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Well, the history of almost perfect fic had to end, and of course, it ends with my preferred pairing. Sigh. I really love Yusuke, as a character, he comes off as more 'art sexual' than anything, but some of his interactions with Akira in game canon rate from downright funny to kinda sweet. So it's no shock that I really like Akira/Yusuke as a pairing. But, shockingly, it's hard to find long fic featuring this pairing. Finding short one shots of them? Easy as hell.

This fic though, this is going to be a REAL mixed opinion. I've read other works by this author and the one shots were really good, so I said, 'well, she's writing a longer fic and it's a sort of interesting idea, so why not?' Yeah...

Note, this is the most popular Persona 5 fic currently, if you sort by Kudos, on Ao3. After reading this entire story, I put it down and said, 'seriously, THIS FIC is the most popular?' Because I'll be honest, I like this author's one shots a lot more than her long fics, and that really RARELY happens. And quite simply, there's way better written Akira/Yusuke fic, let alone better written fic, period.

Series: Persona 5
Title: Muse
Author: aliencereal
Genre: Flangst, though leans more to fluff than angst
Rating: T
Warning: Sickingly sweet fluff, AU Butterfly effect fic, recycled dialogue from the game, extremely short chapters, mentions of child abuse, mild game spoilers, up to June at least, slow burn though it sort of... isn't...
Couple (if applicable): Akira/Yusuke

Plot: 7/10 - This is more of a character study rather than a heavy plot fic. It's not too terribly original. Instead of Yusuke wanting Ann as a model, he chooses Akira instead. It seems interesting enough, but in honestly, I don't really see this happening, unless Akira was gender swapped to a female.

Anyways, canon stuff happens and instead of Ann being in certain spots, it's Akira who replaces her. For example, Yusuke is escorting Akira during the art tour, he's the one who goes to model nude and distracts Yusuke while Morgana does his thing, etc etc. And Yusuke ends up living with Akira during and after the changing of heart of Madarame. And basically, they end up in a relationship.

Pretty much, Yusuke sort of loses his 'art sexual' and he's really pining over Akira straight away. And Akira is already sort of pining too. Which is sort of disappointing and I'll get to that in the characterization.

On one hand, it's an interesting twist, but on the other hand, I don't think it would work in the context of canon. But I can't say it cannot absolutely work, because Yusuke DID want Akira to model for him during his Link. In the end, art is art for Yusuke, so I can let it pass. >.> Though the sort of homophobe hintings from Madarame? Kinda comes out of nowhere. I don't think he'd give a shit, as long as Yusuke doing something and it made him money.

I'm also not completely sure that Madarame sort of abused Yusuke, besides stealing credit for his work and pretty much having him live in a shack while he lived elsewhere. Just as a word of warning, there's a lot of neglect and mental child abuse here. It puts Madarame in a much darker light than what his counter part is in game, so be warned.

I will say, I do like the small flashback thoughts that Yusuke has of the NPCs who lived with him. In game, they just came off as off screen NPCs. Here, they play an important role in Yusuke's life, and sadly, they show the abuse that he went through along with them too. They're not just faceless NPCs, which is probably the thing I liked most here.

Writing: 5/10 - The writing is just... okay. I think some chapters are way too short to even count as a chapter (some barely hit the 1k mark, and should just be condensed into one chapter instead of two). There's some typos and grammar errors here and there, it really looks like the author pretty much rushed her chapters up as fast as possible, because some paragraphs are only one sentence, and it happens fairly often enough for me to notice.

And some of the dialogue is straight cooked copy pasta. I didn't dock too much because I don't think the dialogue would change too terribly. Still, it would be nice if authors just put their own spin on the dialogue parts.

I think this story could've been much shorter, mostly because a big chunk of it in the middle is rehashing canon. The exception is near the end, after the whole Madarame stuff happens. And that's where the story sort of happens. You'll notice when canon does come, the chapters are all of a sudden longer and mostly dialogue heavy, but not as long as I like them to be.

