Persona 5 Royal: Review

Developer: P-Studio | Publisher:  Atlus USA | Release Date: March 31, 2020 | Genre: JRPG | Reviewed On: PS4 Pro

Review Copy provided for free by Atlus/SEGA of America

2017 was a huge year for games and PS4 games in particular. The year started with Resident Evil 7 and the hits kept coming. One of my favorite games that year was Persona 5 and ever since I finished it I have been itching to play through it again. The problem with that is the game is pretty long and I have so many other games I haven’t even started yet that I decided to move forward instead of going back to it. Then Atlus decided to re-release the game in a special, enhanced edition called Persona 5 Royal and as expected there went my free time. 

Now even though Persona 5 Royal has a ton of new content packed into it at the end of the day we are still talking about Persona 5. Rather than covering the entire experience here, I will just focus on what’s new in this edition but I will keep the whole thing spoiler free and leave some things for you to discover on your own. You can check out our original review of Persona 5 here: Persona 5 Review.

Atlus provided a list of things that are new in Person 5 Royal which includes:

  • French, Italian, Spanish, and German subtitle text. 
  • A brand-new playable character (Kasumi) and with her, a new Confidant. 
  • More story content with a new school semester that has additional endings that develop character arcs further.
  • Showtimes, which are special double-team skills. 
  • Grapping Hook – infiltrate new areas with this new Palace-area feature. 
  • Thieves Den – your very own place to look at awards, or hang out and play cards and darts. 
  • New locations to visit, including Kichijoji and an aquarium.  
  • Upgraded boss fights with new attacks and phases. 
  • Ability to change Mementos through the new character, Jose.
  • New Confidants like Maruki and extended confidant rank-up encounters with Akechi.
  • The ability to gift all Confidants to improve your relationship with them (this was previously limited to female Confidants).  Overall QOL improvements. 
  • Original P5 DLC is bundled with P5R release for the West.

Let’s go over some of the new additions in more detail.

If you have had a chance to play Catherine: Full Body then you will have an idea of what Atlus has done here. Since Persona 5 is a game with a much grander scale than Catherine, even more has been packed into this edition and it is quite impressive. If you have played Persona 5, the differences are apparent from the start. There is a new intro video/song with a revamped Start screen. The game opens like the original where you are in a casino on the run from the law but even this plays out differently and introduces two new things to Persona 5. The first is the grappling hook. As you can probably guess, this tool is used to gain access to new areas and later in the game it can be used to ambush enemies at greater distances. When I first learned that Atlus was adding the grappling hook to the game I was a bit apprehensive. Usually, new tools or features are added to games as gimmicks that become quickly overused. Developers tend to force you to use these gimmicks by creating unnecessary situations where they need to be used repeatedly. Just think of the jetpack in Mass Effect Andromeda or the way the Batmobile was used in Batman Arkham Knight…you know I’m right. Fortunately, this was not the case here. The hook is used so infrequently throughout the course of the adventure that I found myself running around looking for places to use it in case I missed something.

Next, we are introduced to a new Persona user named Kasumi Yoshizawa. We first meet her during the game’s opening sequence but she becomes a regular part of your daily life by becoming a new Confidant. Atlus did a really good job of weaving Kasumi’s story into the greater narrative with all-new sequences and anime cutscenes. While I truly enjoyed her story arc, I am just a little bit disappointed with how much time I actually spent playing with her. Spending time with her lets you earn a very useful ability that allows you to gain the upper hand on enemies if they happen to ambush you. Kasumi may be the only new playable character but not the only new Confidant. That plus an additional school semester, new locations, new cutscenes, music and more add roughly 30-40 hours to the game.

Another new character in Persona 5 Royal is Jose, a small child that is designed to help you on your journey. Aside from daily life and tackling Palaces (the main missions in the game) you will spend a large chunk of time grinding in Mementos. If you’re new to the game, Mementos is a place where you can go to fight enemies and level up outside of the main missions. New to Royal is that there are now flower and star collectibles scattered throughout the many areas you explore. You can then trade flowers over to Jose in exchange for useful items. The stars are used as attribute points to Mementos itself. So you can use them to control how much money, XP and items you collect making leveling up and earning cash much easier as you progress.

Jose also shows up in the all-new Thieves Den which is a customizable space with a lot of content to explore. As you progress through the story you will unlock new items to customize your den. You also unlock videos, music and more that you can check out and Persona fans are going to love it. It’s like the Krypt in Mortal Kombat before they ran out of useful stuff to put in it.

My favorite new feature is the Showtime attack. These are powerful super moves that can be triggered under the right conditions. They are performed by two characters and they can be a very satisfying way to finish a battle or knock some sense into a powerful enemy. You can check out a few of them in the video below but skip it if you want to see them for yourself when you play the game.

When Persona 5 first hit American retail back in 2017 I put in a little over 80 hours into. Persona 5 Royal took me just over 129 hours to finish (seriously go check our Instagram page) with the best ending and I still have not managed to do and see everything there is to offer. That’s what New Game + is for I guess. Persona 5 Royal is everything I want in a JRPG and the additions made it well worth taking the game out for another ride. The great quirky story, beautifully animated graphics, and satisfying combat are the total package and I can’t wait to see what they have in mind for Persona 6. If you missed the game the first time around, this is the perfect opportunity to get into it and I suspect I may have one more playthrough left in me before I prep my soul for the PS5 launch.

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