The Persona series is one of my favorite series of all time. Yeah, that sounds a little exaggerated, but these games are awesome. They know what to do, they know how to do it, and they know how to deliver it in an interesting fashion.
Here, we go over some reasons to excited about the upcoming Persona 5 game and play the heck out of it.
I am not one to sell myself over aesthetics, but the design here is out of this world. Everything is incredibly well delivered. You usually don’t expect that something as secondary as the menu screen can take just this much attention and effort from a developer. Frankly, from what I have seen, these are the best designed menus in any game so far.
Just look at that – so stylish, so flashy, so in tune with the overall design of the game, and yet so straightforward. This right here, is an accomplishment of its own. And from what I see, the whole aesthetic, as with most Persona games since 2, work as a whole delivering a message. What I am trying to say is that the choice in design is not there just to look pretty- it also has a reason. To know exactly why, I’ll just have to wait and play the game. Just know the team that developed the game does not make decisions lightly.
This is another aspect in which the Persona series shines. Every game so far seems to create sound around a topic. For example, Persona’s 4 soundtrack was J-pop combined with high pitched tones that exuded upbeat feelings and ultimately tried to define friendship or some kind of good at the end of the tunnel. This of course, delivered the message of the game and the series as a whole.
Persona 5’s soundtrack seems to also play with that theme, but it is more aggressive. It kind of delivers a go-getter atmosphere to the overall experience, like it is trying to get you up from the couch and really do some changes. I know this sounds like a stretch, but overcoming oneself has always been the Persona series theme, and this one seems to be more aggressive about it.
Listen to this.
Persona 5 Opening w/ Lyrics
It is a lot more decisive in its message. It is really going out to hit home; to clean perhaps the rubble that was before in the series in the form of metaphors and literary figures, and just come straight out and say what it is about.
Life Will Change [With Lyrics] – Persona 5
In the overall soundtrack, I’ve also heard a lot of orchestrated arrangements, which are always a great news in any game. But here, they seem to blend perfectly with the whole package.
Last Surprise [With Lyrics] – Persona 5
As I said before, everything seems to tie together. And the graphics are no different because they are amazing. There is a mixture of cell shading with punchy neon lights and a balance with black and red that permeate the whole presentation. The truth is, I can’t really describe them. It’d be best if you watch the trailer.
Isn’t that just amazing? There is not just one style. We have the anime cutscenes, the cutscenes with game-engine graphics, and the gameplay. Everything has its own feel and direction, but at the same time, each individual side forms part of a whole that is more congruent than its independent parts. This makes the game diverse and a joy to watch.
Persona 5 Gameplay Trailer E3 2016
The trailer there is story heavy, but it does give some glimpses as to what the actual gameplay is going to be like. If there is one thing the Persona series has, it’s a stiff gameplay mechanic. In the actual RPG heavy sections, it is great. But in the day to day segments, it can be a little lacking. What the trailer shows is that they improved on all these aspects. The day to day sections seem to be and feel more organic. Same for some gameplay regarding the battles and dungeons. You have to actually sneak and hide. You kind of had to do that before, but it felt like child’s play compared to this.
The Persona series has, for the most part, been very delineated with its narrative. In Persona 3, you were part of a school, and that’s as far as your actions seemed to go. And in Persona 4, you interacted with Inaba, a small rural town, and again, that’s as far as your actions seemed to go. In Persona 5, the stakes are bigger and are on a worldwide scale. I don’t think players will be traveling around the world, but I do believe the ramifications of your actions will have an effect globally. This, of course, makes the narrative more complex, as well as more interesting if well executed. The game seems to be going big with everything, and the stakes of what you are gonna be interacting with are a part of that.
This is one of my favorite aspects of the whole series. The writing is top-notch. It is filled with suspense, substantial themes and situations, but also comical and light-hearted sequences that make the game a wholesome experience in its own weird way. The character development is honestly one of the best I have ever seen, since kind of half of the game depends on that. The Persona series has always been, at its heart, about the importance of social life and the effects of other human beings on ourselves. Usually, the game plays with the player in that it takes advantage of the first impressions they assume of a character, and then destroys that prejudice when you, as a player, get to know the characters. Persona games are part social sim, part RPG, and they perform exceedingly well in both regards.
I’ve also seen a jump in the way the main character is presented. In previous installments, the main character was silent and with a light personality to let the player use it as its link to that virtual world. This one, though, seems to have a strong personality, like he is trying to live his own story, and not just be the means for the player to interact with the game.
Carl Gustav Jung
I’m about to get a little pretentious here, but I feel this is an important part of the Persona series and the reason to be excited for the game. You see, the Persona series relies heavily on Carl Gustav Jung studies in psychology. The terms “Shadow World” and “Persona” are taken straight out of his findings. The developers have always been aware of it. Jung was the first one to suggest a collective subconscious (a kind of subconscious to which we are all connected) and that is why Persona 3 had the whole emo theme surrounding its design and themes. The fact you shot yourself in the head to enter the shadow world was analogous to the trends of that time, and the social commentary the game wanted to make. Same with Persona 4 and mass murderers and kidnappers. The game was tapping into that collective subconscious with its themes in order to have a voice in real problems.
I do believe the tendency holds for this new installment, but with a small twist. I think Persona 5 is not only trying to tap into that collective subconscious, but it is trying to influence it. The game is aiming for a real change in the lives of its player base. It is using its popularity to make some changes in the way we act and think, more than ever before. And that is all thanks to Jung.
As a conclusion, all I can say is the depth and treatment in these games are very profound. All we can do to know for certain is to wait for its release. If I had to bet on some things, I’d say the game is going to focus on big companies and how they affect our lives. You, as a player, will be battling these big companies directly, making changes on the whole world. Of course, don’t expect this to be thrown in your face. They are great at hiding the meanings behind a lot of the games’ messages. Also, I bet that the guy that sells out the protagonist is the guy in the trailer with yellow hair. Pay attention to the lyrics when he is presented, I don’t think that’s incidental.
As a disclaimer, I have only seen the prologue to inform myself for this article, so I could be wrong.
The featured image was courtesy of the Megami Tensei Wiki.