So I’ve been gone for a while (sorry about that!) but I’m back! I wrote this a few months ago, and considering it was part of a series, I thought it could be the first post back! Anyway, here is me from months ago telling you about Persona 5 Royal:
First of all, I know this is really late. It hasn’t been uploaded when it was meant to be and I feel like I owe you guys an explanation. There are several reasons, the first one being that I was finishing the last few assignments of my second year at university and really needed to put all my energy into them. Secondly, I have been really sick recently. Like, nauseated everyday kind of sick. I have not been vomiting as much as I have been feeling like I was going to. Gross, I know, but because of this, I needed a bit of rest time. I think I’ve been so sick because I’ve run my body down again because mental illness sucks but things still need to get done. Thirdly, and I think this is the most important, I don’t do well with conclusions. Everything needs to be concluded but if I was able to put it off for a year, chances are I will. Processing conclusions takes a lot of energy for me. I think it’s important to remind everyone at this point (if you haven’t skipped this little bit) that this is my favourite game. It’s the thing that I think about 99.9% of the day. It’s how I make sense of the world. I don’t do well with the idea of it ending.
Okay, moving on to the good stuff. The final push. Spoilers ahead because it is the end of the third semester so if you haven’t played that far yet, please just be aware that this post will spoil it for you!
First thing I will say is that I did mess up a little bit. I got Sumire to rank 10, even romanced her… but finished the route to the treasure before I was able to do the Showtime attack thing. So yeah. Serves me right for doing the palace in one day (kinda) I guess. So I was a little disappointed by that and I will not just look it up on YouTube because it gives me something to change when I do New Game Plus.
I honestly think that Maruki’s palace was my favourite. It was intriguing, the pacing was good in my opinion, and I liked the different sections. The story throughout the palace itself rivals that of Futaba’s, which was my favourite palace in the original because of the story aspect of it. The story was one that I related to massively. I understand how hard it can be both going through trauma and watching a loved one change through trauma. I know that both of these things are hard. For some people, watching a loved one deal with a traumatic memory or event can be traumatising in itself. This caused a lot of discussing at my house. If you could take away someone else’s pain, would you? Please let me know your response to this as I am genuinely interested in hearing people’s thoughts about this subject. My first response was “of course” because I always want people to be happy. But I know that sometimes people need to grow to be happy. A lot of people are not happy with the person they are, and they, therefore, need to grow and change to improve. Thinking back to what Sumire said that day at the café with Akechi… people need to go through the bad stuff to grow. Here’s a little backstory: my mother was religious when she was a child. Her father passed away when she was 12, and after then, she stopped being religious. I’m not going to force religious perspectives or anyone or do the opposite because you do you at the end of the day, but when I was growing up, I was a little bit religious in terms of believing in a God. My mother used to question this and say “if there is a God, why is there so much pain in the world?”. I’m 20 now, and now I know a possible answer to that question. Again, not pushing anything onto anyone. My point is, this game made me realise why people have to go through pain. There is so much pain in this world, and in the game. Maruki acted like a God-like figure and tried to take that pain away, which hindered people from growing.
Basically, the third semester made the game more about what is right or wrong rather what is good or bad, if that makes sense. The player spends most of the game knowing that they are doing good, but it is questioned several times throughout the game (typically just before each new palace) whether or not what they are doing is morally right. The third semester shows a wider scale of what the Phantom Thieves are doing (in terms of changing people’s lives and their cognition) but it is happening to everyone without prior knowledge. You can see from the start that Maruki’s reality is not morally right, even if you can understand why he has done it. However, it then raises the question of ‘since everyone is already happy, do the Phantom Thieves have a right to take that from them?’. I think more than anything, Royal has proven to be much more thought-provoking than the original game.
In terms of characters, I really liked that you got to see into the Phantom Thieves bedrooms. I just thought that it was really, really cool… you know… apart from Haru (even though I basically wrote 10000 words on how she was the best confidant but you know what Futaba deserved some love this time okay? Okay. Good). I think my favourite persona evolution apology thing was Futaba’s because she was a lot more open about her feelings concerning her mother than the confidant was and I think that is a big deal. In terms of personas themselves, Sumire’s is my favourite evolution because it looks like it resembles purity because it’s white, and I think it might reflect how she now has a purer heart kind of thing, after accepting herself for who she really is. Akechi’s evolved persona is also pretty cool. I really wish I got to use it for longer than 1 day.
