Persona 5 Royal is certainly different from Persona 5, but perhaps not different enough

Opinion, Video Games

Day 7 of the Write A Stupid Thing Every Day, or W.A.S.T.E.D, quarantine challenge that I’ve imposed on myself.

By: William Chandler

I lucked out and didn’t play Persona 4 until Golden had released on the Vita. I say lucked out not because Persona 4 is a markedly worse game than Golden, but because the changes made to such a great game are something that I would most certainly feel compelled to see. This approach to releasing a (finger quotes) definitive edition of Persona games, with more content and fleshed out side stories, years after the release of the original, began with Persona 3 Portable. I can very easily imagine someone making this very same complaint then, followed by someone newer to the series making this complaint for Persona 4 Golden. Here I am, many years later, making the very same complaint about Persona 5 Royal. That complaint being: Persona 5 was a great game and Persona 5 Royal is ever so slightly better.

Not much of a complaint, eh? It’s true that more of a great thing is always welcome but, in a world where your time is ever so limited, can it be hard to justify another 100-plus hour excursion into a world you’ve already experienced? Of course. Am I doing it anyway? Sadly, yes. I am replaying what is essentially the same game, this time with much of the wonder sanded down to an almost facile routine of familiarity. The overall story is as it was before but with some bolted on extensions here and there, fleshing out the characters more and adding some new characters to support the existing cast. At my current point, around halfway through the base Persona 5 content, there is already enough involvement with new characters and mechanics to keep me invested. The new guidance councilor confidant is great and fits in exquisitely with the pre-existing narrative, but I’m not as convinced by the new freshman girl yet. I hear she gets a lot more screen time in the epilogue that is exclusive to Royal. They’ve also gone and added a lot to Akechi’s role as a confidant which was very needed the first time around.

It’s a funny thing. I am happy to see more content added to a game I really loved, but this act of revisitation to a story that already felt complete, flaws and all, feels a bit like I’m needlessly dredging up the past. It is an act of reliving nostalgia that is both soothing and mildly unhealthy. Overwriting memories of the original in favor of something new and shiny. My version of the Persona 5 protagonist in Royal has his shit considerably more together this time around, after all. But, I suppose, if I had the ability to go back and make changes, however small, to a time in my own life I felt was flawed, I’m sure I would do it.

Playstation Now…ish?

Opinion, Video Games

By William Chandler

PlayStation Now has been in open beta for about two weeks now and I’ve finally taken some time to give it a shot in between furthering the agenda of my Argonian land tycoon in Tamriel. Seriously, building mansions in Skyrim has been, like, simultaneously the best and worst addition to that game.

PlayStation Now exists nestled deep and snug in the UI of the already poorly designed PS Store. Navigating to the PS Now tab initially gives you a few informational cards on exactly what PS Now is, and the navigation bar on the left side provides options to peruse the library or test your internet connection to see if it will survive in the PS Now gauntlet. Don’t worry about having to get excited about any of the games on offer because the current library of streamable titles is absolutely fucking abysmal. What a rollercoaster of emotion I was while I attempted to decide between the absolutely amazing offerings of Dead Island: Riptide, Ben 10 Omniverse, and Greg Hastings Paintball 2. The lack of some major first party titles like Uncharted or God of War is pretty shocking, BUT you can play the overall mediocre Killzone 3. Since you likely will not be able find a title that you actually want to play, you won’t have to worry about being upset by how ridiculous some of the pricing options are. Asking for three dollars to rent a game for four hours just smacks of absurdity. Especially considering that you wouldn’t be able to near completion of most titles in that span of time anyway.

After deciding that perhaps I actually would like to subject myself to Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, I thought it wise to ensure my ability to play the game by testing my connection. After a couple of seconds spent staring at a loading bar, PS Now was kind enough to tell me that I could utilize its service as intended but neglected to provide any additional information. Perhaps I would like to know exactly how much above the recommended specifications my particular network fell? Nah, obviously not. I’m just a controller using, console playing mongoloid who couldn’t possibly comprehend such things.

So I rented Enslaved for the thirty day time period at the great price of $9.99 and was treated to excellent visual compression and screen artifacts in the opening cutscene. Enslaved was already known to be lacking in responsiveness but streaming it brought new meaning to the term input delay.

I’m going back to smithing nails so I can hang some doors in my alchemy laboratory.

PS Later