Aright bitches. It's time. I'm sure I don't need to tell you how special this game is. And even if I did, I wouldn't. If you have to ask, you wouldn't understand. In any case, it only took them 10 god damn years to make. Can you even believe that shit? It's insane to think that P3 and P4 were only separated by a time frame of two years. But P4 and P5 by almost 10 years. It's ridiculous. That's too much time. That's a lifetime as far as I'm concerned. I was the same age as the protagonist back then. Full of naive hopes, dreams, youth, life. Now I'm nothing but a bitter and jaded old man, broken by the harsh realities of life. No hopes, no dreams, no future. That's how it goes. It's over. But at least we have one last Persona to pretend that it isn't so! So come, my beloved Persona. Take my heart, and show me how to live, one last time!
First off, we gotta talk about how amazing this game looks. God damn. Visually it's everything I could've hoped for. It's pure Persona but even better. Everything looks sick and stylish as fuck and I love it. The dialogue boxes, the menus, the characters, the battle animations, the new ambushes, the intro movie, everything. The art direction is excellent as always. The town looks amazing. The school is awesome, and pretty similar to the P4 school, which is a good thing, because P4 had the best school. I love the lighting in the classroom specifically. I love chilling in there during a rainy day and just watching the rain patter against the window. I especially love the individualized victory pose results screen art when you win a battle with an all out attack. Morgana with the chair and cigar is too good. Yusuke's fruity pose. Haru's tea time. Akechi's tap dancing. Ryuji's shark teeth. It's so good. If I had to voice a minor complaint it would be that the character portraits that come up when you do an all out attack or sometimes hit a weakness are up for a much shorter length of time than in previous games. They disappear MUCH faster and I don't like that. It feels like they're barely up for a second so it's harder to get a good look at them. I liked the length of time that they're up for in the previous games. The other minor complaint is that I don't like how you start running in circles during the battle results screen. It looks dumb. They should've freeze framed you in the running animation so it looked like you're running to the next objective rather than just make you stupidly run in circles. Finally, with all the work that went into making everything look amazing, it's a little vexing that they still haven't fixed the floaty/sliding character walking animation. It's still too unnaturally fast and floaty. It's like you're walking but at the same time sliding along a conveyor belt. Your steps don't look or feel physically connected to the world.
Leading up to release I was worried that the music in P5 would be a disappointment. Both because continuing to make good music is not easy, and also because they were getting a brand new singer when they could've easily used Yumi Kawamura/Lotus Juice/Mayumi Fujita/Shihoko Hirata. It's nothing new to get a new singer, but just sayin' the possibility of fucking up is much greater when you're changing things for no good reason. But whatevs, my worries have been satisfactorily put to rest. Overall the music in P5 is very good. I wouldn't say that it's better than the previous games, but it's up to par. Lyn Inaizumi is really good and the songs that have her singing is the highlight of the music in P5. Rivers in the Desert, Wake Up Get Up Get Out There, Beneath the Mask, Last Surprise, Life Will Change, Whims of Fate, Hoshi To Bokura To. All awesome songs. The main battle theme is good. Maybe not Mass Destruction or Wiping All Out level, but as good or maybe better than Reach Out to the Truth. The rest of the battle themes are awesome too (special mention for Will Power), as well as almost all of the dungeon songs, and, for some reason, the weapon shop song is particularly good. That being said, they really dropped the ball HARDCORE when it comes to the town and school music during the daytime. The two songs they used here are really shitty and it's absolutely inexcusable that they would use such bad songs because this where you spend the majority of your time, so if anything, they are one of the MOST IMPORTANT songs of all. This major fuckup is one of the things that disappointed me the most about this game. It just doesn't make sense! How did we go from Your Affection, Heartbreak, Way of Life, Time, Snowflakes... to THIS trash? Inconceivable. It really puts a damper on chilling in town when the songs are such a disappointment. It always makes me wish even more for a rainy day because at least then I get an instrumental Beneath the Mask.
