50 Best Things About Persona 5
In a world of corruption in positions of power, those who belong to the Phantom Thieves of Hearts lurk in the shadows. Their mission is to steal and reform the hearts of the evil adults, making them atone for their sins and stopping their schemes. However, the thieves don’t live the luxurious life only depicted in fantasies. They are real life teenagers, living a daily normal life beneath their masks. You are the hero.
This is the world of Persona 5. One of the most anticipated games of 2017, the next installment in the niche series has become one of the best JRPGs of this generation. With reviews reaching 10/10 and an impressive Persona 5 Metacritic score of 94, there is something to be said about this game: it is a masterpiece.
However, there are always reasons why something becomes one of the best games of all time, and we got you covered with our massive list of the best things about Persona 5.
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1. The concept, execution, and connection to literature
There’s something inticing about being a thief. Sneaking behind corners to complete a successful heist just gives us this awesome feeling of freedom and emancipation. Thieves in popular culture and literature tend to make strong political statements with a call to action, and Persona 5 is no exception. The treasures in this game are far more valuable to steal that a bag of money or an intricate painting. Each target has a story, and is symbolic to “steal” and reform. The concept of the thief in the game also draws from classic literature and transcends into the characters and their personas. Akira Kurusu, the main character, has the persona Arsene Lupin, who is based on the famous gentleman thief. Ryuji, his best bro, has the persona Captain Kidd, who is a famous pirate. Every persona user has an entity tied to their specific personalities and stories, making for an interesting comparison to timeless tales of thievery.
2. The main character and his backstory
Many main characters have something about them that makes us fall in love with them, and our Akira is no exception. While many protagonists have instant popularity and love, Akira faces the reality of being an outcast. The first day of school, teachers treat him like a piece of trash. Students spread rumors about him due to his past. Falsely accused of physically harming an “evil adult”, he has quite the reputation, despite being from a smaller town. He isn’t outgoing either and is very shy. However, his other self-awakens as the mastermind behind the phantom thieves, and he becomes confident, cocky, and ready to steal hearts. It’s also worth mentioning that his dialogue and lines are absolutely hilarious, and carry over nicely into the English version. He truly is a relatable protagonist, especially for all the introverts out there.
3. Refined, addicting battle system
Describing the intricate battle system of Persona isn’t the easiest, but the short version is this beautiful meshing of turn-based Final Fantasy and Pokemon. Using your “personas”, you fight and try to obtain additional personas/creatures based on mythological entities. You also have a party of 3 other than yourself and addicting turn-based gameplay where you use your personas specific elements such as agi (fire attacks) and bufu (ice attacks) with the goal of knocking down your opponents. This type of gameplay has been here since Persona 1, but is extremely refined, even from Persona 4. Gameplay has several additional features that make it much more enjoyable to play and extremely addicting. The sneak feature is also fun and gives an added bonus especially against those tougher ones.
4. The INTENSE battle music
So you’ve encountered an enemy, and the fight is on. No JRPG is complete without epic battle music, especially in the Persona series. When Last Surprise blares through the speakers of my television screen, my heart races as I plan my strategy it. “You’ll never see it coming!” as this battle theme is one of the best in the entire series and can be listened to for hundreds of hours without it ever getting old.
5. All Out Attack Finishers
So once all of the enemies have been knocked down and put in their place, what’s next? The finisher. An all out attack is a feature where the entire team engages in a powerful blow that deals massive damage…with style. The character who did the most damage to knock down the enemies gets the spotlight in a signature move and ending card. It is so cool to see your favorite character engage in a Jojo Bizarre Adventure like pose and take you to the battle result screen (which also has epic music).
6. Befriending and talking with the enemies
Don’t ask Bicorn about his girl. If you ever played Shin Megami Tensei or the earlier Personas, you may be familar with demon negotiation. Instead of mindlessly bashing your enemies, you get the opportunity to talk it out when they are all knocked down, hopefully getting either their companionship, some money, or even an item or two. It’s a feature many fans wanted to return, and its back better than ever. However, it isn’t always easy trying to get a new persona on your side, as each enemy has a distinct personality. This is part of the charm of the experience. Sick of them getting angry? Defeat them and gain that EXP!
