Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Persona 5 Impressions

Following Horizon: Zero Dawn, I decided to play Persona 5.  While not an open world game it still has a strong story narrative.  Although JRPG is often viewed as being a niche among gamers in the United States, Persona 5 seemed to have won over many US fans and is often named among the top contenders for Game of the Year.

After many hours of playing and finally finishing the first run through over the long holiday weekend, I can see why the game is so popular and deserving of the acclaims.

A game like Persona 5 starts with having a good story.  Persona 5's story line is filled with mystery, action and surprising twists.  As you progress along the game, each mystery you solve opens up more mysteries until you reach the final climatic scene where more then ever your choices will determine the ultimate ending.  Overall, I found the narrative to have a good pacing.

Complementing the story are the sound track and stylish presentation.  Both will immediately grab your attention and adds to the appeal of the game.  

Playing Persona 5 is like being in an anime with an ideal high school experience.

Where I find Persona 5 to really shine, though, is in its cast of characters.  Persona 5 has an abundance of very likable characters. Relationships are key elements of the game so it is crucial to have characters that players would actually want to establish a relationship with or it becomes a chore to play.  While I found the villains to be generic, I liked the individual personality of all the main characters and key NPCs.

What I enjoyed the most about the game was the advancing the story on the relationship with each character and playing the daily life of a Japanese high school student. 

I found a lot to like about Persona 5 but that doesn't extend to the fighting system and the uninspiring designs of the dungeon levels (called "Palaces" in the game).  I honestly dreaded this part of the game and simply tried to get through it as fast as possible.  I wonder if the developers recognized this as well as sometime the characters' dialog which will also comment on how long the dungeons are.  

I think we're past having mazes as a game element.  I'm not sure why developers feel that lost-in-a-maze is fun and in one case they even put in a darken maze so players have the joy of looking for a way out of a maze blind...!

Fortunately, mazes aren't the dominant part of the game so while I found them annoying, it didn't reduce my liking for the game given all of its strength.

Persona 5 is a fun, stylish, well-paced (minus the dungeon crawl) game that is worth playing. 

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