Video Game Review
In the modern video game industry, the trend amongst the big franchises seems to be how big can they make a game. Since the Grand Theft Auto and Elder Scrolls franchises first introduced the concept of the open-world sand box game to a mass audience, developers have been on a mission to max out that sand box and fill that sand box with as much shit to do as humanly possible. The results tend to be about ten minutes of actual game play repeated over hundreds of hours, but if done right they can still be engaging. Bigger is better has been the battle cry of game developers, so the brains behind
Persona 5 chose a different route. Persona 5 is a JRPG (Japanese role playing game) is an extremely bizarre and creative game that not only sets a new standard in its genre, but in storytelling in video games. The rub of the game is you are teenage boy living in modern day Tokyo who discovers you have the ability to enter the minds of evil people and steal a treasure that represents their inner desires. This in turn causes them to have a change of heart in the real world and admit all their crimes.
Part life simulator, part role playing game, you spend your days living the life of the normal teenager which means going to school and hanging out with our friends. After school, you can either do normal teenage stuff (which affects the game play when your dungeon crawling), or you can live your double life as Phantom Thief.
Persona 5 does several things very uniquely that sets it apart from games popular in western countries. One of the big ones is the use of time. In most games time has almost no impact on the story and if you decide to go to the next quest right away or not it doesn’t seem like a big deal. In Persona 5, you live out Every. Single. Day. of almost a full school year. This means going to school each day then deciding how you want to spend your free time in the afternoon. The main quests are usually set about two weeks out from when you get them so you have some time do other stuff, but procrastination is your true enemy in the game.
For the combat, the developers took the turn based standard of fighting from most JRPGs and gave it new life with a new function that lets you find out an enemy’s weakness and literally rob them at gunpoint for their money. Combined with a Pokemon-like monster collecting function, the combat has a surprising amount of depth and fun packed into what could easily feel like a routine.
What struck me the most about Persona 5 is not so much the overall bizarreness of the game but the undertones about life as a teenager living on the fringes of Japanese society. This game puts a microscope to a lot of the things teenagers everywhere are already dealing with. This game tackles everything from teen suicide, abusive teachers, human trafficking, the pressures doing well in school, to even the asking the question of what is the meaning of true art. I recommend a nice hybrid while playing this game.