REVIEW | Persona 5 Royal

REVIEW | Persona 5 Royal

LifeisXbox’s Persona 5 Royal review |

Today I get to check another game off my bucket list of reviews I want to write with Persona 5 Royal. Since I had originally played it back on the Playstation 4 when we were all enjoying our newfound game time in the lockdown of 2020. I’d picked it up after I saw the steelbook was on sale. Persona had been a franchise I previously only looked at with a keen interest to learn more but neither the money to buy nor the means to play it. Looking back on it now, I’m glad I waited.

Things went somewhat slow at first. A new game with new but familiar systems. Somewhat resembling mythological mind Pokémon at times. At least the first two palaces kept me relatively with it, but right around the end of the second one, I started going off the deep end. At work, I’d look forward to playing it further when I got home, which I then did until the worryingly early hours of the night. I began scouring the internet for any kind of Persona 5 content I could find. The phantom thieves completely enthralled me. Now, while staying up late all the time to play games isn’t a good thing, I’m glad in this case that I did. That one night, pretty far into the game, I heard a heartrending scream from downstairs at around 2 AM. My grandfather had passed away only minutes earlier. Let’s just say the Phantom Thieves idled in that palace for a good ten hours before I came home again to shut the game off.

Among a great many things, he trained many respected journalists during his career and inspired me to improve my own writing. So in a way, I’d like to honour his memory with this review.

So all that’s left is to mention that Persona 5 Royal was made by Atlus and published by Sega, and from today is playable on PS4 / PS5 / Xbox Series X & S standalone or on Gamepass / PC and Nintendo Switch.

Most Memorable Moment

I’m intentionally keeping this as vague as can be, not to spoil the story. My favourite moment by far is when the phantom thieves fight the final boss in the true ending. The culmination of the journey they went on in the past year, the challenges they faced, the things they lost and the reality that awaits them if they win this fight—especially given the fact that things aren’t as black and white as they used to be.

A close second, however, would be the valentines day scene if you romance all love interests. So unless you’re a total casanova, I highly recommend you look this scene up after you finished the game.

ℹ️ Reviewed on Playstation 4 | No review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.

For real!

What we Liked!