Also, this is where I'm going to say that 'Show, don't tell' applies greatly. Instead of saying, 'they share a slow kiss and make out for a long while' (No kidding the make out line IS from the story), you could at least describe what happens. In fact, describing the kiss itself would have a more impact and skip the make out all together. Or maybe have a quiet moment where they hold each other.

All in all, the writing is just... not really impressive, but not horrible. It sits right near the line of almost being mediocre. I think this story didn't need to be divided into 28 chapters, to be honest.

Characterization: 6/10 - This story really focuses on Akira and Yusuke, and they pretty much skirt the OOC borderline. Mostly because they're pining after one another WAY too early, and there's little build up for it. I mean, in canon, I can pretty much say that Yusuke doesn't have any feelings toward Ann, he really only wanted her to model for his art. And that's one important thing about Yusuke, his focus is on art, so much so, that people will get the wrong idea of what his intentions are. That's why I love his character. So I don't really see why when Akira is the target now, he all of a sudden has a deep crush on him.

There's seriously no real build up, and I think that's the most disappointing thing about it. If this story took place later in canon, I'd actually give it a bigger pass, because of the Confident Link (Though this looks like a part one to a bigger story?). And the fact that Yusuke's link doesn't really start till after where this takes place in canon, where it would be easy to have them build up a relationship. I think my problem here is the relationship happens too fast and there's very little build up to it.

I think the big problem with this story too is that it's really boring in a lot of the chapters where... nothing really happens. Did we really need 2 chapters of Akira taking Yusuke shopping for weapons and going to the clinic?? Or a total rehash of canon with little added in stuff? The build up doesn't really happen till much later (We're talking chapter 21 here when they finally go out on a date) and it isn't really built up.

It's a damn shame, cause this is classified under 'slow burn' as well and the quality of this compared to the last fic? Doesn't even compare. I wanted a slow burn fic and instead, I got... mediocre fluff that doesn't even happen till near the end. It's just pining, date time, and cute fuzzy moments with bare bones description. If you're looking for that, I'd say read the first few chapters, and skip to 21 after a bit.

The only real reason that it doesn't score lower is pretty much 21 and beyond and the few moments Akira and Yusuke share are relatively IC, moreso with Yusuke, who's being his oblivious self and making all sorts of sappy confessions without realizing he's making them.

Negatives: Very little build up, mediocre writing, very short chapters, copy pasta of dialouge from game

Summary: Instead of being drawn to Ann as a model, Yusuke is drawn to Akira...

Overall: 6/10 - Not a terrible fic, but not a great fic either. It's so mediocre that I found it hard to review, because... nothing happens, there's little build up, and the writing looks to be rushed as all heck. I can't understand why this fic is rated so highly when the author has... written better. It makes me very sad that one of the first Akira/Yusuke multi-chapter fics to get finished is so... average in quality. Moreso when the quality of the last 3 fics was much greater here. Heck, I've even read fics for this pairing, it's just that there isn't a lot of finished Akira/Yusuke fics currently compared to Akira/Akechi. Which is a damn shame.

Honestly, I think this author should stick to one shots, her one shots are far superior to her long multi-chapter fics. Check out her The Future Card series of one shots and if you're looking for Akira/Yusuke, check out Complementary instead.

I think I'll be taking a break, at least from Persona fic for a bit. Or maybe fic in general, I think I tired myself out on Persona 5 fics.
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Well, a fic I was following for a while finally finished. It's pretty unusual for me, since the last two fics were pretty much angst ridden (Moreso the last). I vastly prefer angst in my Akira/Akechi stories, mostly because Akechi himself carries a lot of emotional baggage, and while this fic does have angst, it tilts more to the side of fluff, mostly in the second half.

