Hey, Gamers! I’ve never done this before, but this is the second time I am writing this post. After talking to Josh (my partner, if you’re new), I realised that instead of just listing off different circumstances that Royal would or would not be worth it… I should just tell you what you should expect from Royal so that you can make an educated (plot spoiler-free), informed decision on what’s best for you. Persona 5 Royal has been out for over a year now, and I was lucky enough to have gotten the Phantom Thief edition (luck doesn’t really come into it, I did have a full autistic meltdown when I thought I couldn’t get it and 100% had to sacrifice things to get it), and I owe a lot of my experiences as a gamer to Persona 5. I really love this game. That being said, I live with someone who doesn’t passionately love this game the same way I do and because of that, I can now be unbiased in this post. So, long intro over, let’s get into it!
What can you expect from Persona 5 Royal?
I’m going to divide this into sections to make sure I cover everything. If you don’t want to know about a certain part, skip it but remember, I won’t spoil the plot. I’m not that kind of person.
So with Persona 5 Royal comes three new advanceable confidants- Kasumi, Maruki and Akechi. Akechi was in the original game, but his confidant was automatic and based on story progression (similar to Morgana, Igor and Sae). There is definitely an added benefit to his confidant being based on the time you spend with him over story progression, and I’ve discussed this in a previous post (that does have spoilers, but I’ll link it in the bottom if you’re interested). Kasumi and Maruki are brand new characters that were developed just for Royal. You need to finish all three to unlock the third semester. In terms of characters, they are interesting. I was worried that Kasumi and Maruki would just be surface-level characters, but they’re very well developed. They tie in well with the new plot and the original plot. I was worried that they would feel out of place with the original stuff, but they fit in very well. You can tell that these characters were thought about considerably, and they really thought about how to fit them in with the original plot. They’re there without getting in the way. Akechi’s confidant also doesn’t feel out of place. It’s very natural and – if Royal was my first playthrough of the Persona 5 story – it helps with keeping Akechi’s backstory and goal hidden as it doesn’t draw too much attention to it like it did in the original game.
The third semester is good. The story content of it is fabulous. It is very well written with a very good set-up. However, I feel like the way it was marketed was poor. The third semester is heavily story-driven and you don’t get much time to focus on confidants and social stats. It’s very much taking your hand and being like “no, don’t do this, look at all of this wonderful plot, do that- no, don’t get distracted! I don’t care if you wanted to finish that, do this instead, this is right in front of you”. I think the best way I can think about to describe how the game does this is through Morgana and sleep. It’s a meme that in the first game, Morgana makes you sleep so much. This is fixed for the most part, but in the third semester, it’s very much like the original game. I actually said that I thought they made the third semester before they re-made the rest of the game (but that’s a whole other topic). The third semester is so story-driven that there’s very little time for you to do your own thing. Great story, like I said, but not really what it was marketed as in my opinion.
There’s also another character who is less in your face. His name is Jose and honestly, he makes Mementos so much better. He’s the sweetest character. I think he adds a lot of mystery to the game, which I know a lot of people like. He’s an improvement, but I like him most for game mechanic reasons.
Persona 5 Royal feels like a whole other game. For example, I played the original Persona 5 until the day before I received Persona 5 Royal. I literally finished my second playthrough the day before. But from the moment I clicked x when it asks you to do the Network thing… it just feels different. Slicker. More… on point. Everything just feels like it’s been improved, which is really what you want when you’ve paid for the price of a full game. They’ve improved so much, and the feel of it is weird because I was completely happy with the feel of the original Persona 5. I thought it was cool. But then I played Royal and it just feels so… disappointing whenever I go back to the original because it just feels… less.
Okay, so this was one of the biggest changes that I struggled with originally. They’ve improved it. Nothing in this game feels ‘less’ than the original. There are three things I wish to discuss here: ammo, will seeds and Mementos.
So, ammo used to replenish only when you entered the palace. If you used all of your ammo by the first or second fight, you just had to deal with no ammo. This was the worst in the final palace of the game as it was fairly long and had to be done in one day. With Persona 5 Royal, ammo replenishes after each fight. It actually makes much more sense in terms of how it is explained (because they’re not using real guns or ammo). It makes long says in Mementos easier to deal with (especially if you are preserving SP, which is usually a good idea).
Next up is will seeds. Will seeds are not compulsory, but they are a nice addition to the game. They make sense for plot reasons, and it’s nice to break a palace up with little goals like this. They restore a little bit of SP, which is always a positive thing. I think in terms of playstyle, the will seeds most benefit those without the DLCs and who want to do palaces in one day. That being said, you can’t go wrong with SP recovery and they’re collectables. Once you get all three, they morph into one big thing which gives you a skill. However, once the palace leader has been defeated you can take the crystal (all three of the seeds morphed together is a crystal) to Jose, who will turn it into a ring which comes with an improved skill.
