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A Persona 5 Catharsis - Editorial

jscarpejscarpe RPGamer StaffRPGamer Staff
Persona 5 is one of the biggest and longest releases of the year. Does its length make its flaws more prominent?

Editorial
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Comments

  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    I agree with almost all of this, maybe the entire thing, just not to the same extent. I wish I knew if it was just comparing this to Persona 3 and 4 in my head or if it's a standalone feeling, but I was not blown away. A good friend of mine was wanting a PS4 RPG recommendation and asked about Persona 5, and it was hard to give this an unconditional recommendation like I would P4.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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  • SvafaSvafa Full Members
    I can agree to some extent, though I'm surprised to hear this from a series veteran - I'd expect these complaints from someone new to the series, the time management aspect especially. I thought the time management was a bit easier in this one than either P3 or P4. The time limit on Haru's confidant was definitely annoying (but easily achievable in new game+), especially considering (in my opinion) she's easily a top contender for best girl.

    Personally, I found P3's exhaustion mechanic more annoying than anything (and just ignored it anyway; it was barely a slap on the wrist), so was glad to not have it in P4 or P5. Demon negotiations were also a nice addition, and if you don't care for them they were completely optional (and the dialogue skippable), so it's something I think they definitely did right - you could always just all-out-attack, though I found holding up demons for extra cash far more useful than just killing them outright.

    Stealth definitely had its issues. Jankiness aside, I was especially disappointed that the stealth system didn't respect height - you could stand in the open on the opposite side of a knee-high couch and shadows would treat you as if you weren't in line of sight. Kind of broke the immersion on the whole heist thing.
  • DarkSchneiderDarkSchneider CanadaFull Members
    Wait; why does shoehorning minority representation into a game matter? Every game released that DOESN'T force the SJW/progressive agenda is good in my books. Leave identity politics out of gaming and entertainment.

    This is why I play JRPGs and generally ignore WRPGs.
  • Lord GolbezLord Golbez Member Full Members
    edited August 12
    I think the complaint of yours that I agree with the most strongly is the pacing in regard to balance of dungeon and story. Persona 3 had the best balance, because the dungeon didn't really compete much with the social links. This meant that there wasn't pressure to try to complete Tartarus in as few days as possible. Thus, quicker shifting between social link and battle and more immediately seeing the effects for fusion. I don't think the "tired" status was terribly important to this dynamic and they could probably do without it. Day or night also doesn't matter as long as the dungeon isn't competing with social links too much. Persona 4 already had the same problem as Persona 5 in this regard, but Persona 5 exacerbates it by also taking ridiculous chunks of time from you where you can't do anything except go onto the next day. Some people see this complaint as a complaint about too much story. It's not. I love Persona 5 and I love the amount of story. I wish, for the purposes of replay value especially, that there was more balance in how the story is delivered between gameplay sequences.

    Other points:
    I disagree with you about the length. I like a long RPG and I like Persona 5's length. I do admit that it drags a bit toward the end, but I think that might be another pacing issue as well.

    Haru is a nonentity, but I feel the same way about Fuuka. They're practically the same character; Fuuka's presence is felt more because she joins earlier and she's also the navigator.

    Stealth complaint I agree with, but also agree it's petty. It's a small issue, that's nothing more than a minor irritation.

    LGBTQ representation - with such a small cast, I think it's a stretch to suggest that there should be a gay character in the main cast for every game. I would focus more on the absurd, mocking stereotype portrayed by those NPCs, but it really is par for the course in JRPGs. Also it's not terribly different than Persona 4. Any insinuation of Kanji being gay was treated like a joke. It's not just Yosuke; it's the whole thing. It's not even clear that he actually is gay, so I'm not sure it helps the LGBTQ representation. Also, it may not be saying much, but at least this game passes the Bechdel test multiple times over, which is a hell of a lot more than you can probably say for most games. Sorry that's not the same as LGBTQ representation, but it is something and Makoto and Sae are great characters.

    Demon negotiation - Always hated it, but Persona 5 has the best version I've played to date. Also, it is kind of fun to push demons to give you money multiple times and then kill them anyway. I don't think demon negotiation has very much to do with the pacing of the game at all though. It certainly affects the pacing of Persona 1 and 2 where you have to take forever doing it, but here it has a very small effect on battle length.
    Svafa wrote: »
    Stealth definitely had its issues. Jankiness aside, I was especially disappointed that the stealth system didn't respect height - you could stand in the open on the opposite side of a knee-high couch and shadows would treat you as if you weren't in line of sight. Kind of broke the immersion on the whole heist thing.