This story also made me appreciate Haru a heck of a lot more. Not a lot of stories feature her, and in a more positive light, especially when it comes to this pairing, cause of spoilerly reasons. This fic is pretty much the opposite of how Haru reacts in Crooked Hands. However, I can accept it in this story for one big reason: Time skip.

Series: Persona 5
Title: Yesterday's Protagonist
Author: Valiantarmor
Genre: Flangst, though leans more to fluff than angst
Rating: E
Warning: Fix-it future fic (Is this even a warning?), spoilers all the way to the end game, lots of kinky sex in the second half (Be mindful of the author warnings), one of the longer slow burn fics (Not really a warning... >.>)
Couple (if applicable): Akira/Akechi

Plot: N/A - I'm actually not going to rate the plot, for once, because there is no real plot. It's not really a character study either (Though the story is very heavy focused on Akechi, about maybe 70% of it), and there's no real conflict in the story (Unless you count Akechi's unease at everyone being so accepting as conflict?). It's pretty much a slow burn future fix it fic, there's really no other way to describe it. Basically, five years have passed since the end of the game and everyone has pretty much moved on to what happened. Cept Akira, who regrets not being able to save Akechi from all those years ago. Akira visits a shrine to basically 'pay respects to Akechi', sort of like a repentance, and moves on with his life as best he can. During one of his nightly visits to the shrine, Akechi appears, and basically, things go from there.

Honestly, you have to be in the right mood to read this, more so in the second half, where it's pretty much just kinky smut between Akira and Akechi with some side stuff happening from time to time (Which I'll cover in characterization), and cute domestic fluff.

All I say is this: This is probably the ONLY fic I'll say where fluff works for this pairing. There's other reasons too but I'll cover it in the characters.

Also, this is a REALLY long story, and really, it's kind of a two part story. The first five or so chapters building up to the relationship, and the second half being more domestic with some angst on the side from Akira that ends happily ever after. If you love slow burn romances, this is pretty much picture perfect of it, you got your relationship building part and you have your domestic part, or more of an intimacy builder. A lot of slow burn fics stop when the relationship forms, maybe one or two scenes of intimacy, and ends. This story continues on, and it actually adds to the relationship as a whole. Which I think is really needed for a pairing like this set in the future.

Writing: 10/10 - You can easily tell the author put a shitton of effort into this. It's also one of the longer slow burn fics I've ever read, and it hits every button I want in a slow burn fic. You got the relationship building, you have your intimate times, not just in the bedroom either (Though it has some wonderful build up of kinks, which I rarely, if ever, see in fiction), you have the others trying to accept Akechi into their circle along with the relationship itself, you have angst coming from both parties (Too many fics focus on one character, usually Akechi in this pairing's case), and then you have some soft quiet moments.

I think outside of the main pairing, my absolute favorite scene is Akechi's interactions with the others, specifically, Morgana and Haru (I do enjoy Futaba's as well, but it's very minor). If you like Haru, she really shines here, and shows she's probably the most awesome friend ever. And seeing Akechi slowly blending in with the others (The scene where Akira comes home finding Akechi asleep with Morgana on his lap is one of my favorite 'quiet moments') and slowly becoming part of their lives, it's not often you see. Most fics sort of push the other Phantom Thieves to the side with this pairing, or it gets really ugly and only Akira seems to want to help Akechi while the others are on the fence or just don't want to help period. I think the time skip helps a lot here, because they're not teens anymore, they're young adults, and they had time to reflect on things. I'll go more into this later too.

Characterization: 9.5/10 - This is where most of this review is going to go, because really, this story isn't focused on a plot or any kind of conflict. It's focused on the characters themselves, mostly Akira and Akechi, with the other characters around them. It's basically the two characters falling in love with one another (More so Akechi than Akira), some fluffy moments, some angst moments, lots of kinky moments, etc. Basically, if you want to see a slow burn future fic featuring Akira and Akechi, from the falling IN love to domestic life of the two to the 'adult side' of it, this is probably the only fic I'd recommend. Also, Kudos to the author for giving line breaks so if you don't want to read the smut, you don't have to. I, however, REALLY recommend reading the majority of it (Mostly because their relationship is a two way street, both outside and inside the bedroom, and they don't suffer from your typical seme/uke trope that most yaoi pairings fall into), it really adds to the relationship.

