The revival of the Persona franchise began nearly ten years ago, with the release of the diamond in rough we now know as Persona 3. Back then, of course, Atlus and the gaming industry at large did not even consider Persona to be its own franchise, and it was merely considered an offshoot of the larger MegamiTensei meta-franchise. Much has changed since then. The Persona franchise has seen the release of two mainline titles in 3 and 4 and several re-imaginings of the two, allowing Atlus to perfect the formula they experimented with back in the PlayStation 2 days. And as a result, the Persona series has not only become a revelation (pun intended) in terms of critical success, but has also garnered a sizable fan following.
So much so that Atlus have decided to drop the whole sub-franchise routine and have, in turn, turned Persona into their flagship franchise. Persona 5 is now – hopefully – only a few months away from release. The constant delays have been nothing short of heartbreaking, but the promised release date of Summer 2016 is drawing closer, and the hype is shooting through the roof.
With Persona 3, Persona 4 and the FES and Golden reiterations of the two respectively,Atlus got into their groove with a winning formula, but we still cannot shake the feeling that even now, Persona is still a whisker away from the perfection it has the potential of achieving. Don’t get us wrong, Persona 3 and Persona 4 are two of the best JRPGs to have been released in a long, long time, but there are still things that Atlus need to improve on- massively in some cases, whereas in other cases only fine refinements are needed.
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BETTER DUNGEON DESIGN
Of course, we will start off with the most obvious choice. Persona 3 and 4 got a lot of things right- the Social Links, the battle system, their strength in storytelling, the characterization, the life simulation mechanics- however, the one thing both the games failed at miserably was offering intriguing – or even passably enjoyable – dungeons. They were randomly generated, boring and drab- the phrase “series of snooze-inducing linear corridors” comes to mind. What we want Persona 5 to do is to have dungeons that have been properly designed and at least have some level of variation to keep things fresh. Thankfully, everything we have seen of Persona 5 so far seems to indicate that the dungeon design has been improved, but we can never be sure with this franchise. Please, whatever you do,Atlus, don’t give us more dungeons like what we saw in Persona 4, and no matter what, do not give us something like Tartarus again.