The ‘RIGHT’ and ‘NOT QUITE’ about Persona 5


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    Reunite in Seal M

    At this point, you already know that PERSONA 5 IS AN AWESOME GAME! While it may not be for everyone and while the series may have a cult following, the ratings and the accolades that the game has received is undeniable.

    As a fan of the series, I want to take a closer and more focused look into Persona 5. So while we all agree that it is NO DOUBT a great game, let’s explore what P5 gets RIGHT and what aspects of it were just NOT QUITE there yet.

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    RIGHT – Polished Combat

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    Without a doubt, Persona 5 features one of the smoothest and most polished combat experiences the series has to offer. Yes, it still features the Pokemon-style of battle (this is, of course, an oversimplification but it’s as simple as I can put it) where you go for your foes’ elemental weaknesses. In P5, however, various additions have been made to the system just to make fights flow and feel better. Here are some that stood out for me:

    • BATON PASS – Possibly the BEST new mechanic P5 combat has to offer. After downing a foe by hitting a weakness or scoring a critical hit, the Baton Pass Action is made available to you (if it was unlocked for the character via the Confidant System). This makes you GIVE your turn to another character (either the MC or another character that’s already learned Baton Pass). There are 3 benefits to using Baton Pass. First, you get to give your turn to another character that may have an ability that will down the next foe. Second, the character you pass the baton to gets a damage and recovery boost. Lastly, passing the baton to someone else does NOT eat up their spot in the turn order. So even if they’re taking an action, they’ll still take their turn in that round as normal.
    • HOLD UP – This was REALLY good. Not only did this build on the PHANTOM THIEVES Lore but it gave a whole new layer to combat. You could legitimately exploit battles for power (by absorbing them), money, or items. It’s a nice scene where you see everyone pointing their guns at the victim and, story-wise, it just feels RIGHT. Additionally, let me take this time to just say how neat the ALL-OUT ATTACK KILL SCREENS are. Each character has one and I love seeing them.


    RIGHT – The Most Rewarding Social Link System Ever

    This was also a welcome surprise. I’ve been a fan of the Social Link system since I played Persona 3. The usual reward would just be fusion bonuses and extra story for these side characters. This was roughly the same for Persona 4 as well. Now, for Persona 5, it was such a pleasant surprise that the Social Links / Confidants reward you with SO MUCH MORE now! Without spoiling much, I’ll give you a few examples of these highly rewarding Confidants. The Death Confidant gives you access to SP Rejuvenating accessories (If you’ve played Persona before, you KNOW how useful this can be). The Sun Confidant gives you the ability to ask for more money or items during Persona negotiations. The Temperance confidant gives you one of the most valuable commodities in-game – TIME! The confidant will help you perform tasks while letting you do something else in the meantime. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg as almost each confidant gives you really useful rewards in exchange for developing your bond with them.


    RIGHT – Interesting Dungeons

    THIS. I appreciated this change SO VERY MUCH. Back in P3 and P4, the most dungeon areas were simply randomly generated rooms. This meant that if you had to go through like a 30-floor Tower as a dungeon, you can expect that almost 90% of those rooms are all just Randomly Generated rooms. This made the dungeon grind REALLY taxing as there wouldn’t be much variation between floors. Persona 5 fixes this issue. The dungeon floors (except for Mementos) are now set and each features some exploration mechanics that fit the current dungeon you’re in. The Museum, for example, will let you deal with security sensors and will let you enter some paintings as part of your exploration. The Bank will let you deal with locks and PIN codes. It’s a REALLY nice touch and it makes you look forward to the game’s dungeons.


    NOT QUITE – Lacking Romance Interactions

    Persona 5 features a LOT of possible romance options and that’s great! However, it seems as though these love interests are kind of inconsequential. If you’re like most of the P5 players, you would’ve romanced a fellow Phantom Thief. Now, I want you to imagine it – Two Phantom Thieves dating. THAT WOULD BE HUGE! You’d imagine that your fellow thieves wouldn’t shut up about it or that there would be changes in the way you interacted with each other when you’re with friends. Sadly… NOPE. For example, you choose to romance Ann Takamaki. She wouldn’t sit beside you during Team Meetings, doesn’t really change her in-dungeon behavior, NOTHING. It’s almost as if she was ashamed of your relationship. It’s weird. I wish that Atlus is finally able to make these romances matter in the future because currently, it just seems weird and too contained to certain scenes. I would love it if other NPCs would take notice.


    NOT QUITE – Persona Enemies???

    This one was also a bit weird for me. In P3 and P4, you’re used to fighting shadows (they have their own enemy designs etc)… and that makes sense given the games’ entire narrative about shadows etc. However in P5, you seem to be fighting ACTUAL Persona (who are also shadows?) and it’s WEIRD. Why are they there in Palaces? Are Personas shadows now? How does that fit in the narrative of P3 and P4, considering that P5 is in the same universe as those games? As someone who played through P3 and P4, it just didn’t really make much sense to me. (unless I’m missing something).


    That’s it for this short list. Do you have other things you think P5 got RIGHT or were NOT QUITE there yet? Tell us in the comments below! Till next time, everyone. Keep on gaming!



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    Rob Yatco
    Rob Yatco
    Editor-in-Chief of Ungeek - YouTuber, Video Gamer, and Board Gamer by Passion. Freelance Marketer and Strategist by Trade. Enjoys story-based games and pizza... you can never have enough pizza. Mmmm, pizza...


