In 2017, a certain Persona 5 was released on PS3 and PS4, the fifth entry in the license (five main games) derived from Atlus "Shin Megami Tensei", a JRPG franchise that has existed for more than 20 years. While the Persona series was already enjoying a beautiful aura in the hearts of players, it was with this fifth opus that the license's popularity rating exploded around the world. The Atlus and P-Studio teams having worked hard to deliver a gaming experience that everyone would remember.
Successful bet, Persona 5 is very quickly noticed for its scenario which deals with subjects of societies, its atypical artistic direction, its soundtrack of great richness all coupled with a colossal lifespan. But what makes Persona 5 so good is its gameplay with oiled and addictive mechanics and in particular its very dynamic combat system which still proves today that it is quite possible to modernize RPGs with clashes "in round by round ".
For these qualities, Persona 5 is often perceived as being the best JRPG of its generation and there is no doubt that this recognition from critics and players is largely justified. With this growing popularity, what better way for Atlus and Sega to announce and offer a new version of the game with enhanced content? In fact, there is nothing very surprising in this, since it is not the first time that they have done this with this franchise when you consider that Persona 3 and 4 at their time were both released in versions more complete / improved.
Persona 5 is no exception to the rule with the release of Persona 5 Royal in 2020 on PS4 then since October 21, 2022 on all existing game media which is an improved version of the basic software. Let's face it, Persona 5 Royal takes everything good about Persona 5 to make it even better. And that's not all, to justify going back to checkout, the publisher had the intelligence to offer a French translation of the game (for the PS4 version) and the 4K60 FPS combo for the 2022 edition (and also portability thanks to the Nintendo Switch or the Steam Deck!). If many people refrained from playing this monument when it was initially released because it was not translated, things are now different with the release of "Persona 5 Royal" since it is possible to discover this adventure without asking questions. regarding the language barrier.
Let's still raise the red card high for the PlayStation 5 version, which is sold at full price, even for those who own the "Royal" version on PS4. Which is really a shame for once, it would have been wiser to thank the fans who bought the game previously by offering them the upgrade. For Xbox / PC / Nintendo Switch players, it's another story and they can even rejoice, since the game is taking its first steps on these media. If you read our test to the end, you will understand that Persona 5 Royal is a safe bet, this enriched version compared to the basic game has allowed the Atlus teams to extend the story with a brand new school semester which also brings a new palace and a new plot.
There are two new confidants, Kasumi and Takuto, new side activities and this version also includes all the DLC already released to date (more than 40 elements)… It takes at least more than 130 hours to see the end of the game. 'adventure. All now in native 4K (Xbox Series / PC / PS5) and 60 FPS. Note also for Xbox players that Persona 5 Royal can be downloaded directly via GamePass if you are a subscriber. For having had the opportunity to try the Xbox Series X version, it is nice to see the benefits of the 60 FPS, the game is clearly gaining in fluidity. The 4K (on this support) also allows to have a sharper image sweeping in passing the aliasing that we could see in certain places of the 2020 version which was released on PS4.
It's definitely the ultimate version of one of the greatest JRPGs of the last decade. For PlayStation players, we can understand that the pill is hard to pass since this edition is sold at a high price when a simple upgrade would have been possible for the publisher. The advantage of this version is above all that everyone can now discover this great classic from Atlus.
Persona 5 Royal is the story of a group of teenagers who have the ability to travel to a world called "Metaverse", in which they are able to transform the hearts of bad people, thus infiltrating corrupt minds and try to provoke a metanoia in their host to put them back on the right track. Their gang, known as the "Phantom Thieves of Hearts", begins a long crusade against a society full of hypocrisy to eliminate evil intentions from people's hearts for a more just Tokyo society.
You play "Ren Amamiya", a second-year high school student who got into trouble with the law following a false accusation while trying to help a woman who was attacked in the street. This quickly forced him to leave his home to come and settle in Tokyo to serve "a sentence" of one year on probation. Now having to find his bearings in his new home at Café Leblanc where he is watched by Sojiro Sakura, and a new high school "Shujin Academy", Ren will very quickly realize that he has a rather special power "that of returning in people's inner palaces" and to be able to harness the power of Personas. If in the real world he wears a Shujin Academy uniform and seems to lead a quite ordinary life of a student, in the Metaverse he becomes "Joker", wearing a large black coat and a mask. Of course, he won't be alone in this quest since our protagonist will bond with other students from the Shujin Academy who will share the same powers as him, including a strange cat who will guide them in their quest.
Persona 5 Royal takes up the plot of the original in broad outline by adding new passages, new characters, narrative arcs and new scenes with even alternative endings up to an additional new semester to discover at the end of the game, as much to say, after more than 100 hours of play on the clock. We won't dwell on the scenario, but it is one of the main strengths of Persona 5 and even more so in this “Royal” edition. If you have never experienced the original adventure, you will soon enough discover the richness of the story. Those who already know the story (which was our case), it is fun to see all the changes and additions that enrich the quest for the Phantom Thieves as you progress, we can only be in awe of the work accomplished. to nest all its elements as if they had always had their place in the game.
