Persona 5 Royal (PS5) Review

Take your Heart… On PS5!
Persona 5 Royal Header

Persona 5 launched quite a while back in 2016 and, to be quite honest, there’s still not a lot like it out there in the gaming world. Persona 5 oozed style and substance, and the compelling story, excellent cast of characters, and fantastic soundtrack are still a real tour de force in the gaming world. From October 2022, PlayStation 5 (and Xbox Series) users can finally play the enhanced version of Persona 5 in the form of Persona 5 Royal.

So, if you’re a PlayStation 5 owner and somehow missed out on Persona 5 during its heyday in 2016, now’s the perfect chance to dive right into one of the greatest JRPGs to grace modern consoles.

Phantom Thieves

From the first moment you experience Persona 5 Royal’s intro and take in the user interface, you’ll notice that the game has an incredibly unique visual style. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that the user interface in Persona 5 is one of the best we’ve ever seen in video games and it definitely inspired titles that came out after its release. The developers really outdid themselves here. The rest of the visuals are on par too – but we’ll get to that in a bit.

The story of Persona 5 follows a silent protagonist as he lives out a year attending Shujin Academy, a high school in Tokyo. Shortly after arriving, he and a few other students awaken their Persona powers and take the fight to corrupted adults as a group of vigilantes called Phantom Thieves of Hearts. They do this by entering supernatural realms called “Palaces” and stealing the ill desires from the hearts of the affected adults.

The story in the game is flat-out awesome and the characters, both your party members and significant NPCs you encounter are great too. They’re deep with interesting backstories and a lot of the time, they’re just downright entertaining with their reactions to situations and banter. The narrative will have you engaged throughout your time with the game and it’s always cool to see how each target’s Palace is presented based on the manifestation of their desires.

Turn-based battling

Persona 5 Royal makes use of a complex and engaging turn-based battle system with players able to use melee, firearms and magic. This allows for greater flexibility in battles and adds a lot of variation. Collecting “Personas” as you progress through Palaces is also a must, as each Persona has its own set of skills, strengths and weaknesses. Strategy comes into focus here since you’ll have to learn which one to use and when if you are to survive the more hectic battles. Combining your various Persona also acts as a fun way to become stronger while also giving you a larger variety of skills to use when in combat.

When visiting the various Palaces during the game, you’ll find that each is incredibly different from the last. Not just in terms of aesthetics, but also with the type of puzzles you might encounter. This keeps the experience quite fresh, and saves you from having to look at the same dungeon walls and solve almost identical puzzles all the way through – a problem with so many other JRPGs.

The game isn’t just about crawling through Palaces, however, as you’ll still need to attend school during the day. There are loads of other activities too including reading, studying, practicing at the batting cages, going to see a movie or hanging out with one of your confidants. If you’ve played previous Persona games, think of the “Social Links” and it will all seem familiar to you.

Managing each day isn’t always as simple as it seems. You’ll have to plan your activities wisely in Persona 5 Royal as between school and visits to the Palaces, you only have a certain amount of time to take part in other activities, so time management is a big aspect of the game. It also gives your choice of activity a certain degree of weight as you may be passing up the chance to increase one of your 5 skills or strengthen the bond with one of your confidants, which would make them more effective in a fight.

Speaking of confidants, some of the confidant’s stories are actually just as interesting as the game’s main plot, which makes the ability to miss some of them somewhat disappointing. This does, however, make the prospect of heading into New Game Plus mode incredibly exciting. Completionists will definitely want to experience everything and diving into New Game Plus mode is necessary to do this.

Circling back to the graphics and visuals, Persona 5 Royal is literally dripping with style. The way everything is presented; from the main menu, to the conversations and battle screen, make it a pleasure to look at from start to finish. Even the tiniest details, such as ambushing an enemy, have a noticeable style to them. Aside from the artistic style and design choices, the game also looks beautiful and runs smoothly on the PS5 at 4K/60 with zero hiccups even during intense battles. Additionally, the boss and Palace designs are excellent!

Persona 5 Royal’s audio is just as brilliant as its visuals. The voice acting is top notch and the soundtrack is filled with catchy tunes. The game features an acid-jazz soundtrack and, while it may not be to everyone’s tastes, it certainly adds a lot of heart to the game. The voice acting, both in English and Japanese, is performed by an all-star cast of well-known voice actors who have years of experience in their field of expertise and they really do bring the characters in the game to life.

Persona 5 Royal features additional content – over 40 previous DLC – that wasn’t included in the base Persona 5 game. This content, therefore, makes it, a “Definitive Edition” of sorts and the title newcomers should also pick up. If you’ve already played Persona 5 back on PlayStation 4 in 2016 but want to experience the additional story content, it’s also highly recommended that you pick up Persona 5 Royal and start from scratch. It’s been long enough that the game will feel familiar but fresh thanks to the story content added to the game. The two new characters that Persona 5 Royal introduce also have great stories and the sheer amount of content that the game has will have you busy for dozens of hours.

If, however, you already own Persona 5 Royal on PS4, you might feel a bit disappointed that the PS5 version of the game wasn’t a free upgrade nor is there a paid upgrade path. You can’t even transfer over an old save file either. This was a missed opportunity and one that would certainly annoy fans.

Final Verdict

Persona 5 Royal on PS5 is one extremely compelling package. The enjoyable storytelling, the stellar visuals, the soundtrack, quality voice acting, and the addictive turn-based gameplay means that there’s never a dull moment to be had. The addition of new content and characters makes this the truly definitive edition of Persona 5 too. If you’re a fan of JRPG video games, this will definitely appeal to you and we highly recommend it.

A review code for Persona 5 Royal was provided to gameblur by the publisher.

Persona 5 Royal (PS5) Review

Persona 5 Royal (PS5) Review
9 10 0 1
9/10
Total Score
  • Story
    9/10 Amazing
  • Gameplay
    9/10 Amazing
  • Visuals
    10/10 The Best
  • Audio
    9/10 Amazing

The Good

  • Persona 5 Royal is finally on PlayStation 5!
  • Smooth 4K 60 FPS gameplay
  • Great visual style

The Bad

  • No upgrade path for PS4 owners of Persona 5 Royal
  • No save transfer for PS4 owners of Persona 5 Royal
Total
7
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