Though Persona has never been about the overall plot (it's much more about the characters and their interactions on a micro scale), I would say that in this area P5 is certainly an improvement from the previous games. The plot is significantly darker, heavier and crazier than past games. There's so much violence, sexual abuse, torture, killing, suicide, police brutality, government corruption (what is this, Mexico?!)... right from the very beginning of the game you get falsely convicted, put in jail, get your ass kicked, beaten up, tortured and have drugs injected into you by the cops and forced to sign a false confession under torture. Basically you've seen some shit. The game also has a heavy theme of chaotic good roguery and rebellion against society, the established order, and the abuse of power, along with a heavy helping of Adults Are Useless and Adults Are Shitty. Because if Japan has taught us anything, it's that you can't save the world if you're not a teenager. Once you get past that 19th birthday you're worthless. Everybody knows that. But yeah, the plot is more elaborate, engaging, and your actions feel like they are more connected and have a bigger impact with the rest of the world. Aside from that cutscenes are more dynamic in terms of camera angles and what's happening, and now that Atlus has all that dirty money from the filthy casual market there are more anime cutscenes as well.
In terms of gameplay P5 is extremely similar to the previous games, with only a few cautious changes and improvements. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Although Persona has its share of gameplay flaws (it ain't fuckin' Nocturne, that's for damn sure), after having played dozens of Atlus games throughout the years my professional expert opinion is that Atlus isn't smart enough to know what needs fixing, or how to go about it, just like all other developers out there currently making games. This is a fact. The only way they could do it would be to hire someone like me, who has the knowledge, expertise, and discernment to tell the good from the bad, as well as the integrity and love for games to put TRUE quality above the temptation to make an easy buck by catering to the filthy casuals and ignorant masses. And obviously that'll never happen since I'm sure the Atlus suits and shareholders are currently happy as a pig in shit rolling around in all the dirty money from going mainstream. That being the case, it's a good thing that they haven't tried going for drastic changes to the gameplay which could end up ruining the series. We've all seen it happen, over and over. Idiotic, incompetent developers chasing a misguided goal of innovation/novelty/freshness for its own sake, and destroying perfectly good games in the process. After all, that's what the unwashed subhuman masses clamor for, isn't it? Something new. Something different. They want "Innovation". They want "Open Worlds". Whatever stupid buzzword you wanna use. What was good yesterday somehow isn't good today because it's not breaking new ground? Absurd. Disgusting. But what else can we expect from uncultured swine and the fools who kneel before them? The only way to achieve true greatness is to divorce yourself from the desire for money and fame. That's the truth. It's the only way. Once you forget your love for games and start chasing that buck is when it all starts going to shit.
Thankfully, as I said, Persona has dodged the bullet this time. P5 has been kept almost identical to P4 in terms of gameplay. Half RPG and half dating sim. Blah blah. We all know the drill at this point. Combat is mostly the same, with a few neat small additions. It's really interesting that they've brought back stuff like Eiha/Frei curse/nuclear elements. Also the fact that everyone has both a weapon and a gun. All really good stuff to bring back from P1 and P2. I'm a fan of having more elements and complexity. There's also a whole new psy element, so that's neat too. The baton pass mechanic wherein you can pass your turn over to another party member after hitting an enemy weakness for increased power is fun and adds a bit more depth to the combat. If you can baton pass to a third person or a fourth person you get even bigger increases in power. So rather than knocking everyone out with one person you're incentivized to spread the love and get a baton pass chain going. It may not be immdiately intuitive, but the damage increase from a baton pass even transfers into All Out Attacks, which is especially useful in hard mode where AOAs rarely do enough damage by themselves to kill enemies off. I'm also a fan of them bringing back demon negotiation. It doesn't have the things you could do in P2 with using other characters' unique talk skills and teaming characters up to gang talk enemies but it's still cool and a more fun way of gaining personas. I also like the way they implemented stealth, hiding behind cover, and catching enemies by surprise and tearing off their mask. It's the same concept as going in on enemies when their backs are turned in P3 and P4, but much more practical, smooth, and most of all stylish looking.
