Persona 5 Review: No Exaggerations, Everything Is Great

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Persona 5
Source: Persona 5 | Launch Trailer | PS4 video

Persona 5 is yet another one of Atlus’ series of games that allow you live a double life of an anime Japanese high school character and a modern day Phantom Thief. The setting sounds absurd but Atlus’ title manages to nail down a grounded school life and a satisfying combat system in its dungeons.  Persona 5 definitely fits in the series as it successfully does its job with the series’ overarching themes while still being its own thing.


Similar to previous entries, Persona 5 still has that balance of regular life and dungeon crawling. You play as a lone high school kid who is falsely accused of assault. Your character’s troubled circumstances land him in Tokyo and eventually tangle him in supernatural events slightly similar to previous Persona entries. General gameplay makes players tend to both the player character’s social life and fighting baddies before a certain deadline.

School and Social Life

Living this character’s life is never boring as there are a ton of things to do in Persona 5. Each time-spending activity like character trait boosting and Confidant interactions don’t feel like chores to do.  Persona 5 even has a retro game console mini-game that got barely touched on as the other activities are more than entertaining enough. 

Dungeon Crawling

Persona 5’s dungeons crawling are separated into two parts: Palaces and Mementos. Palaces are more similar to Persona 4’s dungeons as it’s heavily themed to a key character’s personality. Map design in the Palaces aren’t randomized and handcrafted which allow it to have meaningful imagery more than just themed map design that grows dull over time.

However, Persona 5 also has a randomized dungeon via the Mementos. This dungeon has its floors randomized each time the player visits it. Persona 3’s Tartarus is similar to Mementos where players keep climbing, or in Persona 5’s case, descending, towards its last floor.

Save for a huge part of Mementos, dungeon crawling in Persona 5 is visually appealing to run around in. However,  these areas aren’t safe from the usual RPG grind as you do have a duty to keep your characters at decent levels to avoid getting overwhelmed in latter battles.

Persona 5’s Modern Day Tokyo Is Rad

The first area in Persona 5 is the Yongen-Jaya district of Tokyo where his temporary house-café is located. Progressing through the game will unlock more Tokyo districts and other hangout spots. Fans have confirmed that some areas in Persona 5 are modeled after actual areas from the famous Shibuya crossing to even the public bathhouse in Yongen-Jaya.  However, only a few of these areas are fully explorable but even those barely explorable areas give you a general idea of the place.

Soundtrack Can Make You Ignore Fast Travel And Stay In Dungeons Longer

The Persona series has never failed to deliver a good soundtrack, which encourages fans to either passively or actively waste more time. Persona 5’s music varies from acid jazz in the dungeons and mellow, chilling tunes when spending time out in the city. Sometimes, the soundtrack is actually enough to make you ignore the fast travel feature and walk your way from the classroom to your house. It can even make you forget the grind to level your characters up. The music does get repetitive eventually but it rarely makes the player get annoyed due to it fitting most scenes a lot.


As many reports and reviews say, Persona 5 needs at least 100 hours of gameplay on average to clear its first playthrough. Most of these hours are spent through long stretches of Palace clearing and quick bursts of improving your character’s social life. The main story events and side interactions throughout the journey to Persona 5’s ending makes it less strenuous and interesting to follow.

The only problems in Persona 5’s controls is that its stealth system is difficult to use in tight corridors. Aside from this, there’s no other control problems that’ll hamper a player’s pace heavily.

Full of Personality

Each Confidant has its own unique personality quirks and motivations which make them fun to spend time with. Persona 5 manages to keep them all grounded through their real life problems that the players can relate or empathize with.  Some of the female Confidants can actually be romantically pursued which double downs the socializing experience in this game. However, you do have to consider investing in your Character’s traits like Charm, Knowledge, and Proficiency to continue the Confidant route.

Multiple Playthroughs Needed

Due to the Persona series’ double life balancing gameplay, players will mostly have to sacrifice one aspect of their progression to make the best of it. Players will have to allot the first playthrough to set up things easier for the second playthrough. This has always been the case since Persona 3 as your social life is divided into self-improvement training and spending time with people. The stat checks can be annoying especially if you’ve just started enjoying time with the available Confidants in Persona 5.

Everything is Stylish

Literally, everything in Persona 5 is stylish. Its user interface, heads-up display, management menus, its combat system, its overworld, its dungeons and even the loading screen is stylish. Players will be drowning in style in Persona 5 and that isn’t even an exaggeration.


Overall, Persona 5 is definitely a great game to pick up this 2017. Its attention-catching, stylish visuals and interesting systems make it enjoyable even to non-JRPG players. It’s a great time sink and can definitely make players go back and spend more of their hours. However, its design to get the “true” ending on the first run makes it a time-consuming game among the ranks of Final Fantasy 15, but not as much as The Witcher 3.


  • Stylish Visuals
  • Awesome Soundtrack
  • Literally a lot of things to do


  • Multiple playthroughs needed to reach the “true” ending
  • Can be frustrating for newcomers if not using their time well

Final Score: 9/10

Note: This game was reviewed on a standard PS4. The copy of the game was purchased by the reviewer.

The Bitbag is a contributor for OpenCritic, one of the leading games-only aggregate site in the industry. A pool of other Persona 5 reviews can be seen here.

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