After lots of praise and glowing recommendations from friends and the gaming public as a whole, all it took was a physical copy of Persona 5 Royal going on sale for £20 (along with finally nabbing a PS5 because my PS4 broke) for me to finally dip my toe into one of the most celebrated JRPGs of the past decade. Sure, I could have tried the vanilla version through the PS Plus Collection, but in for a penny, in for a pound. Twenty of them, in fact.
Currently, I’m about 10 hours into my Persona 5 Royal playthrough, and I’ve already taken to save scumming in order to just optimise my playthrough a little bit better, though this is more due to a lack of preparedness on my part. I’m still battling through the first palace, nearing the end in fact, but I’ve missed out on a few treasure chests just because I don’t have any lockpicks. It’s fine, I thought. I’ll retreat for a few days, level some stuff up, come back and batter everything in sight. Apparently, that’s not so simple for me.
Aside from focusing on building the relationships with Confidants (I love Ryuji already), I was trying to build up my social stats, particularly my Guts. The side story with Tae Takemi, the Death Confidant, required an improved Guts rating, so why not focus on that? I rented a book from the library and read it over the course of that upcoming weekend, only to head to school that Monday with a free seat on the train. Free train seats are a chance to read without costing any time, and here’s me, an unsuspecting idiot, with the only book I “could” read being a classical literature book because I’m clearly too dumb to read anything that isn’t scrawled in crayon.
To me, the idea of having that time wasted because I have nothing to do is a playthrough killer. Good job I hadn’t saved in a few days, huh? I’ve only just managed to reach 10 hours and I’m already resorting to filthy save scumming tactics. The problem for me now is that I’ve become bogged down in the possibilities of what to do.
After a brief bit of research, there’s so many options that it’s become hard to know what’s the optimal path through the game. I’ve already been told to get the Palaces out of the way early on by a friend, with another article recommending slamming them in one night, both of which I’ve already failed on. Between the different side activities and characters to hang out with, I’m drowning under the weight of options.
I have played Persona 5 since, making the choice to blitz the Palace on the day I’d saved, send the Calling Card and relax after a job well done, but for a while, my perfectionist brain wasn’t quite sure on my next port of call. Clearly, some kind of redo was in order, but I was spoilt for choice. Should I have carried on from my previous save, choosing to focus on different activities and making better use of the time allotted without completing the Palace immediately? Or do I just scrap the whole playthrough and make use of the P5 Royal feature that tells me how players spent their time and just go from there? The answer was clearly in the middle, but it was difficult to get there.
I’m loving Persona 5 Royal so far, but the time management system is certainly a lot. I mean, I struggle keeping my own life in order, staying up stupidly late to play Persona, so keeping Joker’s life together is always going to be difficult for me. How I go about playing Persona 5 Royal from here could define how much I enjoy the game going forward, and it feels like save scumming and guides will play a big part going forward, and there’s absolutely no shame in that.
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