IN the world of video games, it’s easy to become engrossed in the high-octane AAA titles that are pumped out regularly, so much so that when an outlier appears it tends to fly under the radar. One such series that has avoided much mainstream attention is Persona. The Japanese RPG franchise has developed a cult following for its initial emphasis on day-to-day life, before taking a weird turn and throwing you into an Alice in Wonderland-esque scenario where you can’t predict what might happen. Persona 5, the latest entry into the series, endeavours to continue this trend in what was expected to be the most unexpected way possible.
Publisher: Deep Silver
Platforms: PS4 (Reviewed), PS3
Release date: 4th April
Persona 5’s first hour starts by following the template set out by its predecessors; as a near-silent protagonist, you spend the early part of the game exploring Tokyo’s subway lines while becoming accustomed to your new home. Though before long, your character awakens his ‘persona powers’, through which you’ll find yourself exploring a world which is presented as a physical embodiment of human desire. Without spoiling too much, things get a lot weirder thereon in.
In terms of gameplay, it’s hard to undersell how just how complicated the game can get. As a rule of thumb, game series tend to refine and simplify their control systems as the franchise progresses. However Persona 5 suffers from a system that blends tricky turn based controls, complicated recruitment systems and overly-occupied statistic relationship menus which, after almost 30 hours of gameplay, are still frustrating and unforgiving, should you take them for granted.
Take into account that the game takes place over the course of around 80 hours and you’ve got a serious problem when nearly half of that is spent on a focus that isn’t your own personal enjoyment.
“Night sequences in particular really show off the power of the PS4.”
A saving grace may be found in the game’s design, which is presented as an anime-style 3D world bursting with the neon colour of the city of Tokyo. Night sequences in particular really show off the power of the PS4, which display visuals on-par with those of Infamous Second Son and provide a welcome distraction to those rage-inducing combat sequences.
It’s hard to rate Persona 5 – while it might be a pain to play, it is eventually worth playing. The difficulty curve is unforgivable, but that may be a subjective thought given the game’s context, as opposed to the likes of Dark Souls. Once you’ve mastered the control system, you can focus on the supernatural world of magic and mayhem as you battle against shadows with superpowered versions of yourself.
If you’re going to give it a go, it is worth it, but know that the path through constant rage quitting will eventually turn a satisfying grin.