top of page
Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square

Persona 5

Persona 5 is a spin off of the Shin Megami Tensai series developed by Atlus and is a combination of Social Simulation and JRPG. It is a sequel to the other Persona games but sets up its own story. It contains established Shin Megami Tensai themes but also adds new themes to make it stand apart. Shin Megami Tensai is a very dark, violent and grim series with Xrated themes. Persona 5 is accessible to newcomers and the game helps you familiarize yourself with the Shin Megami series and there are callbacks to previous games for veteran players. The game is heavily inspired by Picaresque fiction and anime franchise Lupin The Third. The game is very long and takes place during a span of a year. It takes about 100 hours to play and explore. There are plenty of side activities as well. In the game, Japanese society is very restrictive and backwards. People are wage slaves with really no free will to think or stand up for themselves.

The game focuses on the illusion of power and the consequences of greed and selfish behavior. In Shin Megami Tensai series, Demons and the Paranormal are the main overarching themes. Morality is subjective based upon the players decisions and the stories also explore the concept of morality as well and even demons morality can be either good, bad or neutral.

At the start of Persona 5, a criminal is caught during a heist and is interrogated by prosecutor Sae Nijjima where she learns how the person became a phantom thief. The story is set in modern day Japan where corruption is deeply rooted in society and people are scared to stand up to the corrupt crooks. The main character is Ren Amamya who is framed for assault after saving a woman from a drunken man who happens to be an extremely powerful politician running to become the Prime Minister.

Ren is placed on one year probation and sent to stay over at a family friend. He attends Shujin academy and for the most part, lives a pretty regular life. Everyone around him at the school considers him to be delinquent and one slip up means he goes to jail. Periodically, Ren keeps deleting a mysterious phone app but is keeps reappearing and it seems to have something to do with his false arrest. Apparently, the phone app unlocks a mysterious other dimension and Ren along with another student Ryuji, decides to explore.

The new dimension is called the Metaverse where appearances can be deceiving. In the metaverse, they are given special powers and abilities that they normally would not have in the real world. Their “personas” awaken once their rebellious desires are unleashed and this allows them to have the advantage when fighting enemies in the metaverse.

The first target they go after is the gym teacher Kamoshida who is extremely egotistical and sexually abusive to female students to the point that one of them tried to commit suicide and had to be hospitalized. This incident triggers the start of the phantom heists. Ren and Ryuji used their new found powers to persuade Kamoshida to confess and change his wicked ways. It is the beginning of a massive “crime wave” committed by the phantom thieves to change society.

In the video game canon, the main character goes by Ren Amayiama but you can change his name and the name of your group. The Shin Megami games follow a tradition where the character rarely speaks and you are given the choice to give your character any personality. Dialogue choices are important as you need to choose what to say wisely as you can end up in serious trouble. To others the main protagonist is a reserved, quiet and shy type who provides insightful answers to problems. But as the leader of the phantom thieves, he is a thrill seeking, charismatic and flamboyant criminal who does everything in the most over the top manner possible.

The phantom thieves are all outsiders with rebellious natures and are loners with little or no friends. They come from different backgrounds and they all have reasons to rebel against society. The group targets very corrupt people from all aspects of society.

During the day, the player lives a normal life but afterschool, that’s when the player can choose to explore the darker side of the paranormal world. Nobody really suspects the phantom thieves to be anything but regular teenagers as they keep a low profile at all times especially considering the unpopular nature of the real life identities of the phantom thieves.

You can visit multiple locations in the game like Akihabara, Shibuya and Shinjinku. It is a lot more boxed in than other JRPGS like Final Fantasy XV or the more recent Yakuza games but its more focused on what you can do instead of a large empty space. The game economy is very large and there are a lot of items available for purchase. Unlike in Yakuza which had product placement, this game goes above and beyond in renaming real world brands and media entertainment.

As you are student, you have to attend school for 6 days a week. Occasionally, you are given chances to answer questions and take exams. Successfully completing them increases your knowledge skill.

You can save anywhere at anytime for most cases. You can fast travel to locations once you discover them. You can take the train go anywhere and back.

You can also invite your confidants to places like Harajuku and this slowly increases the level of trust between you and your friend. They can also invite you out as well or come over to your place to watch tv or play games with you.

The series is notable for its exploration of Jung psychology and mental health related topics. In Japanese culture, people have three faces, one you show to the world, one to your friends and the one you show to yourself. The phantom thieves go after peoples true selves and forces them to reform or else they are going to be severely punished.

Religion symbolism and concepts are extremely prevalent in the series and includes Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and mythology. Enemies and symbolism from the series comes from many different aspects from said religions. In this game, many of your personal demons that you use in combat are named after famous literary outlaws. Topics such as domestic issues, suicide,sexual misconduct, murder and death are explored.

