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Though it is generally considered a cult classic, the Persona series has gone from strength to strength. Though early entries in the series failed to garner much acclaim outside of Japan, it seems that critics of all nations can hardly throw enough praise at Persona 3 and 4. With it’s traditional JRPG mechanics unique blend of social sim elements, it’s easy to see why the games are so highly praised. Now that Atlus have nearly finished bringing Catherine over to America, their first foray into our current generation of hardware is complete. We can only hope that they will now turn their attention towards Persona 5 but, should they do this, how could they improve upon previous games in the series?
Less repetitive music
Getting the criticism out of the way early, I will openly state my disgust for the soundtrack in Persona 3. It’s a great game, but the pseudo J-rap tunes were the definition of lame and the drone effect provided by the hip hop beats made the music even more monotonous and irritating. Persona 4 took a step in the right by incorporating perky and needlessly catchy pop tunes into the mix, but the songs still tended to drag on somewhat. A more varied soundtrack, possibly in a different style, would really help with the presentation in Persona 5.
Better level variety
Variety is the spice of life, and it wasn’t a spice that was favoured by Persona 3. Though the town and social sim aspects offered a pleasing amount to see and do, the single dungeon you had to explore soon became wearing. Different blocks of the tower of Tartarus had different themes, but this was little more than a colour change. Persona 4 began to successfully mix up the dungeons (with some awesome visuals designs to boot), but Persona 5 will have to take this even further.
A different character age group
Though there are a few exceptions, Atlus tend to focus all the stories in the Megami Tensei series around groups of teenagers. It’s all part of the formula, and is normally a necessary and effective element of the story. That said, considering how Catherine revolves around more adult characters and themes, I’d be interested to see a Persona game with older characters. Maybe young graduates or middle aged people going through a mid-life crisis could make up the cast of Persona 5; anything to get a new angle on the tried and tested MegaTen narrative.