Probably the biggest single improvement made by this game is that dungeons are FINALLY not randomly generated anymore. It took 'em long enough to finally gain a little bit of common sense. It's a much more fun and engaging experience going through a dungeon now because there are so many uniquely designed things, situations, events, and dialogue. Actually there is still one general randomly generated dungeon that you go into throughout the game that's quite reminiscent of Tartarus, though it's much smaller at only 60ish (maybe?) floors, compared to Tartarus's 255 floors. Frankly I expected the whole game to be nothing but lazy randomly generated dungeons like P3 and P4, so the fact that there's only one small one is a big improvement as far as I'm concerned. I don't even mind that it's there at all. They also put a lot of work into making a ton of random fully voiced dialogue between characters that you hear throughout, so that's really cool. And it's a lot of dialogue. It's so much that you don't get repeats too often (unless you're just chilling in the dungeon for ages, I assume, but I didn't do that). This dungeon is also where you go to fulfill the various sidequests. I'm kind of ambivalent on how requests were implemented in this. They are now all about taking down specific targets. On the one hand each request has more of a story going on, which is cool, but on the other hand there's less variety in the types of requests that you get. But then on the OTHER hand some of the requests you got in the previous games were annoying sometimes like getting a lucky rare drop. I also liked having to go around town talking to people in order to get requests, but now almost all of them just get automatically sent to your phone, and the rest are automatically given to you as you rank up your social links.
Difficulty is more or less on par with P4. It has a good difficulty level (on hard) early on, throughout the first dungeon. Some enemies commonly one-shot you so you can die very easily if you don't get an ambush. SP is also a huge commodity at that early point so resource management with it is tough and fun. Furthermore after an ambush if you haven't killed the enemies in that turn, they each get 2 turns in a row to make up for your ambush, so it's bad news if you can't kill them immediately. It's pretty fun, but, as expected, that good difficulty doesn't keep up for very long. After the first dungeon it's pretty much smooth sailing all the way without much challenge. And of course, keeping in line with Atlus's continued unstoppable descent into casualfaggotry, this game now has fucking retarded adjustable difficulty as I predicted it would years ago. So even what little challenge the game has for the first dungeon on hard mode isn't legitimate to BEGIN with because you can just freely change it at any time. Ugh. This is one of the few truly ugly blemishes on this game. Weirdly it only locks you in if you pick the easiest difficulty, but not for the rest. Persona Q did the reverse: it only prevented you from switching if you picked the hardest difficulty. I don't know what the rationale is for doing it the opposite way now. Maybe it's like... if you picked that you don't deserve the right to unpussify yourself? I got no fuckin' clue. Either way it's dumb as fuck. As much as it sickens me to praise Witcher 3 even a tiny bit, even that game handled difficulty better because at least it had a trophy for beating it on death march which you got locked out of if you adjusted the difficulty at any point, so at least there you had some incentive to stick to it, unlike this game which has jack shit. I fucking hate adjustable difficulty so much and I'm hella butthurt that it's never, ever going away at this point. This generation is filled with nothing but pussy games and it's only getting worse. I guess by the time we're 70 it won't matter that we'll have arthritis, dementia, loss of hearing, and cataracts because the games will practically be playing themselves by that point.
Similarly, I don't like how you can now make any persona you want in this game regardless of it being higher level than you. I've always liked how gaining levels opens up all the new persona possibilities. It's a sort of reward and something that you look forward to with every level you gain. But that kinda goes away if you can fuse whatever you want whenever you want. Sure, you gotta pay money so you're still encouraged to be the right level, but when you can make a crazy strong persona that's 30 levels above you and it only costs 300k, that's dumb. I mean, I still waited until the proper levels to make every persona, but it's the same principle as adjustable difficulty: just because you can choose not to use it doesn't mean it's not an outrage that the option is there at all.
