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    Persona 5 Royal: The heart thieves are back, and they are more beautiful than ever!

    Who I am
    Philippe Gloaguen
    @philippegloaguen

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    “I am you, you are me”. If we had to choose a small aphorism, a quote, to try to describe what it feels like once you hold a pad to carry on the adventures of Ren Amamiya and all the other splendid protagonists of 5 personin all likelihood, our choice would quickly fall back on the sentence quoted above. In fact, it manages to almost perfectly describe that sense of empathy and total immersion that you can breathe deeply from the first to the last moment and in every single corner of one of the most incredible works of the recent past of an increasingly rich videogame medium. from a thematic point of view and general inspiration.



    Persona 5, JRPG with a strong pop inspiration both in aesthetics and in the lexical exploration of mature and tremendously current themes, was a bit of the summa cum laude of Atlus's work, which over the years he has been able to perfect, from chapter to chapter, a playful formula that is increasingly focused, fascinating and never banal. The hundreds and hundreds of hours spent in the company of the splendid protagonists of the work have seen us engaged in the fight against the injustices, abuses and abuses of an increasingly sick and perverse society, in which no one (or almost) shows himself for what actually it is. After all, the search for the true self of people, hidden behind masks that are too thin to be able to hide what is behind it is one of the fundamental themes of the whole work, which he left to the player, once he completed his own mission, a feeling of satisfaction that is difficult even to carry out.

    For this reason, the arrival on the market of the new version of the title of Atlus, redefined Person 5 Royal, generated in the mind and subconscious of the players a double sensation made up of two diametrically opposed thoughts but both very difficult to ignore. On the one hand we find a question as simple as it is complex: is it possible to improve a game that is already practically perfect? While on the other hand, in any case, it is clear how much the possibility of returning to school at Shujin Academy was in itself a more than valid reason to start rubbing your hands. The ultimate aim of this examination, however, refers in particular to the first of the two questions posed previously: was it possible to improve even more a product that was almost flawless? The answer is yes, and we want to explain why!



    New year, old life?

    Anyone who knows Atlus and its dedication to work will know well that trusting the company is not such a bold move and, as happened with Persona 3 and Persona 4 with their "revised and corrected" versions, Persona 5 Royal also hits the spot. full the very difficult goal: to improve the "basic" version of the game from practically every point of view.

    This new edition of one of the most loved and appreciated JRPG of recent years, and probably ever, asserts itself and amazes with class, naturalness, style, thus strongly tracing those that are the most iconic traits of a product designed and carried forward with an enviable expertise, and it does so from the beginning, from the very first scraps of the game, which immediately give us the idea of ​​how Atlus was able to work on his creature to make it even more perfect, almost unreal. Starting the game, in fact, the player practically immediately realizes how much the narrative plot of the game has been not only merely expanded with new contents, which is not necessarily a titanic work, but, incredibly, how much it has been completely revised and molded from scratch to give the new generation a precise meaning within the thematic structure of the title.

    Let me be clear, the basic plot always remains the same, and this is certainly not a defect, but it is perfectly repackaged to give the new introductions that narrative coherence necessary for a product like this to establish itself more strongly as, once again, one of the reference points for the genre. Worn again in the role of the unfortunate Ren Amamiya (we decided to call our avatar using the "conventional" name given to him by Atlus for print and television works), we immediately felt at home, dragging ourselves back into an incredibly raw, adult story , but narrated with that unique air that only the software house in question can donate to their works.



    For those unfamiliar 5 person and its themes (bad, very bad), the gist of the story is almost this: the protagonist, a young man substantially shy but pervaded by a great sense of justice, finds himself involved in a bad story that costs him a conviction for aggression and , consequently, the expulsion from school as well as the appellation of a violent person, ruthless and capable of doing anything. We do not want to spoil the surprise in discovering (actually right away) how all this is not true, since the protagonist himself has actually fallen victim to what is a terrifyingly corrupt society to the bone, which does not care for the weakest. and that, indeed, seems to be more and more on the side of the strongest and increasingly heedless of them. Precisely the fight against injustices and abuses and the emergence as bulwarks of the class are the cornerstones of the story that slowly sinks its roots into a paranormal and superhuman dimension with which the protagonist himself is forced to come into contact from the very first bars.

    The corrupt world in which he lives is a bit of a mask of what really hides behind every person and every situation, things that manifest themselves inexorably and in all their ruthlessness within the Metaverse, a cognitive world invisible to many, which actually represents the manifestation of the perverse desires of human beings. The more powerful the individual and the distorted dream of him, the greater his impact on the Metaverse, so much so as to generate an exclusive dimension fully molded on his sensations, creating what are known as Palaces.

