If you missed out on Persona 5 the first time around, it mixes striking visuals, bizarre dungeon exploration, occult themes, teenage hangouts, and a high-school social simulation into about as strange and stylish a blend as you can imagine. You play the down-and-out, misunderstood juvenile delinquent known by the Phantom Thief name Joker, drawn by a series of unlikely events into the Metaverse, a fantastical world between dreams and reality.
Dubbing their Metaverse alter egos the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, Joker and his pals swear to challenge and change their corrupt society by donning masked disguises and delving into the hearts of Tokyo’s criminals, represented by dream-like “Palaces” containing aspects of the criminals’ twisted psyches, to change them for the better. Or at least make them confess their crimes in dramatic anime fashion.
That’s enough to keep any would-be hero busy, but in Persona 5 Royal the Phantom Thieves must juggle their nighttime exploits with attending school, building relationships, and hangin’ out around Tokyo, including in a brand-new entertainment district called Kichijōji. This latest installment looks to really flesh out these parts of the game, with new characters, new Confidants (folks you can build relationships with to unlock new battle abilities), new music, and, perhaps the biggest addition, even a whole new semester of school life, leading to a variety of possible new endings.
(And if you’re a veteran of P5, you’ll be relieved to hear Persona 5 Royal gives you a lot more time to partake in all of the above activities, lessening the time crunch that made the first game feel a little too busy at times.)
The Palaces got some love too. The Phantom Thieves now have a fancy new grappling hook that lets them access new shortcuts and treasure-filled areas, and an entirely new Palace will introduce you to yet another no-good lowlife who could really stand to experience some vigilante justice of the heart. So to speak.
Oh, and speaking of the Thieves, prepare to welcome new face Kasumi Yoshizawa to the team. This mysterious girl is a skilled gymnast but there might be something… strange lurking in her past. Hmm. Heck of a fighter in the Metaverse, though. In fact, all the Thieves are a little stronger in battle now, with new, third-tier transformations for their Personas (personal demons, of a sort) and new duo attacks called Showtimes, which let them pair up with another party member to demolish Metaverse foes in spectacular fashion.
Rounding out Persona 5 Royal is the inclusion of all the original P5 DLC, along with a new “Thieves Den” you can access anytime to check out any media you’ve collected during your exploits.
Simply put: One of the most popular JRPGs on the PlayStation 4 is about to get polished to a sparkling sheen, making Persona 5 Royal. You can join the Phantom Thieves come March 31st, when Persona 5 Royal makes its undoubtedly stylish debut.
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