Persona 5 faces tough competition for The Game Awards 2017, but I’m just extremely ecstatic to see the niche JRPG recognized for its worth.
This is an personal piece/word vomit on what Persona 5’s nominations for The Game Awards 2017 mean to me.
2017 was an incredible year with neverending release after release of excellent games. Just when you thought you could take a breather, a new game would come out and drive the gamer full speed ahead in play time. A lot of amazing games came out this year especially for empire franchises such as Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, new exclusives like Horizon Zero Dawn, multiplayer games with PUBG…
…and then there’s Persona 5.
It’s been maybe 5 months since I completed all ~95 hours of my Persona 5 playthrough, but it’s the game I’ve been constantly referring back to when talking to friends or gamers. This was a game I highly anticipated, I bought the steelbook edition for crying out loud… After all this time, the game continues to resonate with me well after I finished playing. I continued talking about it even after everyone was past it. Then name resurfaced earlier this month in media and communities when The Game Awards 2017 announced its nominees…
Persona 5 received 4 nominations:
- Best Role Playing Game
- Best Score/Music
- Best Art Direction
- Game of the Year
There are things you know in your heart are good and true, but there’s something about an extra validation by others around you that make something feel more concrete. Not to mention, Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs) attract a specific audience (there are a lot of pros and cons to the genre). This game was amazing for me, but to actually see it recognized in this way by players alike after hundreds of games have been released? What an accomplishment.
Although this is not the biggest video game franchise by far, don’t be fooled: the fanbase is only growing stronger. The original iteration of Persona 4 was released back in 2008. It’s been 9 whole years of spinoffs, anime TV shows, remasters. Atlus had already localized its previous games, but Persona 4’s PS Vita edition in 2012 played a huge role in growing the international fandom further. It’s become a cult classic, the “only reason you need to buy a PS Vita” or “buy the PS Vita to play this game”. From there, it’s following (including me) was dying for a new series.
When Persona 5 was officially announced in 2013, many fans promoted and hyped the game for a long time. One of my favorite podcasters, Andrew Goldfarb, played an extremely important role for showcasing the game to the IGN audience who may not have immediately chosen this genre. When the game was released in Japan in Fall 2016, Goldfarb played the entire game in Japanese even though he had no idea what was going on, at least before the English version came out. Goldfarb pushed endless amount of content and updates for JRPG fans, experienced and fresh, to at least show that if you’re interested, Persona 5 deserves a chance by IGN gamers. Through a collective effort of fans and Atlus’ excellent job in localizing its previous games and trailers leading up to release, the hype started to spread.
Andrew Goldfarb’s, Everything You Need To Know About Persona 5
The game received positive reviews across the board even by reviewers who don’t particularly like or play the genre. For its players who enjoyed the game, it brought something different than what a traditional JRPG would bring. Of course to many gamers, this may look like a typical high school anime (and you’re not wrong, in many ways it is). But this is what the game feels to me. My friend Kevin summed it perfectly when I discussed the game with him: Persona 5 took everything from Persona 4 and enhanced it:
- The incredible art style, with environments and character designs employing every color of the rainbow and cutscenes like they are out of a comic book.
- The turn-based system, which adds excitement through bartering.
- The engaging storyline, which is both mischievously fantastical and hones in on self-reflection (which is what Persona is all about!).
- The music, oh that sweet upbeat jazz that gets stuck in your head.
- The entire gameplay, in which it’s not just battle but a time management for relationships and skills.
Even if Persona 5 doesn’t win out, I’m incredibly proud of this game. To me this is not just some turn-based game, but a dynamic and challenging experience. Holistically, this is the complete package and the best JRPG I’ve ever played. It inspires future games like this to be made, and now that a game like this can garner the attention it deserves it’s subtly but surely paving the future of gaming.
When Persona 6 eventually comes out, who knows, this franchise may grow and take over the world…
They’ll never see it coming.