Next, because P5 is so similar to P4, sadly that also means that it still doesn't fix any of the long running inherent flaws in the dating sim gameplay. I've talked about this before, but I've never liked how you get all these multiple choice answers but there is never any real choice, because one answer is always the correct one which will give you the points to advance in the social link, and the others are the incorrect choices which will only make you waste time if you choose them. So the choice boils down to A) Waste time, B) Don't waste time. To make matters worse, the fact that your time is so limited means that you're always irreparably punished if you dare pick the wrong answers. Not only that, but 80% of the time it doesn't even make sense why one answer would give you more points than another. There's just no way to know what the correct answers are most of the time. This flawed system not only robs you of any real choice, but also heavily incentivizes neurotic save scumming to keep trying different options until you get the correct answers. Social links would be more fun if you had the freedom to say what you actually want to say, and your choices affected how the relationship develops but not in a strictly black and white right/wrong manner. Furthermore, the dating sim flaws and forced time limit of the game also bleeds into and negatively affects the RPG side of things. Since going into dungeons wastes a day, the game encourages you to go into dungeons as little as possible, and to always finish every dungeon in a single trip. Same deal with requests. The flaws of limited time encourage you to let requests pile up as much as possible so that you can do all of them in a single trip rather than do them as they come in. The game also acts as if it wants you to take the dungeons slowly and to make several trips, pace yourself, space things out, and complete requests in a timely manner, but doing this is suboptimal and damaging. Mixed signals, man. It wants us to take our time but at the same time it's created in a way that punishes us for doing that. The optimal way to play makes it so that you complete every dungeon in a day (except for the two that force you to break it up into 2 days) and then you don't play the RPG part of the game for like a month or more until the next dungeon comes up. This is a shitty situation because I feel like the game would be better if the dating sim and RPG parts were paced better and more evenly spaced out between each other. I haven't thought about the best way to fix this, but removing the game's time limit wouldn't be such a bad idea. It would be easy to implement and fix all the issues in one fell swoop. In fact, this has already been done with Tokyo Mirage Sessions, and I liked that game's infinite time system better than Persona.
The only way in which social links have been improved is that now each one grants you special unique perks as you rank them up. So now the reward you gain from developing your relationships is significantly more tangible. It's a small thing, but pretty cool. In terms of the things you can spend your time doing, the game is quite good, bringing back most of the activities we expect like fishing, reading, studying, gardening, eating, going to movies, and adding new ones like playing videogames, renting out DVDs, lottery, crossword puzzles, doing the laundry, creating items and working out. The town is cool and there's a lot to see and do. You also have a ton of hangout spots that you can take your friends to and each one gives you new and unique scenes and events with them, which is really cool in theory, but sadly in practice the game's time limit discourages you from doing it. In terms of developing your social links the game offers much more freedom and options to advance them outside of simply hanging out with the person, so it's a little more lenient and easier to max out all the slinks on the first playthrough (though not as lenient as P4G. That one took the cake). It also lets you read your books during the train to school and during class, which also increases the leniency.
Now let's get to the most important part: the characters. They're good, but overall I feel like they're not quite up to the level of P3 and P4. Granted, P3 had some pretty bad characters (most of all that bitch Ken and that waste of a slot Koromaru), but it more than made up for it by also having particularly amazing characters like Akihiko and Shinjiro and of course the best character of all time, Aigis, who could have singlehandedly saved the entire game by herself even if everybody else sucked. P4's characters were a step up in the sense that it didn't have any bad ones, though it also didn't have any that reached the greatness of the aforementioned. P5 is somewhat similar in that it doesn't have any characters that are outright bad, but I still feel that overall the cast isn't quite as good as P4.
The big exception is the protagonist. This is the best looking protagonist there has ever been, and most likely ever will be, in a Persona game. He's awesome. I love his hair and I love his Scary Shiny Glasses. Weirdly he talks a tiny bit more than previous ones and also has a bit more of a personality and backstory, but it's light enough that he still feels like a proper Persona MC.
One of the things I didn't like about this game is that it often tends to introduce characters in a way that gives you a bad first impression and immediately makes you dislike them, and then the characters have to sort of play catch up from there to erase that impression and improve your opinion of them. That seems to be the general story of how most characters went. Bad first impression > dislike > start to grow on me > accept > like. It's really shitty that they made it that way. Even worse, sometimes the game suffers from stints of terrible writing and makes the characters act in ways that don't make sense just to stir up cheap drama or move the story in a certain way.