7. Going to school and impressing the class (or making them even more disappointed in you)
As stated before, you are so hated as the protagonist, that even the teachers bash you. However, you still must maintain your role as a student. Nearly every day, you are called in on class and are forced to answer several questions that will gain your knowledge stat…if you answer them correctly, that is. Impress your class by paying attention and answering questions you may not use ever again, just like the authentic high school experience. Sometimes, the teacher might even try to throw chalk at you, and maybe you will dodge it with that undeniable charm.
8. Becoming a “phantom thief”, sending out your first notice, and hearing “Life Will Change” blare in the background.
It’s been established that the thief theme of the game is intriguing, but nothing is better than experiencing it for the first time. In the game, you have targets, and like most thief stories, you have to give out your calling card. This is called the thieves notice, and alerts your real life target that you are coming to steal their heart. When they receive your little note, they become infuriated and you must fight them in a boss battle the next day. Once you go back to the dungeon, a new track plays as you sprint to the room, ready to take on the ultimate enemy. The entire experience is so epic and an adrenaline rush at its finest.
9. Taking your cat everywhere you go, even to school.
Morgana, the cute mascot character you met in the other world also has a real life feline form, and follows you everywhere. Whether it be under your desk or a night on the town, you can expect your pet to be with you anywhere you go. Cats are adorable, and this is a plus on its own. And yes, you get the chance to meow as well.
10. Ann Takamaki and her backstory as a perfect introduction to the game.
You may recognize the beautiful blonde twin-tailed girl from early trailers, but her story is one of best introductions to a game about a corrupt world. Longed after by her inappropriate teacher Kamoshida, Ann is put in an extremely difficult position that involves her friend and herself. Rumors are spread about her that are completely untrue, and must fight being sexualized and seen as an “easy girl”. Her awakening is amazing and truly is symbolic of her struggle. It is her that puts the thieves together on their first mission, and she becomes one of the strongest female characters in the game.
11. Naming your thief squad
Not only do you get to name your character literally anything you’d like, you also get the opportunity to name your squad. Wanna just be the Phantom Thieves of Hearts? That’s cool. But you could also be the Hamburglars, a name I decided on months ago. Either way, you get to personalize your group as your own, which is a fun little feature in this game.
12. Stealing the hearts of villains you will LOVE to HATE
A well-done villain is someone you will undoubtedly dislike but will be so satisfying to take down and watch as they beg for mercy. In Persona 5, the villains are seriously evil in everything that they do. From stealing work of their pupils, treating students like slaves, or manipulating the vote, there is plenty to hate about the bad guys. The best part is that you are the one to stop them and reform their hearts, making them confess to everyone who they really are. Although not every boss battle deals with someone who is inherently evil, it is so satisfying to resolve things on your own terms.
13. Exploring a virtual Tokyo
Unlike the small town of Inaba in the previous entry, Persona 5 is set in one of the most well known and heavily populated cities in Japan. Although you live in a small district, you are not limited to there. Feel like exploring the nightlife in Shinjuku? Or maybe you want to hit up the arcade in Akiba? There are several map locations with plenty of life and activities to explore. One of the best parts about it is that there is SO much to do and many locations to roam around in during your free time, after school, and at night. Even if you can’t travel to Japan, Persona 5 gives you a little preview to enjoy.
14. Texting your friends
If you ever played Atlus’s original title Catherine, you may have noticed a SNS feature in which you can send texts with interactive responses. Persona 5 takes this to an entirely new level with your own personal cell phone. Not only can you choose responses in a group chat setting, you have the option to use texting for plans and even during class. Sure, it isn’t a major feature, but it is a little something that adds to the immersive world and setting.
15. Going on a school trip to Hawaii (and spending time with your lover there!)
Imagine taking an airplane to the tropical paradise of Hawaii, only to spend 3 days with your friends in an interactive event. The newer Persona games feature school events that allows you to see what the characters are like outside of normal gameplay, adding to their development. The Hawaii trip is hands down one of the greatest events in this game, especially when you get to hang out with your girlfriend for a one on one beach date. Ann and I watched the sunset together, and it was glorious.
16. Unique dungeon setups that make dungeon crawling fun and boss battles intense
No longer having dungeons with streamlined paths and halls, Persona 5 takes it to the next level. For the first time in this series, you can crawl around, jump on platforms, sneak behind corners, and explore the environments. It’s bigger, better, and keeps things interesting. There are also puzzles that make the experience, and are never too annoying to complete. For example, you will have to find some codes to make it through a bank vault or maybe even turn into a mouse to navigate through halls. These elements are well thought out and make the game so fun to navigate. Boss battles are also revamped, with the option to allow party members to distract them to level the playing field.
