Persona 5: The Royal is an enhanced and slightly retooled version of Persona 5. Where you play as the protagonist who has been sent to Tokyo after being put on probation for assault and is attending a new school Shujin Academy. During his time there he gains the powers of Persona and uses them to traverse the Metaverse with other Persona users to destroy and change the distorted desires of different people and society. In the end you fight the main bad guy an evil politician, Masayoshi Shido, and the god of control. You basically defeat the god of control with the power of friendship.
I loved the original Persona 5 and I also love Persona 5 The Royal however one is not better than the other. Its just a different take and characters but ultimately the same basic story. If you liked the original, you will like Person 5 The Royal. However, with the amount of changes, new characters, and the third semester add on it couldn’t just be a DLC as it changes too many things in the base game. I will give a brief rundown of some of the changes but to really talk about Persona 5 The Royal I will have to get into spoilers and must assume that you know the main story of the original game.
So changes that have been made are: two new confidants, a new character in Mementos, and expanding Akechi’s confidant, a third semester with a completely new story, new locations and activities to do with friends, and multiple changes to palaces, battles, and Mementos.
In general, the main story is same as it was in the original with tweaks made to make Mementos and palaces more interesting. Such as new boss battle stages and Jose in Mementos who can change the cognition of Mementos so you can gain money, EXP, and items faster. The main story changes come with the new confidants: Kasumi Yoshizawa, a young gymnast who transfers to Shujin at the same time as the protagonist and Takuto Maruki, a school counselor who comes in after the actions of Kamoshida are brought to light. Also Akechi’s confidant mostly no longer advances as part of the game you must hang out with him to advance his story which gives us more insight into who he really is. To get to the third semester you must max their confidants before fighting Shido otherwise you just get the original ending.
On to the new story, as you befriend Kasumi you find out that she and her now deceased twin sister always planed to become world famous gymnast together and she has some guilt that her sister isn’t with her. She also awakens a Persona but doesn’t become a Phantom Thief and her confidant gives you better ambush abilities in the Metaverse. Maruki as the school counselor listens to all the problems of the main characters and has an interest in cognitive Psience, with his confidant increasing SP and allowing it to recover when low.
After you defeat the god of control, Sae will ask you to turn yourself in to help prosecute Shido however now Akechi shows up will to confess everything as he survived Shido’s palace. On January 1, when you are planning on a shrine visit with Kasumi when things start to change. These changes include Morgana being human, Futaba’s mother, Haru’s father, and Makoto’s father not being dead, and all the horrible things that have happen to the character never happening. Only the protagonist and Akechi know that this is not how the world is suppose to be. You find out that Maruki has a Persona and a palace. He is using his power and the information given to him during counseling sessions to stop all the bad things in the world from happen and make the world a “better” place.
While traversing Maruki’s palace you find out that the Kasumi that you knew is really Sumire Yoshizawa who blamed herself for her sisters death and decided that it would be better if she became Kasumi as Kasumi was better at everything and the one Sumire perceived everyone wanted. She doesn’t want the world to go back to how it was as she doesn’t want to be Sumire anymore. Its hard to say that this world is a bad ending since the events that made life horrible never happen however my issue with Maruki’s concept is why does Sumire’s wish to be Kasumi supersede what is most likely her parents wish to have both of their daughters back. In a world where nothing bad ever happens and no one struggles what is there to strive for.
If you plan to reject Maruki’s world you end up finding out that Akechi really is dead and defeating Maruki will return the world to what was meant to happen. So the protagonist will end up in juvenile dentation and Akechi is gone. However, the changes Maruki made caused our cast of characters to realize that they still can persuse their own dreams and its implied that Akechi didn’t die.
Ultimately, I love both the original Persona 5 and Persona 5 The Royal and I don’t feel like the existence of Royal makes the original a lesser game. The changes to the game added about an additional 30 hours of game play on Easy and I expect a little longer on a harder setting. I only thing I do like a little better with Royal is the determination of all the characters at the end to peruse their own paths and dreams while staying friends.