The long-awaited Persona 5 hit the shelves yesterday... in Japan. The rest of the world won't get to enjoy the fast-paced, eye-catching, anime phenomenon until the 14th of February 2017 (make a date of it with your sweetheart! just don't shoot each other in the head...) but nevertheless, this is an exciting date for RPG fanatics around the world.
For those not aboard the Persona bandwagon, you might wonder what all the hype is surrounding this flashy game of Japanese-animated proportions, but if you're a fan of anime, RPGs, or just really sweet game UIs and mechanics, you'll want to make sure your body is ready for this Atlus-developed, role playing game of the ages.
Here are just a few things you might wanna know before diving into this colorful world of acute angles and masquerade masks.
1. The World of Persona is Huge
You know right away from the title—Persona 5—that this game is part of a series, so if you're one of those people who hates jumping into something halfway, this might not be the game for you. Or, it might be the perfect game for you, but you'll need to play all the rest of the games first!
Of which there are many.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg! The Persona series is just one of many series under the Shin Megami Tensei label, so if you truly want to know everything there is to know, your perfectionist complex might require you to play all of those games, as well. Fortunately (or not so fortunately), some have never been released outside of Japan, so if you're not fluent in Japanese, you might be able to convince yourself you don't need to play those.
All of this might not seem so overwhelming unless you consider the fact that JRPGs are long. Persona 4 alone takes an average of 85 hours to beat the main story and all extras (and over 140 hours if you're a completionist!), so you can bet that Persona 5 will take a similar amount of, if not more time spent in front of your TV screen.
2. Persona Takes Place in Japan
Unlike many RPGs set in high-fantasy worlds, Persona 5 takes place in Tokyo. Not only that, but modern day Tokyo... and everything that comes with it. Whether you've visited this bustling city of lights or not, you'll quickly find yourself becoming more than familiar with its many districts such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Sangenchaya (changed to Yongenchaya in-game), and you'll even get the opportunity to attend a Japanese school!
What's so great about Japanese schools? Well, not much, unless you're a huge fan of high school anime and all the tropes, traditions, memes, and random facts about Japanese culture that come with them. But perhaps you'll be charmed all the same. You'll even have the opportunity to work a part-time job! Without real pay, of course.
3. You Get to Harness Personas
What exactly is a Persona? None other than strange and fantastical manifestations of your characters' inner psyches and personalities. Take the protagonist's initial Persona, Arsene, a giant, suited creature with a mask-like face and a pair of massive, black wings. Given the fact that the main character is also a "phantom thief," it seems appropriate that his Persona would borrow the name of famous gentleman-thief and master of disguise, Arsène Lupin.
Personas can be summoned to perform spells or otherwise wreak havoc on an enemy. Though they were typically held within cards in previous games, in Persona 5, they're contained within different masks worn by the protagonist.
4. You Can Woo Your Party Members
Not only do you get to take on evil critters, summon powerful spirits, go to school, and work part-time jobs, you also get to take part in a little romance. That's right! The other characters in your party are totally available for some one-on-one action! Chat up your party members often (and always say the right things!) to increase your affinity with them, referred to as "Cooperation." With certain characters, you'll then get to go beyond the platonic chit-chat and form a lasting relationship!
The full mechanics of this feature have yet to be revealed (along with which characters in your party you'll be able to woo), but if simulated, anime romance is your thing, we expect you to be flauntin' it like you were born with it.
5. There's a Special Animated Tie-In
Persona 5 is basically an interactive anime already, so it only makes sense that there would be some sort of actual anime to go with it. Persona 5 the Animation -The Day Breakers- is an hour-long animated special that premiered on Japanese TV on the 3rd of September. It serves as a sort of prologue to the game itself, so if you plan on picking up Persona 5 once it's released in the states, you'll want to make sure you check it out first.
There's also a manga of the game that just began its publication today on the Manga-One website. It's written by Murasaki Hisato and will be an adaption of the game itself, so if you're anxious for more of the Persona 5 story before its release, you'll want to hit it up.
Want more Persona 5? Here's some food for thought:
Champing at the bit for Persona 5? Annoyed that we'll have to wait so long for the coveted English release? Tell us why in the comments!
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