Stylish, sexy, and super-charged with an addictive narrative, Persona 5 was the PlayStation 4 exclusive JRPG that the system was in dire need of.
As the first current-gen Persona game to exist, it managed to single-handedly revitalize the genre with its engaging combination of dating sim and the familiar elements of Persona games past. It's one of the greatest Persona titles to date, leagues beyond Persona 4, and for that it's more than deserving of the prestigious award of being Shacknews Best PS4 Game of 2017.
The Persona series has set itself apart from its JRPG brethren with it's hip, modern styling, and Persona 5 takes this to a new level. The interface has the same straightforward selections and informational styling as previous titles, but this time around Atlus has leveraged the power of the PlayStation 4 to make the entire affair much more dynamic feeling. The menus flow like graphic novel pages, and the black, red, and white aesthetic works beautifully to punctuate this noir-esque drama.
Persona 5 perfectly channels the inner darkness of humanity and tackles head-on issues that most games only flirt with. While there's still a ton of comedy and lighthearted moments throughout the game, the cast is also placed in situations involving sexual assault, suicide, and other material that's handled with care and respect -- but unlike what happens so often in the real world, you have a chance at retribution against those who have wronged you. Atlus handles these topics with care, and the result is a plot that brings gaming storytelling to a new level.
Combat is a further refinement of the series typical formula, and is a far cry from the frustration that sometimes tinged battles during Persona 3. You'll find that fights still take the same amount of strategy that they have in previous titles, but Persona 5 adds things like shortcuts for enemy weaknesses once you discover them, and a more robust way to perform all-out attacks called "hold-up."
In the end, Persona 5 is able to triumph where so many other role-playing games fail, hooking you from the very beginning and keeps you firmly in its grasp while you're exploring it. You'll find yourself thinking about nothing else but Joker, Skull, Panther, Morgana and the rest of the crew long after you've turned the game off to get some rest for the night, and that's one of the hallmarks of a truly excellent game. If you've got a hundred hours or so to spare, you might scratch Persona 5's surface. If you've got a hundred more, you'll become intimately familiar with one of the greatest RPGs (and some may even say games) of all time.
Be sure to keep up with the rest of The Shacknews Awards as we celebrate the Year of the Games: 2017.