    The camera issues would be much less forgivable if the stealth was also less forgiving.
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  • jscarpejscarpe RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    LGBTQ representation - with such a small cast, I think it's a stretch to suggest that there should be a gay character in the main cast for every game. I would focus more on the absurd, mocking stereotype portrayed by those NPCs, but it really is par for the course in JRPGs. Also it's not terribly different than Persona 4. Any insinuation of Kanji being gay was treated like a joke. It's not just Yosuke; it's the whole thing. It's not even clear that he actually is gay, so I'm not sure it helps the LGBTQ representation. Also, it may not be saying much, but at least this game passes the Bechdel test multiple times over, which is a hell of a lot more than you can probably say for most games. Sorry that's not the same as LGBTQ representation, but it is something and Makoto and Sae are great characters.

    I guess I should jump in and clarify: I wasn't intending to say there should be a gay character in the cast. The fact that the only gay characters in the game were a joke was what stuck out and bothered me. Lots of times that sort of issue will get past me without noticing, but this time it just stuck out like a sore thumb to me so that's why it has stayed with me months after finishing the game. With Kanji... I don't know, maybe my fondness for P4 is coloring my judgment, but his social link was all about accepting yourself as you are. The main character was telling him to make those cute dolls for kids, who cares if society thinks that's feminine or masculine. In that sense, maybe it's that tone of acceptance that makes me slightly more okay with P4 than P5. Also, there is 8 years between the releases; I'm sure my views have evolved over that period of time.


    Other points:
    I disagree with you about the length. I like a long RPG and I like Persona 5's length. I do admit that it drags a bit toward the end, but I think that might be another pacing issue as well.

    As for the length, I don't think that P5 is in some absolute way too long. For me at least, the longer a game is, the more likely I am to be brought down by annoyances or things that don't click for me. It's fine if a designer wants to make a 100+ hour epic, but for me personally they are walking a tightrope by making that choice. The longer a game gets, the better it needs to be to hold my attention. Let me phrase this another way, I'm happy to play 3/5 RPGs that do something interesting if they are in the 30ish hour range; 80+ hour games need to be really special to hold my attention. Hopefully that makes sense and everyone can understand where I'm coming from.
  • Lord GolbezLord Golbez Member Full Members
    That's fair, I guess the length of Persona 5 was just worth it to me. I'm more likely to complain about the length for something like Dragon Quest games, which are decent but nothing stellar.

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  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    edited August 12
    -characters were subpar
    -dialog was subpar
    -ui was interesting but to much
    -I wasn't interested in the thief theme story wise or gameplay wise.
    -way to long
    -large chunks of the game were drags
    -music wasn't as interesting

    Just my opinion. I'm always happy others loved the game, and I wasn't to upset over it because it was still okay and so many good games have come out.
  • Lord GolbezLord Golbez Member Full Members
    The Heck? Beneath the Mask. Shut your face!
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  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    edited August 12
    The Heck? Beneath the Mask. Shut your face!

    Loved the song until they added the vocals. But one song or even three doesn't make a soundtrack for me.
  • Lord GolbezLord Golbez Member Full Members
    *shrug* It's rare for me that more than a few great songs in a soundtrack stand out as more than background music. Persona 5 manages as many great tracks as most games I can think about. Probably FF back in the day did better, but I've come to expect less since the advent of voice acting.
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  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    I meant more in comparison to 3 and 4. Compared to the average jrpg it's no contest, persona 5 is leaps and bounds ahead.
  • Lord GolbezLord Golbez Member Full Members
    Can't disagree. Persona 4 is musical perfection and Persona 3 is no slouch either.
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  • dbl219dbl219 New Member Full Members
    edited August 12
    Er, Kanji was definitely not gay. I'm always surprised by how many people are still confused by this. His affinity for craftsy hobbies and his attraction to Naoto made him question himself and perhaps even his sexual orientation. But once Naoto was revealed to be a girl, his attraction to her remained. And on a level of pheromones, his body would have unconsciously recognized her as a girl from the outset. His storyline of self-acceptance was more about not letting ourselves be defined by our interests or what others might think of them. In Japanese society (or American society, for that matter), a man who loves sewing and making cute dolls and things might have his sexuality questioned. Kanji's arc was to learn how to ignore that and embrace what he loves to do. He never exhibited any actual physical attraction to his male teammates. And as for Naoto herself, her arc mirrored Kanji's regarding gender roles in society. She was not LGBT either. My sister is transgender, so I understand well what that means. Naoto took on a male persona because of how she wanted to appear to society, not because she identified as male on the inside.

