The world is chaos. Violence and rape are rampant, politicians are corrupt, and civilians feel helpless and hopeless. Is this real life? No, but it is Persona 5’s game creators’ reflection of the current state of the real world. Persona 5 opens with a gameplay scene where the player, a masked teenage boy, intrudes on a grand party in a casino, and is guided through simple mechanics like “jump” and “hide” to (unsuccessfully) escape the police. It cuts to the police interrogating the boy, but he is unable to remember why he was arrested. There is a mysterious voice that speaks in between cuts scenes that says, “For the sake of your world’s future, as well as your own, you must remember.” This voice seems to foreshadow one of the goals of the game – save the world by discovering why you were arrested.
In the tutorial, the player is dropped into a neighborhood in Tokyo and tasked with finding his way to his new residence with Sojiro Sakura. It is a helpful level to learn the game mechanics, as well as to orient yourself in the context of the game’s story. The left joy stick moves the player, while the right joy stick changes your point of view of the player. Additionally, although you can only see a part of the game space in one view, a small grid-like map with icons indicating important markers makes it easy to navigate in and out of the game space.
By exploring the tutorial’s neighborhood, you can overhear other characters’ conversations. These embedded conversations do not seem necessary (so far) to success in the game, but they do provide important information to understand the state of chaos and corruption that is the game’s world. Some couples speak pessimistically about the economy being down and the aging population, or how “things won’t get better because of politics,” while another old man reads the newspaper and says, “Another string of rampage accidents. I just hope none of them happen around here.”
So far, though I have played little of the game, but I am intrigued by its story and very curious how it will unfold. Lastly, as an inexperienced gamer, I appreciate that Persona 5 gives the option of how difficult you want to make the game (safe, easy, normal, or hard), each not affecting the course of the story itself.