Progress Bar: Persona 5 [40 Hours]

***Warning: Spoilers Ahead!!!***

So I figured since getting a full review of Persona 5 is going to take a long, LOOOOOOOOONG time, it makes sense to update you guys how I’m enjoying the game thus far.

So I’m just past the 40-hour mark and I’ve just recently finished the third Palace and am starting to work on social links again heading into what will definitely be the next Palace very soon as a little bit of foreshadowing has shown us our next party member and has pretty much tipped its hand on what the end villain is, not that they’ve shown the person, but if you’ve been paying attention to the game’s story up until this point, it’s pretty obvious.

The Story

At the current point of the game, I’m a little underwhelmed from the third Palace in comparison to the first two and especially the first one. The game at the start of its story, really turns up the volume on its seriousness. The second Palace doesn’t get too serious until the very end when you learn the true crimes of the subject of said Palace. When it comes to the third Palace however, I didn’t feel any hatred towards this particular villain, in fact I was extremely underwhelmed by it. The dungeon wasn’t that cool or exciting, the villain itself wasn’t very interesting and felt very one-dimensional and there really wasn’t a reason to hate this person in the same way I hated the first two. Perhaps it’s by design, but regardless the third villain is peanuts compared to the first two, so I was disappointed.

The social links continue to become more and more interesting however. I’ve been obsessed with the doctor the most, but the additions of a journalist, a maid with a shocking identity and the newest party member known as “Queen” have really added some new life to the game that for a while was honestly becoming a sausage fest. At this point, I’m far more interested in spending time outside the dungeons than in them, but given that the game is likely about to ramp things up, that won’t last very long.

The Gameplay

I really, REALLY want to say nothing but good things about this game. I still absolutely love the battle system, the dungeon designs, the mechanics, all the new features, life outside the dungeons and in it, I love a lot about this game. But I cannot let this game get away with the sheer insanity of its “difficulty levels”. As I mentioned in my first impressions post, I really don’t like how the game nickels and dimes you for cash and SP, the two things you really need to get by. Am I asking for an easier game? Absolutely not, but I think that Persona 5 maybe goes a little too far in the direction of keeping you from advancing as much as possible in one sitting. It obviously should be a challenge to finish a Palace in one sitting, but it should be because the enemies are difficult, not because you’re completely depleted of items and SP. The previous games had ways to recover HP and SP, not to mention extra money, experience, items, etc, whereas this game has very few treasure chests, which always yield common items and accesories, never weapons, armor and SP recovery items, those are hidden behind lockpick-needed chests and if you’re not spending every night making them, you won’t have that many available.

At this point though, I’m not getting the sense that we’re constantly running into enemies that are cheap, like the Incubus who had a Life Drain attack that always did 30 damage to you, which was a giant chunk of your health and in the first dungeon where your HP is low and you have almost no items, it’s a bit bullshit. Like I said, it’s not necessarily the battles that are the true difficulty of the game, so much as being able to keep yourself equipped for battle is. You really have to make the choice, whether you want a large stack of medicine, or more powerful weapons and better armor. You can’t have both and let’s be honest, spending hours in the first areas of Mementos isn’t exactly a fun way to get money and items either.

In terms of the social links, the only criticism I have is that the maid’s trail is bullshit, because it costs you 5000 yen every time you want to hang out with her. 5000 yen at this point in the game is a massive tax on you, holy freaking hell it will put you beyond bankrupt in a hurry! It sucks because if you want to rank up her social link early in the game, it’s nearly impossible. I’m following a strict “MAX Social Links” guide and I literally had to sell almost everything I had just to make the money to get everything done up until the next dungeon infiltration.

The Verdict So Far

I know I spent the majority of this post criticizing the money situation and the extremely underwhelming third Palace, but I have to tell you that I absolutely love this game and it only continues to get better as it goes along. The newest party member in “Queen” may just be the coolest party member I’ve ever had in a Persona game for one very specific reason and you either immediately know why, or you’ll find out soon enough when you get there. The game has also unexpectedly gotten me more interested in romancing the non-student options in the game, which is extremely unusual, I’ve never leaned towards an older woman in the game as my favourite in comparison to the many students I can choose from.

So the question comes up once again, is Yakuza 0 in danger of being toppled as my Game of the Year thus far? I still say no, Persona 5 is a fantastic game and I am loving every minute of it, but it hasn’t quite hit that point where I want to go absolutely fanboy crazy and talk endlessly about how it’s the best game ever.

My score after 40 hours: 9.5/10

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