So I Tried... Persona 5 Royal
Each edition of So I Tried… I will try a game that I have never tried before. Will I find something new to love? Will I find something new to despise? I'll take a full half hour, no matter how bad it gets or how badly I do, to see if this is the game for me. This time I went for the PC version of Persona 5 Royal.
What I thought it was
Before I worked in the videogame industry, I never knew about the Persona franchise. And even when I started seeing it float around, I never really gathered much interest in it — the style, the characters, and the turn-based system was just definitely not up my alley.
For whatever few details I'd gotten to see from screenshots and gameplay, I thought the main character would be something like the masked guy from Sailor Moon, and that the heroes would hide their identity and anonymously try to save the world. Dreamy boys, lighthearted themes, and bizarre worlds are what I always envisioned the game to be like. Now, thanks to a great friend of mine, I've been able to experience the game first-hand!
What it actually is
Persona 5 Royal is definitely not lighthearted — it has themes of abuse of power, sexual abuse, and drug abuse. The main character isn't loud or "dreamy" as I thought he might be — he's just a kid who gets roped into trouble trying to be a good person. Whilst I haven't gotten to meet many characters, those I've found have been great, and I've caught myself chuckling along with the dialogue and situations despite the heavy themes.
The narrative enthralled me, and whilst I didn't have expectations for it — neither good nor bad — I didn't expect it to be so unique and nuanced. I found myself charmed early on, and I can't wait to unravel more of it!
And lastly, the combat is much better than I am used to in turn-based titles! From what I got to play, it's fast-paced, malleable, and fun. I particularly appreciate that the team has agency of their own and can fight without you commanding them (as far as I got to see).
Will I keep playing?
Absolutely! Although the story is quite a behemoth — sitting at a little over 100 hours — it's interesting enough that I have hopes I'll get through it by pacing myself to avoid burnout. Good characters, a memorable story, and fun combat got me hooked on the Persona franchise, and I hope to check the other entries out, too!