Persona 5 was, and still is, one of the best JRPGs to ever be released. The stylish, alluring, picaresque story is one that will go down in history, and it has now received even more content, more quality of life changes, and more postgame. It’s hard to make a game like this any better, but you can be sure Atlus knocked it out of the park this time. Persona 5 Royal is the enhanced version of Persona 5, having made changes to story, characters, and other things while adding new content in a myriad of places. Now I’ll be touching on some things already present in Persona 5, only because this is an enhanced version.
The gameplay is much the same, being a day by day life simulator and turn based RPG blended in the best way possible. As a student you’re expected to keep up your studies, make friends, brew coffee and make burgers. Completing activities that help yourself earn you points into certain categories that can help you out in other parts of the game, notably with the people you spend time with; also known as your “Confidants”. Persona 5 Royal has added some new Confidants, and they do not take away from the story or seem out of place at all. Rather, they seem like welcome changes that fill gaps in time you’d otherwise be wasting in the normal game by having Morgana tell you to go to sleep. Thankfully, this is gone too. The biggest quality of life change is that Morgana doesn’t force you to go to bed anymore, and you’re free to explore LeBlanc at night. There are some additional things to do as well, like sit on the toilet to reflect (as we all do sometimes) or clean the store to raise your Kindness and affinity with Sojiro. Small things like this help the game seem much more fluid, rather than being forced into doing one thing to progress the story.
To describe the style in one word: “phenomenal”. Persona 5 Royal is bursting at the seams with charm and grace, with amazing menu screens and character designs, not to mention environments in both the real world and Metaverse that make you want to jump into your TV to join the Phantom Thieves. Persona 5 Royal adds some new menus, most notably Jose’s. Jose is a new NPC that appears in Mementos in order to exchange items and buff Mementos to your liking after collecting stamps scattered around it. Now I feel this is one of the most welcome changes to the game. Mementos is an area primarily used for grinding in between dungeons, and can get rather boring. Now there’s an incentive to explore more, as well as collectibles to keep an eye out for that help you get more exp, items, or money from drops in it. Mementos doesn’t feel nearly as empty now, and there’s only benefits for it.
Some of the smaller changes come in the form of story events to introduce new characters, some monster archetypes to correspond to the Confidants, and new activities to do in the cities, like playing darts to increase your Baton Pass level with your other party members. These add a lot more things to your schedule to manage your time around, but being able to get everything done is an integral part of the game, and regardless of that you can decide to focus on what you want to. Not everyone plays to get the game 100%, but if you do there’re a lot more options open to you now.
There are some quality of life changes that can be said to make the game too easy, but I don’t feel it takes away much from the game. Earlier on I realized I was getting directions on what to say to enemies to recruit them, and was pleasantly surprised. Some people like the challenge of figuring it out themselves, but I don’t want to sit through a random battle 3-5 times in order to guess what the monster wants to hear, only to fuse it away anyways. A great change is the gun ammunition, which refreshes after every battle. Now instead of hoarding onto your bullets for the fairy enemies, you can just blast away and have it auto refilled right after. Finally, the Showtime attacks are amazing to watch. They can get a bit repetitive after a while, and they can just blast away some enemies, but having Morgana and Ann show up in Shoujo manga style while she pulls out two SMGs and dances around is something that’ll never tire me.
To finalize this without gushing too much, Persona 5 Royal is nothing short of the original, and only improves on the few things people could have complained about. The quality of life changes are nothing but positive, and the additions do not feel shoehorned at all. The amount of content present is astounding, and it is a massive time investment for anyone trying to complete it. That being said, every victory in the game’s story feels worth it, and this game will have you wanting to be a Phantom Thief within the first hour or so of gameplay.
Score: 10 out of 10
Reviewed on PlayStation 4