After a series of delays that pushed back the North America release date of Persona 5 from last year to February, and then further back to April, plus a scare caused by Amazon's mistaken cancellation of preorders, the Japanese RPG is finally on its way to excited gamers.

It will take over half a year from the Japanese release of Persona 5 in September of last year to its North American release of April 4. Is the RPG worth the wait, or is the hype overblown?

'Persona 5' Starts Out Strong

Persona 5 is the latest in the long-running Persona franchise wherein players spend half their time managing the daily life of a high school student, and the other half exploring dungeons and beating monsters in turn-based combat.

According to ArsTechnica's Steven Strom, Persona 5 "took basically no time" in introducing him to the world of the so-called shadows, which is the term given to the monsters in the game that are created from the human psyche. The game's introduction is said to be more gripping compared to Persona 4, its excellent predecessor that launched in 2008.

Within the first 10 minutes, Strom said that players will already understand the tone and style that Persona 5 is going for. For players who would love the game as soon as it starts, it would be amazing to know that the same tone and style will be present throughout the over 100 hours of playing time that Persona 5 could require.

The "feeling of diving into the unknown" right from the start of the game is echoed by Destructoid's Chris Carter, especially as the setting for Persona 5 is back in the heart of Tokyo, compared to the sleepy town of rural Inaba in Persona 4.

The Flair Of 'Persona 5'

Kotaku's Kirk Hamilton describes Persona 5 as "one of the most stylish video games I've ever played," with the flair of the game already in full display with its animated opening cinematic.

Character designer Shigenori Soejima was able to create characters that jump out of the screen in Persona 5, with the game's take on Tokyo filled with the life and detail that the Japanese city is largely associated with. According to Hamilton, even the options menu of Persona 5 is not spared from the energy that permeates through the game.

The soundtrack of Persona 5, however, is another important aspect, with composer Shoji Meguro creating music that is described by Hamilton as a mixture of pop, lounge, and funk that electrifies the experience.

'Persona 5' Improvements

The social link system of past Persona games has been improved. Now called confidants, the development of relationships with other characters in the game now have a more direct impact on gameplay, with bonuses that can be unlocked to help in various aspects of the game.

However, according to Polygon's Philip Kollar, the dungeons of Persona 5 are "by far the biggest single point of improvement" between the game and past Persona titles. While past Persona games featured randomized dungeons, the so-called Palaces of Persona 5 are meticulously designed and filled with various challenges. While exploring dungeons often became boring in past Persona games, it is much different and more exciting in Persona 5.

'Persona 5': The Best Of The Series So Far

According to The Verge's Andrew Webster, Persona 5 "represents the franchise's apex," which is a gift for fans of the series and a great way for newcomers to find out what Persona is all about.

GameSpot's Lucy James, meanwhile, says that Persona 5 is "a game that shouldn't be missed," and that the RPG will be talked about in video game circles for years to come.

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.