Any expectations that Person 5 was going to be some outrageously well made and polished JRPG that would simply blow away and win over new audiences due to its awesomeness totally gives up the ghost within the first few hours. Maybe Stockholm syndrome sets in some time later but don't count on that to impress quickly. If you like Persona 4 you will probably like Persona 5. That's it, that's all. This is merely the next Persona game and nothing more. Expect hours upon hours of mildly interesting anime strapped to your home console.
I will be blunt and unrelenting: the story setup is absolute trash. The main character is given this bizarre and unsubstantiated -criminal history- that is totally incongruent with anything else about his character, situation or context. Even the subsequent attempts to deliver exposition with some scene setting are absurd. For example, the character is treated like an absolute degenerate in a sequence of profoundly disturbing and abusive scenes relating the school faculty to his caretaker, who is presented as some kind of sleazy low level pimp or money launderer, yet ironically disturbed by some obnoxiously contrived disciplinary situations-- i.e the character being late for class. Even as the main game scenario gets more complicated, the quality of writing struggles to elevate the mute and uninteresting protagonist beyond the annoying and ridiculous minor characters.
The narrative contract between author and reader is thus established in situ: please endure an exceedingly long period of time where we will draw out annoying and superficially constructed archetypes through the most mundane of interactions possible. Everything that succeeds this mess is unfortunate at best; and at worst, sadly reminiscent of the lamest anime you could ever imagine. Maybe it gets better eventually, but the extent of my 6+ hours experience is a complete write off. Truly, only the diehards will ever know.
But he's a mysteriously handsome and demur transfer student so anything can happen!
Say, maybe this all appeals to your sensibilities? Well, that sure is great. You probably already watch or buy into everything else that the anime/JRPG industry could ever hope to sell you. And spoiler nobody else gives a single crap. This probably turns normal audiences further away than the new Ghost in the Shell or anything else since they first watched Ninja Scroll in 1995. Within the niche of complicit and uncritical enthusiasts the milk will be lapped, adored and dogmatised as cultural gospel. Outside the fandom, we call this "crap".
Adding to that is this totally bloated non-controversy about its streaming limitations. What a complete joke. Guidelines that Atlus released really only present one hard cut line-- an in game date exceeding 3 months in at month/day, 7/7-- literally dozens of hours in, and presumably major plot points abound. For context, my experience lasted over five hours and went through only 3-4 days. Other than that they hint at "please don't spoil it" recommendations [read, not enforcing] 90 minute segments. The 'so called' ham handed approach is ironically overshadowed by the hyperbolic pitch forked moron squad initiated by the likes of Jim Sterling. The faux outrage that ensued is so pathetic I can hardly even face palm in response. Streaming has become the next wave of fandom entitlement that carries with it the fallacious axiom that the magic of mass exposure will simply result in higher revenues because of social media impressions.
Persona 5: 3/5 stars
- It's probably not as OK to like anime as you want to believe
- Could not muster past ~5 hours
I'd rather be playing Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt (GB)