    New additions, old fashioned

    The journey of our young hero, therefore, despite the fact that on his path he has found and will find many fundamental allies and above all new friends, is anything but simple but perfectly coherent on a narrative level. For this reason, we wondered how Atlus could have embellished everything without going to somehow distort the original work, but luckily we were proved wrong after a few minutes. The new additions, in fact, have been perfectly molded within the mammoth work and are, needless to say, implemented ad hoc within what is a real triumph of writing.



    Persona 5 Royal will steal your… heart!

    Clearly, at a narrative level the most complicated node was that linked to the introduction of the new characters, on which the new addition to the Phantom Thieves party stands out (the iconic nickname that the young and reckless heroes have attributed to themselves): the young and gorgeous Kasumi Yoshizawa. The main new addition to the cast caused us many worries precisely because of the perfect cohesion between the various members of the original party, and we wondered how she could fit into such a perfect context and above all with how much coherence and consistency. credibility. Needless to say, it took us a few minutes to understand how much Atlus was able to perfectly introduce the new “thief” into the story, creating a credible, layered and above all focused thematic structure for the beautiful red-haired girl. Also a new student of Shujin high school, Kasumi will never give us the feeling of being a posthumously added piece, but on the contrary, she is probably one of the best characterized and most intriguing characters of the whole package.

    Atlus, however, has certainly not limited itself to introducing "only" Kasumi, but has also introduced two other characters, certainly less striking and relevant than the beautiful thief but at the same time of undeniable relevance within the new edition. We are talking about little José and Doctor Takuto Maruki, respectively a new formidable "ally" within the complex dungeons that the game allows us to explore and a new, very important, confidant. In the first case we are faced with a strange vendor who mysteriously wanders around the Memento and who asks us for particular objects to collect which, once carried in his hands, allow us to access a catalog of very useful objects for the exploration, such as the vital consumables for SP restoration and much more.

    The new additions are perfectly in tune with the "base" game

    Similar speech for the new confident: Maruki is a psychologist called to safeguard the well-being of students after the dramatic events that occurred in the Shujin Academy and on a narrative level he is perfectly inserted in the context of the titanic work of Atlus, but not only. On a strictly playful level, his engagement is fundamental because, as for Josè, the skills unlocked by strengthening his bond with the protagonist have a key role within what is the gameplay itself, in particular as regards the exploration and fighting.

    The news, however, certainly does not stop there: Atlus has introduced (but be careful, to unlock it you must necessarily meet a specific requirement) a whole new quarter, set, in other words, after the "canonical" ending of the base game. In short, although it may be seen as a simple edition including a full-bodied DLC by most, Persona 5 Royal is actually much more, and this is revealed not only on a thematic level, but also pad in hand, with a playful formula underpinned. properly and even richer than in the past.

    Hunting for hearts!

    The grafts made by Atlus on the gameplay front are, once again, multiple, albeit never revolutionary, and contribute to the creation of a perfected product from practically every point of view. As we said previously, the mission of the Phantom Thieves is very clear: to "steal" the hearts of the bad guys, both the most influential ones and therefore with their own palace and those of the smaller fish scattered along the various levels of the Metaverse (whose structure remains more and more interesting due to its procedural nature), it is necessary to access the cognitive world of which "normal" human beings are unaware and thus enter a hostile and weather-rich place.

    The refinements made to the gameplay work great

    Fortunately for our heroes (and ours), in this fight against the so-called Shadows, which are usually the transposition of weak and insecure personalities in some way linked to the Metaverse and to the Palaces in general (and to their masters), we are not alone. To our rescue come the inevitable Personae, all very different from each other and in possession of abilities, elemental and otherwise, always different and very useful for knocking out enemies. The game structure of the title embraces in all respects the dogmas of Japanese role-playing games, with a turn-based fighting style that perfectly combines action, strategy and planning, in a triumph that is not only aesthetic but also and above all sensory. .

    Carrying on the clashes, but also proceeding inside the very complicated dungeons, is anything but simple, in any case, and the developers have thought to slightly meet the players with a series of very interesting and very interesting tweaks to the main formula. above all functional. The addition of the very comfortable Grapple certainly stands out above all, which allows freedom of action and a decidedly greater verticality than the original work. Let me be clear, this feature has been implemented in a conservative way and does not upset the starting balance, since the Grapple itself cannot be used at will but only in some very specific cases.

