When Persona 5 originally released, it was widely considered a near-masterpiece by fans of the JRPG genre. Following the trend of previous game, Persona 5 Royal takes the fantastic base, which you can read our original review for a more thorough analysis, and adds more on top of it. With Persona 5 Royal being the most complete package and offers tons of new content, is it enough to hit masterpiece status or does it take away from an already great game? Here’s our Persona 5 Royal Review.
Persona 5 Royal still retains the same plot of the original release. Fans who have played the game almost three years ago and spent over a hundred hours will find the story content to be identical to the original, but there are a plethora of changes that may warrant a second run-through. For newcomers, Persona 5 follows the story of a high school student known as Joker who is placed on probation due to an assault that he did back in his hometown, which results in his parents sending him away to Tokyo to start a new life in the Yongen-Jaya District. Aside from being a high school student, Joker is also a member of the Phantom Thieves, who infiltrate castles and other areas in a distorted, alternate reality in which players will be saving people. Between going to school and saving people, Joker has to balance out his life in his day to day life in Tokyo.
In Persona 5 Royal, there’s somewhat of an addition to the story but doesn’t really change the overall plot. Instead of just Joker being the playable character, Kasumi joins the band of Phantom Thieves and becomes a playable character. She is immediately introduced at the beginning of the game, but will not be playable until you spend about fifteen to twenty hours to the game. Her appearance in the game adds a little bit of story but it still plays out like it did on the original release. Aside from Kasumi, there’s also another character that is added to the game named Maruki, who happens to be a Psychologist that appears after the events of Kamoshida. With both Kasumi and Maruki added, there will also two Confidants being added to the game that has a worthy story to tell. Every time you level up Kasumi’s Social Link, Joker gets a 5 HP increase while Maruki provides 5 SP.
Raiding Palaces and getting rid of the evil that lurks within is a common chore you will be doing in Persona 5 and in Royal, it’s no different. To add some flair into exploring through the palaces, a grappling hook feature is added. Whenever you find an area that you can use the grappling hook on, definitely consider using it as it will open up new areas that have treasures that contain new items like the Will Seeds, which if you gather three will unlock a special accessory that allows a party member to permanently use a certain skill. In addition, there are now collectibles that you can scour through the Palace, which adds more reason to really take your time and explore every nook and cranny.
Mementos in Persona 5 Royal gets a complete makeover. Instead of simply just exploring the dungeon mindlessly, which I find to be boring in the original, Atlus tweaked the dungeon to make it more fun. Whenever you’re up to explore a Mementos, you will meet a new character named Jose that will give you the task of picking up flowers and collecting stamps as you explore the dungeon. The flowers within the memento dungeon are the temporary currency that disappears when you leave but can be exchanged for consumables when you talk to Jose. As with the Stamps, if you can collect enough and approach Jose, he will trade you the alter the dungeons in a way of increasing items, the amount of money or experience at that specific dungeon. So if you are in need to farm for items, money or experience, you now have an area to do it.
Another big feature being added in Persona 5 Royal is the addition of Thieves Den. Think of the Den as your hangout spot where you can watch the animated cutscenes you have unlocked, play cards with your fellow members of the Phantom Thieves, use the P Medals you collected from winning the Tycoon game to purchase artwork, listen to soundtracks, decorate it to your heart’s content and view trophies. The more progress you make in the game, the more things you can unlock in your Thieves Den.
For players who are up to challenge, there’s also a challenge mode portion within the Velvet Room that Justine and her twin offers to you. Tasking you with several chores like killing certain monsters, you net with rewards after doing what they ask you to do. It certainly adds things that you can do whenever you get bored from playing through the story. Additionally, there’s a new area that you can visit in Tokyo with your confidants that further adds flair to the game which is Kichijoji, a jazz club where you can spend time with your confidants.
Those who have spent over a hundred hours with the original release, there is more added content in Royal as there’s a new semester being added and a new Palace. Without spoiling too much about the story, the addition of Kasumi and Maruki in Persona 5 Royal correlates to the new semester and the new palace being added, thus fans can look forward to a new ending.
As far as visuals go, Persona 5 Royal looks a lot crisper compared to the original. The game retains its original art style but for some reason, the colors and the character models look a lot cleaner. For those who have a PS4 Pro, there’s a 4K option you can toggle for a much cleaner playthrough. For its soundtrack, new tracks can be heard, while new voice-overs are added to new scenes of the game.
Persona 5 Royal Review – Verdict
Persona 5 Royal takes the original to the next level. Between a robust story, tons of content and plenty of character development, there is more than enough content to keep you busy. Returning fans might not see a ton of differences, but the quality of life changes and enhancements will make it interesting enough to warrant a revisit. However, newcomers have no reason to not buy since it’s the definitive version that is worth every penny.
[Editor’s Note: Persona 5 Royal was reviewed on the PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]