In the Persona games, we’re constantly accompanied by party who are gradually bettering themselves as the games go on. They begin as people with significant issues, in some games strong enough to put their lives in danger, and we see them grow, mature, and come to terms with the world around them. In the process, they become real to us. We see them as lovable people we can’t help but connect with as we adventure together. Persona 5 is no different. Once again, we have a crew of people with us who face overwhelming odds and grow through their travels and interactions with the avatar.
It all starts with Ryuji. While the avatar does technically meet Ann before anyone else, it’s a fleeting moment. Ryuji is your first friend in a school where everyone is spreading slanderous rumors and your hero could find himself expelled and on the streets for the smallest infraction. Ryuji has a reputation almost as bad as yours, all because of an incident that left him abandoned my his friends and considered a pariah. He still coming to terms with and recovering from this incident, with both mental and physical effects weighing on him. However, after not even a month of meeting and working with the avatar, he’s trying to recover, get over his anger issues, and become a better person. The events of Persona 5 give him the strength to move on and perhaps even surpass the person he once was. He’s also a fantastically strong physical attacker with shocking attacks. The only downside to Ryuji really is that his Persona learns Mazio after both Ann and Morgana’s learn their group elemental spells.
Speaking of Morgana, the cat and veteran is the second to join your Persona 5 party. Personally, I feel extra bad for him. While his story isn’t as tragic at the outset as the other characters, I couldn’t help feeling like he gets a bit of the shaft in the game. When you first come across him and receive his aid, it seems like the avatar and Ryuji are fine with taking advantage of his aid and kindness without repaying it. With Morgana, we get a character who is learning who he is and trying to find himself and his place. Even if the answers he gets aren’t what he expects and tragic, he’s still going to search for the truth. He’s also a well-rounded character who has some decent wind and melee attacks, though I noticed occasional accuracy issues when he was part of my party.
Ann is probably one of my favorite party members. She’s a woman who’s subject to a number of rumors herself. I like to think she already has quite a bit of inner strength at the outset, since she’s willing to put someone else’s comfort and well being above her own. Yet, once you start working with and getting to know her, she’s going out of her way to get better not only for that original person who was important to her, but for the sake of the team and avatar as well. She’s a great magic user, proved to be rather agile when in my party, and has a gun that sends out a spread of bullets, which can be handy sometimes.
While Ann is one of my favorite, Yusuke is probably the character I think is the coolest. He is just such a stylish character, both before and after his awakening. He’s also someone who, like Ann, starts out with some very admirable qualities. There’s a dedication to him, showing how he’s willing to protect someone he loves, even when they may not be the best person. With him, there’s a real sense of growing up and seeing people for who they are. We watch someone who’s a bit sheltered and naive, but still rather observant and intelligent, better understand the world around him. I felt like I used him as an attacker and supporter, even though he does have some rather helpful magic attack and support skills.
With Makoto, we get to see someone who seems strong open up and get more in touch with her true self. Which I suppose you could say applies to any Persona series party member. But with Makoto especially, we have someone who could be considered the game’s Mitsuru Kirijo. She’s intelligent, composed, and has her own demons to deal with that she hides. As we connect with her, we see her free her mind a bit and accept the parts of herself that might not be as calm and composed. We also get a strong magic user who can be a fantastic healer. She’s such a practical character, she became a near permanent part of my party.
Of course, with Persona 5 about to make its debut, I don’t want to spoil too many characters for you. Rest assured that each one blossoms as you play. They each have something special about them that makes you see them as more than just a pretty useful attacker to help you survive the game’s Palaces and Mementos. These warriors also make pretty engaging Confidants. Since we see them grow throughout the interactions and become better, stronger people, we’re able to better appreciate the characterizations and battle prowess that comes from really connecting with someone.
Persona 5 will come to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 on April 4, 2017.