Lemme cover some of the featured characters. Most of the Phantom Thieves make casual appearances. Really, the story only shows Akira, Akechi, Morgana, Haru, and Sae Niijima, for the most part. Futaba appears along with Sojiro too.

Spoilers for the fic )

I docked a half point for really one thing that is a small minor flaw for me: The maid parts in chapter 6 come out of nowhere. Unlike most of the fetishes in the story, this one isn't built up and comes out of nowhere. Where as others, like the choking, hair pulling, and praise kink, are built up from nearly the beginning. This one doesn't, which puzzles me (I could've missed a cue for it earlier, but I don't remember seeing it). But it doesn't tarnish the story, and honestly, it doesn't even really affect the story (Plus the fact that it's well written helps too), which is why I only docked half.

Negatives: No real plot to speak of, might be too fluffy for some Akira/Akechi fans?

Summary: After five years since the end of the game, Akechi walks back into Akira's life. This time, Akira is determined to keep him there.

Overall: 9.75/10 - If you're looking for a slow build future fic for this pairing along with some well written smut, this fic will pretty much cover it. Again, I'm not a huge fan of Akechi/Akira fluff fics. This fic makes it work. If you're a fan of this pairing, this is pretty much a 'must read' fic. If you're not a fan, this might get you there, moreso if you enjoy built up romances and don't mind post canon fics. While a lot of the story is pretty fluffy, it has it's does of angst and does justice (HAH!) to not only the pairing, but to the other characters as well.

Edit: I had to edit this review due to me realizing that a scene I liked? Didn't happen in this fic. That's what I get for typing out reviews and comments so late at night. ~_~;; Or at least it would help if I re-read the entire fic before I type out a review/comment. Again, apologizes. ~_~;;

I swear to god, I'm going to review another pairing one of these days. This fandom is spoiling me rotten with high quality fanfics. I think this is a first time where I reviewed 3 separate fics in such a positive light (I rarely give fics above a 7, the last few fics I've given above 9s!). Like really spoiling me rotten.

HOWEVER! That may end up coming to a close! There's a fic for my preferred pairing that just got done, but it's going to definitely be one of those 'unpopular' opinions from me again, so... stay tuned!
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I already put this fic in my recommendation pinned post, but I decided to write a review on it. I'm also going to say this too: Even if you don't ship this pairing, you should still read this fic. Because to be honest, of all the Akira/Akechi fic I've read on Ao3, this is probably my absolute favorite of them all. It's sort of like the last fic, where events/issues/characters aren't just black and white. And it also doesn't really end happily ever after too, it's more bitter sweet, but the bitter sweet that I can get behind.

And this is something I could easily see happening in canon. Unlike a lot of Akira/Akechi fics, where I feel sometimes the characters are too forgiving, here, we see that not all characters are forgiving, and the consequences that come from it.

Again, going to warn, this review contains massive spoilers up to December, and the fic pretty much spoils the entire game, so be warned.

Series: Persona 5
Title: Crooked Hands
Author: coolkidroland
Genre: Angst/drama
Rating: T
Warning: AU, spoilers up to November
Couple (if applicable): Akira/Akechi

Plot: 10/10 - The plot is pretty simple but to the point. Basically, Akira sees if Akechi has his own palace (Tests it to the meta nav) and lo and behold, he does! And the key words to it, fit Akechi completely. Also, I don't know if this is canon about the character, but he seems to be interested in 'Featherman', aka, it's sort of like Power Ranger/Super Sentai spinoff, so it's no surprise to see that Akechi would be a Star Wars fan.

