Persona 5 Royal PlayStation 4 Pro Review

Persona 5 Royal is one of the best games this generation and easily worth a purchase if you have even a slight interest in RPGs.

By Grayshadow, Posted 08 Apr 2020

Persona 5 is widely considered one of the best JRPGs ever made. With a highly emotional story teeming with incredibly written characters and a challenging turn-based combat system all brought together with stylish visuals and a heart-pounding soundtrack. Persona 5 Royal is an updated version of the original title that adds enough content and changes that it warrants another purchase. With new relationships to forge, boss enemies changes, and much more Persona 5 Royal is easily a contender for Game of the Year of 2020 and one of the best RPGs of the generation.
 

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Persona 5 Royal's core story is mostly left untouched from the original game. The protagonist, codenamed Joker, is staying with a family associate Sojiro Sakura for a year-long probation period after an assault charge. After he arrives and settles in he is drawn into the Metaverse and the Velvet Room, granting him access to god-like abilities and quickly gets tangled into things that no high schooler should have to deal with.

It's hard to discuss Persona 5's narrative without spoilers. The game is heavily a social experience with a lot of characters that all convincing. You can see each one of these characters existing in real life. With each one exhibiting flaws and eventually becoming a more fulfilled person over the course of the adventure. Such as the first friend of the protagonist Ryuji Sakamoto being extremely hot-headed and not thinking things through but trying to do what is right or Ann Takamaki trying to find herself in a world that judges her for things outside her control. Every character goes through a difficult transition through Persona 5 as they deal with tough inner demons. 

Persona 5 Royal is separated into chapters with specific themes involving a new main antagonist of each section. Each one of the antagonists is a severe threat to the party and is excellently written. Each one representing a deadly sin and having a palace that complements their twisted desires.
 

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The Palaces and Metaverse serve as Persona 5 Royal's combat hubs. It's here that Joker and his friends gain their powers as the Phantom Thieves, fighting off Shadows in turn-based combat and attempting to steal the treasures within. The goal is to steal the Palace treasure to change the person's heart and right their wrongs. Becoming a new person in the process and taking responsibility for their crimes.

The Shadows that live in these areas all have unique weaknesses and strengths. The player is required to learn their weaknesses and exploit them for easier battles. The key is trying to win fights by dedicating as little resources as possible as the only way to fully recover is to leave the area and lose valuable time.

The Palaces are not only incredibly intricate with specific themes but house unique enemies. These Shadows can be collected by Joker and used to fight alongside him. These Personas are recruited through fear as Joker and friends either overwhelm the Shadow or convince them to join him. However, Shadows will only join Joker if they're the same or lower their level.

Each Persona having specific strengths, abilities, and leveling. You can upgrade your Personas by merging them together, gaining more powerful Personas but sacrificing 2 in the process. There's a new Alarm System that grants a major boost to Persona fusion but at the risk of getting a weaker one in the process. Joker's friends are linked to 1 specific Persona but can be upgraded 1 time by increasing their Confidant level by hanging out with them in the real world.
 

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A bulk of your time will be spent hanging out and building Confidant relationships with your active party and people within Joker's life. Each relationship is measured by a Tarot card gauge that ranges between 5 or 10 levels. By hanging out with that person you gain more levels and unlock new abilities. The people who are not in your combat party have some of the more powerful benefits but increasing your relationship with your active party is just as important. As it allows for better access to more reliable defenses and stronger buffs in combat.

Baton Passes played an active role in the original game but is much more demanding in Persona 5 Royal. This extra attack is triggered when you hit an enemy's weakness allow you to follow up with another attack or change the attacker. You can increase your attack power and recover health and Shadow Points multiple times. You're encouraged to use this technique constantly as the developers have altered the boss fight and some of the original fights that require the use of the Baton Pass. Building your Confidant relationship increases the bonus of a Baton Pass by playing darts, adding a new activity you'll have to dedicate time to.

Another new addition is the Showtime attacks. These flashy attacks serve as a time of Limit Break. Where 2 allies use a powerful uniform and stylish attack that looks insane. It takes up a lot of SP points to do it but can mean winning a battle almost instantly when backed into a corner.
 

