Persona 5 Royal Review - Is It Worth It?

Get Ready to Have Your Heart Stolen

As a lover of high action open-world adventure games such as The Witcher or Skyrim, I never thought I would find myself falling in love with a game like Persona 5 Royal. As a newcomer to the Persona series, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But after hundreds of hours logged into the game, I finally understand why fans of the series are so passionate and devoted.

About Persona 5 Royal

If you’re like me you’ve probably heard people say that Persona 5 Royal is one of the greatest PS4 releases of this year. Persona 5 Royal is the enhanced or definitive version of the critically acclaimed Persona 5, which was released back in 2016 and is highly regarded as one of the best JRPG of its generation. 

According to the NPD sales report for the month of March, which tracks physical and digital game sales on a monthly basis in the United States, Royal debuted as the 7th best selling game of the month and was the 3rd best selling game only on the PS4. Though there is no official sales number for Royal, the game’s publisher SEGA has announced that “Persona 5 Royal began selling in the U.S. and Europe on March 31st, achieving record sales”. As well, the original Persona 5 has sold over 3.2 million copies worldwide since its release. 

Persona 5 Royal’s Story

An enticing and familiar story for anime and JRPG fans.

One of the reasons why Royal is considered to be the best JRPG of its generation is due in large part to its engagingly relatable story about morality and struggles of being an outcast. The Persona series has always been stand-alone in nature so you won’t have to worry about playing the previous entries in order to understand the game’s story. In Royal, you’ll live the double-edged life of its protagonist, Joker, as he tries to juggle surviving his high school semesters as a delinquent with a criminal record and saving the world as the famed Phantom Thieves. Along the way, you’ll find yourself surrounded by Royal’s band of intriguing side-characters, known as Confidants, such as a talking cat and a shut-in hacker who’ll aid you in the battle against the twisted delusions that manifests within people’s hearts.

Being the enhanced version of Persona 5, the core storyline remains largely the same, but with the welcomed addition of a new semester arc and characters that make Royal much more than just DLC. This new semester adds an extra 20+ hours to the already 100+ hours of the main storyline. Surprisingly though, even with the amount of lore within the world, Royal is extremely beginner-friendly and you’ll find no trouble keeping up with the narrative. Throughout the 100+ hour story, you’ll find yourself growing attached to these characters and their goals and morals as they grow from outcasts into a family. Fans of JRPGs and anime will find plenty of familiar elements within Royal’s story, but even for newcomers of the genre, Royal offers a tale full of heart that will leave a lasting impression on you even after the credits roll.

Persona 5 Royal’s Gameplay

Persona 5 Royal - Official Gameplay Overview Trailer

Hang Out with Confidants or Roam the City Alone

The game is not an open-world RPG, however, it is not as linear as you may think. You’ll find yourself doing what you did in the original title such as spending time outside of combat maxing out your social stats and relationships with your Confidants by choosing the correct dialogue options and participating in mini-games like darts. You are free to choose what activities you wish to participate in and who you wish to spend time with, outside of the mandatory cutscene sequences throughout the story. In battle, you’ll have control of Joker along with three other party members that are interchangeable, each with their own specialized elemental skills such as wind, electricity, or fire. 

Like most turn-based JRPGs the world is broken up into segmented areas rather than an entire open-world area. In Persona these areas are called “palaces”, which are the distortions within the person’s mind (trust me you’ll get it when you play the game). As you explore the Palaces there is a list of objectives conveniently highlighted at the corner of the screen at all times to guide you towards the next point in the story. There are 7 main palaces to explore each with its own substory and antagonist, carried over from the original, as well as a new palace for Royal’s third-semester arc. 

Persona 5 Royal’s Combat

Persona 5 Royal - Kamoshida Boss Fight (Gameplay)

Royal’s gameplay builds off of Persona 5’s excellent turn-based JRPG combat style. The combat gameplay enjoys several overhauls to its original mechanics that make it a far more pleasant experience compared to its original counterpart. Some new additions to the gameplay include a grappling hook that allows for the exploration of new hidden areas within palaces as well as the ability to stun enemies for a surprise attack. And party members now have the ability to team up for powerful special attacks called “Showtime” with newly added cutscenes. The turn-based combat is easy to pick up and you’ll quickly learn the weaknesses of each enemy type and how to exploit them after the first few hours of the game. 

Each party member has their own ways of manifesting their inner powers, known as Personas, that allows for powerful magic attacks with varying strengths and weaknesses. Joker has the ability to wield multiple Personas allowing him to quickly adapt to the various enemy types you’ll encounter. During your turn of combat, you can choose to use your Persona’s abilities in exchange for SP (MP in western RPGs), deal physical damage with either melee or ranged attacks, or utilize equipable items. Each enemy, known as shadows, has their own weaknesses and strengths, some may be weak to wind attacks and be able to reflect melee damage, while others may be weak to melee attacks and have no magic weaknesses. 

Knocking down all enemies without killing them allows you to perform a “Hold Up”, which enables negotiation with the shadows. Choose the correct dialogue and you’ll be rewarded with a new persona, money, or useful item. Learning to exploit enemy weaknesses is a joy and you’ll most likely find yourself diving headfirst into combat just to watch the beautifully executed finishers your team dolls out. The combat system utilized in Royal is by far one of the sleekest and most visually pleasing I’ve seen in a JRPG. Even hundreds of hours in you’ll never tire of seeing your team execute a devastating finisher that’s a feast for the eyes. 

