Persona 5 Royal Hands On: See What’s In Store for the Phantom Thieves

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Persona 5 Royal Hands On: See What’s In Store for the Phantom Thieves

Seven and a half reasons why Atlus’ additions make it worth returning to the PS4 JRPG.

Are you ever tempted to return to Persona 5’s modern-day Tokyo then delve into the supernatural realm of the Metaverse once more? Of course you are. Atlus’ bonafide classic JRPG dazzled genre fans when it swaggered onto PS4 back in 2016, bursting with stylish verve and packed with a great cast and challenging dungeon crawls. It was great then, and is still great today.

Yet there’d have to be a good reason to return via the upcoming definitive edition of the game, rather than the still excellent original release. Perfect excuse then, for us to take a visual tour de force tour through new gameplay additions, never-before-seen story arcs, visual enhancements (yes, it’s even prettier than before!) and more that is promised in next month’s release of Persona 5 Royal.

Persona 5 Royal’s forever-lush presentation extends to even the title screen.

Newcomers have it easier: curious to play Persona 5? Royal is the best way to do so. For Phantom Thieves who have already proven their worth, will the changes be enough to incentivize you to experience the world of Joker and a new way? Let’s find out.

1. Get your heart stolen by a new Phantom Thief

Meet Persona 5 Royal’s brand-new Phantom Thief, Kasumi Yoshizawa. The mysterious transfer student and graceful gymnast has been at the forefront of Royal’s trailers and pre-launch artwork. And rightly so. Your new party member and confidant brings with her hours of additional content, headlined, as you’d hope for, by an all-new Palace to explore.

2. A new semester ushers in fresh possibilities

Along with Kasumi, Persona 5 Royal also adds a brand-new school semester. As with previous ones, this is filled with events and holidays, social links to foster and expanded character scenes to enjoy.

3. Explore a huge new Tokyo district

Kichijoji joins Akihabara, Shinjuku and Shibuya as another Tokyo district given a Persona spin. Yet it outstrips those previous locales when it comes to size. And it’s rammed with things to do and see. There are new social activities and places to hang out. Go on a date at a jazz bar, play a game of billiards or meditate away from the noise of the city… there’s a lot to experience here.

For example: meditating!

And shopping!

And darts!

…and darts is a great example of how some of the new activities can directly improve your combat prowess. Playing darts with a team member in Kichijoji’s club will let you level up your ‘Baton Pass’ ability, gaining additional perks that you can take into battle.

4. Reworked Palaces and altered boss fights

Actually, this is perfect time to dive into gameplay additions.

You can expect a range of sweeping changes that’ll keep familiar adventures fresh for returning Phantom Thieves and give newcomers the ultimate version of this tale to play. On top of new enemies, Personas, gear and items, all Palaces have been reworked. There’ll be new areas to discover and boss battles in particular have been overhauled. Additional phases, dialogue and altered mechanics await, giving you the chance to dive further into their corrupt motivations.

5. A new tool, a new side-quest

Joker will now be equipped with a grappling hook when exploring Palaces, granting you access to new areas where you can hunt ‘Will Seeds.’ There are three of this new collectable scattered throughout each dungeon and as they can be used to fully refill your SP, so they’re worth the hunt. Finding all three will get you additional surprises too.

6. A new side to your Personas

Each Phantom Thief gets a brand new third-tier to their Persona, shinier than ever, as well as Showtimes, a new type of attack they can perform with another party member.

These are, in typical Persona fashion, absolute treats to look at:

No seriously. Bask in their visual glory:

Alright, just one more:

7. The Thieves Den, a Palace for your accomplishments

Thieves Den is a brand-new hub accessible at any point in the game or from the main menu. Here you’ll be able to collect, display and peruse a boatload of gorgeous artworks, trailers, cutscenes, and also enjoy some of the game’s grooviest music tracks.

You’ll also be able to customize the place’s appearance, placing decorations and Personas to your liking in the massive open space. Playing Tycoon with the Phantom Thieves and accomplishing awards will earn you the currency you’ll need to unlock everything and make the place truly your own.

And that’s it. Seven headline additions that filter into nearly every aspect of the Persona 5 experience: a sweet bit of fine-tuning here, some welcome embellishment there. Persona 5 Royal launches on PS4 March 31, and you’ll get all of Persona 5’s DLC content along with it for free. Are you ready to meet your true self again?

We can’t leave without at least one more gif, courtesy of the game’s slick new opening cinematic (which in itself is at least half a reason to rejoin the Phantom Thieves):


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