But let's look at the rest of the characters. This game's bro is Ryuji, and as is always the case with the bro character, he's great. In fact he's probably the best character in the game. He has the exact same abusive alcoholic father backstory as Junpei but whatevs. Iz all good. Not only is he one of the few characters with a good introduction that is immediately likable, but everything he says and does throughout the entire game is gold. I like his thuggery and his aggressiveness but that he's also nice and relatable and a bro. He almost never said anything that I didn't completely agree with. It's just like yep. You right. You right. Every scene and event that has Ryuji in it is guaranteed to be fun. To top it off he has some of the best voice acting in the game. Max Mittelman didn't particularly impress me with Fidel in Star Ocean 5 and Hallelujah in Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse, but his performance with Ryuji is top notch. Bottom line: Ryuji's the best.
Morgana is the new Teddie. Based on pre-release information, I thought that she would be an annoying sassy bitch who'd always talk shit and criticize, but that's really not the case. I found her pretty chill and easy to get along with. She's always hiding in your bag and comments on everything you do or check out and is pretty much always nice, helpful, and fun. She plays games with you, watches movies with you, patiently sits by as you read books or study, helps you cheat on exams, and much more. And yes, I know Morgana is supposed to be male, but that doesn't make sense! She has a girl name AND a girl voice! How is Morgana a dude?!?! I can't see Morgana as a man when all I hear every time she talks is Amber from Rune Factory 4 and Toki from Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse. In fact, it's an insanely huge lost opportunity that Morgana never developed a human form the way Teddie did. How fuckin' sick would it've been if Morgana eventually turned into a human girl the way Teddie turned into a human boy? They could've had an extra waifu AND a catgirl AT THE SAME TIME. 2 birds, 1 cup. You know how much Japan loves shoving catgirls in everything. I can't believe that never happened. SUCH a disappointment. Anyway, the only blemish on Morgana is a brief stint of terrible writing in which she throws an incomprehensible, illogical, unjustified temper tantrum and acts like a hugely childish butthurt jealous resentful bitch about Futaba coming in and taking over her navigation job (the way Rise takes over for Teddie) and because everyone's been praising Futaba. But the whole thing happens in a way that is SO half assed, out of character, illogical, and not believable that rather than blame Morgana I can only blame shitty writing. Especially because she never acts that stupid before or after. It's like they forced her to act out of character for the sake of cheap drama. In conclusion, Morgana is cool and fuck the shitty monkey writers at Atlus for trying to ruin her.
Next, Ann. God damn, Ann is so hot. She's really pretty and she has the best hairstyle. Twin tails is the most top tier hairstyle. Everybody knows that. However, similarly to Morgana, pre-release I thought that I wouldn't like Ann because she seemed like she'd be the aggressive, confrontational, abrasive type. She was often shown chewing out Ryuji so she seemed to be the kind of girl who'd yell at you if you did anything wrong. And that's somewhat the case, especially early on due to this game's Botched Introduction Syndrome, but her confrontational attitude mellows out quickly, and she's got the Chie thing going where it's only ever aimed at Ryuji but never at you. My opinion of her improved as the game went on and I ended up liking her. She's definitely a bit of an airhead, but I also like how simple and innocent she can be, like when she's eating or when she'll just plop down and fall asleep, or how happy she gets when you give her sweets. She has this really stereotypical vapid dumb blonde style of voice (Cut it ooouuut~ Oh my goddd~). It's not the type of voice I particularly like, but it really suits her and if that's what the VA was going for on purpose then it's extremely well done.
Yusuke was another case of me disliking a character from the beginning and him growing on me as time went on. It's not that he was terrible, he just seemed super boring and like there was nothing cool or interesting about him. It seemed like he had nothing going for him aside from being voiced by Matthew Mercer (who is extremely talented). However, my opinion of him improved as the game went on because he ends up adding lots of humor to many events as the clueless oblivious weirdo, such as when everyone is trying to have a serious conversation with Futaba and meanwhile he's fiddling with her Featherman figures in the background and ruining them. Or when he spends all of his money on buying 2 lobsters that are literally still alive just because he thought they looked cool, and when Futaba tries to grab them to eat his response of "Enough of your vile postulations! These are for visual appreciation only!" and yanking them away. Additionally, his other appeal is that he has the coolest animations out of everyone. I love his portrait that comes up when he hits a weakness or gets a crit where he looks like an axe crazy serial killer. I love his fruity AOA kill pose. His facepalm animations when he uses persona skills. His iaido stance when he's on standby, his baton pass pose, his regular attack animation... practically all of his animations are the coolest looking.