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Speaking of SP points, this is how Persona 5 Royal prevents players from steamrolling through Palaces. SP allows players to use Persona abilities, with physical abilities linked to your health. These abilities are the only way to use the Persona abilities and can only be recovered with specific rare items, leveling up, and Baton Passes. Once drained of SP you can find yourself at a major disadvantage and forced to retreat but since you have a limited time to complete a Palace time is always the essence.

To change up the layout in Persona 5 Royal Palaces now use a new platforming tool, the grappling hook. Which allows Joker to grapple to certain areas and find secrets. The biggest new secret being Will Seeds. There are 3 Will Seeds in each Palace and are usually guarded by powerful Shadows or hidden away. Locating all 3 means adding a new powerful item to your equipment but once the Palace is completing everything, including the Will Seeds, are gone. Adding more urgency to gathering everything before completing each Palace.

Each Palace is guarded by a boss fight that is an entire event on itself. Each fight highlights the Palace theme that takes full advantage of the player's skill and preparation. With the updated version shifting the fights to include new elements to keep things fresh.
 

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One thing that newcomers will find annoying is the first Palace. The first one serves as the game's tutorial, slowly showing the player the ropes until they're free to start taking on activities. For returning fans this won't be much of an issue as you can breeze through it but for newcomers, they might get annoyed with being enticed with all these cool activities only to be under house arrest.

Fortunately, Persona 5 Royal allows for more freedom to boost your Confident level and Joker's personal stats. You can level up 1 of 5 main attributes that play a key role in continuing relationships with people. Such as needing more Charm, Knowledge, Guts, Proficiency, or Kindness to further a relationship. All of which can be boosted with specific activities that the game now labels.

The game constantly reminds you to take your time as you won't be able to do everything. Often multiple allies will want to meet Joker at the same time and you'll have to pick and choose who to build a stronger relationship with. As each character has specific stories that can only be progressed through social encounters. Once the meeting is gone, that's it. The fast travel system and quick loading make heading to each encounter a breeze but it can be annoying when multiple people want to hang out but you can only choose 1. As the narrative for each of these meetings had me hooked.
 

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Outside from Palaces and socializing a new Metaverse area is constantly open to the player. Called Mementos this area serves as the HUB for optional objectives. The Phantom Thieves are provided with requests for more distorted people and must locate them within the subway system. The tunnels are constantly changing and have a lot of great items, ideal for farming for Yen and experience. The only major issue I had with this section is that the dialogue for your allies constantly gets cut off unless you stand still while they're talking.

Mementos have changed from the original game. With new musical tracks, rng tunnels, and a new ally who adds the team in exchange for stamps and flowers. It has been more streamlined as well, allowing players to recruit Personas after instantly killing them. An issue that many fans had with the original game since some Personas can only be created with certain combinations.

Since there are so much dialogue and optional activities expect a decent amount of filler. It's nothing too tedious but you'll often be expected to engage in social situations where the character avatars just gesture conversation. Despite having quality voice acting in most of the scenes expect to read a lot. Personally, this wasn't an issue for myself given I grew up with Final Fantasy, Wild Arms, and Breath of Fire during the retro age but those who hate reading large chunks of information may become annoyed. If you do happen to miss something critical you can always view the narrative log and see the entire conversation and if you take a break the game provides a decent summary of major past events.

The musical score and visual design of Persona 5 have won a lot of hearts. The visuals haven't changed and are still eye candy. With incredible scenes and brilliant uses of color. Persona 5 Royal is the embodiment of style in video games. The musical score is still incredible, with new tracks such as Take Over that add new life to this already breathtaking experience.
 

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Persona 5 Royal updates the already extraordinary game with so much new content that it extends this already quality adventure. With over 90 hours of content and more if you decide to replay the adventure to experience new romance options and social missions. Persona 5 Royal is one of the best games this generation and easily worth a purchase if you have even a slight interest in RPGs.
 

Adam Siddiqui,
Senior Editor, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PS4
Publisher(s): Atlus, Sony, Deep Silver, SEGA
Developer(s): P-Studio
Genres: Role-playing
Themes: Fantasy
Release Date: 2020

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