We don’t see games like Persona very often. Branching out from the Shin Megami Tensei franchise and eventually hitting mainstream popularity with Persona 3, particularly in the West, these titles offer a balance between gameplay and narrative like no other. In most JRPGs, the plot works to drive the gameplay along and guide you through your adventures. However, Persona JRPGs are built in a way that the plot and the gameplay push each other along. You can not get anywhere without completing a dungeon and you won’t be able to complete that dungeon if you don’t engage in conversations with your friends, or in the case of earlier titles, other demons.
So when a brand new main series title was announced, I was excited. Persona 4 Golden still maintains its place as my favourite game of all time and I’m looking forward to seeing Persona 5 challenge that. So here is a list of the 5 things I believe would make Persona 5 even better than its prequel.
Yes, Persona 3 and 4 had some serious commitment problems. Well, the protagonists did anyways. These are games that are considered to be social simulators and whilst they’re obviously not totally realistic, the social link system is designed in such a way that you find the character you want to know more about, talk to them for a bit and use up some time. This happens ten times and then you’re done. You can enjoy the bonus fusion exp and now create the Ultimate Arcana Form to aid you in battle.
However, whilst with the main characters, you continue to interact with them through events, these deep friendships that you create with the rest of the cast aren’t followed through with. You even end up joining clubs to develop social links and when that’s done, you just leave never to be seen again. So what I want is to see these relationships extended upon substantially. Maybe if you’ve completed the Strength arcana, you get opportunities to go to a competition and some issues come up there. It’s just about spending the time with the characters that you’ve taken the time to learn about.
Longer Social Links
Or, an alternative way to solve that issue is to make social links something that takes far longer to fully develop. As long as you remember the game’s timetable it can be ridiculously easy to complete some social links early on and then move on to others. This is so that it is possible to 100% the game and complete every single social link available if you plan your time well.
But what if we made it so that you could only successfully achieve a few social links and those took much longer to complete. Showing some real character development over a longer period of time with various new events would make your connection to various characters more significant and would encourage second playthroughs in order to experience different links.
More Things To Do
Of course, this is a given. More side stuff, more social opportunities, more ways to spend your time. That’s what we want here. Since the time management is a system to stay in Persona titles, we’re going to want more content to fill these days and create some real variety. There were times where I’d completed a dungeon early or completed certain social links and I ended up having to do bland status activities in order to skip through the days to get to “the fun bit”.
Character Specific Dungeons
Now this may seem like somewhat of a controversial idea, but I genuinely think it could help with general party balancing. In current titles, you select three of your friends to enter a dungeon and fight through it with. However, due to the idea of forming the perfect party early on and with those characters being at a far higher level and the rest after a small amount of time, it loses its variety. With such a narrative centric game as Persona, this can cause a large disconnect as some characters will talk about having to fight their way through dungeons when in reality, they just stood at the doorstep waiting for you to finish.
If there were side dungeons, however, where you could only go with a set party of characters that you may not have planned on using, this will allow you to not only try out some party synergy with them involved, but also get them some EXP, making choosing them for your next main dungeon more desirable. These games all have characters that you want to get attached to and know more about, but in some ways, the dungeon crawling takes those opportunities away.
If you’ve engaged in the Shin Megami Tensei franchise as a whole or even have just played the first two Persona titles, you will know that demons are not just your tools in battle and can be conversed with, persuaded, threatened or even charmed. Well, they used to be anyway. Demon conversations were removed in Persona 3 and I believe it’s about time that we bring them back. Some of the most entertaining parts of these titles are trying to work out what to tell a demon so that he’ll join your party and due to the pure randomness of it all, it’s rarely going to be so simple.
With the recent release of Shin Megami Tensei 4 here in Australia, it’s made me realise that whilst Persona has evolved into this brand new entity that differs itself from the main franchise in many ways, this is something that I think could still work here. I don’t want to talk to humans. Humans make sense. There’s a whole lot more fun that comes with these eccentric, seemingly random creatures who would like to kill you just as much as they’d like to join you.
What Would You Like to See in Persona 5?
This concludes our list on 5 things that we want from Persona 5. What would you all like to see in this quest for emancipation? Please feel free to let us know your thoughts on this and more in the comments section below.