At first glance the game seems to have taken a few pages out of Catherine, another Atlus title that has small tie-ins to the Persona franchise in previous installments. The art direction, character design and even some level designs seem to draw from Catherine’s.
Next, we look at the setting of the game. Persona 5 takes place in the big city, and from the small snippets of non-dungeon exploration we get from the trailer it genuinely looks and feels like a bustling Japanese city. Throngs of people cross the street in an orderly fashion; dozens more line up on the subway escalators, spacing out or staring at their cellular screens. It all really lends the feeling of authenticity to the setting of the game.
Developer Katsura Hashino seems to have gone all out in ensuring the gameplay fits in with the overall thematic design. Hiding behind objects and corners before ambushing your foe, sneaking about on the rafters of the dungeons; these lend themselves to the theme of the game, which (from the looks of this and previous trailers) is about burglary and thievery.
The Velvet Room returns yet again, and from the looks of the trailer (and going along with the general theme) it looks like it’s taken the form of a prison ward. The residents have yet again changed in this installment, this time appearing to be a pair of fraternal twins.
Obtaining Personas on the field seems to be different in Persona 5. Going by what can be seen in the trailer, the Personas you can get now fight you as enemies, and you will have to beat them before you get the chance to recruit them. If this is indeed the case, it would differ greatly from Persona 3 and Persona 4 whereby field-obtained Personas were drawn from the Rewards screen. This is nothing new for veterans of the SMT (Shin Megami Tensei) series however, as several other titles had a similar ‘catching’ system.The menu has also seen a significant redesign. Slick, stylish, stunning; these are what many would say upon looking at the menu screens, and by and far they would be right.
As Gamespot has done an excellent showcase of the menus, I will not touch on them in too much detail and merely refer readers of this article to check out the link at the end.
All in all, the game is shaping up to be an incredible addition to Atlus’ repertoire, boasting top-notch graphics and incredible-looking gameplay. Persona 5 releases in Japan in September 2016, with a port for Western audiences likely to drop into stores by December 2016 at the earliest. Take that estimate with a grain of salt though; it’s merely this humble writer’s guesstimate. With the release date for Japan so close, here’s to hoping there will be no last minute changes to the game!