Persona 5 E3 Demo Breakdown and Analysis

The Phantom Thieves really stole our hearts this E3, and it isn’t even the main event for ATLUS yet. On June 14th, 2016, we got a special treat, an exclusive Persona 5 gameplay montage at the ATLUS booth that gave fans something they have been craving ever since the announcement of the next game in the beloved JRPG series. This has been the largest gameplay reveal, and it is absolutely huge to get an 8 minute long video detailing specifics of day to day life in Persona 5

It’s important to analyze the new features as this amazing footage was a mix of gameplay elements we knew and did not know about the game already. The goal of the trailer was to show the “day and night” based on the calendar and system the franchise is known for. Each part of this video will be broken down and analyzed accordingly.

Special thanks to IGN for capturing this video during the first scheduled special presentation block.

Analysis:

  • As soon as I saw “Day and Night” and a day appeared on screen, I immediately thought, how does this compare to the calendar days in Persona 3 and Persona 4? In those games, days are structured in increments: before school, during school, lunchtime, after school, and nighttime, giving players the option of what activities to participate in.
  • 0:17- The player seems to commute to school on a bus everyday, and the morning walk to school and overheard conversations are still present as they were in P3 and P4. There seems to be a lot more combined dialogue than before.
  • 0:20– Players can check text messages in school, which is an awesome new feature in the game. Will this relate to relationship building and/or story events?
  • 0:30– There appears to be more than one class that players can attend in one day, with much more interactive questions than ever before.
  • 0:38– A school store is present, which allows players to roam around during school time, which was not present before.
  • 0:51– One of the new characters appears. She already made an appearance last year in the first PV. She has blue hair and is wearing a lab coat, presumably selling health-related items. She appears to be part of the thieves operations.
  • 1:28- Another part time job is showcased that takes place at a flower shop. It appears to have several options (like a memory game), allowing for a more interactive experience than ever before. In the past games, players usually just went to the jobs or had minimal interaction. The end result would be the same, an increase in money and a specific stat, but it is really nice to see more interactive elements to the jobs in P5.
  • 1:44- A star that holds five attributes/skills is similar to the Persona 4 stats. These may include social qualities such as Knowledge and Courage. Going to jobs, answering test questions correctly, and more will result in an increase in stats, which may like in the past, allow for more dialogue options and other opportunities to show up at certain levels.
  • 2:06- Movie with Morgana. It appears that you can engage in both part time jobs and social link elements in the same day. This event involved the protagonist taking his cat to the movies, which is a social element and really hilarious. Did anyone in the movie even notice? It can be implied that you can take other characters to the movies and on dates.
  • 2:17- It appears that you can have another part time job at night, which was a feature implemented in Persona 4:Golden. This one takes place in a fast food restaurant.
  • 2:26- There appears to be an option to eat dinner at night.
  • 2:35- Dungeon time! Players can decide when to go into the dungeons for the RPG aspect of the gameplay.
  • 2:51- Environments are larger and more vibrant than ever before. Rooms are fully furnished and are definitely an improvement over the simple hallways and doors in the past titles.  Treasure boxes are also back.
  • 3:00- The sneak function is shown off in depth for the first time. In past games, players could sneak up on shadows, but it is much different here. There seems to be more depth to it, as players can hide behind objects and sneak, pulling off the shadow’s mask.
  • During the battle, there is new gameplay, including the option to change the order of characters and gun/melee attacks to go along with personas. This has been shown briefly before.
  • The battle music is beautiful.
  • 3:28- HOLD UP! seems to be the new secondary attack function that allows another player to follow up on an attack.
  • 3:38– Ryuji seems to have an epic special attack, complete with a stylized card after defeating the enemy.
  • 4:05- The dungeon has a puzzle that requires players to open a room. They must activate two levers to unlock the cage and uncover a map.
  • 4:49- Demon negotiation! A feature that players have begged for since Persona 2 is back again, and is one of the most exciting gameplay features yet. In the mainline Shin Megami Tensei games, players interact with demons (personas) and have full on conversations with them. In Persona 2, characters could talk to demons in awesome and often hilarious ways in order to gather skill cards, get items, and more. This was one thing P3 and P4 lacked, because listening to the demons talk gives them even more personality and depth and is part of the charm of the SMT series. It looks like players can get personas this way, as well as achieve additional money and yen. It’s a fantastic option for players who would rather talk than simply fight, and the crowd at E3 was so happy to see this feature.
  • 6:06– Baton touch, a new strategy in combat, was shown. It looks like the baton touch allows other players to attack in place of the selected user with certain boosts.
  • 6:34- Ann Takamaki’s persona used Agi, a fire spell. How will this relate to her Arcana?
  • 6:48- These are hands down the coolest and most epic after battle poses and result screens I ever have seen in my life.
  • 7:22- It’s not over yet! Another series of clips show the protagonist doing pull ups in his room.
  • 7:50- Hot springs confirmed! The protagonist, Ryuji, and Yusuke all take a bath. Yusuke, however, says something interesting. He says the water is too hot, which is related to the literary backstory and mythology of his persona.
  • The clips ended, and the crowd erupted in cheers. What a great presentation.

This was a huge deal  for Persona 5, but this isn’t even the main event! The rest of this week is full of awesome surprises, as well as a livestream on Nico Nico July 15th.

Persona 5 releases this September in Japan and February 14, 2017 in the U.S.. You can preorder Persona 5 on Amazon right now.

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