Playing Games - The Genius of 'Persona 5' - Take Your Time

My Thoughts on the Game 'Persona 5'

"Take Your Time" is probably one of he most deceptive pieces of advice that I have ever gotten from a game. It almost gives you the feeling that the developers were genuine, yet at the same time were playing a joke on you.

The game takes place over the course of a year where you play each day of the protagonist's life. What this does is allow the pace of the story to be steady and made the growth of the characters, both in terms of development and progression, believable, from where they began to the point where the game ends. It also gives us a taste of what it is like to be a Japanese student, and up until Persona 5 I had no idea that school lasted six days a week instead of five and that the summer and winter breaks were significantly shorter. This brought some perspective to my own time at university and I started to work harder as a result of it.

Now let's talk about how taking your time actually helps when you are playing the game. The first thing I like to do when it comes to any game with RPG elements and a leveling system is to spend multiple hours leveling up in between missions so that I am over powered and can breeze through the main story—a habit that I have developed having played Final Fantasy X as a youngster when the obligatory Japanese difficulty spike prevented me from progressing with the characters who are barely at the required level to even fight the boss, a habit I carried over to Persona which allowed me to take on the final boss in my first playthrough in a relatively stress free manner.

To my surprise, the stats related to battle, while important, are not the ones that hindered me the most. It was the social stats that came into play when outside the metaverse, where in order to progress through some of the side quests that are related to your confidants, at points, it would require you to have a particular rank in your social stats. This made me want to power level the necessary social stats, unintentionally making me disregard other activities to the point where I decided to let the side missions fall by the wayside entirely so that I could max out my social stats and complete the side missions when I carry the stats over on in New Game + and enjoy the various subplots, which are in themselves just as, if not, at some points, better than the mainline story.

The game allows you to listen in on other NPC conversations so that you can find out about new places to visit, certain perks from equipment, and useful shops to shop in. It also clues us in on future plot lines without us noticing hours upon hours ahead of when they arrive. When you eavesdrop on other characters that are simply in the background you find that they have their own lives and stories going on that have nothing to do with the story that you are experiencing, and this attention to detail is incredible making this world feel alive. There are even occasions when you listen in on characters before you befriend them and it gives greater context to what they are going through. All this listening in and exploring requires ample time.

Despite all of this, it is very possible that many of these positives would be thrown out the window of the method behind tackling the palaces are wrong, as it was for a third of my play through. The one area that you cannot take your time in is the palaces, because as long as the palace is still active you would not be able to progress with your confidant plots as effectively. So the palaces need to be taken down quickly and efficiently. Despite messing up, I still enjoyed the game and it made me want to come back in New Game + and finish all of it.

The multiple meanings and applications behind the simple phrase "Take Your Time" is one of the reasons why I think Persona 5 is genius.

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Playing Games - The Genius of 'Persona 5' - Take Your Time
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