I heavily focused on Sumire’s confidant as I wanted to romance her (we even went on a cute date to Destinyland) to get the platinum (and also my partner was about to romance Makoto in his game and I needed to get the trophy before him). I really liked the way her confidant played out, how it was pretty heavily focussed on finding herself but also tied in quite strongly with gymnastics. I feel like with Sumire, gymnastics is such a large part of her life and because it obviously has ties to Kasumi, it would have likely been painful for her to continue without Kasumi. I loved that the game made a point early on to mention that Kasumi was well known for her boldness but Sumire’s coach wanted her to remember who she was. Like, that was pretty early on in the game. And I felt like when Joker first met her coach, Sumire wasn’t quite sure where the line was between herself and Kasumi and that was shown pretty well. You see, people often strive to be the best versions of themselves. When you idolise someone as much as Sumire idolised Kasumi, the best version of yourself has a lot of qualities belonging to the person you idolise. My interpretation of this was that Sumire thought that Kasumi was so much better than her for so long, and they were likely thought of to be similar as they were twins, Sumire thought that the things that made Kasumi ‘better’ than she was the traits she needed to gain to become better and to be the best version of herself. However, in reality, all she needed was to believe in herself and her abilities. She would then be able to gain the confidence needed to be on Kasumi’s level and maybe even surpass it.
Maruki broke my heart. It is almost funny how many times I almost gave in to him. I understood where he was coming from and I wanted everyone to be happy. I loved how he came out of the palace just to get the calling card. Like, basically no one else would have done that. The entire time, throughout the whole palace, he was completely reasonable. He didn’t attack, he didn’t send shadows after us, he didn’t trap us. He wanted us all to come to an agreement but he was not willing to give up other people’s happiness. I am a bit curious about his ex after everything happens because things go back to normal but what would that mean for her? Would she stay the same because her cognition/ reality change thing happened before Maruki had full control of his power… or would she get thrown in the deep end after all these years?
On another note, the coloured arches sucked. So, so bad. Like… okay, I don’t know how to explain it. I really, really enjoyed every single aspect of Maruki’s palace. Like, hands down- it was very well designed, paced and thought out (but we’ve kinda been through that already) but I wanted that third will seed and I wanted it bad so I spent what felt like hours trying to work it out. As you guys know, I often get very frustrated and emotional at times like these. It was so much better and easier after I put the controller down for a few seconds and made myself a cuppa. I needed that time away from it. But the thing is, I still liked it because it suited the palace so well in my opinion. Like, by this point most of the palace was easy to get through. There are not many guards and I assume everyone is level 99 by this point, so the guards that you do encounter are not that bad. But this was so similar to the airlock… the bane of my existence. But I enjoyed the difference like it was not simple because the situation, the entire situation, was not simple.
I loved Maruki’s boss fight. I loved that even when we were fighting, he was trying to reason with us. I really, really loved that. I think when I found out that it was Maruki, I was so scared that he was going to turn into this awful, manipulative, evil guy. But he didn’t. His character was consistent, and I appreciate that as someone who liked his character in general. It reminds me of that scene in Wreck-It Ralph where one of the bad guys is like all “I am bad guy… but I am not bad guy”. It really goes to show that things just aren’t always as simple as it seems. Good and bad, right and wrong… they’re all subjective, at the end of the day.
But on a more serious note, punching Maruki was the funniest thing I’ve ever done in a game. I don’t know why I found it so funny – maybe lack of sleep – but I found it hilarious.
While playing, I have been a lot of people say that the ending was ‘meh’ but to be honest, I don’t particularly trust other people’s opinions on Persona games because there have been several times where my own opinion has been invalidated by others and I’m not really down for that considering how much I love Persona 5 (and Royal). However… I sort of agree. I do prefer the original ending. However, this ending is still good. I like how we get to see how Maruki is doing now. I like the shot of metaverse Joker on the train. I like the concept of the gang chasing away the cops but I also don’t like the idea of them not being there to see Joker off. Also, the lack of Sumire is sad. Especially for players, like me, who romanced her. I think it would have at least been nice to have her with the Phantom Thieves, where she belongs. But it was good. It was satisfying. I just really hope we get scramble in the west to get a continuation (although Sumire sadly will not be in it).
I really, really like how they’ve added in what everyone is going to do in the future. It shows how much everyone has grown. It’s definitely something that was previously up to speculation and to be honest, I really like the fact that it’s kind of in concrete now. It gives us a better insight into the characters.
The last thing I want to mention about the story is the whole glove thing with Akechi. I was talking to my partner about this earlier because it has been bugging me for days. After all, I really thought it would be leading to something more. I’m now thinking that it might be a set up for some kind of fighting game, like the Persona 4 one. I think that it would be really cool, especially if your Persona 5 Royal save could like, load your personas or something. I guess I’m just hoping to get something more out of Persona 5, but the whole Akechi thing really bugged me. There was meant to be more.
Oh, and shout out to Morgana for turning into a helicopter at the last second despite needing one at Kaneshiro’s palace. Go, Mona!
Moving on a little to the whole reward system… I got my first platinum! So that’s that I guess. I really want it in the original Persona 5 too so I’m going to go back to that after new game plus.
