Persona 5 is the sixth game in the Persona series. It is a role-playing game developed by Atlus’ P-Studio.
Persona 5 is a fantasy based on reality which follows a group of troubled high school students: the protagonist and a collection of compatriots he meets along the way. These disturbed and troubled teenagers gradually realize that they are living in a toxic and dangerous world resembling a prison full of slavery, oppression and injustice, ruled by corrupted and twisted adults. They can’t live with the system and can’t live without it, and simply existing means they are at risk of being doomed and condemned to a life of slavery.
In order to seek freedom, liberation and justice, they live dual lives as rebellious Phantom Thieves of Hearts. Using a mysterious smartphone app, they undertake fantastical adventures by using otherworldly powers to enter the hearts of people (specifically, corrupt adults in positions of power) in order to re-shape and transform them. The Phantom Thieves realize that society forces people to wear masks to protect their inner vulnerabilities, and by confronting their inner selves and by literally ripping off their protective mask do the heroes awaken their inner power, using it to help those in need. Ultimately, the group of Phantom Thieves seeks to change their day-to-day world to match their perception, end slavery and see through the masks modern society wears.
An enhanced version, titled Persona 5 Royal, was released on PlayStation 4 on October 31, 2019 in Japan and worldwide on March 31, 2020. It includes many new features, including new characters, battle mechanics, and a third semester added to the story. This might not necessarily entirely replace the original game (particularly for PlayStation 3 players), however, as Persona 4 enthusiasts may still enjoy this game’s slightly higher difficulty, as well as prefer the original enemy and boss behaviors.
At the start of the game, the protagonist is seen infiltrating a casino with his teammates. Police begin to swarm the casino and the protagonist attempts to make an escape by a path at the ceiling with his teammate’s assistance. Eventually, he reaches the other side of the casino and one of the guards reveals themselves to be a Shadow which bursts into Moloch to attack him. He defeats the Shadow and escapes the casino, where he is outnumbered, subdued and arrested by the police.
Over the next few days, while trying to adjust to life as a student and going into the Palace with Ryuji who obtains his own Persona Captain Kidd as well, they’re taught that the Palaces are the representation of the distorted desires of the people around them, and the only way to get rid of a Palace is to steal its owners hidden treasure, changing their heart in the process. Though the risk of causing a mental shutdown within the user, or erasing their desire to live causes them to hesitate, this reaches a level of urgency when the protagonist and Ryuji’s attempts to reveal that Kamoshida has been physically and sexually abusing students in his role as volleyball coach result in him threatening to expel them and fellow student Yuuki Mishima (who Kamoshida recruited to spread rumors about the protagonist) from the school.
After they successfully defeat him again, Shido’s cognitive version of Akechi appears to kill the real Akechi for failing him, as Shido has already surmised that Akechi is his son and he cannot have any loose ends that might threaten his power. Akechi, however, has realized the error in his ways and makes amends with the Phantom Thieves, locking him up in a room with the cognitive version of himself that will flood and kill both of them while saving the others. The Phantom Thieves then make it to the site of the treasure, and return to the real world to film a video broadcast to all of Japan that their leader is still alive and they will make Shido pay for his misdeeds.
They successfully defeat Shadow Shido, but this makes the real Shido realize that something is amiss, so he attempts to kill the Phantom Thieves by taking a poison that will temporarily kill himself, destroying his Palace and everyone inside. The Phantom Thieves barely make it out alive, and Shido’s aides discover that they successfully changed his heart, leading them to panic, particularly after he admits all his wrongdoings live on television after his party’s victory in the Diet. However, no one seems to think that the Phantom Thieves, who they believe do not exist, had anything to do with it, and that Shido was simply ill.
This leads the Hentai Phantom Thieves to investigate Mementos on Christmas Eve in order to enact a change of heart on everyone by stealing the public unconscious’s treasure. They discover that the people of Tokyo have suddenly decided to allow themselves to be imprisoned by the impositions of society at large, that it is easier to allow themselves to give into a greater force controlling them than make their own decisions on their lives. In the depths of Mementos they find the public’s treasure, a giant Holy Grail, which speaks to them and demands that they submit to its power. They are unsuccessful in defeating the Holy Grail and are ejected from Mementos, only to find that Shibuya and Mementos are beginning to fuse together, and that they are all disappearing now that the Phantom Thieves have left the public’s cognition.