Persona 5 Royal Review – An Existing Masterpiece Taken To Greater Heights

The definitive version of the greatest modern JRPGs from Atlus.

Persona 5 Royal Review
Overall
4.5
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Verdict

Persona 5 Royal is a near-flawless JRPG, excelling in every regard, from its characters, storytelling, gameplay, and even the stellar score.

Pros

  • Memorable Storytelling.
  • Brilliantly Written Characters.
  • Intuitive Combat.
  • Amazing OST.
  • Tons Of Improvements From the Original.

Cons

  • A Couple of Boss Fights Can Be Annoying.
  • Lengthy Opening Hours.

When I played the original Persona 5 in 2017, it immediately captivated me because, at that time, I wasn’t too familiar with JRPGs and only played a couple as a rough memory on the PS2. Nearly spending countless hours on back-to-back playthroughs, I achieved the Platinum Trophy and declared it one of my favorite games. Later in 2020, Atlus would release a definitive version, Persona 5 Royal, which only made me even more astounded at how they could further improve an amazing game, and today, I’m pleased to present a review on it.

Key Takeaways
  • Developer: P-Studio
  • Publisher: Atlus
  • Release Date: March 31, 2020
  • Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Game Length: 85 to 100 Hours.
  • Time Played: 300+ Hours.

Story And Setting

persona 5 royal review
The Story. (Image by eXputer)

Much of what you’d expect from any RPG, Persona 5 Royal is known for its heavy narrative beats and rollercoaster ride as you experience the journey of the Protagonist, AKA the Trickster.

The game’s story mainly revolves around your party members as you fight back against corrupted beings in the cognitive metaverse and steal their hearts disguised as the Phantom Thieves.

Compared to the original game’s plot, I consider Royal to be miles better in every conceivable way.

To discuss it without any major spoilers in the early going, Persona 5 Royal’s storytelling is pretty similar to the original except that it has two brand-new characters, Takuto Maruki and Kasumi Yoshizawa, along with a completely revamped social link revolving around Akechi.

maruki p5r
Takuto Maruki, the new Councillor arcana social link. (Image by eXputer)

Furthermore, with this game having extra characters and retold narrative elements, an entire new semester has been added, which you can experience when fulfilling specific social link requirements toward the end of your playthrough. Unlocking that semester and the new story portion isn’t hard; I advise you just to prioritize Kasumi, Maruki, and Akechi’s social links whenever possible.

Throw Away Your Mask

persona 5 royal story
The Protagonist and Kasumi Yoshizawa. (Image by eXputer)

Compared to the original game’s plot, I consider Royal to be miles better in every conceivable way. Kasumi is a character I found nothing too special, but her twist in the plot toward the end is certainly intriguing, to say the least. However, if you had to ask me, Maruki is possibly one of the greatest characters ever in the entire SMT/Persona franchise, down from his character realization, personality, and overall social link.

While most of the Persona titles have an underlying theme that captures the essence of its moral ambiguity from Persona 3‘s death and Persona 4 about facing yourself and the truth, Persona 5 Royal is held high in that regard for me because of how it highlights what people go through and face, to either live in ignorant bliss without any pain or suffering or to throw away your mask and believe in yourself to face life’s hardships.

The game balances this so well with its true final villain, who is so sympathetic and wholesome that you can’t help but be confused about who to root for during the penultimate finale. It doesn’t help either when I listen to the game’s most heartbreaking OSTs, in which lead singer Lyn Inaizumi marvelously lends her voice to the lyrics.

Gameplay

persona 5 royal review
The Gameplay. (Image credit: eXputer)

Persona 5 Royal features the most stylish and intuitive turn-based combat of any modern JRPG. You summon magical beings called Personas with your other three party members. You’ll mainly fight demons and other kinds of entities during the dungeon portions, or, as the game calls them, “Palaces.”

Palaces are essentially story dungeons on your road through this journey. They have their own challenging boss fights and complex puzzles, but even those aside, you also periodically travel in the depths of the Mementos, a randomized dungeon excluding the Palaces and similar in nature to the Tartarus from Persona 3.

persona 5 royal review
The Thieves’ Den (Image by eXputer)

Lastly, the other portion of the game is mostly during the daytime and at night if you choose not to tackle Palaces, where you go about routine school activities with the protagonist, hang out with social links, increase your bonds with them, and increase your five social stats. There’s also the Thieves Den where you can check out collectibles and other trivia about the game.

Combat was already a stellar component, and with Persona 5 Royal, the developers have added quite a few improvements and quality-of-life changes, just like the rest of the game.