17. Epic character designs and costumes
As phantom thieves, you can’t go in a dungeon in your normal clothes. You have to have a stylish design so people will remember who you are, and will never forget it. From Joker’s trenchcoat to Haru’s musketeer inspired outfit, the costumes in this game are so cool, you’ll never want to change. That is, unless you get the DLC. For the special 20th anniversary, ATLUS made a wide selection of DLC from the other games including uniforms from Persona 1-4, Catherine outfits, maid/butler wear, and more! It will cost you some extra money, but is worth it to support future releases.
18. The Casino Dungeon and the “Whims of Fate”
During the prologue of the game, you are thrown onto a colorful world full of lights, high platforms, and bustling music. This is the world of the casino, probably the best dungeon in the game. Although it will take you awhile to get to that point, when you finally do it is very rewarding. The music “Whims of Fate” is so catchy, and the dungeon is full of fun areas to explore in a world that symbolizes corruption in the government. Without saying much more, look forward to it both gameplay wise and to experience a full party.
19. Taking your girl of choice on multiple dates (even after rank 10!) or hanging out with your friends
The recent games in the Persona series are known for their social and romantic elements that allow you to date and befriend characters through “confidants” or social links. In these, you get to hang out and experience a separate story line related to that character, whether you choose to spend time with them during the day, after school, or when nighttime falls. Each confidant has additional perks to be used in and out of battle, as well as the satisfaction of advancing your relationship with a specific person. Unlike the past games, however, there is more to do after you “max” out their rank at 10, such as go on dates to their favorite locations, buy them gifts, and more. It’s really refreshing and almost makes the relationship feel real.
20. Every confidant/”social link” has a connection to standing out in the corrupted world
Speaking of hanging with friends, one of the coolest things about the social elements of the game is that each character fits into “breaking free” of the chains that bring them down. The main cast’s struggles will become obvious, but the side characters also have an important role. For example, Tae Takemi, a doctor who owns her own clinic, deals with malpractice charges and will use the protagonist as a test subject. Another example is a politician who is trying to change views. It’s interesting how all of these characters fit in and benefit the cause of the thieves.
21. Ryuji Sakamoto, Yusuke Kitagawa, and Yuki Mishima being your bros (even on Valentine’s Day!)
Your best bros are always there for you. Ryuji, one of the first characters you meet, is a funny character who breaks the mold of the “best friend” archetype and is much different that Yosuke from Persona 4 or Junpei from Persona 3. Yuki Mishima, another outcast, runs the social media behind the thieves and is a fellow classmate. Yusuke Kitagawa, on the other hand, goes to another school, but is alienated in other ways. Together, you can hang out with your guy friends, even if you choose not to have a date on Valentine’s Day.
22. Your cat can shapeshift into a car, which YES, you can drive
Morgana the all-shapeshifting being, can transform into a car, which is useful both in the story and for the sidequest dungeon Mementos. The best part? You get to drive him. In Mementos, you control the Morgana-mobile and can even approach enemies with it. It makes for a fun time.
23. The Burger Challenge
Remember the Mega Beef Bowl in Persona 4? Replace that with a giant burger and you have your challenge. Your protagonist will try and devour the multi-level burger in hopes for some stat bonuses. If nothing else, you may get a little bit of courage. However, if you finish the monster, you get points increased to all of your stats as the customers stare at you in awe.
24. Your teacher is a maid, and she gives really good confidant perks
Despite being your homeroom teacher, Kawakami-sensei has another life she’d like to hide, the life of a maid. After a certain event and the discovery of her identity (and level 3 courage), you can call her up, pay some yen, and spend some quality time. Even if that sounds a bit weird for you, you’ll want to do her confidant ranks. Offering perks such as making SP regenerating coffee and curry and allowing you to goof off in class, she also has a major perk . Once you get to rank 10, she can come over and allow you to do an additional activity at night, which is perfect for a first playthrough.
25. Using fortune telling to increase your relationships
Like P3 and P4, P5 has a fortune telling element. In the summer when Shinjuku is unlocked, make sure to start a rank with Chihaya Mifune, a corrupted fortune teller. Once you get far enough in the ranks, she offers perks that allow you to increase affinity with ANY of your comrades. Sure, you may have to pay some yen, but it makes for an easier experience when trying to complete multiple social ranks.