10 Apr 2017
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Review: Persona 5 continues an excellent year for the PS4

By Damian Seeto

The PlayStation 4 console has had many great exclusives in 2017 and it's only the month of April. The latest hit is Persona 5 which is one of the best JRPGs I have played in recent memory.  The biggest JRPG to be released in the last couple of months is Final Fantasy XV. Even though I loved the open-world gameplay of Final Fantasy XV, the story and linear latter end of the game disappointed me a lot. Persona 5 on the other hand has an excellent story that never gets boring.   The game focuses on a Japanese boy (that you name) being transferred to Shujin Academy in Tokyo after someone accuses him for assault after he was preventing a rape attempt. Things get a bit supernatural from here on out as a mysterious app on his phone allows him to access the Metaverse which is a place where he can change someone's heart/attitude.  Without giving away too many spoilers, let's just say the main character meets a douchebag teacher at the school and him and many of the students would like to see this teacher change his ways. They go into the Metaverse to try and change this teacher's heart much like in the movie Inception. There's more to the story than this, but I don't want to give too much away.  From my experience playing this game, the story is heavily influenced by the aforementioned Inception as well as the movie Whiplash. I have never played a Persona game before so this story really drew me in. It's the type of game that kept me wanting to play in order to find out what happens next. There are a lot of mysteries that you have to solve with an over-arching storyline too. A sizeable amount of the game takes place in the Metaverse as this is where you do the RPG-type stuff. The Metaverse is inside the mind of douchebag people and it's your job to change them. This is easier said than done because their minds are full of demons and other traps to stop you.  Whereas many other JPRGs have adopted a more action approach to combat, Persona 5 retains the old-school turn-based battle system. You can still see enemies roaming around, but you can attack them from behind to initiate combat. I do like the way that you can battle enemies on your own time. The game would have been annoying if it kept random battles. Aside from the characters attacking enemies with guns and melee weapons, they also have access to a magical beings called Personas. Personas are demons with powers that can do all sorts of magic. This includes giving health to the other characters to even conjuring up magic spells and more.  The fun part about the combat is that you can try to collect as many Personas as you can carry. You can interrogate monsters into giving you their powers and more. Later on in the game, you can even merge two Personas into one to create a new being altogether. Despite a lot of the game taking place in the Metaverse, the Japanese boy still has to live out his life as a normal student in high school in the real world. The real world is actually my favourite part of the entire game as it reminds me a lot of the Yakuza games. You can explore the high school or even the streets of Tokyo. The cool thing about this game is that the Metaverse and real world are somewhat linked. You can go off into the city to buy food like a hamburger and then use that as health in the Metaverse. You can even do mini-games in the city to boost your stats such as trying to hit home-runs in baseball to even participating in an eating challenge.  A good chunk of the game is stat building yourself in the real world and also making great connections with the characters around you. Aside from the main story, there are lots of side-missions and activities that you can do. There's just hours and hours of fun gameplay that never gets boring or too repetitive.  Persona 5 also has a unique art-style that makes you feel like you are playing through an actual anime. The 2D-style graphics work well here and it fits the atmosphere of the entire game.  There are not many flaws that I can name here in this game. The only thing worth noting is that there is a lot of dialogue to read through. I didn't mind watching all of the cutscenes as I enjoyed the story and characters. However if you aren't that invested with the story and characters, you might feel like this game has too many dialogue conversations.  Anyway aside from the lengthy dialogue conversations, Persona 5 is a masterpiece. It is easily the best JRPG I have played in recent memory and it's currently in my top 3 games of 2017. It's right up there with Horizon Zero Dawn and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Try it out if you love games such as the Yakuza series or the older turn-based Final Fantasy games.  Verdict: 9/5/10

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