    To streamline the progression in general, we also think about the revisitation of firearms, now much more useful and less accessory than in the past. Unlike before, in fact, that ammunition reloaded once exiting a dungeon, here they reload after each battle, thus making it a valid addition to your arsenal in battle. Let's be clear, firearms will never really be decisive, but using them can certainly make some steps less frustrating and certainly faster.

    The disaster is among us

    One of the most interesting additions certainly concerns, as mentioned above, the character of José. The funny and wacky mysterious child is a very important vendor and will allow us to access truly important objects if we decide to devote ourselves to his requests.

    Among all, clearly, the consumable items useful for restoring SP stand out, whose bar is one of the most important elements to keep an eye on during any type of activity in the Metaverse. Running out of SP is one of the plagues that has most plagued every type of player, and this expedient is certainly one of the most interesting additions. However, it must be said that little José not only sells these consumables, but also has numerous other objects of a different nature at his disposal, which directly concern another addition made by Atlus to the basic formula: the Covo dei Thieves. This structure is a real altar of the Phantom Thieves, freely customizable thanks to the little ally.

    If the introduction of the Den of thieves is still an aesthetic and stylistic choice, to be decidedly more intriguing are the additions on the front of the fight itself, in particular those concerning the Challenge Battles and the Shadows Disguise. The former are available in the Velvet Room and are a great way to perfect your fighting style and skills. Each of these missions, of increasing difficulty, give the player interesting rewards of a more substantial nature based on the results obtained in battle.

    Persona 5 Royal tells an increasingly beautiful story

    And just returning to the subject of the battles, it is necessary to point out another small and decidedly functional addition. In the bestiary, also partially revised and made in some ways more "intelligent" in some situations, the Shadows of Disaster are also introduced. These enemies are very particular, both on the aesthetic front and on the gameplay front, and represent an innovation that is certainly not revolutionary but very welcome. Shadows Ombre are characterized by a different color and by the fact that they will not attack you. Yes, you got it right: these enemies will only react to your blows, causing however, in many cases, considerable damage. Once defeated, the latter explode onto the battlefield, injuring the surrounding Shadows, thus becoming a useful tool for solving the most complicated battles while minimizing effort.

    Is a Confidant Forever?

    One of the most evident strengths of the title and in general of the playful formula coined by Atlus, in "force" starting from the third installment of the series, is certainly that hybrid nature halfway between the classic Japanese role-playing game and that strong and present desire to trace and inherit the style of a real life simulator.

    Persona 5 Royal, so and perhaps more than its predecessor, is a title that is strongly based precisely on the management of the protagonist's real life, the real needle of the balance of a personal, intimate growth, completely entrusted to the will of the player. While remaining the main objective and certainly the most exciting and frenetic part of the game, infiltrating the Palaces or the Memento, in search of "treasures" to steal to purify the soul of the most corrupt people, is by no means the only activity present. in the game, indeed. Like a good real-life simulator, Persona 5 puts in the hands of those who sit on the other side of the screen a wide choice of activities to complete, which directly influence the development and the personality of good old Ren himself.

    During the hours spent in the new city, in fact, the protagonist can devote himself freely (or almost, with some temporal restrictions) to a long list of completely ordinary activities, such as going to the library to study, playing darts, cleaning the room. of Mr. Leblanc or watching a DVD movie, thus giving the game a strong emotional charge if you like. Furthermore, these activities are not ends in themselves, on the contrary, since every time you decide to dedicate time to one or the other, they contribute to increasing, based on the type of activity itself, one of the five statistics of the character: knowledge, charm, kindness, skill and courage. Carrying out these statistics, needless to say, is essential to develop the interpersonal relationships of our alter ego who, gradually, can get in tune and intimacy with the characters that swarm the streets of the colorful world created by Atlus.

    Freedom (of action) is everything

    Based on our level of kindness or charm, for example, it is possible to increase our relationship with one of the various "Confidants", and this has serious repercussions even on the most "physical" part of the game, namely the fights. Developing a Confidant in fact enhances several skills and adds new ones, all in some way very useful for progression within the very dangerous dungeons. But not only that: having a more or less high level of one of these statistics can lead to the foreclosure or the release of new lines of dialogue with all the characters and, therefore, our advice is to try to bring them all as far as possible. , so as not to miss any passage of the work. In the "old" Persona 5 this was very complex and required very careful planning, which returns, but with some simplification, within this Royal edition. After having explored the Memento or a Palace, it is now possible to have the evening free to devote to activities such as studying or cleaning the room or creating the Inflation Tools, all activities that enhance one of the statistics and make our Ren much more prepared and ready for any eventuality.

