Persona 5 revolutionised the JRPG genre, with its jazzed up overture that matched its silky crimson aesthetic that accompanied one of the best narratives within the franchise thus far.
Yes I know, here we go again; Dash placing Persona 5 on a pedestal. My response to that is, yes and it deserves to placed among the best of this generation. Persona’s evolution throughout it’s decade long wait from its previous entry left many fans of the series anxious while salivating in anticipation for what the series had to offer next. Initially slated for a 2015 release, the title’s development cycle had seen its fair share of delays. However, after years of waiting, we finally had a definitive release in April of 2017 (October 2016 for Japan). After a tumultuous year 2016 was, Persona 5 was ready to burst on the scene, guns blazing – no pun intended.
The title had received immediate claim from fans who were awestruck by its broad scope of improvements, including a brand new engine, aka the Catherine engine that had been initially built as a testing bed for Persona 5, a snazzy new soundtrack that deviated from the rock/pop beats that had become synonymous with Persona from its last two entries, and its cast of lovable characters and relatable content that had gamers raving and ranting. The narrative had struck many beats after a freshly inaugurated President Donald Trump had served his first year in the White House. Many comparisons were being made to the title’s antagonist, along with themes that had been somewhat controversial.
Exploration of Tokyo, Japan had doubled en masse, as your protagonist – who would canonically become known as Ren Amamiya outside of the title – was free to roam from the outskirts of Yongenjaya, to the bustling city streets of Shibuya. In contrast to the Shadow World, alternate realities were formed out of cognitive mindsets that had formed into palaces from the malicious and distorted desires of those well known to the public. It had become our unlikely heroes civil duty to take down these menaces to society, and destroy their palaces in hopes of changing their heart. The concept itself was fascinating, and theory was one I had always thought of as exciting.
But it was Persona 5’s design that mesmerised many, with its sleek approach to the JPRG market and diverse gameplay that entailed an enormous variety beyond anything the series had offered prior. The re-release of The Royal in 2019 saw an expansion to P5’s core offerings with a new member of the Phantom Thieves, new palaces and a brand new ending that extended it’s already ridiculous gametime. Yes, it’s that kind of time-sink; albeit Persona 5 is one of the greatest Video Games of all time, and deserves to placed amongst the greatest of this generation, bar none.