Hanging out with your confidants will also allow you to raise your arcana ranks to strengthen and fuse new Personas from the Velvet Room. From playing Billiards to Darts, these hangout spots can also strengthen your party members’ prowess in combat.

persona 5 royal stats
Social Stats. (Image credit: eXputer)

The Protagonist also has five different social stats, which are required to progress certain social links or unlock new skills; upgrading them can be done in many ways, including studying, eating, fishing, and countless other side activities across in-game areas.

Polishing An Already Universally Acclaimed JRPG

persona 5 royal review
Palaces AKA Dungeons in Persona 5 Royal. (Image credit: eXputer)

I like to give credit where it is due, as Atlus managed to exceed far beyond my expectations as Persona 5 Royal when, in contrast to the original in terms of gameplay, it feels almost like a day and night difference.

Right from the beginning, in the first major dungeon, you can feel the changes instantly made to make the progression feel more accommodating.

Certain areas and puzzles have been tweaked, likely due to their original tediousness. The game also puts extra effort into making you use the grappling hook and incentivizes you with the new Will Seeds items in Palaces, which offer bonus accessories for collecting all three in a given dungeon.

Even if you’ve already played the original game, there’s tons of new content here to experience, from new locations to a list of overhauled gameplay mechanics.

Combat was already a stellar component, and with Persona 5 Royal, the developers have added quite a few improvements and quality-of-life changes, just like the rest of the game.

persona 5 royal review
Hanging out with the Phantom Thieves. (Image by eXputer)

From encouraging you to use status ailments for added damage from Technical attacks to gun ammo being fully reloaded after each battle, the combat is full of new strategies to take down your opposition.

Most importantly, Mementos was the most tedious aspect of the original game, but thankfully, with the Royal treatment, it feels like a breath of fresh air. Thanks to the addition of Jose’s flowers and stamps mechanic, providing purchase of helpful bonuses and other items, traversing Mementos feels less of a chore.

persona 5 royal review
Jose in Mementos. (Image by eXputer)

Overall, while you may be on the fence about trying out a Persona game for the first time due to the time investment, I highly recommend Persona 5 Royal because the gameplay loop, both in the social sim and combat/exploration side, is engaging to the core in every way.

Visuals And Performance

persona 5 royal visuals
The Visuals.

I’ll be as brief as possible here: the visuals of Persona 5 Royal haven’t significantly leaped the original game, aside from extremely minor changes to smooth out the texture models from the PS3 source code; everything will look mostly the same in terms of graphical fidelity. Furthermore, the PS5 version supports a native 4K resolution, a 60FPS framerate, and, of course, faster loading times.

However, I was mainly delighted by how Royal has more facial portraits that convey a better expression to your party members and other characters during certain scenarios. Other changes are quite minor, such as revamped animations used across the game and even new UI/UX changes that aren’t really noticeable unless you pay extra attention to the original game’s details.

Verdict

Persona 5 royal verdict
The Verdict.

Persona 5 Royal is a near-flawless JRPG, excelling in every regard, from its characters to storytelling, gameplay, and even the stellar score. If I had to name a particular criticism, it’d be a particular boss fight, which only requires some strategic brute-forcing. Aside from that, you may only be bothered by a few instances of annoying characters or even the stretched-out pacing.

I’m sure right now, in 2024, there are tons of amazing JRPGs other than this game, but if you’re looking for the most heartfelt and memorable videogame experiences that the genre has to offer and my personal favorite games of all time, then Persona 5 Royal is an easy must-play.

This has been my Review of Persona 5 Royal. If you enjoyed reading this, then be sure to check out similar articles below:

This is box title
Get This Game
If you’re a fan of turn-based JRPGs with Anime-focused visuals and story.
Dont Get This Game
If you don’t enjoy slow-paced JRPGs with tons of dialogue and Anime graphics.
Do I Need To Get This Game
Absolutely yes, if you want to experience the best of what an amazing turn-based RPG game has to offer in both story and gameplay then you have to get Persona 5 Royal.
Alternative Games
  • Persona 3 Reloaded
  • Fire Emblem Three Houses
  • Scarlet Nexus
  • Trails of Cold Steel series
  • Dragon Quest 11
  • Octopath Traveller 2
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Usama Mehmood is a Games Specialist, and writer on eXputer who's either hunting for the richest loot in Destiny 2 or endlessly playing his favorite games such as Yakuza or Final Fantasy. Usama has been gaming for 15+ years during which he has accumulated 4000+ hours on Destiny 1 & 2. His constant adoration for video games has allowed him to pursue eXputer as a platform to showcase his striving talents in writing helpful articles. Get familiar with Usama's extensive gaming library on his Steam, PSN, and Xbox profiles.

Experience: 2+ Years || Mainly Covers Reviews And Guides || Education: Bachelors in Physiotherapy.

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