Do you like anime? How about Final Fantasy games? Do you enjoy dark, supernatural mysteries? If you answered “Yes!” to any or all of these, then you will definitely enjoy Persona 5.
The Persona games stem from the Shin Megami Tensei franchise. In these turn-based RPGs, the protagonist gets wrapped up in some kind of murder mystery involving shadows from another realm. These “shadows” turn into twisted monsters that the player must battle through a series of dungeons. But that’s only half the game. Persona incorporates a social aspect that’s just as important as fighting monsters. During the time when you’re not clearing dungeons, you’re building relationships with your party members and other NPCs. Building these connections strengthen the protagonist’s power to create and use “personas,” magical beings with powerful skills.
Persona 4 came out back in 2008 to great critical and fan acclaim, and we’ve been looking forward to Persona 5 ever since. Developer Atlus released a new trailer the other day and announced the game will finally be released in Japan this September. Originally it was supposed to be on the PlayStation 3, but Atlus since announced an additional PlayStation 4 version. The North American release hasn’t been announced yet, but it can’t be too far off. Some are saying it will hit shelves in 2016, but I’m skeptical. Perhaps Atlus will give us something official at E3.
It will be a while before an official dubbed trailer is released, but for now, there is a fansubbed version on YouTube. It doesn’t tell you much abut the story except that the party is a band of thieves who are getting deep into some kind of mystery. However, the visuals look amazing! Very stylish and action-oriented, just as we all would hope from a modern Persona title.
As for the plot, here’s what we know so far: the 16 year-old protagonist, who you name yourself, is the new transfer student at Shujin High School in Tokyo (a typical start to any Persona game). He befriends three students Ryuji, Ann, and Yusuke as well as a talking cat creature named Morgana. If you’re having flashbacks to Persona 4, it’s for good reason. It’s pretty much the same formula. The group discovers a strange world called Palace that resides in corrupted hearts. And of course, the game wouldn’t be complete without some kind of super powerful evil behind it all.
The Protagonist is also known as “The Phantom Thief” and “Joker.” He pretends to be weak and passive, but that’s only to hide his trickster secret identity as “The Phantom.” His first persona is Arsène, allegedly named for fictional master thief Arsène Lupin. Ryuji appears to be a delinquent with his bleached hair and gruff attitude. His persona is Captain Kidd, based on the infamous Scottish pirate. Ann Takamaki is a withdrawn girl from overseas whose Persona is based on the fictional gypsy seductress Carmen. Ann uses whips and machine guns for weapons, so she may already be my favorite. Yusuke Kitagawa is an artist obsessed with thieves. His persona is Ishikawa Goemon, a famous ninja version of Robin Hood. Morgana, the cat critter, seems to be the Teddie of Persona 5. Her persona is Zorro with a rapier and a cape.
There is another student named Futaba Sakura. Not much is known about her, but her Persona is named Necronomicon, and I have a sneaking suspicious she may be the team’s support monitor. In the Velvet Room this time around are a pair of mirror image twins, Justine and Caroline, dressed as prison guards. And of course everyone’s favorite card master Igor will be around.
The party members can summon their own personal Personas to assist them in battle, but the protagonist has the special ability to equip and swap between multiple Personas. Persona 5 will be fairly similar to its predecessors in gameplay, but will also incorporate the element of jumping and taking cover. Battles will remain turn-based, but this time around, all party members will have both melee and ranged weapons.
Some exciting news came with the trailer and release date news. Atlus is also developing a complimentary anime series titled Persona 5: The Day Breakers. The anime will feature the same characters and basic story, but will actually be released before the game’s launch. Personally, I intend to avoid it until after I play the game because I don’t want any spoilers.
The new game marks the 20th anniversary of the Persona franchise, so we’re expecting to see a few more goodies such as special editions, soundtracks, and maybe even some figures and other collectibles.
Are you a Persona fan? Tell us what you love about the games in the comments!
Image credits: Atlus