Makoto suffers from having one of the worst introductions of the cast (botched introduction festival continues). I immediately disliked her because of her rude, aloof, high and mighty, bossy attitude. She thinks she's so clever and above everyone with that condescending tone and self satisfied smile while she blackmails the party and bosses you around during her introduction. Thankfully she doesn't stay as a total bitch and gets better after she joins your party and the game goes on. She even apologizes for being such a cunt! Shit introductions followed by characters making up lost ground is the name of the game with P5 for whatever dumbass reason. Still, even though I don't dislike her she probably remained my least favorite character. Which is interesting considering that she seems to be really popular with the general populace. She does have a few redeeming qualities: namely the fact that she's pretty (although that's not saying much since all of the girls are pretty), her hourglass figure (I mean god daaaaaamn look at those lovely child bearing hips. She definitely has the best body out of all the girls), and her voice. I like her VA a lot, though this isn't her best work. I liked her more as Komaru in Ultra Despair Girls and the most as Chloe in Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold. Makoto actually reminds me a lot of Mitsuru. Top of the class, student council president, no nonsense, strong, hard-working, dominant personality, looks like she'll rip your arm off if you piss her off, and even rides a motorcycle. I was shocked that she didn't end up being the Empress arcana.
But the character that I instantly hated the most by FAR was Akechi. Holy fuck did I hate this fake, smarmy, snobby, pretentious faggot. At least Makoto was pretty so she at least had that going for her. But Akechi? Dis nigga ain't got NUTHIN' fresh. In the perfect words of Ryuji: "Just breathin' the same air as him makes me sick." Early on Akechi is so blatantly unlikable that I immediately thought he HAD to be the villain. He's so exceedingly fake, smug, glib and manipulative that you can't help but hate him. Like how he shows up to your place saying he's only there for coffee and to relax when it's an obvious bald faced lie and he's clearly there to spy on you. Or how he tries to prod intel out of Futaba, and when it doesn't succeed he randomly goes into a sob story about losing his parents and jumping from foster home to home and having no place to belong which is SUSPICIOUSLY similar to Futaba's situation. It looks as if he's an underhanded rat bastard who simply dug up her info and made up the story to get her to feel kinship with him and get her to spill info. Or at least that's what I had thought at the time. But, as is now the tale with this game, it didn't stay that way. Akechi gets a lot better; his overtly fake demeanor eventually gives way to raw, powerful, genuine emotion that wasn't there before and by the end of the game I liked him quite a bit. His VA also does a really good job, and between this and Prompto in Final Fantasy XV he's quickly becoming one of my favorite VAs.
Futaba. I feel like Futaba is the least attractive of the girls (but that's not saying much because they're all pretty). She looks like a dorky child, and I don't like that she sits like a monkey. That's not how a proper lady sits! She's also really... weird/eccentric/dorky/wacky, which isn't attractive but does make for some funny moments and dialogue. Her voice suits her very well but is the least pleasant to listen to out of the girls (it ain't no Laura Bailey, that's for damn sure). Her biggest redeeming quality is that she has the same thing as Rise and Aigis where she almost immediately becomes attached to you over all the others. I like that. Her hikikomori-ness and social anxiety is cute and relatable, especially her unwillingness to answer when her door is knocked, her dark curtains, higher degree of chattiness over text, and her "Give me some time! I'm not mentally prepared!" when asked to go outside. What did kind of bother me is how it's portrayed as if the whole thing is due to psychological trauma and that she's unhappy about it and views it as punishment. I suppose I have to keep an open mind and accept there are some hikikomori like that, but I feel like that's the sort of explanation most likely to be cooked up by an outsider who doesn't really understand it. People tend to want to look for some life-changing traumatic event or trigger to explain the behavior of abnormals when more often than not the cause is simply a certain personality type. I mean it doesn't take a traumatic event to realize that the outside world and humans in general are shitty. By the same token I'm bothered by how quickly and easily she "gets over it", but I suppose in this case it's hand-waved by the fact that they used the magic of the metaverse to change her heart.