But there’s a lot of things to talk about in the Thieves Den that kind of says a lot about how I played this playthrough. Please bear in mind that I was trying to play it in a way that if I wrote something (a diary, per se 😉 ) then the readers wouldn’t get bored. I wanted the actions to be Joker’s actions, not my own. I hope that makes sense.
So, starting off with the awards! First of all, I’d like to just point out that these awards are like, 3D. Each award that you earn has its own image on the wall- they’re not the same. I like this because it’s not just ‘here you did something cool’. It’s ‘you did something cool and this is what it was, now you can display it!’ which I just really appreciate. It’s small details like this that makes this my favourite game.
So, I got 57% of the awards throughout my first playthrough. I don’t think that it’s that bad. There are a few I actively went for, like the home run one. Most of the ones I didn’t get are just because of the way I played the game, so next time I will just adjust the way I play a little bit to get the rest of the awards. However, some awards are not so simple to get.
I was so close to getting this trophy but I didn’t get all the confidants up to Rank 10 so I expected this. I’ll attempt it next time… but it’s hard. Obviously, it’s hard. But again, it’s all about learning and adjusting. I think the best thing about awards like this being in the Thieves Den and not on the trophy list is that you don’t feel pressured. You can still have fun and not stress about not getting all the confidants to Rank 10, even if you are a platinum hunter.
‘Golden Fingers’ is an award that I am not sure I’ll ever get. There. I said it. Those games are hard and quite frankly, my poor thumbs can’t handle it. Oh my goodness, that one game… and I know if you’ve read all of my updates, you know what game I’m talking about because I have complained about it multiple times because it is just too damn hard for me. What’s worse is that I keep forgetting what it is called and click on it thinking it’s another game…I’ll keep trying, though!
The romantic relationships one is not one that I would typically go for. However, I think on my next playthrough I am going to romance all of the characters because I always feel bad for turning them down. I don’t know (nor do I want to know) how Sumire would have reacted if I turned her down.
‘The Shadow Diplomat’ is one that I need to change the way I play the game. I am the type of player who would rather just spend hours fusing personas instead of going through with a negation. I mean, I can’t negotiate with my partner about what to have for dinner… what makes you think I would be able to negotiate with a shadow to make it join my team? I was closer than I thought though. I think (because I neglected the Thieves Den for a little bit) if I had seen how close I was, I would have gone to the top of Mementos and negotiated with some earlier shadows as those were really the ones I were missing out on.
Now, the ‘Rehabilitation’ awards. I wonder if one will be fighting the twins in New Game + like in the original game. However, I have a feeling that it might be fighting the Persona 3 and 4 protagonists. It’s just a thought I had because there’s two of them, and obviously two protagonists. That would kinda suck because that’s a DLC, but at the same time, it’s not like it’s a trophy so it’s not a huge deal.
I think, without a doubt, my biggest achievement was defeating the Reaper. But not only did I do it once- I did it 5 times! You can probably tell by now, I’m a pretty anxious gamer. I’m not very forceful, and if there’s a threat, I avoid it at all costs. I have always run away from the Reaper in my previous playthroughs. It always just seemed too hard. I doubted my abilities. And you know what? After the first time I managed to do it, it suddenly wasn’t so scary anymore.
I really, really love being able to see all the different Rank 10 confidants. It gives the player just a little bit more out of working hard, y’know? Granted, I didn’t have many… it was still really nice to see them interact. For example, there was a really cute bit of dialogue between Sojiro and Futaba over at Leblanc. There was also a pretty interesting conversation between Sojiro and Takemi about mental health. Akechi and Sae made an appearance over by the pool table, and Akechi challenged her to a game of pool in exchange for good sushi (he specifically states ‘not conveyer belt’).
Overall, I have adored this game beyond belief. You guys know that Persona 5 means a lot to me. I’ve mentioned previously that I use it as a way of understanding the world (or anything, really). I don’t think I ever really had the chance to express the amount of anxiety I had just before Royal came out. I lost sleep over it. I don’t do well with change, and I was scared that all my favourite things about the game would change. But the changes were so… complementary. They really complement the game in what I feel is the best way. I could not have asked for a better version. Everything amazed and excited me. The new stuff was, for the most part, beautifully executed. Persona 5 has made such a large impact on my life and I wish that I was able to share that with the world. Persona 5 Royal has only made things better. I cannot wait until I can start New Game +, but I am well aware that all I post is Persona 5 and people probably want different games so I am trying some new games out first. But seriously, if you had any doubts about Royal… take it from someone who also had doubts- it is worth it. It’s worth the money, the emotional energy and the time.
And with that, that is the end of my Persona 5 Royal updates. I’m sorry that it has taken so long to put this one on my blog! Hopefully with the upload of this, my posts will be back up regularly! Make sure to check out my instagram (@eleanor.rees.writing) for any updates (or if you just want to chat!). As an apology, take a look at these funny/wholesome/awesome pictures from my time playing Persona 5 Royal!