Persona. From being one of the many Shin Megami Tensei spin-offs, this series became more famous than the main franchise. Especially since the release of Persona 5, people from all around the world are loving everything about the series.
The Social Sim parts have become a trademark along with the turn-based RPG gameplay. During the plot we explore issues and problems that many of us had as teens and it has an undeniable charm for a lot of people, including me.
I played Persona 3, Persona 4 and Persona 5, and all three of them were mentioned during my #roadto2020. Persona, along with Shin Megami Tensei, is one of my favorite franchises ever. However, there are some things that I want to see fixed in the next entry of the franchise.
I am not talking about the first three entries of the series (Persona, Persona 2: Innocent Sin and P2: Eternal Punishment) for two reasons: I have not played them yet and the structure of these game is more similar to a Shin Megami Tensei main entry. The change in the series happened with Persona 3 (with the Social Sim parts), so I decided to talk only about the last three entries in the franchise.
Also, I want to point out that this is just my opinion. If your thoughts about the franchise are different than mine I would love to read them!
This article contains heavy spoilers in the “Clichéd Characters and Predictable Plot Twists” section. If you have yet to play Persona 3, Persona 4 and Persona 5 I suggest that you skip that section or the entire article altogether in order to enjoy the videogames!
The length of the introduction is not a problem I have myself. However I decided to put it in my list for two reasons:
- The Introductions have become longer and longer (Persona 5’s one is between eight and ten hours!), but there could be a better pacing of events to make it a bit shorter.
- I noticed that many people I know have a problem with the length of the introduction. It’s not beginner friendly for people that never played a Persona game.
For example Persona 3 introduction to game mechanics and story is three times shorter than Persona 5’s! That’s a lot of watering down the start of the game.
I love when tutorials explain everything you need to know when you start a new game, but I would definitely give Persona 5 tutorial a boost to shorten the length. For Example, I would start with the RPG bit of the game a bit sooner, since Kamoshida’s Palace should be an adrenaline filled moment. Instead, the game takes forever to bring us in the middle of the action.
I am not saying that Atlus should cut animated sequences and/or the Social Sim parts of the game, but they should think of the tutorial as a way to greet old and new players that may not be willing to wait eight to ten hours to see how a videogame is like.
Clichéd Characters and Predictable Plot Twists
As I said I played Persona from the third to the fifth entries of the series. There are plot twists about a particular character for each game that are the same over and over again. Shuji Ikutsuki (P3), Tohru Adachi (P4) and Goro Akechi (P5) are the same type of character. They are the reliable characters who turn out to be the bad guys.
If you have played all three the games you will find easy to guess they are bad right after you start the game. I actually was surprised about both Ikutsuki and Adachi, but when I met Akechi in P5 I was like “Okay, he’s one of the villains”.
That is not an issue if someone has played only one entry of the series, but if you have played at least two of them you will notice the pattern. We certainly need a bit of fresh air with the plot twists to make them less predictable and more unexpected for both new and old players.
Watered Down Situations
I did not find this issue with Persona 3, but both Persona 4 and Persona 5 have it. Both those games arrive to a point where the situations become almost too cheerful for the main theme of the titles.
- Persona 3’s main theme is Death, and we feel it throughout the entire game. We have cheerful moments here and there, but they never become too much.
- Persona 4’s main theme is the Searching of the Truth and we have a serial kidnapper/killer who throws people into TVs. While at the beginning of the game we feel the gravity of what is happening, going on with the story everything becomes too cheerful and cheesy. Only at the end of the game the protagonists remembered that, you know, there is a serial killer on the loose and the end of the world is coming.
- Persona 5 talks about the oppressing society and the need to “break free of our chains”. Until the end of Futaba’s Palace we feel that theme throughout all the events, but after that moment the pacing becomes slower and the events watered down. When I played it I almost got the feeling that Atlus did not know what to do in that part of the game and decided to throw here and there anime situations and moments that clashed with the rest of the plot.
Persona 5 is the only one of these three games that made me drop it for almost two months after finishing Futaba’s Palace on the third day after the game’s launch. After that part the pacing is ruined until the very end, which is very sad.
I’ve been playing videogames since 1998. From 2012 to 2019 I wrote for many italian websites dedicated to videogames, but, after a long hiatus, I decided to open my own blog.
Besides videogames, I play Dungeon & Dragons 5e and I enjoy writing/reading mystery novels. I also love to cross stitch while watching movies and TV shows.