Speaking of Jose, now is a good time to start talking about Mementos. Jose brings three new things to Mementos in terms of game mechanics: flowers, stamps and a new shop! Jose helps break Mementos up in the same way that the will seeds help to break the palaces up. Before I move on to talk about how everything works, I want to add that Jose sells missing will seeds from the previous palace. I only found this out yesterday (and it would have alleviated my worry that one night I couldn’t sleep out of fear of missing a will seed in Okumura’s palace). They’re significantly more expensive than the other items but if you need them, it’s nice to know the option is there. So, Jose’s shop offers two things using two different currencies: items can be bought with flowers, and changes in Mementos cognition can be bought with stamps. You can find both currencies in Mementos. You have to really look for the stamps, and they’re sometimes hidden behind breakable walls. But the flowers are everywhere and the stamps give you a real reason to keep exploring the floor in Mementos past finding the way up or down. Jose’s stop gives you pretty good items, including the well sort after SP recovery items, which are on the more expensive side but are still very easy to get. You collect flowers that are on the floor in Mementos the same way you would pick up any item in Mementos- that is by driving over them. You have a HED on the screen that keeps tabs on how many flowers you have. Jose shows up every few floors, and as far as I know, it is completely random. You can just go up and down a set of stairs to spawn him in if you have a lot of flowers and want to leave for the day. Flowers don’t carry over, so if you have like 60 flowers (because you need 75 for SP recovery if I am remembering right off the top of my head) and want to leave… if you can’t find Jose, those flowers are gone. This typically won’t be an issue because usually (from what I’ve gathered via talking to people and from memes) when people go into Mementos, they go to grind which means they intend to be there for a while. Now, the other thing that could be bought from Jose is changes in Mementos’ cognition. This can be exchanged for stamps, which – for Jose, at least – is a fun little game that he set up throughout Mementos. You can keep an eye on how many stamps you have left to get on each level (not floor, each section of Mementos) on the overall Mementos viewing screen (I’m not sure what else to call it, there is probably a better description but it’s lost on me right now. The screen where you can travel from one area to another). Typically there’s be a stamp at the end of each floor, and then some floors have hidden stamps and some floors even have stamps at the start (I actually nearly missed one on the start of a floor because autopilot kicked in). So, what do these changes in cognition do? They can increase the amount of experience, money and items you get during your time in Mementos. This makes grinding so much more worth it, because 1) you level up faster and 2) you get more out of your time there.
EDIT: I forgot to talk about showtime attacks! They’re basically locked behind story, and they’re just a fun new special attack that plays a scene between two characters. They (for the most part) don’t spoil the plot, so feel free to look them up on YouTube. My favourite is Makoto’s and Ryuji’s, followed by Haru’s and Makoto’s.
I also forgot to talk about fusion alarms, but I do struggle to explain it other than it’s an addition to the Velvet Room and I’ve made cool personas from accidents because of it.
I thought pretty hard about whether or not to include this in another section or just have it be its own section, and I went with the latter. There are a few things that I wish to talk about here, and most of them involve the Thieves.
So one thing that is important (at least it was to me, so…) is that Baton Pass is automatically unlocked. It’s not locked behind a confidant rank. This is a godsend for my AI-run personally, but it also clued me on to some other abilities changing.
The main one to talk about is Ryuji’s rank 7 insta-kill. Everyone hated Ryuji’s insta-kill ability and I often heard of people choosing not to advance him past rank 6 just so they could get on with their game without the ability. But, Royal changed this. The skill only activates by pressing R2 (don’t hold me on the button, might be a different one but the point is that you don’t have to activate it), and – the best thing – you get the experience that you would have received from the fight!
Other characters have had slight confidant ability changes. It made Ohya’s skills better (still pretty bad, but better), and it overall feels like each character has just been thought about more in terms of their ranked abilities. But yeah, the main one to bring up is Ryuji’s.
General thoughts/ opinions-
When Josh and I spoke about this, we came to a conclusion based on both of our experiences: Royal is worth it… if you’re the type of person who can play through Persona 5 again. Some people just play it once, liked it and that’s that. They got enough enjoyment out of the one playthrough and wish to move on to other games, and that’s completely valid. But despite all the changes in Royal, it is still Persona 5 at heart and if you can’t do NG+, you probably can’t sit through Royal. I say this because that’s what happened to Josh. I obviously love both games, I’m playing them almost constantly… but Josh has other games and he wants to experience other things over the same thing, and that’s okay.
There are a few things that are additional such as the thieves den, twin outings, a whole new place, darts etc but I think I covered the main things.
So, that’s it for this post, Gamers! I am sorry it’s last. As I said, I had to re-write this post because I just wasn’t okay with it. If you liked this post or found it helpful, give it a ‘like’ and follow this blog for more chilled, passionate gaming content. If you’re looking for streamers, check out 2Nerds_1Game on Twitch (and YouTube, but it’s just 2nerds1game there) to catch Josh and I streaming Persona 5 Royal, Kingdom Hearts, Bloodborne and more! See you in the next post, Gamers!