    On the other hand, when I first played P5, I actually interpreted Yusuke as possibly being gay. Quite controversial, I know. But it was the most plausible explanation to me of his brusqueness asking Ann to nude model, coupled with a general lack of sexual titillation towards the idea, and no apparent understanding of why it was inappropriate. All I could think was that he wasn't physically attracted to her, and in the end we know he was chasing after an ideal of his own mother. Of course the second I proposed this idea on a message board, every person there jumped down my throat and tried to tear me a new one. I still maintain there's no proof Yusuke is straight, either. Some people insisted he was in fact attracted to Ann, but the one moment where he blushes at Madarame's I interpreted as confusion and embarrassment at her suddenly coming on to him. I've grown up with close gay friends, and some would be totally mortified in that situation. As for the beach, to me Yusuke seemed like he was just going along with the others, and his disappointment was in discovering his inherent lack of charm after he thought so highly of himself. At the very least, I think he's decidedly asexual, preferring his idealized love through artistry over the love of an actual companion.

    That said, even if Yusuke were gay in theory, I'm not saying that counts as representation, considering it was never addressed. However, I do think you're ignoring an actual great representation of LGBT in Persona 5: Lala.

    She's a smart, funny, loyal, and caring trans woman who works hard and watches out for her friends. I don't know why no one ever mentions her. It's possible she's simply a drag queen, but drag queens often overemphasize feminine characteristics as performative, whereas Lala behaves naturally and simply presents as who she is. Even the bar itself is not a "drag bar," just a regular nightspot with a clientele who are there to drink and chat like any other place. And while the name "Crossroads" may be a play on cross-dressing, Persona's so rife with deeper metaphorical meaning that I can't help but think it also references the crossroads in a trans person's life when they decide to embrace who they truly are. I watched my own sister come to that juncture and choose her path, and it was indeed the biggest crossroads of her life. It was very inspiring to me. So I interpret Lala as openly transgender. I just wish she was an actual Social Link.
  • dbl219dbl219 New Member Full Members
    Budai wrote: »
    The Heck? Beneath the Mask. Shut your face!

    Loved the song until they added the vocals. But one song or even three doesn't make a soundtrack for me.

    I actually love the vocals for most of the tracks. Lyn Inaizumi's voice is so delicious. I couldn't get the lyrics for "Beneath the Mask" out of my head. I was walking around for weeks singing to myself, "I'm a shapeshifter..." Still gives me chills!
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    I started out hating most of the vocal tracks in P5 in game as I think many were misused, especially the standard battle theme that takes way too long to get started so battles were often over before it got good. That said, all have grown on me via listening to them outside of the game.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    Not a fan of P3, I did love P4 a lot. But there are definately things in P5 that I think is far better. Cause it really is a masterpiece
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  • blurpoblurpo United StatesFull Members
    edited August 12
    Agree and disagree. The whole LGBTQ thing... why? why does it have to be represented in the characters? to be politically correct? pleease! If the game was set in San Francisco you may have a point, but in Japan the percentage of openly LGBT people is probably less than 5%.

    I also disagree on the character thing, well, mostly because I don't focus my enjoyment of a game in having to love the characters. As long as they're ok, it's a pass with me, I focus on gameplay first and foremost.

    I do agree on the demon negotiation part, I hated it with a passion! Hated it in the old Personas, loved that 3 & 4 got rid of that, hated it in P5.

    I also agree on the game being too long. At least 2 times that I remember I was like "ok, game is about to end... nope! 10 more hours to come". I can like the whole twist of 'oh you thought the game was about to end? you were wrong!' mechanic, but when you use it like 3 times in the same game it's ridiculous.

    So yes, I actually liked P4 more than P5, burn me at the stake!
  • MyopicMirrorMyopicMirror Full Members
    My feelings of disappointment stem from the fact that P5 had so many more years of development. It wasn't just the graphics and the dungeons that should have been a step up from P4, it should have been everything. I realize that it spent most of its time developing as a Playstation 3 game so small maps, and noticeably longer loading times are forgivable but the characters, the music, the story, all just fell flat for me.
    I also will never understand the fake out with Ryuji's death after the yacht dungeon, they gave it an anime cutscene and everything! Then they play it all for a quick laugh, I just didn't see the point.
  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited August 12
    My feelings of disappointment stem from the fact that P5 had so many more years of development. It wasn't just the graphics and the dungeons that should have been a step up from P4, it should have been everything. I realize that it spent most of its time developing as a Playstation 3 game so small maps, and noticeably longer loading times are forgivable but the characters, the music, the story, all just fell flat for me.
    I also will never understand the fake out with Ryuji's death after the yacht dungeon, they gave it an anime cutscene and everything! Then they play it all for a quick laugh, I just didn't see the point.

    PLOT

    I'd go into detail but if was all explained as to why they did it in the game.
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  • josho2113josho2113 Full Members
    It's reviewers like you that just tick me off. There is no reason to bring in real world politics into a game. Boo boo there wasn't any LGBT representation. It's their game and it's their decision to include it or not. The relationships can be friendships anyways. I'm so over people griping about that.

