Developed by:ATLUS Published by:ATLUS Genre(s):
  • RPG
  • Platform:
  • Sony
  • Cost:$59.99 ESRB Rating:MATURE Players:1 Release date:March 31, 2020 Reviewed on:PS4

    Persona 5 Royal

    In the last couple years, I have gradually gotten back into loving RPGs. Their length often made them difficult to enjoy; single player games don’t hold my attention for very long. Just being able to finish one nowadays is deemed an accomplishment.

    This is especially true for turn-based RPGs. I have to really love a game’s plot and/or characters in order to stay invested. Such is the case with ATLUS’ Persona series. Being an anime fan, they tend to keep me entertained for long periods at a time. In some cases, more than I’m willing to admit.

    Persona 5 Royal is no different. As the enhanced version of a Persona 5, this JRPG features that game’s intriguing plot; things start in a stereotypical fashion before delving into some dark themes. It also provides added content. New characters, story beats, and gameplay mechanics are bolstered by well-meaning changes in dialog/localization efforts. It’s basically the best version of an already good game.

    Players will again don the shoes of Joker, the game’s teenage protagonist, as he goes about dealing with corruption. After being falsely accused of assault – when he tried to defend a woman being abused by a drunkard – he was forced to relocate to a new city. A place infested with corrupt politicians, criminals, and just all-around trash human beings.

    Like previous Persona games, Royal’s world is separated into parts. The real or human world and a supernatural realm, called the Metaverse, that only a few can access. It is in this place that Joker will confront the shadow versions of corrupt people; he and his Phantom Thieves must steal the symbolic manifestations of a person’s evil desires in hopes of changing their hearts. This, of course, is done through stylish turn-based battles. Joker and the thieves will use stand-like Shinigami (or spirits) called Persona to fight against the shadows. Again, it’s what you’d expect from a popular Shōnen Manga or Anime. It gives off a JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure meets the Matrix kind of vibe.

    That said, the story isn’t for the faint of heart. It contains some really gross themes that are not common in the US. ATLUS has improved upon their depiction in Royal though. We were always motivated to defeat the game’s villains. But now there isn’t any grey-area to contend with; subtle changes make it clear that a lot of them are morally bankrupt. Just pure trash in every aspect of the word and now, no one should confuse their intentions.

    ATLUS tweaked other aspects of the game as well. Like Persona 5 strict time limits; because you were enrolled in an academy, you only had so much time in a day to do any one thing. Royal eases up on the reins a bit, allowing players more time to complete different tasks. It’s still strict mind you – I can’t tell you how many times I was wandering around school and then the bell rung for it to be over – but it isn’t as bad as before. The need to manage your time when wandering around looking for side-missions, to socialize, find collectibles or whatever you’d do in other RPGs while exploring, is easier to adjust to.

    The combat has also improved. All of the main elements stayed the same. Enemies are visible within the environment, allowing you to sneak up on them to initiate an ambush and attack them first. The timing of turns is based on character stats. Teamwork and knowing when to call on Personas are important. The new stuff consists of balance-based tweaks, new enemies, and new abilities.

    Of course, the biggest addition(s) are found in the new story content. Players will be able to experience a third semester. I won’t go into what happens in hopes of not spoiling anything. What I will say is that it’s pretty entertaining. There are also some new characters aside from this content, like Kasumi – a character with one of the roughest story arcs to get through. Instead of evoking anger, like some of the content surrounding despicable people, it brought about other emotions.

    Persona 5 was already a good game. It had fun turn-based mechanics, an interesting story, and cool characters. It also featured one of the greatest soundtracks of all time; a blend of Funk, J-pop, Dance and Soul that at times, overshadows the gameplay. Persona 5 Royal features those things and more. It’s essentially a no brainer for JRPG and anime fans. I’ve personally played through it twice. Which, if you remember what I said about single player games, is a big deal!



    Persona 5 Royal is a blast to play. The story can be a bit cringey at times though. While that’s certainly the point, it won’t resonate well with everyone.



    The stylish anime-inspired visuals are great.



    It still has one of the best soundtracks in gaming. The voice work isn't bad either.

    Replay Value:


    The main game and extra content will keep people playing for a while. That said, it is a long game. Restarting the campaign might be a tall order for some.

    Final Score:


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