Persona 5 Royal Review

Dan Webb

There's something that Xbox has sorely been missing out on in recent years, and that’s a plethora of truly excellent JRPGs. On Xbox 360, the genre went off with a bang, serving up towering classics like Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey, but the truth is, Xbox has been lightyears behind PlayStation when it comes to JRPG representation over the past ten-or-so years. Sony had, in my humble opinion, the best of the best when it comes to JRPGs: Persona 5, and the inevitable refresh, Persona 5 Royal. And now, in an incredible coup, Persona 5 Royal finally makes its Xbox debut, and for Game Pass, no less. And, happily, it's still an incredible video game.

Kick ‘em while they’re down!

Persona 5 Royal sees you step into the shoes of Ren Amamiya, who finds himself in a spot of bother, forcing him to live (and go to school) in Tokyo, due to recent transgressions. P5R is equal parts dungeon-crawler and turn-based RPG, as well as a relationship and life simulator - one that boasts a wonderful cast of characters, one of the all-time great musical scores in video games, and one of the most stylish game UIs that we’ve ever laid our eyes on.

Persona 5 Royal is Atlus’ and developer P Studio's usual 1.5 version of the original base game, with new characters introduced, new mechanics and even a new area to explore. It’s the original Persona 5 on steroids, essentially - a 100-hour-plus game with countless additional hours of content. It's huge.

In P5R, Ren must assemble a crack team of ‘Phantom Thieves’ who venture into an alternate realm, in which they battle to rescue the twisted minds of terrible people, in the hope of ‘changing their hearts.’ Ren forges relationships in the real-world while attending school, all while trying to crack numerous cases with his merry band of friends. The Phantom Thieves see themselves as new-age saviours, tasked with righting wrongs, in a corrupt world full of greed and selfishness.

For those new to the franchise, the dungeon-crawling element of Persona – when the crew enters the alternate realm – has elements of Pokémon, where players can capture other ‘Personas’ that they encounter, then level them up and use them in battle. Combine that with classic elemental turn-based gameplay, and you have the perfect ingredients for a classic JRPG. In fact, it’s the dichotomy of the two opposing elements of Persona that has always been the foundation for its success, and Persona 5 Royal sees P Studio taking that to a new level. Not just in terms of dungeon-crawling, but in the Phantom Thieves' real-world shenanigans, as well.

One of my biggest complaints with the PlayStation version of Persona 5 (and Royal) was that the costume DLC was already available at launch, and players had to purchase that separately, which is a dodgy business practice if ever there was one. Thankfully, Atlus has fixed that with Persona 5 Royal on Xbox, including all the costumes and such, as part of the package. That makes Persona 5 Royal on Xbox the most complete version of the game, and for that, we couldn’t be happier.

Every day's a school day. Except for weekends.

Hopefully, Persona 5 Royal will pave the way for all the other Persona experiences on Xbox. With Persona 4 Golden and Persona 3 Portable coming to Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One in January 2023, we’re hoping that Atlus brings over the Persona dance games, too, as well as Omega Force's musou spin-off, Persona 5 Strikers, and any new iterations in the series. Because one thing is still for certain: Persona 5 Royal is a very special video game, and deserves to be played by as many people as possible.

Persona 5 Royal

Persona 5 Royal is easily one of the best JRPGs on Xbox, which isn’t bad for a game that originally came out in 2019! A perfect blend of real-world shenanigans, mixed with some intense dungeon-crawling sections, and put together in one of the most perfectly presented packages in video games - what’s not to love? Buy it, play it on Game Pass... just make sure you experience it.

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Persona 5 Royal has one of the best soundtracks ever created. Seriously.


The comic book stylings of P5R, with anime cutscenes intertwined, as well as the most stylish menus and transitions that exist in video games, make this an absolute joy to behold.


Persona’s evolution over the years has been a lesson for how developers should approach sequels: i.e. fixing what doesn’t work and refining what does. Kudos.


Persona’s dungeon gameplay is as good as it’s ever been in P5R, and its real-world relationship building, life-sim aspects remain faultless. It’s the perfect dichotomy of the two that makes Persona 5 Royal so enjoyable for its 100+ hour duration.


As far as JRPG achievement lists go, P5R’s list is fair, not completely insane, encouraging you to try out everything, while pushing you down paths where you’ll encounter some great content. It’s almost perfect.

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