Persona 5 Royal’s Quest/Mission System

Royal’s mission system is broken up into the palaces within the overarching storyline. Each palace has its own narrative and set up however, objectives remain relatively the same. When you have identified a target and decide to infiltrate their palace, the mission starts and you’ll have a set amount of in-game days to complete the palace objectives before the next big story event occurs. The objectives usually revolve around mapping out the palace and finding paths to progress towards the end goal objective of finding the location of the palace’s treasure. 

Once the treasure has been located the player will then send out a “calling card” which initiates the palace’s boss battle. The process of infiltrating the palace, finding the treasure, and defeating the boss makes up the main structure of Royal’s quest system. However, there are also “side missions” to partake in outside of the main narrative. These side missions are initiated through leveling up your Confidant’s stats and becoming closer to them. The more time you spend with the side characters within the world of Royal, the more side missions are unlocked. These missions take place within Mementos, which is the gathering of the public people’s consciousness. The palace takes the form of a multilevel subway station with various levels unlocking as you progress through the storyline and increase the Phantom Thieves’ reputation.

Within the linear structure of Royal’s mission lies an emphasis on taking your time and making choices without regret. You’ll want to think about who you choose to spend time with as that confidant may give you helpful perks to face the next palace you’ll be infiltrating. Royal does a good job of guiding you in the right direction without seeming too overbearing compared to its original counterpart and other linear RPGs. With that being said, save often as one mistake could set you back hours within the game.

Persona 5 Royal’s Graphics


Persona 5 VS Persona 5 Royal | Graphics Comparison

Anime Aesthetic Full of Style

Persona 5’s unique anime and comic-like style have allowed for the game to age considerably well. Royal further enhances these visuals with sharper textures and better lighting effects within its game worlds. New battle cutscenes create a unique sense of variety even if you’ve seen it a hundred times. Even without realistic graphics, the visuals within Royal are absolutely stunning. There is a charm to every menu and dialogue option and finishing attacks are as eye-catching as they are satisfying. Even if you’re not often a fan of anime-style graphics you’ll most likely find yourself falling for the game’s charming visuals.

True to its name the world of Royal is full of personality and aesthetics. The game makes you feel as if you were playing through a full-blown anime with over the top particle effects and grotesquely designed bosses. You’ll be just as amazed at 100 hours as you were in the first hour when you see the “Showtime” animations and persona summons each time you battle.

Persona 5 Royal’s Developer

Persona 5 Royal is developed by Japanese game studio Atlus a subsidiary of Sega, who is also the game’s publisher. Besides Square Enix, they can be considered the best JRPG developers of all time. Atlus has a solid track record when it comes to creating solid and innovative JRPGs. Besides the Persona series, they are best known for their Shin Megami Tensei series, which can be considered the parent series to Persona. Their games often critical successes and become cult classics or commercial successes as is the case with the Persona series. They are the master of their crafts and have very few bugs within their games. Through my 100+ hours of playing Royal, I have yet to encounter a bug or glitch that was noticeable. 

With the release of Royal, Atlus’ appreciation and love for their IP and its fans are shown. The new story arc and overall quality of life improvements added within Royal has addressed many, if not all, of the previous complaints fans had for the original Persona 5 title. Atlus has shown developers what it means to be a master of your craft compared to a “Jack of all trades” with their consistent line-up of quality games free of microtransactions and exploitive cash grab add-ons.

Persona 5 Royal’s Price

Currently, Person 5 Royal retails at $59.99 in the US and is available exclusively on PS4. This is understandable as the title was only released worldwide 2 months ago as of this article’s writing. However, owners of the original title, which currently retails at only $14.99, may find it difficult to justify a full-retail purchase of what is essentially the same game. Whether Royal is worth the price is ultimately up to the player. If you’re a lover of JRPGs and never had the chance to pick up Persona 5, then Royal will most likely be worth your time and investment with its new story arc as well as the original game’s ending included. Royal may be a wait for a sale title however if you already own the original copy and don’t care much about the newly added story arc and mechanical improvements to the game. 

With no microtransactions or in-game purchases necessary except for cosmetics and extra persona DLC, Royal is a “you get what you pay for” type of game. As someone who’s never been able to enjoy a Persona game, I felt that my purchase was justified even with the full price tag. Most die-hard fans of the series have no problem paying full price to experience the best version of their beloved game, but I advise those who are hesitant about JRPGs to purchase the cheaper Persona 5 title before buying Royal.

Persona 5 Royal is a PS4 exclusive while Persona 5 is a PS3 and PS4 exclusive so PC gamers and Xbox fans are out of luck with this one.

Final Verdict: 10/10

Pros Cons
  • Engaging and sleek combat system
  • Amazing animation style and original soundtrack
  • Over 20+ hours of gameplay and storyline content added
  • New Game+ mode allows for replayability 
  • Palace system allows for fresh combat encounters
  • PS4 Exclusive
  • Requires gamer’s time and dedication
  • Full retail price may not be worth it for some


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50% stealth + 50% guns-blazing = 100% good times. An appreciator of all things RPG and story driven.
Gamer Since: 2008
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Persona 5 Royal and Judgement
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Dishonored, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn

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