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TGS 2016 – Persona 5 Easily Among the Most Fun, Stylish Games of the Tokyo Game Show (Hands-On Play)

September 24, 2016 Written by Heath Hindman

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My TGS Persona 5 demo play took place in what looked like an art exhibit in a museum. What I immediately noticed and loved was the slick style. Whether sliding under laser detection systems or hopping over them, hugging a wall or peaking around an obstacle, the characters constantly looked badass. The UI matched, with even the menus having a certain swing and kick to them. I was watching the PS4 version, of course; I can’t speak to the quality of the last-gen version, though it’s not unreasonable to assume that the PS3 does a fine job with this game, as well. Fluid animation accompanies every screen and every transition between said screens. Visuals might not make a game, but hot damn do they make Persona 5 fun to look at.

In a demo, especially one for a trade show, there’s often not enough time to even scratch the surface — to really dive deep into the systems, the options, the different paths a character can take.

Again, the brief nature of demos held me back from getting to know the characters, but art speaks to the soul, and I liked what I got from my 15 minutes of seeing the gang in battle. Oh, and for hardcore fans who will be interested in every detail of the demo: it was loaded from a file 8:10 into the game and on May 20. So there’s that.

Maybe this doesn’t speak to the quality of the game itself, but it needs to be said that it just plain felt good to play a new Persona game. That’s not a criticism towards Atlus development cycles or anything — quality takes time, and I understand that. But understanding an eight year gap between new installments doesn’t make the wait and longing any easier on gaming fankid living in all of us. Persona 4: Golden was a great update to an already excellent game, but the world and story still weren’t brand new, when returning players stepped into it.

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What I didn’t like was how, during dungeon navigation, the party was sort of magnetically drawn to the walls. In order to maintain that smooth, stealthy, super badass look, Atlus needs to make sure the player doesn’t go wandering around like a doofus. But the side effect is that I didn’t really feel as free as I’d like in a dungeon.

It’s hard to say too much about the battle system — and forgive me for saying this about almost every RPG demo — because time with the game was so short.┬áStill, for what it’s worth, the battle system was fun enough. It felt much like Persona 4; if you played that (or almost any turn-based RPG), you’ll figure things out and be able to get the most out of things. I just wish I had a few hours with which to play around with social links and the Velvet Room and all that. I guess what I’m trying to say is…I want to play Persona 5?

The red girl’s butt is almost constantly in the air and/or a focal point. As a butt guy who likes them large and cannot be dishonest about such, I approve. That is all.

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