    The game was amazing and the characters were too. While I agree Haru isn't as amazing as the rest, you don't really get to critique her since you didn't actually see her whole plot line.

    I feel persona 4 and 5 were quite close in ratings.

    Seriously next time keep politics out of a game Review!
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    josho2113 wrote: »
    It's reviewers like you that just tick me off. There is no reason to bring in real world politics into a game. Boo boo there wasn't any LGBT representation. It's their game and it's their decision to include it or not. The relationships can be friendships anyways. I'm so over people griping about that.

    The game was amazing and the characters were too. While I agree Haru isn't as amazing as the rest, you don't really get to critique her since you didn't actually see her whole plot line.

    I feel persona 4 and 5 were quite close in ratings.

    Seriously next time keep politics out of a game Review!

    This isn't a game review, so get out of here with your "keep politics out of a review" crap. This is an opinion piece with no interest in being objective even if reviews could be such a thing.

    That said I did go through Haru's whole plot line and nothing of value would have been lost by avoiding it.
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  • Fowl SorcerousFowl Sorcerous Dread News Editor RPGamer Staff
    josho2113 wrote: »
    It's reviewers like you that just tick me off. There is no reason to bring in real world politics into a game. Boo boo there wasn't any LGBT representation. It's their game and it's their decision to include it or not. The relationships can be friendships anyways. I'm so over people griping about that.

    The game was amazing and the characters were too. While I agree Haru isn't as amazing as the rest, you don't really get to critique her since you didn't actually see her whole plot line.

    I feel persona 4 and 5 were quite close in ratings.

    Seriously next time keep politics out of a game Review!

    Reminder: Fire=Hot
    Art=political.
  • Lord GolbezLord Golbez Member Full Members
    He's just mad because he's a bigot and doesn't like being reminded that people different from himself exist. The fact that asking for LGBT people in a game is "politics" to him makes that clear as day. Furthermore, "it's their game and it's their decision" is an equally valid response to any criticism of a game, which is to say it's not a valid response at all. Unless someone's actually saying Atlus shouldn't be able to make games like this, it has absolutely nothing to do with the criticism at all.
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  • MyopicMirrorMyopicMirror Full Members
    PLOT

    I'd go into detail but if was all explained as to why they did it in the game.

    Please do. Because this is what I remember.
    "Oh my god, Ryuji is dead!"

    Ryuji appears

    "Hey guys, wha-"

    "THERE HE IS! HE MADE US THINK HE WAS DEAD! LET'S BEAT HIM UP!"

    Ryuji's "sacrifice" kinda just came out of nowhere. Like, yeah, the circumstances make sense and his actions that lead up to the fake-out are in line with his character, but there was no proper build-up. It's difficult to take any kind of sacrifice or death in this game seriously when they all turn out to be fake. You have Joker, Morgana, and Ryuji all with fake deaths, would not be surprised if Akechi's "death" is fake too. Only Haru's dad's death is real because he isn't a Phantom Thief.

  • josho2113josho2113 Full Members
    First of all golbez. I'm not a bigot. I just can't stand people whining all the time that their interests were left out. That a game is any less of an awesome game because their beliefs aren't in the fore front. I don't need to defend myself and your assumption makes you look like an idiot.

    Macstorm- if acts like a game review, sounds like a game Review, then it's a game Review. All reviews are opinion pieces ya fool. This entire article is this writers review of the game.
  • Severin MiraSeverin Mira News Director/Reviewer RPGamer Staff
    edited August 14
    @ Fowl: I'm gonna set the over-under at five posts :)
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  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs Wannabe Mistborn Lucario Administrators
    edited August 14
    A friendly, if stern note to keep cool heads. This can be discussed without name-calling.

    If I may add in my two cents, Jscarpe's and others' issues with the LGBTQ representation isn't in it's absence, but how it's portrayed in this game, which is less than flattering.
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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    Some people just can't stand when someone else expresses their opinion on something. And yes, there's a big difference between a review and an editorial. If you can't see the difference, you probably never will and I'm not going out of my way to baby you until you do.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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  • jscarpejscarpe RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Alright, this editorial isn't a review of Persona 5. If I were reviewing P5, there would be paragraphs glowing about the graphics, art style, battle system, and music.

    P4 is one of my favorite games of all time and P3 is right up there, so I expected P5 to be right in that same ballpark and it wasn't for me. Even several months after finishing P5, it was bugging me that I didn't like it as much as I expected to. So, that's where this article came from, working through the problems I had with the game. Maybe that didn't come across with the title, but this wasn't intended to be a balanced look at the pluses and minuses of the game; instead it's an exploration of the things that didn't work for me in the game.

  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    I actually really appreciate it, because until lately I thought I was one of the few that felt a lot of these things. And seems now other people are too.
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