my favorite songs is when you’re exploring the city streets walking around there’s a relaxing jazz song that plays. It fits the theme of exploring the busy streets especially when moving around in a sunny day. Battle themes are well done too and the battle themes shown so far are very intense and are memorable and get stuck in your head so props to the composers on that.
Voice acting in the game is top notch like Persona 4 and you’ll even hear some recognizable well known voice actors. The voice actors are really on point and seem to know just how to perfectly hit the right tone and vocal chords to really bring the best delivery possible to their lines. So far, my impressions of Persona 5 are ultimately very good.
I am enjoying the story quite a bit and the production values like the art design and music of the game are incredibly good. Meanwhile, the battle system seems intriguing, but unfortunately because of the game’s somewhat slow start I have yet to truly experience it on a more frequent basis because of the few battles you get into early on. My only gripe with Persona 5 I would say is that I wish the game had learned from Persona 4’s slow beginning. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the story of P4 at the beginning and like P5’s story a lot as well so far, but would be nice if I got longer segments of gameplay instead of nonstop story and what feels like an hour and a half long of mostly story/randomly exploring and a few tutorial gameplay segments. Ultimately, I am quite satisfied with Persona 5 though!