The Nintendo Switch is home to plenty of ports, from revivals of Wii U games to surprisingly great versions of Dragon Quest XI, the Ori games, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and it feels like Persona 5 Royal is the latest to be considered among the best. The fact that the hit to the performance isn’t that bad, coupled with a file size that isn’t too big, the included content, and portable nature, all works in its favor. It means that one of the best JRPGs out there still remains just as incredible even on a platform that might not initially seem ideal for it.
My time with the Persona 5 Royal Switch port is primarily spent in Handheld mode on a Switch OLED, which means a few built-in “edges” to help ensure it is the best portable performance for it. While the level of detail and intricacies suffer a bit when exploring the city or running through Palaces, especially if an area is crowded, it runs admirably. There’s the same pretty consistent 30FPS gameplay as there was with the PS4. The textures may not be as sharp, but the aesthetic direction, frequent use of cutscenes, and design decisions mean that it still looks good even if it isn’t as crisp or flashy as the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 version. It is also only 14.2GB on the system before patches, which is about half the size of the original PS4 version. Considering how compact it is and the compromises required, the port works so well.
There’s also the element of what a new Switch port of a game brings to the table to make it unique and, while Persona 5 Royal doesn’t do anything to really stand out, it does excel at what it is. That is, the full version of the game. The DLC for the PS4 version is here, and you can start using things like costumes once April 12th rolls around. (The items will be waiting in a box in Joker’s room.) You also have access to the so-powerful-they’re-game-breaking Personas like Izanagi-no-Okami Picaro, Messiah, and Thanatos. Possessing these opportunities to be extremely powerful, while also paying tribute to past Persona games and in-world series like Featherman is an entertaining extra.
The hybrid nature of the Nintendo Switch also makes the Persona 5 Royal experience more attractive. Granted, this isn’t the only version to boast this benefit. The PC port of Persona 5 Royal is Steam Deck verified. But given the wider available of Nintendo’s system, lower price, and fact that it also developed a name for itself as an RPG console, it feels so much more at home here. I’ve found I’ll save the big moments, such as taking down a boss, experiencing a Confidant outing, or favorite story beat, for the big screen. My system goes right into the dock for those. But if I’m taking Mementos requests, going through some grinding in a dungeon, or even building up Joker’s stats, that time is spent in handheld mode.
There’s a sense of completion that comes with the Switch port of Persona 5 Royal that helps make a collection a bit better. The system is gradually becoming a great go-to for a Shin Megami Tensei collection. In the Persona line, we now have Persona 5 Royal and the Musou spin-off Persona 5 Strikers, as well as Persona 4 Arena Ultimax and soon Persona 4 Golden and Persona 3 Portable. SMT III Nocturne HD Remaster and V both appear here. The Nintendo Switch Online library in Japan includes the original Shin Megami Tensei, Shin Megami Tensei II, and Shin Megami Tensei if…. Gaps remain, to be sure, but it feels like it is gradually moving forward in a good way.
The Nintendo Switch library of ports is only guaranteed to grow as time goes on, but it feels like the nature of Persona 5 Royal, its contributions to its series and genre, and its general ambiance will always guarantee it as spot as one of the best ports on the console. It’s a joy to play and, some texture and resolution issues compromises aside, is a fairly complete version of the game that isn’t too distant a relative from its older PS4 sibling.