While I’ll preface by saying I’m a huge Persona fan of the ‘new’ style of Persona games that started with Persona 3. It just scratches an itch so well for me, the dungeon aspect is fun and breaking it up with the social aspects works well for me. The ‘gotta catch em all’ to go with collecting personas rounds it out. Persona 5 Royal isn’t going to do much to fundamentally change your feeling towards the franchise. But, it does improve on an already great Persona 5 experience.
Before buying like many, you looked at what the royal edition was adding over the original, and charging full price, and you kind of knew you were being exploited and you probably should wait for a sale if you already played Persona 5. I of course did not wait for a sale. And I ended up pleasantly surprised that while you can write up the changes in a few sentences, they feel more impactful when you’re actually playing. As they’re just sprinkled in enough throughout everything that while it doesn’t make it a completely new experience, it keeps it from being quite exactly as you remembered it. In a good way.
Probably the biggest gameplay change was changing how ammo works within the game. As you now refresh your ammo for each fight, using your guns is something you can do much more frequently. Rather then being something you needed to save incase you encountered a weak to gun enemy and your MP was getting lower. This resulted in me using the guns more frequently, especially when you can add the chance to inflict status on them. Other chanes also added to the game as well. And admittedly with how long it’s been since I played Persona 5, often I was wondering “was that in 5 or is that new?” All in all a lot of quality of life improvements were added to keep the game from getting in your way.
This does have the impact of making it a much easier game, even though I played on Hard from the start, only one boss gave me any real difficulty. You’re also given more free time in the social world, so maxing your social links should be something you can do without needing to pull up a calendar guide to make sure you’re being as efficient as possible. And if you are efficient, there’s some new activities to spend your free days doing to increase the stats of your and your teams personas. I don’t view the ease as a bad thing, but that’s for you to decide how you feel on it. I still ended up putting 140 hours to complete the game. So it’s not like it allowed me to breeze right through, though I imagine i could have shaved up time by not grinding in mementos like I did to max out another of one of the new mechanics of the game.
Beyond the improvements that are sprinkled out, the main aspect of Royal is adding the two additional confidents and an extra semester to the school year. This adds another dungeon and playable character. I would have favored these fit more into the ‘sprinkled throughout’ portion of the game. There is a bit of oddity of taking a game that as mentioned took 140 hours to complete, and limiting some of that new content to just the final 20 hours or so. It’s not a major con, but a slight disappointment.
All in all the game was very fun and is a solid improvement on persona 5. If you haven’t played Persona 5 and you’ve been thinking of it, Royal is better in every way. Just wait for the price to hit what you’re happy with. Though, for a 100+ hour RPG, even at full price it’s hard to say it’s a bad value. And if you have played Persona 5 before, then it’s something I’d recommend to give another play through an already great game with enough new added in to make it a better experience.
Overall, I’d give the game a 9/10. A few minor quirks keep it from being 10, but still a game that held my interest from start to end which is becoming increasingly less common these days.