And then this fuckin' game holdin' out on me and saving the best for last: Haru is CLEARLY, OBVIOUSLY the best waifu in the game. I mean, who could argue? She is SO CUTE. She's the prettiest of them all. Adorable voice. Nice, polite, kind, femenine, proper, elegant, caring, beautiful. See, this is why we need Japan. Specifically, Japanese men. The only way a waifu can be good is if it's made by a man. If it were made by a woman it would be no good. Women do not possess the full, intuitive, innate understanding of what a man wants, or they do not care (they only care about what they want, and what they want you to want. Obviously). At any rate, the knowledge would not come from within. Not only does it have to be made by a man, but it also has to be Japanese. The west has already been tainted, probably irreparably, by the scourge of feminism, which prevents the development of suitable waifus. Feminism is especially strong in the areas where western software developers make their home, which means that the majority of western developers will be gigantic liberal mangina cucks. Rather than making perfect waifus who will speak to the hearts and fantasies of men, they prefer to make disgusting "real womyn" who will garner the praise of the rest of the SJW feminist cucks at Kotaku and the rest of the feminized gaming media.
Now, I'm not saying that Japan is immune to the plague of feminism. I'm just saying that the disease has spread slower over there. Japan will also be engulfed eventually. It's only a matter of time. Feminism has already won because it's backed by the profound sexual and social power and privilege that women (and women alone) have always possessed, and therefore also by men, who can be counted on to eternally subordinate their own needs and desires to hers, to rearrange their entire lives to suit her whims, to willingly enslave themselves, to risk their lives, break their backs, destroy their health, body and soul all for a chance at women's precious approval and intimacy, as they always have since the beginning of time. And if you don't, you are summarily replaced. After all, only women are inherently valuable. A man's value is always conditional. If you can't measure up to her expectations, if you don't jump through her endless hoops and conform to what she wants and says, you're nothing. You're trash. As a man you can expect to be thrown away once you cease to be useful, or once something better comes along. And you can fully expect to have half of what is rightfully yours stolen as well.
THAT is true privilege. Being valued and loved no matter what you do or who you are. A woman is free to act and behave however she wants and will always have myriad prospects and opportunities. She can be shy, awkward, nerdy, weak, weird, uninteresting, whatever. Doesn't matter. She can be into whatever hobbies she wants. Doesn't matter. She doesn't have to work. Doesn't need any skills or education. She could literally live in her parents' basement and no one will care. She will still have scores of men who would give their lives to provide for her and make sure that she doesn't have to lift a finger for the rest of her life. And even THAT'S not good enough for her (not until she's hit the wall past 30 and is finally ready to begrudgingly accept you as her beta provider). A man could never even dream of such privilege. If a woman trips and falls she's adorable. If a man trips and falls he's a loser. A failure. A laughingstock. If you don't work on yourself, if you don't have confidence, if you don't perform, if you don't read her mind, if you don't tailor your personality, interests, hobbies to what she wants, if you're not a breadwinner, etc etc, you're nothing. You're invisible. You have no place in society. You're trash. Your weakness disgusts her. Quit whining, loser. You're supposed to man up, don't you know? Your worries, your fears, your insecurities, keep that shit to yourself. That's all so unattractive. You wouldn't want her almighty vagina to dry up, now would you? After all, you are so easily replaced. How foolish of you to think that she has any interest in understanding you, or that she could love you for who you are. Quit being so entitled. It's YOUR job to understand and support her, not the other way around.
And yet even with this reality staring us in the face feminism and the myth of male privilege persist. It disgusts me to see all the clueless, subjugated, pussy-whipped men apologizing for their existence and their supposed privilege. Fighting amongst themselves, throwing each other under the bus, white knighting whenever anyone dares speak against the sacred female. But of course. We are biologically wired to love and even worship women. What chance did men ever have when they have been eager and willing slaves to women since the beginning of time? It's so easy to blind ourselves to the truth. Because that's what we want. We want to love blindly. But a real woman will never love you in the same way you love her. She will never devote herself to you in the same way you do for her. She will never love you for who you are, only for what she can extract from you. Adachi was right. Women are nothing but bitches and whores and romance requires literal delusions about the opposite sex.
