Bet you’d never see this coming…
The game’s been available since April but a friend recently lent me Atlus’ Persona 5 and suggested I give it a try with no context of really anything in the series. Here I am two weeks later and the game’s gotten its hooks in me for 25 hours worth and there are no signs of giving up until I’m done. Persona as a series, this one, in particular, embodies the kind of creative storytelling that people clamor for more than other games, simply because it shakes up the everyday life of High School by putting its cast of characters in control of amazing abilities and tools to rebel against the things a teen finds unjust in the world. For the same reason that Harry Potter and Spider-Man as characters resonate with young people the world over, players see a bit of themselves and their own lives in the students of Shujin Academy. Fighting shadows and changing the hearts of the corrupt would be a nice side project for many returning to high school and college so this is a list of things that players see and experience throughout the many many playable hours of Persona 5 that would be incredibly useful for anybody starting up a new school year.
#8 Lucid Dream Rehab
Everyone lives with some form of stress and anxiety, and most often that comes back to bite us in our sleep. Usually, these thoughts and fears get warped into personal and literal demons and leave us waking up in an unsettled state of vertigo. That’s no fun, so how about some rehabilitation instead? Sure, the bratty prison wardens might get grating, and the wisdom if the stumpy goblin man comes across as quite cryptic, but it gives you the opportunity to take your nightmarish finds and execute them with a guillotine.
#7 An App That Escapes to a Metaverse
Everyone needs an escape from the stresses of everyday life. The real world is complex and confusing, and the people that populate it are so selfish and inconsiderate. So, taking a trip to the Metaverse to blow off some steam while brushing up on combat skills can’t possibly be a bad time, right? It’s a great team-building exercise and gives you some great community service opportunities to write the wrongs of the world completely anonymously. The power of rebellion courses through your veins, of course, so you’ve gotta put that arcane power to good use with your fellow Phantom Thieves.
#6 Visual Social Statistics
School is awkward. Interacting with new people? Awkward. Being called on in class? Awkward. Getting those butterfly feelings that demand you get the courage to ask out the guy or girl you really like and then you fumble your way through a conversation? Aw-to-the-K-to-the-Word. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just see a visual representation of our social skills in terms of statistics and rankings? Sure, it may seem like a nightmare scenario out of Black Mirror, maybe even a little sociopathic if you think about it too hard, but to know whether you have the Guts to finish that gigantic burger in Shibuya or the quality of Kindness level to put a friend at ease would make all the deliberating on your social actions much easier.
#5 Archetypal Tarot Powers
The world is cruel and unjust. Do you have the knowhow to change it for the better? Well, with these fancy arcane powers, you can eliminate the shadows and evil hearts of the psyche of the collective unconscious, and all while boasting great style and cool costumes. Is it the right thing to do? Who can say for sure, but the point is that somebody is being wronged and you have the power to make that change happen. Besides, who doesn’t want superpowers to aid in the quest for the rebellion?
#4 An attic apartment in Tokyo
If you’re not still in school, I ask that you think back to that taste for freedom that everyone has at some point in their lives. To travel to the city, to drive a car, to be left to your own devices, and to learn how to be independent. How could anyone turn down the opportunity to live in an apartment building with the best coffee in town on the floor below and downtown Tokyo outside the door, with Shibuya only a short train ride away? Sure, your main character, Joker, turns up in these living quarters through the worst of circumstances, but we can’t help but envy the resulting infinite possibilities at his fingertips.
#3 A Talking Cat Companion
Morgana may be a pain in the ass, but it’s undeniably nice to have a feline shaped companion at your side to give you guidance, even if it is all for the ultimate goal of his own mysterious schemes. A companion like Morgana keeps you sharp and aware, teaches you street smarts, and shows you the potential greatness within yourself, all on top of how to get rich quick. Plus, no other guardian would let you drive their car without a license, let alone become a car for you to drive without a license. It may be infuriating that he makes you go to bed when you’re not even tired, but at least you can always guarantee you have enough energy for the day and wake up on time as a result.
#2 A Larger Than Life Goal
Exams? Homework? Assemblies? Keeping your head down, and out of trouble? It all seems so boring until you’re hit with something that matters more to you than anything, and you make every effort to be the best version of yourself you can be to achieve that something. In the case of Joker and the other Phantom Thieves, this goal is to be prepared, sharp, and skilled enough to be proficient at eliminating Shadows and forcing the corrupt adults of the world to have a positive change of heart. Not everything has to have end of the world stakes, but if your passions and skill set find their way into becoming a concentrated goal, there is no greater feeling in the world than being able to plan a path to make it there.
#1 Quality Confidants
Friends. They mean more than you realize. They understand you better than most. They never last forever. Whether you actually could or not, when you’re with the right group of people you truly feel like you can take on the world. It’s these high-quality relationships between yourself and other human beings that make the qualities of the Persona series succeed beyond its excellent mechanics. It’s that feeling of closeness to a cast of characters that remind you of the vulnerable, unique creatures you surround yourself with and call friends. An ally you can depend on in the hardest time, in the darkest hour, of your life is one of the most invaluable things you can ever ask for.