Initial release date: October 31, 2019
Multi=platform Release: October 21, 2022
Designer: Naoya Maeda
Nominations: The Game Award for Best Role Playing Game
Genres: Japanese role-playing game, Adventure game
Developers: Atlus, P Studio
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows
Publishers: Atlus, Sega, SEGA of America
"Review Copy Provided By Atlus"
Persona 5 is the game that brought a lot of people into the MegaTen franchise and honestly is the title that (arguably) made Persona a mainstream name with its original release in 2017 here in the west that completely shook up how the RPG formula and genre could appeal to more people with insanely good graphics, a soundtrack that just fires on all cylinders, and had a story and cast of characters that just drew you in. Fast-forward to 2020 and we get the updated Persona 5 Royal which included so many more improvements and added characters and content and was another smash hit and the definitive way to play the game. The problem was Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal were locked to the PS3 (for Persona 5) and Ps4 respectively and so when this along with Persona 4 and Persona 3 got announced to be coming to all other platforms and PC (which was already had Persona 4 Golden) the fandom collectively lost their minds and the hype became very real because for many the reality of playing Persona 5 Royal and 4 and 3 on the Nintendo Switch was a dream come true. Now that the ports to the Switch, Xbox, and Steam Deck/PC; let’s see if it was worth the wait!
For those not familiar with the story of Persona 5 Royal, it is about a rag tag group of teenagers that gain the power of Personas and go on to become the Phantom Thieves and traverse the metaverse and try to get through the school year.
Ok, I know you’re not here to learn about the story, you’re here because you want to know how the game runs on the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck and I'm here to say the game runs flawlessly on both! On the Nintendo Switch especially on the OLED screen, the game just pops and feels like this is what it was meant to be experienced on with that beautiful screen. The game runs at 1080p 30fps on the Nintendo Switch in docked mode and 720p 30fps in handheld mode. On the Steam Deck you have a variety of options to choose from when connected to a monitor or TV as you can run the game all the way up to 4K 60fps (although this has occasional dips) while the sweet spot I find is 1440p or 1080p while portably it runs at a native 800x1280 at 60fps with settings maxed out. Unfortunately, on the Steam Deck you can’t get 16:10 so you’ll have black bars at the top and bottom of the screen but a workaround for this is to lower the resolution to 720p and to up the render resolution to 125%.
If you play this on a gaming PC then you could run this at 4K at 120fps if you wanted to and the game does support ultrawide monitors and its cool being able to play using mouse and keyboard as opposed to just controller. What is also cool is the fact that you can any Nintendo Switch, Xbox, or PlayStation controller and the game will change the icons for the buttons to reflect what you are playing with which is neat. A downside of using a keyboard and mouse as your sole method of playing the game is that some actions don’t work such as trying to select destinations using the mouse as you’ll need to utilize WASD and the same can be said of actions in battle with you needing to use WASD and the Spacebar to select actions.
Gameplay-wise, P5R is a JRPG with social simulation added in as you’ll be able to go through various dungeons known as Palaces and also areas known Mementos and when you’re not in dungeons then you have to manage your time between hanging out with friends and doing various side quests and such. Let’s start off with talking about the battle system before talking about the social aspect system.
When roaming dungeons, you can get the surprise on the enemy by running up behind or using the cover system allowing you to give you an advantage when the battle starts. Battles play out in the traditional turn-based style with a few twists added in to make them a bit unique as the game incorporates a unique event that occurs called “One More” that happens when you hit an enemy with their weakness being either physical or elemental and allows you to get in some additional hits while delaying the enemy’s ability to do anything. The One More system adds a lot of not only strategy to the battle system but also leads to giving battles a sense of momentum that’ll inspire you to keep that flow going. If you can down all enemies on screen, then you will initiate a hold up that will all you to either lead your party doing an All-Out attack which can do massive damage OR chat with the demons to try and convince them to join your party by forging a contract or get some goodies like money and items.
Aside from being able to negotiate with demons to get them to join your party, you can also go to the Velvet Room and conduct what is called Demon Fusion which combines two demons together to form a new one with the newly fused being having some of skills from the two former demons. Joker, unlike the rest of the party, is able to have more than one persona that he can use as well as switch between that'll cost one turn and effectively makes Joker the true wild card and jack-of-all-trades of your party.
The social aspect of the game has you navigating the town and school to either progress the main story or do various side quests. Given that each day has so much that you can do within it, you’ll need to prioritize what you need and want to do as some quests and social links are timed and will gate themselves off after so much time passes. The benefit of the social system is that if you want to maximize your characters then you’ll want to do as much of the side quests as you can and explore as much of the dungeons as you can. Royal adds in an extra semester and 2 additional social links for you to dive into making this already 100+ hour JRPG that much meatier.
So, is Persona 5 Royal worth it for the Xbox, PC/Steam Deck, and Nintendo Switch? YES! It most definitely is as it is one of the greatest RPGs ever made that unlike many others respects your time and gives you the freedom to play it as you want. Having the ability to play it with maxed out settings on PC is an experience unto itself and being able to play the game on the go with the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck is absolutely amazing and one of the best ways to experience this gem. If you haven’t (or have) experienced this adventure, then I urge you to dive in and enjoy your time with the Phantom Thieves!