After what seems like forever, with countless teases and reveals, Atlus’s Persona 5 Royal is finally releasing on March 31st for PS4. Considering how critically acclaimed the base game was, is there a reason to join the Phantom Thieves for one last heist? Let’s take a look at 15 things you need to know before buying Persona 5 Royal.
Enhancements and 4K Support
Much like Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden, Persona 5 Royal is an enhanced version of its original release. So while it’s the same game in terms of look and feel, numerous enhancements have been made to the story, mechanics and overall quality of life. New content has also been added which will ensure a fresh experience, even for those who have completed the story. Also it has 4K support on PS4 Pro so that’s nice.
New Story Content
New animated cutscenes and a third school semester are introduced as part of the new story content. The latter features several new events which showcase developments for the likes of Ryuji, Sae, Okumura and so on. Even Valentine’s Day has been updated with new interactions. In terms of improvements, Haru is teased sooner in the story which makes her eventual introduction less weird and Akechi has a bigger role overall (along with his Social Link progression being changed). There are even two new endings to unlock depending on the choices made.
More Time for Night Activities
Right off the bat, the biggest improvement is having more time in the evening to do as you please. While Morgana will still tell you to go to bed, it won’t happen on such a frequent basis. It’s likely that the Metaverse will still take up both the afternoon and evening times, thus forcing you to level the Temperance Arcana to maximize your nighttime outings, but this is a good chance all the same.
Mementos and Velvet Room Additions
Fancy some tougher challenges? There are new optional battles to be had in the Velvet Room along with a new Challenge Battle mode for taking on waves of enemies to rack up the most points. There’s also Incense for increasing the power of Lockdown and Fusion Alarm which allows for bolstering a Persona created from fusion. Mementos has some new content as well like new side quests and random points where an entire floor is covered in darkness, causing tougher enemies to emerge.
Flowers and Star Stamps can now be found in Mementos, which can be traded to new vendor Jose. You can trade Flowers for items and Star Stamps for an increased reward rate with the latter influencing how much more money and experience you get in Mementos. Jose also offers a new accessory in exchange for three Will Seeds found in Palaces. These accessories allows the use of moves akin to that Palace’s respective boss.
Kasumi Yoshizawa is a new playable character and Confidant, and one that’s immediately receptive to Joker. As a rhythmic gymnast, Kasumi eventually joins the Phantom Thieves while having the Faith Arcana. Utilizing rifles and a rapier to battle, she also has Cendrillon, a new Bless Persona, at her command. That’s about as spoiler-free as we can get so let’s leave it there.
Another new character and Confidant is Takuto Maruki who’s introduced after the lengthy introductory arc so it’ll take some time before he finally makes an appearance. Takuto is a counselor and has the Councillor Arcana tied to him. Personality-wise, Takuto is more clumsy than the other teachers, which should make for some fun interactions (and a reason to pursue him as a Confidant).
Of course, there is also a new Palace and once again, without any spoilers, it’s pretty important to the overall story. As a side note though, navigating Palaces in general should be easier thanks to the introduction of the grappling hook, which can also be used to set up ambushes on enemies.
Combat and Enemy Changes
In terms of combat additions, there’s the new Show Time attack which allows two party members to attack a target together. Baton Pass now has increased rankings with rank 4 allowing for full skill use with no cost to health or SP. There are new enemies to fight and many of the major boss fights have been changed up in different ways. And if that weren’t enough, you can access Merciless difficulty from the beginning.
New Area – Kichijoji
Kichijoji is a new location and offers quite a lot to explore. There’s the Jazz Jin club where party members can hang out and enjoy live singing to boost their stats. Penguin sniper is a fun darts mini-game for increasing a character’s Baton Pass rank. There’s billiards to play, food places to visit, and plenty of new interactions and opportunities to increase one’s Social Links.
What’s a group of thieves without a den? Persona 5 Royal addresses this with the new Thieves Den. Think of it as Joker’s Palace and allows for viewing images and concept art in the Gallery, viewing various Achievements as Awards, watching cinematics and cutscenes (including live concerts for Persona 5), a card game called Daifugo that can be played with the rest of the crew and much more. You can even listen to music from the original game and Royal along with sprucing up the joint with decorations.
Each member of the Phantom Thieves now has a third Persona form that can be unlocked in addition to brand-new Persona to encounter as well. You’ll also find that certain Persona acquired through fusion – like Thunderbird, Chimera, Fafnir and Macabre – can now be encountered as Shadows in Mementos or Palaces. Persona like Satanael and Lucifer are also seeing some adjustments made to their attributes and moves.
Persona 5 has quite a lot of DLC when you factor in the copious amounts of costumes and music. While this won’t transfer over into Persona 5 Royal, the latter does come with all of the original DLC for free. It might be a bummer for base game owners who dropped money on the same but for new players, it’s a great deal.
New Music Tracks and Intro
It’s not enough that Persona 5 Royal has new content – it also has lots of great new music to listen. There are about 30 new tracks including a new battle theme “Takeover.” A new animated opening video, main menu and new effects are also included to further distinguish Royal from the base game.
Persona 5 offered over 100 hours or so of gameplay, even if you didn’t complete everything. Persona 5 Royal is looking to be no different. It’s estimated to add an additional 20 hours of gameplay or so with all the new content (and you probably won’t experience everything that the game has to offer on the first go-around). Overall, whether you’re a new player or a veteran, Persona 5 Royal will keep you busy for a good long while.