I know im not alone when I say that I spent way too much time playing Persona 4 Golden (Chie is the best girl, this cant be disputed) and had high hopes for the follow up. I can safely say that Persona 5 has exceeded those expectations by a long shot. While I am fully aware of its Japanese release, I've been trying to stay in the dark about the game as much as possible, and for the sake of other like-minded people who cant speak Japanese, I'll refrain from any story beats I saw during my closed door demo at PSX 2016.
The most striking thing about Persona 5 is its overall aesthetic and darker tone.While the previous games were oozing with visual fidelity, anime character design, and an in your face art direction, Persona 5 takes what the series is known for and cranks that up to 11. Text prompts blast out of the screen, and the animated menus are unlike anything else I've ever seen in video games. The attention to detail in this area really helps the pop punk meets underground rock show flier really nail the point that this game is not like previous titles. The main character's life isn't as ideal as the protagonist from the previous game, and from the little I was allowed to see, this story is much heavier than the ideal friends forever power fantasy of the previous game.
In the demo, we explored the main characters run down a cramped room before embarking out to a crowded Japanese subway station, then ultimately to his high school. Within seconds of entering the campus, it was obvious that the environments felt more alive than previous games. The floors were dirty, people were in the way, and unlike the ideal dream-like town from Persona 4, this new environment felt like somewhere that could actually exist.
I didn't spend too much time with the game's combat for this demo, since that is readily available to anyone, and I was more interested in the bigger picture with this game. But from the few battles I fought, I can definitely say that it felt tighter and more fun than previous games. Something new to Persona 5 from past titles is that you can talk to your enemies and give them the option to join you or die, like in the Shin Megami Tensei main series or first two Persona games. This is really interesting and definitely something the standard turn-based team combat needed to spice things up a bit.
To put it simply, Persona 5 can't come to the states fast enough.
Persona 5 is currently available in Japan and will be released stateside on the PS4 and PS3 on 4/4/17.