      • I’m aware that they went back to the system of P1 and P2, however, I’m more looking at how it was explained and how it’s following the narrative of P3 and P4. Given that P5 seems to share the same universe as P3 and P4, I’m looking at how this follows the “shadow” narrative and how they fit in with how shadows were presented in both those games.

        All the same, I appreciate the feedback and, in case that I truly am missing the point behind this, I would truly and sincerely welcome any feedback that gives the rhyme and reason why it makes sense.

          • Actually, I initially thought that unique shadow enemies would have been great. 😛
            Awesome thing is though, the people really took their time to explain the lore behind the persona enemies. I have to say that ever since it was pointed out, I have a newfound appreciation for that part of the game 🙂

        • You are just ignoring what Shadows are.

          It’s based on Freud’s and Engels’ work. Shadows are aspects of the personality of people. If you accept and harness it, it becomes a mask for you to wear, a persona. If you do not, it unbalances you and becomes an inner ennemy. A shadow.

          If you also pay attention to that scenario, it takes place in Tokyo and the mementos are filled with shadows… because this is what a city is. A place with the hope and dreams of people, but also their uncouncious twists, fears, anger…

          This is what you fight. And they take the shape of the bestiary of the shin megami tensei series, just like in Persona 1, 2, 3 and 4… because this is what Persona is: A Shin Megami Tensei spin off.

          Also read their despcriptions in the compendium. They are all manifestations of some traits so it make sense to have the same ennemy several time. Anger is still anger.

          Considering the romances, I agree and disagree.
          They could do more and yes their behaviour do not change much.

          But 2 things: This is Japan. People are not as open as in our cultures about that. They are shy, they tend to avoid public display… (besides how awkward would that be to have one laying on your lap during Thieves meetings?).
          Second thing is: THERE IS A CALENDAR in case you haven’t noticed. Interactions are planned for Chritsmas and Valentine’s day as in the previous games. Which means nearly the end when you are not flirting anymore but actually dating and making the step to the first kiss. (Yeah, they can date without kissing, see firts part of the answer: this is Japan).

          What you find “not so” is just a view of a misunderstanding of what Persona is. Of course you could hope for more explicit relations, but you can’t use that point as a point of something being not well done. Same for ennemies. There are less signature persona here because the Thieves deal with the collective fears and anger. It’s not a down point, it’s a coherent thing.

          But if you try to link P3 P4 and P5 in a narrative line, you are mistaken. And will be disapointed. The game isn’t failing you. Your expectations are

          • First of all, I’d like to thank you sincerely for taking the time to write this up and explain it. I’m highly appreciate any explanations to the lore since I DO love the series a lot and it’s great to learn more about how dynamic / deep it actually is from other fans. 🙂 That being said, allow me to address your points:

            – Your explanation on the nature of Shadows: This was actually explained to me by other people in the community and, I have to say, it’s a damn good explanation. Ever since hearing these explanations, I have found a new appreciation to the level of detail they put into the game’s mechanics and story.
            – Your insight on relationships: Hmmm… You make a fair point, however, I’d like to see a bit more in terms of the day-to-day, I guess. Maybe not a full-on kiss or not even like laying on someone’s lap. I just wish it was more acknowledged like make you FEEL you being in a relationship with someone made a difference. How about teammates being suspicious or teasing you? How about random texts at night? or how about them stepping in to give you counsel when during times when a difficult decision needs to be made? That’s all I’m really gunning for. It just feels like the relationship is so out-of-story and just have specific segments (i.e. your argument on the calendar). Can this deep relationship between two people just be encapsulated in special days in the calendar (which are just a few days only)?. You are correct though. This is definitely my opinion on it but that’s also why I feel it was “not quite”. The relationship mechanic is definitely not new in terms of the Persona series so I was hoping that they ramped that up as well. Does it take away from the overall awesomeness of the game? Not really. But is it an aspect they can improve on? IMHO, yes. 🙂
            – Linking the Persona games – That’s the thing though. Wasn’t it established as canon that they DO connect? That’s why I wanna see an overarc of sorts. So that maybe the game cultivates into something MUCH BIGGER that involved everyone from P3-P5. That’s my hope for it, I guess.
            – Suggestion to play P4 Golden: Noted and I’ll definitely try to look into it.

            For whatever it’s worth, I’m glad that you pointed these out. It’s always great to talk about such an awesome game and even learn more about it from others 🙂 cheers!

    1. Maybe you haven’t played, Shin Megami Tensei series, which the persona’s here are enemies and the troublemakers themselves and some of the elements from the recent SMT game, SMT IV Apocalypse is integrated in Persona 5 🙂

      • Actually, you’re right. I’ll admit that I haven’t played the SMT series. 🙂 But I’m just curious how this fits into the narrative of the P3, P4, and P5 given that they seem to be in the same universe. While I know that the old SMT games and P1 and P2 had Personas as enemies, how does that work with P5 given that P3 and P4 has already depicted them as Shadows and gave them “shadow-like” (black goop-ish) forms with masks etc. That’s where I’m at. If you’d have an explanation, I’d definitely love to hear it 🙂

        • In Persona 4, you fought your friends’ Shadows. Once a master conquers their own Shadow, they become Personas. Same principle can be applied here. When you successfully negotiate with the Shadows, they remember who they are and become Personas.

          And the Shadows are depicted as black figures with masks in the Palaces, with appearances varying depending on the Palace owner.

            • Play P4 The Golden. It unlocks a bonus thing in the main menu that explains you about Freud and Engels.


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