THAT is why we need waifus. Our need for love is too powerful, fundamental, and inescapable. A cruel joke that that which is so basic to our psychological and emotional well-being happens to be something which cannot exist in the real world. If 3D women are incapable of love, loyalty, devotion, compassion, and understanding, then we must create 2D women who are. It's the only solution. And yet even this solution is tragically incomplete and leaves us just as empty. We cannot hold our 2D love in our arms or even truly communicate. It's a vicarious facsimile. A terribly imperfect one. A paradox that causes both pleasure and pain. Our love is forever out of reach. And once the game has ended, we are left just as alone as we always were, and always will be. What is left for us? Nothing but a lifetime of pain, loneliness, and suffering. That's the reality of life, and no one has the power to change it. Not god, the devil, or you.
What's that? You're saying this was supposed to be a review? Well fuck you. You don't like it, you can eat shit and leave. This is how I do things. Got it? Back to Haru. Originally I used to think that she had the worst hairstyle, but now I love it. It suits her so perfectly that nothing else could work. It's not Haru without the fluffy hair and big forehead. Right? Of course I am. My only complaint is that she gets introduced too late into the game, so she doesn't get to participate in as many scenes as the other girls. How dare they hold out on the best character until that late?! Assholes. Oh, in fact, I do have another complaint, and that's, again, with this game's powerful Botched Introduction Syndrome which Haru falls victim to as well. Her introduction was so half assed and rushed that it's a crime. It happens to coincide with Morgana's bullshit tantrum and it bleeds over and ruins Haru's introduction as well. Most unforgivably, they make Haru act out of character along with Morgana to keep the cheap drama going. During this situation Haru becomes an enabler of Morgana's bullshit, acting against the party and even repeating whatever stupid bullshit Morgana tells her to. The whole thing makes Haru look lame and unintelligent, which is stupid because, like Morgana, she NEVER acts in such a way ever again after that botched introduction. Simply put, going by the entirety of the game excluding that introduction, Haru is not dumb at all. So, once again, I can only blame the shitty monkey writers at Atlus hijacking characters for poorly thought out drama.
Aside from that, shout outs to Jamieson Price. One of the most recognizable voices and excellent work as Sojiro. He's done so much but he'll always be Tager and Nier in my heart. Plus, honorable mention to Hifumi, the second best waifu. Practically just as good as Haru, but Haru has the unfair advantage in that her PC status trumps Hifumi's NPC status. And I will ALWAYS welcome Eden Riegel's voice in anything.
Finally, I was slightly disappointed that the game ends so soon in December, and doesn't continue into January and February like P4G. Maybe it's unfair to compare it to a remake that was able to add so much stuff. But on the other hand, it did take them 10 years to make this game. So I mean y'know. I was glad that it at least had Valentine's Day, but it just skips to that part and the event itself is pretty short and basic. You'd expect with such a long development and it being next gen they'd make such important events more elaborate, but nah. That's the thing with this game. In terms of how much it improves on things, it seems like a game that should've come out 2 years after P4, not 10. But that ain't really a bad thing. I mean P4 was awesome. Being more or less about as good is a great thing. And so this game is great as well. Story is a little better, visuals and art are significantly better, characters are somewhat worse but not by too much, gameplay is almost exactly the same with a few marginal improvements (aside from the shift to non-randomly generated dungeons which is an important one) and lateral moves. I can't fault them for not making big leaps and just giving us more of the same when my fear was that they would completely ruin everything like so many other franchises. But I can fault 'em for taking so damn long. I mean come on bruh! What do you think I am, immortal? Do you have any idea how old I've gotten?! Sheesh. Anyway, I wanted P5 to be mostly as good as P3/P4 and on that front it delivers, so overall I'm happy with it. It was super fun and, as always with Persona, I'm really sad that it ended.
Final Verdict: A
Final Playtime: 277 hours