In Persona 5, you lead a double life, one in the real world where you deal with everyday worries and the other in the heart of the Metaverse where part of the psyche (the dark part of an individual) gives shape to all kinds strange palaces. Some of the activities in the normal world take place at Shujin Academy, the university where Joker continues his schooling for a year. You follow classes there like an average student, you walk through the corridors of the academy, talk to your classmates, and participate in all kinds of extracurricular activities. During the lessons, you are regularly questioned by your teachers. It is therefore important to be attentive, especially as sooner or later the time will come when you will have to take exams to assess your achievements.
Every action you take in the real world has the effect of advancing time. You must therefore organize yourself in your schedule so as not to waste precious days "doing nothing" knowing that each of your actions will have a significant impact on the "life" statistics of your character allowing him to gain in charisma, in courage, intelligence and other parameters that will prove essential as you progress in order to be able to make certain decisions or undertake certain activities. Just as the game strongly encourages you to maintain bonds with your friends and other relations encountered along the way who will have the character of becoming "confidants" of Joker offering all kinds of bonus effects in the palaces when you advance their rank (up to 10 rows each). Very quickly, the game imposes “deadlines” on you, forcing you to organize yourself as well as possible and choose between your activities in the real world and the infiltration of palaces in order to steal the heart (the treasure) of its host.
Note that each confidant is linked to a category of "Personas" which allows you to gain bonus experience by performing fusions when you are in the Velvet Room, the protagonist's inner prison where he will meet strange people and especially an important place for the player since it is here that you manage your Personas. The Velvet Room is also gaining interest in this "Royal" edition since it is now possible to take up all kinds of challenges launched by the twins Caroline and Justine, whose goal is to score as many points as possible in as few laps as possible to win all kinds of rewards.
With Persona 5, the turn-based is in an Olympic form and gives a good lesson to all those studios who wrongly think that this type of gameplay is boring and soft and that it is no longer possible to modernize it . If the dynamism of the clashes was already very present in the version released in 2017, with Persona 5 Royal, the teams of Atlus and P-Studio have achieved a masterstroke by making the system even more solid by introducing all new mechanics of game allowing to have fights even faster, more fluid, more strategic and in the end even more fun. Fights revolve around a weakness system where an enemy has a related element and another that is their Achilles heel that you are always looking to uncover to gain the advantage. Clearly, when you put your finger on an enemy's weakness you win a "1-more" turn which allows you to play again and things will continue if you continue to exploit the weaknesses of the other opponents present in the fight. .
When you manage to hit a weak point, you can now transfer and pass on your extra turn to another character, who will then gain a strength bonus and who can in turn pass on the baton to another character by continuing to exploit the enemy weaknesses. Now, Shadows you encounter in palaces can spawn with "flaws" that turn into bombs when you attack them. It is then necessary to choose the right way to attack these targets so that things do not turn against your team.
If the adventure in the initial game was already relatively long, tell yourself that it's even worse with this "Royal" edition. The software requires a certain investment, it takes at least 100 hours to see the end of it in a straight line and even more if you are looking to complete all the activities of the game. Atlus teams do not make fun of players when they are it's about talking about “content”. For example, we can tell you that during the exploration phases of the palaces, Joker can now use a grappling hook to access new areas or enter them differently, just as in each palace it will now be possible to recover three seeds of lust hidden in new areas. The challenges of the Velvet Room bring an additional challenge. We must also expect new boss fights and different mechanics in the palace of the “memento” where a new character “José” enters the scene. This one offers you rewards for your exploration in exchange for a new currency exclusive to these places. Finally, among the novelties, a special lair where you can unlock many illustrations of Persona 5, videos and you can even play “the Magnate” cards. Hours and hours of play in perspective. A word for players who have already completed the version released in 2017, there is no way to transfer your progress from the original to Royal, you are forced to start all over from the beginning.
In this test we touched on a tiny part of the content of this Persona 5 Royal. There is so much to say that one test wouldn't even be enough. Persona 5 Royal is a work that will not leave you indifferent, that's for sure. From the design of the characters to the soundtrack directed by Shoji Meguro through the plots and the story in general, everything seems mastered on the fingertips, you will live an adventure that is likely to mark you forever. The gameplay manages to be even better than in the basic version when everything already seemed so perfect in 2017, the Atlus teams prove that games that offer "turn-based" combat are far from being exceeded and that t is quite possible to modernize and bring a dynamic to the formula even today.
Surpassing the original work, Persona 5 Royal risks leaving you with a great void after having finished it, the "Phantom Thieves" will make one last victim and it will be you. After setting the bar so high, how the teams at Atlus and Sega are going to be able to offer players better with a possible Persona 6 in a few years, we can't wait to find out.