Alright, so here’s the thing- at this point, anyone who’s spent even the slightest amount of time on this board knows that I love the Persona series (and especially Persona 4). What a lot of you don’t understand, however, is why I like it as much as I do. Persona is a super niche series- most people have never heard of it, let alone play it. Looking at it from the outside in, it’s hard to tell just why you should care about these games that get incessant hype from a relentless group of loyal fans. It doesn’t help that until now, the series has never been on a relevant system. Today, I’m here to tell you why you should care about Persona. And no, it’s not all about waifus. Well, okay, maybe it is a little bit.
- Persona games are JRPGs known for having amazing stories, great characters, wonderful soundtracks, and a complete subversion of JRPG and anime tropes. They are among the few games that manage to tell meaningful stories, and do so in a way that takes full advantage of the medium. When you play Persona, you’re guaranteed a fun, entertaining, compelling story that you’re an active participant to, that often deals with incredibly nuanced and complex themes- previous games in the series have tackled abandonment, suicide, abusive parenting, homosexuality, gender identity issues, abusive friendships, the pressure to perform and live up to expectations, external loci of identity, social consciousness, society's inherent desire for negative things to happen to generate gossip and discussion, unrequited love, rape, sexual abuse, child deaths, psychopathy, among other things.
- Persona is a series with an immaculate sense of style- seriously, there is nothing else on the market that you will play that will be as stylish as a Persona game. From the great artstyle to its menus and HUD, from the great voice acting to the amazing soundtracks, Persona games just ooze style from every pore.
- Social Links- at this point, every RPG and their mother wants to have a character interaction system that lets you build relationships with other party members, but Persona did it first, and it arguably still does it best (as a matter of fact, even western developers like Bioware have cited Atlus and Persona as influences for Mass Effect). Social Links let you decide which character to spend time with, and learn more about them, making the very action of characterization interactive. As you learn more about each character, more complex themes are explored. Plus the very act of getting close to characters ties back to your ability to do well in the actual battling and dungeon crawling of the games, too
- I've said this twice already, but that soundtrack- Persona 3 and 4 have among the greatest game OSTs of all time, and Persona 5 doesn't look to be much different.
- Waifus. I mean, I said it already, that is a part of the appeal, at least a little bit.
Previous Persona games have had some glaring problems, however- if you enjoyed them, you enjoyed them in spite of these problems. These problems included drab procedurally generated dungeons that were a slog to get through, a battle system that became far too easy and superficial the further you progressed in the games, mechanics outside of Social Links (and related mechanics) lacking depth, and pacing issues.
Persona 5 fixes all these issues- dungeons are now hand designed, and require the player to put a whole new arsenal of mechanics to use to be able to navigate them (including a new, highly emphasized stealth mechanic); the battle system has new wrinkles and mechanics thrown in to keep throwing curveballs at the player; implementation of new mechanics and polishing of existing ones to ensure the game's quality outside of the social aspects keeps up; and a faster paced story that hits the ground running and does not relent.
Put simply, if you want to play Persona, this is the game to start.And no, you don't need to have played any of the previous games to play this one- all numbered Persona games are standalone and independent (though they do take place in the same universe, and have some references to each other- nothing that gets in the way of a new player understanding what is going on, however, and usually just fan service for series fans).
The TL;DR is- get this game.
MORE COMING SOON ONCE GAMESPOT STOPS SPAZZING OUT
In the wake of Breath of the Wild turning out to be one of the greatest video games ever made, I have some bad news for your time and wallet: Persona 5 might be up there, too.
The Verge Preview:
Persona 5 could be the series’s breakout moment.
Now, finally, after multiple delays, Persona 5 is actually almost here. I’ve now spent 20 hours with a final version of the game, making my way about two months into the game’s story and midway through its second dungeon. And despite going in with sky high expectations — perhaps higher than any game I’ve reviewed previously — so far I am head over heels with the follow-up that developer Atlus has created.
All that was in the first two dozen hours, and if Persona 5 is anything like its predecessors, the game will likely reveal new wrinkles for dozens more. But what’s crucially clear from these initial hours is that Persona 5 is a total refinement of this winning formula. It’s not trying to change or reinvent what made the series beloved by so many fans, but it layers wit, style and smart design over every facet to make the most intuitive and player-friendly version yet. And making the dungeons less repetitive — addressing the biggest weak point of the series to date — is the cherry on top.
God is a Geek:
Persona 5 feels like the culmination of Atlus’ learnings over Persona 3, Persona 4, Catherine, and the modern Shin Megami Tensei games on 3DS. It feels like a grown up Persona experience that isn’t trying to hide anything or appeal to a wider audience by losing its identity like a certain big name Japanese release.
It's a bit early to definitively pronounce Persona 5 the peak of the series, but it certainly feels like a culmination of sorts, and in light of the fact that its director and key staff responsible are now working on something else entirely, it may be an endcap for a particular era.
It may have taken a while, but Persona 5 is well worth the wait. We didn’t even get to talk about the various new activities after school you can participate in and the Social Stats that help determine your capabilities both in school and in relationships. This is a familiar formula has been iterated upon greatly, creating an RPG for the ages. We’re incredibly eager to talk more about Persona 5, but you’ll have to wait for our full review shortly before its release.
MORE COMING SOON
A wonderful, heartfelt, special thanks to @_Matt_, who not only designed all the wonderful banners in this thread (keeping up with my highly exacting and eccentric requests), but also found the Persona 5 font for me so I could have all text in the OP stylized. You rock, Matt!
Special thanks also to @aigis, who decided to take time out to help me with the transparency/alpha effects hell I was facing with my PNG images, and, taking pity on me, added some white to them for me.