Review by Saandro
Completely average game
This game is yet another game which goes for the VN formula currently popular in japan. You play a bland character with no personality. Get transfered into another environment. Despite having no personality to speak off everyone immediately becomes friends with you. You also awaken your latent magic powers and go save the world with your newfound friends.
So the story is pretty generic. The characters are your standard anime stereotypes, although quite likeable. Most of the dialouge is utterly boring and generic, with characters constantly repeating things said 5 minutes ago. Everyone has some kind of tragic past in an attempt to make us feel sorry for them, while also running to our MC for self-validation all the time. Dialouge choices are completely meaningless 99% of the time, and are honestly really badly made. Towards the end the story gets really convoluted with multiple deus ex machinas.
It's poorly paced. It takes like 5 hours before you really start playing. Sometimes having hour long cutscenes back to back where you find yourself bored listening to the generic and repetitive dialouge spamming X. The game itself is split into two parts. Dungeon crawling/combat and a daily life sim.
The dungeons are fine. They are a bit linear with really simple puzzles. But they look good and don't feel basic or frustrating which should be the goal. The stealth mechanic is really simple though, and feels more like a novelty. The combat itself is...fine. Although very traditional and repetitive with no new mechanics. This system was pioneered in 2003 and used in countless games till now. I'd really hoped Atlus would change it up a bit. Not only that but it is really easy too. Enemies often don't get a chance to do anything and just get pummeled relentlessly. There is also no skip option for the all-out attack, which gets annoying.
The daily life sim is kind of weak and boring. You aren't actually doing anything. You merely select it and it completes itself in a short cutscene. It's very simplistic. What I imagine is the main draw of these games are the romancing options. New options are constantly entering the picture and are inexplicably attracted to you and need your validation. Wow you told a woman she is strong and that she needs to believe in herself 3 times and now you are basically dating! 10/10 characters. One of said characters is a teacher who agrees to be your personal maid, complete with outfit, calling you master. It's just such blatant wishfulfillment and very cringe-inducing. Heck, at valentines you can get a scene where multiple women beat you up for cheating. One month later they all behave like they still want you. Give me a break.
The game does have a very good visual style. The persona fusing and collecting gets really addictive, and some of the designs are just amazing. The gameplay can be fun at times, and the cast of characters is likeable and entertaining.
However the gameplay is really basic and repetitive. The story is your standard empoverment fantasy. Generic with (terrible) anime tropes and character archetypes. Way too heavy with needles exposition and recaps. Each character is given an over the top sad backstory and the villains are moustache twirlers who are clearly one-dimensonally evil. Then the phantom thieves have boring dialouge about if what they are doing is evil or not... That's like James Bond procrastinating before killing the main generic bad guy.The dating aspect is terrible and cringy.
Enjoyable and entertaining for the most part. But nothing more than that. I don't understand where the high reviews are coming from. I guess the game is clearly aimed at a subset of people who really enjoy it.
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Product Release: Persona 5 (US, 04/04/17)
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