Persona 5 is magnificent. It’s glorious. It’s a spectacular game that’s so unique, yet so familiar, and just so wonderful to sink into.
There’s rarely times in games when I stop them, and I still feel the visuals and the music surrounding me. That’s probably only happened 4 times previously in my life: Crazy Taxi (my childhood favorite game), Digital: A Love Story (the only game that has made me cry), Bully (the best parody game of all time), and Earthbound (my favorite game of all time).
I don’t know if it was ever this immediate or visceral before though.
I keep seeing this visual in my head and I just can’t get the aesthetics out of my mind. (THIS is unique. This is the first time this has ever happened to me.)
Persona 5 is the perfect amalgamation of everything I’ve ever loved in video gaming.
As you can tell from my favorites list, 3 of them are JRPGs.
JRPGs are kind of a lost art. I know they still exist with existing older series (like Persona 5!), but it’s hard to get into them as standalone titles. I haven’t played any JRPGs that feel truly modern, truly comparable to a AAA action-adventure until… Persona 5.
The combat system feels very traditional, yet very modern at the same time. It’s comforting, yet novel, and the UI and combat just looks so brilliantly next-generation that I can’t help but love it. Compare that to modern Pokemon games that just look like 3D versions of Pokemon Red and Blue.
I love the PS4 as a console, and getting a JRPG that feels like it’s using it is an immersive JRPG experience like I’ve never had before.
If Persona 5 was just a JRPG, I’d like it, but there’s a few other things that tick boxes for me.
I love modern, urban settings in video games. Fantasy games like Chrono Trigger are fun and all, but I love the worlds in Bully and Earthbound. It feels just out of reach. I adore the hyper-exaggerated, almost parodic take on real life in games like these. It hits me on a level that a fantasy story about a mythical hero with a sword never could.
If Persona 5 was just a modern JRPG that takes place in an urban environment, it’d have the potential to be in my top 3 favorite games of all times.
However, Persona 5 adds one more twist to my story. It reveals one of my hidden favorite things… visual novels. (Digital: A Love Story is a visual novel.)
(I apparently am more into Japanese-style media than I thought I was.)
Visual novels tend to be interactive stories, often in exaggerated urban environments, about relationships, the underbellies of our world, and how our choices matter.
I know that Persona 5 is not a choice-based game like that, but the style in which the story is presented, with the life simulation elements, is straight out of Hatoful Boyfriend and dating sims. I grew up playing dating sims and light visual novels. They’re like my secretly favorite genre of video games. Some are brilliant, some are silly, but I just love stories in video games. I play video games for the stories first, gameplay second. So a style of game that prioritizes stories and relationships first is totally my jam.
Persona 5 is the ultimate compendium of everything I love in video games.
I really haven’t even gotten past the beginning of the game yet, and it’s consumed my existence in a way no game …ever has.
This is also interesting, because it’s one of the rare games that I am playing that I have seen zero gameplay of before. I actually bought the PS4 because of all of the games I saw in Let’s Plays that I wanted to play.
I find it difficult to get engaged in games that I haven’t seen Let’s Played before because I actually find the language of modern video gaming to be fairly difficult still. Open world games are still really difficult for me.
You know what style of game I can understand and progress through without needing to watch a Let’s Play to contextualize it? A JRPG!
I love Persona 5.