Are the phantom thieves good or evil? Later in the game, they are caught in a situation when a target dies and public opinion turns against them. Fame has gone to their heads and they have to reset and understand that justice and not fame is their goal.

The Conspiracy is a group of various corrupt officials from the Yakuza, Legal system, Government, wealthy individuals and corporations. Their goal is to keep Japan in a state of corruption in order to attain more power and wealth by any means necessary. People in Japan are too scared of standing up or are very apathetic and are contributing to Japans societal corruption. Any form of authority be it adults, police, the legal system or the government is seen as corrupt and very and cruel especially in the eyes of teenagers.

The game also uses the Conspiracy as a symbolism for real world corruption especially in Japan. However, the game is not a social commentary that pushes any agenda or decides who is right and who is wrong. The main goal in terms of story is showing that a group of people that can stand up against power and corruption to bring social reform and work for a better society. The game also shows how powerful but ignorant and close minded old men make selfish decisions that create an imbalanced society. The phantom thieves main goal is to change the hearts of those who are corrupt in order to put an end to society’s ills and to clear the main protagonists name. Eventually, the phantom thieves learn that something beyond supernatural is behind the Conspiracy and they must stop this mysterious godlike mastermind.

Time management in the Persona series is very important. You have to balance time as a student and also as a phantom thief. There are days where you have to decide either to spend time at work or to hang out with your friends. Miscellaneous things such as returning borrowed dvds or books will result in a wait fee in most cases unless its late at night the fee is waived. Deadlines are important and if you fail to meet the deadline, then the target will succeed in their corrupt endeavors and the phantom thieves will be in serious trouble.

There are various different ways to increase your skills but it’s a slow process. In the game it is called social stats. Playing video games and reading books increases a certain stat like knowledge. You can take on part time jobs to get extra cash and to also be able to learn more information to go after mementos targets. You can even gain skills boosts depending how well you do.

Despite its dark setting and dark story and themes there is a lot of comedy in this game. The best example of the game’s twisted sense of humor is when the protagonist and Ryuji and Mishima decided to investigate a maid service and when the player orders a maid it turns out to be Kawakimi, his homeroom teacher, and she acts exactly like a maid you would see in an Otaku oriented café in Japan.

One of the best parts of the game is the graphics and art style. The character models were nicely made and everywhere you go, the stylish atmosphere is around you. The color scheme fits perfectly with the dark and dreary times in Japan but stylish and surreal in the Metaverse and this is where a lot of the stylish nature in the game shines. The cut in parts of the animation was really well drawn and each character had their own unique art cut in. The anime cutscenes by Production I.G was great.

The characters look a lot more detailed thanks to the more powerful hardware of the latest Sony consoles. The user interface was also very simple and easy to use and you can simply press any button to choose the desired command. You can fast forward the text cutscenes whenever characters are talking as introduced in Persona 4 golden. You can also set the party members actions to either support and provide back up or to heal you.

Fans of Jazz music will certainly enjoy the musical score. For a game that has a lot of content and places to go, it runs perfectly well on the Playstation consoles and the loading times were quick and there were no noticeable glitches. It even installed rather instantly when I started playing the game.

Dungeon exploring is one of the biggest highlights in the game. Each dungeon has a unique design based upon the target the phantom thieves are after. Dungeons all have their own charm, traps and unique design. They are premade for you to explore whereas mementos side missions are randomized everytime you visit which is convenient.

Puzzle solving is important in order to progress through dungeons or to find hidden items and one such way to help you is the third eye feature which highlights hidden objects in order to solve puzzles in a certain way. When you reach the end of a dungeon and find the treasure, you have to send a calling card to the target. They have to steal the treasure in order to steal the hearts to change the person. You have to wait a few in game days for the change of heart.

After that, the palace will reach 99 percent but you won’t be kicked out for being caught and this is a last chance for you to explore whatever you have missed as this is going to be it. If a dungeon reaches 99 percent before you confront the target then you will have to leave.

Enemies in the game are “Personas”, shadows that are really from the mind of someone and they serve as guards for the palace the targets live in. They are a mix of returning enemies and new enemies introduced in the game. Someplaces are going to be locked so you are going to have to look for ways to get around the area.

Stealth is heavily utilized, you can hide behind corners, crawl though vents and dodge security cameras or wire trips. You can also destroy traps to get around areas more easily. If you are detected, the security level rises and they will ambush you and they will have the upper hand in combat. Ambushing and defeating a certain number of enemies brings it down.

You can have up to 4 party members at a time and you can choose who you would like to bring at the beginning of the Metaverse location. Combat in the series u