    It must also be said that in the Royal version new Confidants have been introduced, including, as we said previously, the psychologist Maruki but also a new area, which, by visiting it, becomes the scene of new activities very useful to enhance the combined skills of the various protagonists. such as the Relay, to which it is now possible to donate extra bonuses based on the upgrade level of the latter.

    To see and hear is the usual sensory epiphany!

    On the technical and artistic front, honestly, Persona 5 was probably a product at times perfect, unattainable, almost without smudges. While having to point out the "poor" nature of some secondary elements, especially referring to the less important characters and the structures of the Memento, excessively recycled and uninspired, it is clear how artistically the title of Atlus is a real joy for the eyes.

    The anime style that pervades the title is sublime and the characterization of the enemies, but also of the allies and the Bosses and their Palaces is in most cases almost perfect, accompanied by a reliable technical sector. For this reason, from this point of view, we did not expect great revolutions and instead Atlus was able to surprise us once again. The choice to use the polygonal models seen in Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight has been able to give a decidedly sweeter and more graceful look than the characters' features, immersed in a world now even more alive and clear thanks to the support for 4K resolution on PlayStation 4 Pro , which makes it all the more incredible to see.

    However, the real, great work was once again done on the sound sector, which is confirmed as one of the most impressive and enviable strengths of Atlus's work. The soundtrack created by master Shoji Meguro, already amazing in itself, is enriched with new songs that integrate perfectly with the artistic and thematic style of the production and above all expand a baggage that was already overflowing with quality and inspiration.

    Very similar speech as regards the dubbing which is confirmed, especially the original one in Japanese, one of the strongest points of the production. In fact, in the cast we find artists from very famous Japanese anime such as Tomokazu Sugita (Charlotte Katakuri in ONE PIECE), Nana Mizuki (Hinata Hyuga in Naruto), Haruka Tomatsu (Asuna Yuuki in Sword Art Online), Mamoru Miyano (Light Yagami in Death Notes) or Sora Amamiya (the beautiful Touka of Tokyo Ghoul), just to name a few.

    The only thing that has not fully convinced us is the Italian translation of the title. Although clearly complex given the titanic amount of content, some translations seemed to us to be truly on the verge of the unpresentable (“your Person”?) And in general we have seen more than one decidedly avoidable smudge. However, it remains more than acceptable overall, but we are sure that all those who will approach the title for the first time thanks to the Italian localization would have deserved a little more.

    USEFUL INFO

    I have (re) played Persona 5 Royal on my PlayStation 4 Pro connected to a 4 "10K HDR 43 TV. I selected the Normal difficulty level for obvious timing reasons.

    Duration
    • To best complete the main plot without dedicating yourself to completeness, it can take up to a hundred hours. All this could easily double to devote himself to the coveted Platinum Trophy.
    Structure
    • Turn-based combat, stats to upgrade and a rank of its own for each Confidant. Of things to do, both weapons in hand and in the real world, you will really have a lot!
    Collectibles and Extras
    • Lots of trophies, some really tough to unlock. In fact, it is a fairly laborious Platinum.
    Game Card
    • Game Name: 5 person
    • Release date: April 4 2017
    • Platforms: PlayStation 4
    • Dubbing language: English - Japanese
    • Texts language: English

    Persona 5 was one of the best games of the console generation slowly coming to an end, and in this version Royal manages, incredibly, to be better from practically every point of view. A new quarter, new characters and a new party member, splendid to look at and perfectly set in the complex framework created by Atlus, are only the most striking examples of an amazing, almost unthinkable work with which the software house has been able to push even further. plus its pearl towards the videogame Olympus.

    The many tricks on the playful front, then, are the icing on the cake of a perfect edition both for veterans of the series and for those who, thanks also to the Italian translation (not always very precise, attention), approaches that for the first time which is, in our humble opinion, probably the best Japanese RPG of recent times and in general one of the highest points reached by the gaming industry for many years now.

    One of the songs goes like this: “why does nobody won't change?”. And you? What are you waiting for? Let's run together to change the world: after all, as good old Igor would say, it really needs it.

    Review by Salvatore Cardone
    Graphics

    Graphically it is the usual sensory riot, softened by 4K graphics and a renewed design of the polygonal models of the characters.

    94
    SOUNDTRACK AND DOUBLE ROOM

    Usual, amazing, soundtrack, expanded with new unreleased songs of the highest level. The Japanese dubbing is excellent, the English one is good.

    97
    GAMEPLAY

    The basic play formula, already almost perfect in itself, has been embellished with small additions that are very useful to make the progression faster and less frustrating.

    95
    Total Rating scale
    96
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