As hard as it is to believe, we've been waiting the better part of a decade for a follow-up to the critically acclaimed Persona 4. As of today, that wait is over, and Persona 5 is now available for all to enjoy. The wait was worth it — a month into the game's story, Persona 5 brings back everything that made the last two entries in the series so memorable, while adding a slew of new features and options. Knowing the Persona franchise, it's going to be a while before we can bring you a full review of the game, but in the meantime, here are a few tips for those of you who are about to begin your careers as Phantom Thieves.
Your Time Is Valuable
Like Persona 3 and 4, time is a big feature of Persona 5. Making good use of your days and evenings is vital to maximizing your experience with the game. Persona 5 is particularly nasty about taking time away from you, far more so than either of its predecessors. While exploring Tartarus in Persona 3 only took up your evening, and delving into the TV World in Persona 4 only took up your afternoon, infiltrating a Palace in Persona 5 takes up your entire day: once you return home, your only available option will be going to sleep. On top of that, the first Palace will take, at minimum, three full days to complete. The second Palace will take a minimum of five full days. And then there's the randomly-generated dungeon that you'll learn about in early May, which will also take up a full day any time you decide to visit. With the dungeon and combat sections of the game taking up so many days, making good use of your remaining time is more important than ever.
Don't Forget to Negotiate
Long-time Shin Megami Tensei fans will be interested to know that rather than acquiring new Personas via tarot cards as in the last two Persona games, Persona 5 brings back the negotiation system seen in the main Shin Megami Tensei series. Negotiations can be started in place of an All Out Attack, once all enemies have been knocked down by exploiting their weaknesses. Thankfully, Persona 5 negotiation system is a lot less esoteric than the mainline Shin Megami Tensei games. All enemies have one of four personality types, which determines which type of responses they like and dislike. Once negotiations begin, they will ask you two questions; answer them satisfactorily, and they may become a new Persona for the main character to use, or hand over some money or an item if that's your preference. It can take some practice to figure out which responses are most effective with which personalities, but thankfully it's not as random as the Shin Megami Tensei series.
Stick to the Shadows
In Persona 5, players take on the role of Phantom Thieves, and as any good thief knows, it's important to keep to the shadows. While exploring Palaces, you'll find a number of hiding spots you can take advantage of, and it's definitely worth doing so. While hidden, even if plainly within an enemy's line of sight, enemy shadows still cannot see you. If you attack a shadow from a hiding place, you'll begin battle with a significant advantage. There are almost no situations where you won't be able to attack enemies from a hiding place, so take your time and strike when the opportunity arises. Unlike Tartarus or the TV world, Palaces aren't randomly generated, and enemies tend to have specific patrolling patterns, which makes Persona 5 feel almost like a stealth game. Study your surroundings, learn the layout, and plan ahead.
Persona 5 is shaping up to be a meaty game, and first impressions are extremely positive. Hopefully these tips help you steal some hearts. Keep an eye out for our official review in the not-too-distant future.