Persona 5 – How I learned to stop worrying and steal hearts

I’ve just gone through my 4th playthrough of Persona 5.  I’ve logged over 300 hours and my Persona completion rate sits at a solid 94%.  Did that game shatter expectations?  Yes.

I’m sure you’ve already read plenty of reviews on this game, seen metacritic scores, etc….so any of my regular readers should already know how good the damn game is.

I think I’ve finally pinpointed what’s kept me playing this game, even after the first playthrough.  The ending.

OBVIOUS SPOILER WARNING ALERT

Having saved Tokyo from a fate worse than death, Akira (the protag’s manga name and his name in my game) is faced with his imminent sentencing for his part in the events that transpired in the year.  He doesn’t shy away from it, rather, he chooses the reason why he goes to the pokey.  His teammates, or the fate of the world.  Pretty badass.  He then spends time with his loved ones, for the first 3 straight playthroughs, it was Makoto for me, and for my latest playthrough, it was Ann.  Even their christmas date is sullied somewhat by the thought of his impending sentencing.  Those girls are perceptive as all hell.

On Christmas, instead of celebrating, the team gathers at Leblanc, realizing what Akira’s done.  They then steel their resolve to get him out of jail.  The Phantom Thieves along with Akira’s maxed confidants all rally to help get Akira out of prison.  They eventually succeed and Akira is released on the 13th of February.  Morgana pops up later, not dead.

He then has a romantic evening with Makoto.  Or Ann.  I’m going for Haru next.

After saying his final good-byes, the gang all pile into a Citroen van (much like Mona’s car form) and kick off an awesome road trip.  Ryuji says something nice, which is something we should all remember.

If you wanna change the world, all you have to do is just look at it differently… am I right?

Wise words, Ryuji.

My take on the ending is this.  It took the self-sacrifice themes of Persona 3’s Minato, and the group dynamics and bonds of Persona 4’s Yu, and rolled it up into an ending that really truly made me happy.  You come through the game feeling refreshed and good about yourself, much like Akira when he sticks his head through the sunroof of the van in the closing moments of the game.

And like the Phantom Thieves in that van, your adventures aren’t ending yet.   There’s always something to look forward to, just as long as you have hope.

That’s the message that SSB’s been carrying too.  Shit’s not so bad, right?

Oh….and I miss Tokyo.  So much.