Persona 5 Royal: Thoughts so Far

Well, we can take screenshots now – what a novel concept! You’re too good to us, Atlus.

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This game is quite long, so I just wanted to make a quick post about some of the changes, and how it’s been playing so far. I’ve just started the fourth Palace – Futaba’s Pyramid – so I’ll be speaking up until that point in the game. I won’t be spoiling anything major, but if you want to go into Persona 5 Royal completely blind, probably give this a pass. You can check out my review of the original Persona 5 here.

Activities in Leblanc

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There are a couple new things to do in Leblanc, as well as some improvements made to activities from the original Persona 5. For example, doing the crossword once a week nets you a free Knowledge point, without any time passing. Nice. You can clean up the restaurant for a free relationship boost with Sojiro, and a Kindness point. Brewing coffee now gets you two SP restoring brews, as well as a Charm boost. These are fantastic changes, because in Royal, returning from the Metaverse no longer completely drains you. While you won’t be able to leave Leblanc, you still have your evenings free upon returning from Mementos or a Palace. Doing these activities around the shop in the evening is a great way to make use of this new free time.

New Confidants

The new confidant, Kasumi, was advertised quite heavily in the leadup to the release of Royal, but there is also a new councillor character, Maruki. I wasn’t super thrilled about the concept of his character, but hanging out with him permanently increases your SP by 5 each time. This is a huuuuge incentive to build up his relationship (among the other benefits he gives you). He seems like a nice dude, and I’ve been making a point of progressing his story a top priority. I’ve had a few interactions with Kasumi, and I do like her character. She’s extremely polite, and she’s been fun to hangout with. I enjoy her design a lot.

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Another major change was made to the Justice confidant – while Light Yaga – I mean, Goro Akechi, is not a new character, they’ve made him a regular confidant in Royal. Inside of arbitrarily progressing his story through the game, you can now spend time with him, the same as all the other characters. I love this. It means that the player gets more invested in his arc, and I genuinely just like hanging out with him. It gives him a bit more depth that was lacking in the original game.

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Mementos

Mementos got a bit of an overhaul in Royal – while a lot is still the same, the addition of a new character, Jose, has changed the way I (and probably a lot of other players) approach the massive dungeon. Jose is collecting flowers, in the pursuit of studying humans (don’t ask) and you can help him out. Mementos now has these collectable flowers, and stamp stations. The flowers allow you to purchase items from Jose, but the stamps are more important – there are a set number per section, and collecting them allows Jose to make permanent changes to Mementos. You can use the stamps to increase EXP, money, and items gained. I’ve poured all my points into gaining more money so far, since you know, Reaper farming is a thing. Not too worried about EXP right now. I really like these changes – before, I would just zoom through and find the platform down as quickly as possible. Now, these incentives make exploring way more fun, and reward you for doing so. Mementos feels less tacked on, and way more interesting now.

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Changes to Combat

Persona 5 Royal has made a couple significant changes to the combat. One of the most notable being that your gun doesn’t really run out of ammo – after each round of combat your gun recharges with the maximum amount of bullets it can hold. This is pretty invaluable. Conserving ammo was always a giant pain in the original game, especially for Shadows that are knocked down via gunfire. The fact that this isn’t an issue anymore is a huge help. I was able to push through Kamoshida’s Palace in the very beginning of the game in one day, simply because of this change.

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Another big change that I appreciate A LOT is the Baton Pass mechanic. In the original title, you would have to hang out with the new members of your team a few times in order to unlock this option. This made adding characters to your front line as soon as they are available kind of impossible – not being able to Baton Pass to them immediately was frustrating. Now, Baton Pass is available as soon as they join the Phantom Thieves; this makes swapping party members easier, because they all have the same power-up options.

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The third most notable change is the Showtime finishers – occasionally, two characters will have the option mid-combat to activate their signature Showtime move to deal massive damage. So far I’ve unlocked Morgana/Ann’s move, Makoto/Ryuji’s and Yusuke/Ryuji’s. I can’t stand the animation for Morgana/Ann’s, so I never use it, but I love the other two. I’m looking forward to unlocking more as the game progresses. These moves are over-the-top, and super cool to watch.

Other Bits

Royal has a bunch more smaller changes that I’ll get into once I do my review of the game – changes to the Velvet room, and Persona traits, for example. I’ll get into the Thieves Den in a more in-depth post. Some story and dialogue changes I’ll discuss once I’ve seen the game in its entirety. Overall, I’m really enjoying the changes that have been made – the small, quality of life improvements make the game flow a lot better. The new options for all the confidants make hanging out with them more fun in this title, and I’m hoping to be able to max them all out in one playthrough. I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the game unfolds with all the new content!

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Is anyone else playing Royal? How are you guys enjoying it? Let me know in the comments!