A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Themes of friendship, redemption, sacrifice, helping others in need are slightly overshadowed by frequent focus on combat, illegal nature of their actions, and "blackmailing" evildoers, even for good causes.
Positive Role Models
While characters do act with motives of changing the world and being forces for good, their acts cause mental and physical changes (even harm) to their targets. Characters can also act selfishly or in sexist ways. Main character can control their interactions with others, choosing how positive or negative they want to interact with people.
There's a mix of male and female characters of varying ages in the game, with varying abilities as well. That being said, each one is capable in their own ways of contributing to the Phantom Thieves either as a team member, or as a supporting role.
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Ease of Play
Dungeon crawling sections are turn-based affairs that include balancing combat, skills, special abilities, other attacks. But micromanaging your free time, class time, relationships, side quests, adventures, other elements of play, frequently under deadline, is the most stressful aspect of the game.
Violence & Scariness
Characters use a wide variety of hand-to-hand weapons, firearms, magical abilities, other special attacks, including combo strikes with teammates, to take out monstrous creatures. Sprays of blood are shown as a result of finishing moves, and in cutscenes as players rip off masks, but this looks cartoonish instead of realistic.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Female characters are shown in tight-fighting outfits, short skirts, maid outfits, and bikinis, revealing their legs, midriff, and lots of cleavage. There's plenty of innuendo and objectification mentioned in dialogue, as well as comments and situations implying prostitution, although no acts are shown.
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Frequent use of profanity, especially "s--t," in dialogue throughout game.
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Products & Purchases
Expanded version of 2017's Persona 5, and the latest in a long-running and popular franchise. It includes content from the previous game that was available only as downloadable content (DLC).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some moments in the game take place in a bar, where one character is frequently seen drinking or being drunk. A doctor looking for a cure to a disease sells and tests drugs on children. One storyline involves high schoolers becoming wrapped up in shady drug deals.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Persona 5 Royal is a role-playing game (RPG) for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. This is the latest installment in the Persona series. Players take on the role of the Phantom Thieves, a group of teens that break into the minds and memories of corrupt figures in Japan to get them to confess their crimes. While the characters are a diverse group of kids and have the best interests of everyone at heart, they do perform heists and steal items to get their targets to come around. The infiltration of villains' minds plays out like a traditional dungeon crawler, and is easy to grasp for fans of this kind of game. The juggling of your young teen life, including balancing schoolwork, jobs, relationships, and more with time-sensitive deadlines can be very stressful. Combat is fought with hand-to-hand weapons, firearms, magical spells, and magical abilities. While blood is shown in some cutscenes and as a result of finishing moves, the effect looks cartoonish rather than realistic. Female characters wear varying outfits, ranging from tight clothing to short skirts, bikinis, or other revealing clothes, showing legs, midriff, and lots of cleavage. All kinds of swear words are used in dialogue, with "s--t" used most frequently, and there are also lots of lewd comments, including objectifying language. One character is frequently found in a bar drinking, and is often drunk, while another character sells drugs to the player to help their party heal. A separate plot also revolves around students being used as drug couriers.
Is It Any Good?
Instead of adding minor fixes and adjustments to an already great game, this RPG packs in so much gameplay that it feels like a new game. Some things that Persona 5 Royal includes you'd expect out of virtually any "director's cut" of a game, like adding more voice acting in either English or Japanese during key story moments (players have the option of choosing which they prefer at the start). Older cutscenes have been re-edited to include new characters and events, which helps to flesh out the game's story. There's even an extra school semester that expands the gameplay significantly, with new holidays, events, and exams. In most cases, that would be enough, but that's barely scratching the surface. Not only are there new characters that you can interact with (and get to help you in your adventure), but there's a new location called Kichijoji, which includes a sports bar where you can play pool and darts with your Phantom Thief friends, a jazz bar you can hang out in and invite people to, and clothing stores to sell off gear to collect in battle. It's definitely a location you'll want to return to often. Similarly, there's a Thieves Den feature that gives you a space full of unlockable content, like new music, character models, artwork, and more. It even has challenges that you can complete simply by playing the main story and side missions, and a card game inserted as well. Even better, the visuals leap off the screen in the PS5/Xbox Series X versions of the game. Everything from the cutscenes to the end of battle transitions feel smoother and more detailed, taking advantage of the hardware to render the gameplay in sharper, more vivid detail.
Dungeons have received a significant overhaul as well, thanks to a grappling hook feature, which can be used to reach hidden areas or even ambush opponents from a distance. Some dungeons have new layouts, including items called Will Seeds in areas that are off the beaten path. These items restore your magic points and can give significant bonuses when their entire set is collected. The randomized dungeons known as Momentos have been enhanced as well, with larger levels, as well as an in-dungeon store that can provide bonus experience, money, and items when you're exploring these areas. And for Persona 5 veterans, the key adjustment of restocking your ammo after each fight means that you no longer have to spare your ranged weapon attacks during a mission, which makes them vastly more useful. If there's a downside to Royal, it's that there are so many things to do and so many options that get presented to you, especially when your group grows past four members, that it can be daunting to figure out what activity you should do when, and with what characters. But Persona 5 Royal is so large that you'll love diving into it (or reintroducing yourself to its gameplay) for dozens of hours. Even if you've played the game before, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X versions of the game are so slick and detailed that it's worth sinking in additional time just to re-explore the tale of the Phantom Thieves.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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