  • Joker’s daily life | In Persona 5 Royal, you get to play “Joker” or Ren Amamiya through a year of his life in Tokyo. While not originally from there, some external factors, lead to your transfer. Despite being new to the big city, Ren will have little time to get used to his new surroundings, as things quickly kick into next gear. Before long he will make unlikely friends; stand against the twisted forces that be; traverse the Metaverse (not Zuckerberg’s pet project) and use the power of the wildcard to change hearts. Gameplay-wise, this splits the game in two. On the one hand, you have a daily high school life simulator, while on the other you have a dungeon crawler with light environmental puzzling and a deep turn-based battle system. I’ll go into the mechanics of each later in the review, but know that what sets Persona apart from others like it is how deeply interwoven they both are. The relationships you build in your everyday life power your Persona, which in turn have an impact on Joker’s personal stats. Now, what makes it all a challenge is the fact that you can only really use two timeslots each day to do stuff. Want to visit a jazz club in Kichijoji with the Justice Arcana? Better be sure you don’t have any other significant activity that needs doing that evening. Oh, and you also go to school on school days. Better pay attention in class, because hell hath no fury like Makoto when you fail your exams.
  • Style | If there’s one thing Persona 5 Royal definitely has it would be style. No really. From the moment you start it up, the cool just oozes from the screen. From every screen. Literally, the most boring visual aspect of the game is the faceless passers-by on the streets of Tokyo. And even they come in enough shapes and sizes to make a lively crowd. In typical Persona fashion, its many lines of dialogue are accompanied by a myriad truths of character portraits displaying their emotions. This can make even the longest cutscenes interesting. The menus are the most visually impressive I’ve seen to date, and it’s honestly not even close. The moment you open one, an animation greets you with one of the Phantom Thieves in the style of a noir comic. This is however not the only sort you’ll get. Buying weapons? Unique style! Going to the Doctor? Unique style! Giving a small mystery boy flowers in a subway dungeon? You guessed it, totally unique look and feel. Okay, they share the same feeling, but all with their own layout and visual elements. In terms of overall graphics Persona 5 Royal has a well-above-average anime style with both in-engine cutscenes and some animated ones.
  • Music | Let’s kick this segment off by saying that many of the tracks from Persona 5 Royal have made their way into my daily life. From singing along to Rivers in the Desert, Take Over, Colors Flying High and more in the car; to working and writing reviews to Beneath the Mask or Gentle Madman on repeat I simply can’t get enough of Lyn Inaizumi’s performance and the score largely composed by Shoji Meguro. So what’s it like I hear you think? It covers a broad, yet condensed spectrum of jazz, funk, soul and rock. Many of the tracks contain vocals provided by Lyn, but instrumental versions also exist. Heck, some tracks even vary based on the weather. And as music so often reflects the state of affairs and the characters’ feelings, I invite you to pay extra close attention to the lyrics during important story moments. Let’s just say they really elevated the experience during certain times. Moving on from just the music, Persona 5 Royal boasts an impressive amount of voiced lines. Just about every part of the main story dialogue and all confidant events are fully voiced. Furthermore, I’m happy to report that there’s a wide array of sound effects and ambient sounds that all beautifully complete whatever setting you’re in.
  • Student by day | As mentioned earlier, Persona games feature two distinct gameplay segments that are deeply interwoven. And one side of this coin is Joker’s everyday life as an upstanding, totally normal member of society. Here you’ll go to school, work part-time jobs, prepare for Metaverse outings, form bonds with friends and work on the 5 attributes that have an impact on your social life. Arguably the main thing you want to work out during this time is how to schedule all your confidant meetings. What’s a confidant I hear you say? Easy, those are the people you make meaningful bonds with. And it’s these bonds “that shall become the wings of rebellion that breaketh thy chains of captivity” or power you up and unlock new active and passive abilities alike. And if it’s with one of the girls, you’ll even have the option of romancing them if you so fancy. Just don’t try to two-time them. That will only bite you in the ass. I’d also like to take a moment to say that there is no shame in looking up guides for some or any of these events. A single wrong dialogue choice could lock you out of a relationship, and even for the non-romantic dialogue options they’ll come in handy.
  • Phantom Thief by night | When Joker isn’t brewing coffee or working at the convenience store you’ll find him and his fellow thieves stealing hearts in the Metaverse. This is the dungeon-crawling turn-based fighting aspect of Persona games. Different from its predecessors, the dungeons are called “Palaces” which are de facto pocket realities of each ruler’s distorted view of the world. Taking the very first one as an example: Kamoshida imagines himself as the king, with the school as his castle. If you wish to safely travel these palaces you’ll need a Persona, which manifests as a mask in this game. When you enter combat, you start a turn-based battle where Joker and up to three teammates take on the shadows that oppose them. You’ll make use of various types of attacks like melee and ranged physical, fire, ice, wind, lightning, Light and Dark. New to Persona 5, but not specifically Royal, are the Mind and Atomic damage types. Now it all becomes a matter of hitting your targets with whatever they’re weak to, as that will make them flinch, opening them up to an all-out attack if you get all enemies knocked off their feet. Manage to single one out, however, and you’ll have the chance to interrogate a shadow to try and convince them to become your persona. Getting this minigame right will be paramount to recruiting new persona for immediate use or fusion once in the Velvet Room. And it’s through fusion that you’ll see the best Persona come to be, as you’ll be able to go from a lowly Pixie to Ashura or Satan over the course of the game.
  • The Royal | Now, what makes Persona 5 Royal different from Persona 5? Simply put, ever since the modern Persona game formula you always had an initial release followed up by a director’s cut that massively expands the story. Both in Persona 4 Golden and 5 Royal, this takes the form of a third playable semester you can only access if you’re on the route to the true endings. To get on this route, a decent number of conditions will have to be met before a certain point in the story. Now these conditions all centre around your interactions with certain characters new to Royal’s expanded story. And for me, it is here that Persona 5 Royal goes from having a great story to one that makes it a modern classic! The story that the third semester brings, how it was set up, the stakes it raises and the choices it has you make. I’ve never before both loathed and looked forward to going head-to-head with the final antagonist. I understand I’m being vague here, but even for a story that we got to play back in 2020, I want to discuss as little as possible from the story to allow everyone to experience it fresh for the first time. It’s worth it.
Ooh ooh, I know this one. The Placebo effect.

Mixed Feelings

Nothing here, I legitimately love everything about Persona 5 Royal.

Kichijoji has a lot of useful stores and fun hangout spots.

What we Disliked

I guess there is one thing. Mona please, for the love of god, let me out! I’m not tired. I don’t need to go to bed yet!

How long to beat the story |
How long to achieve 1000G |


Persona 5 Royal is what you get when you take a gem of a JRPG and polish it up to shine even brighter. The many quality-of-life gameplay changes paired with the expanded persona roster and updated story make for an experience that will stay with you for years to come. If you like JRPGS I implore you to try Persona 5 Royal.

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