Basically, the gang goes through this and at the same time, the sixth palace. But going through Akechi's palace un-nerves them (Lots and lots of spoilers here) to the point of actually giving up on Akechi all together. Which is interesting. But Akira, being a good doer (Though he has other motives besides 'doing the right thing'), doesn't want to give up.

Pretty much, this is close to canon as it can get, and unlike a ton of Akira/Akechi fics, there ARE clear consequences to Akira's decision of wanting to save Akechi. Which a lot of fanfics don't really do or they don't cover the rest of characters and just focus on Akira and sometimes Morgana.

Now, how can someone have a palace that is a Persona user. Didn't Morgana tell us that isn't possible? Well, the fic has an answer for it, Morgana isn't the be all to everything. There's no telling if that's true or not, and that's kind of scary.

Writing: 10/10 - Just like the story before, no problems with the writing. I think the interactions are top notch in this fic. Think my favorite part of the fic is when Akira has a fit basically on his friends and still insists on wanting to go through Akechi's palace. It's painful to see friendships tear down and even fall apart. The most creative part of the fic is the 'reversed' Arcana that happens to the Empress. Anyone who has played the previous Personas know what reversed means and while I don't think canonly you can have that happen in 5, it's a nice reference and callback to the previous games.

Also, Lala-chan is awesome. >.>

Characterization: 9/10 - There is one reason I dock a point to this. It's actually when the characters don't want to change Akechi's heart, which puzzles me in a way, because I 100% side with Akira. Did we forget the sexual predator? Or the Yakuza that definitely caused young girls to sell their bodies which probably lead to them killing themselves? Or the guy who plagiarized people's works, made sure they couldn't get anywhere in life, and caused people to kill themselves? Or the man who was perfectly willing to sell his daughter off and overworked people to the point of death? Not even including the people in Mementos (Pretty sure one of them was a homeless assassin, so which makes no sense because changing his heart is okay, but not Akechi???), and even the mastermind, Shido, himself (So the hitman can't have redemption, but the mastermind who MADE the orders can!?). Not to mention, at one point, they were discussing on maybe killing Akechi, which totally goes against everything the Phantom Thieves stand for. They don't kill their targets, that's WHY they change their hearts.

The ONLY reason I can come up with is: To Haru and Futaba, it's personal. Haru is still also new to the group, she hasn't been with them that long, so she doesn't know about the others. She only knows they tried to change her father's heart and it failed cause Akechi killed him after the group left to escape the palace. Same with Futaba, she didn't see the previous 3 hearts being changed. Also, Yusuke kind of falls out of the story for some reason? I'm pretty sure it's only Ann, Morgana, and Ryuji who come after Akira, not sure why Yusuke sort of vanished? So does Makoto, but I'm assuming she's on Haru's side more.

Other than that, I don't see anything wrong with the story. It's really painful to see the group falling apart the way it does. Honestly? I think every damn character in this story needs therapy, not just Akira and Akechi. >.> And Sojiro deserves a medal for having to deal with all this shit. And Lala-chan is awesome, I have to mention that again. >.> I don't really approve of what Akira decided to do and going into a palace by himself? Dumb as shit. But they're not really helping him (More like rubbing salt on the wound), if anything, they're just kind of proving the point of what a certain shadow said.

A lot of this kind of boarders the line of melodrama, but then again, it's a story about fucking teenagers, so yeah, I can definitely give that a pass. It also ends bitter sweet too, there is no happy ending, and there ARE consequences (Like can he repair his relationships with the others? I'm going to say not all of them, to be honest, moreso in Haru's case), and there's still pretty much Shido and other more spoily stuff, but that's where the story ends.

Negatives: Can be a bit on the melodrama side

Summary: Akira finds out that Akechi has a palace and convinces the group that changing Akechi's heart would be easier and less risky than going through their original plan. Too bad nothing is ever easy...

Overall: 9.6/10 - Of all the Persona 5 fanfics I've read, I really cannot recommend this enough, even if you don't like the pairing. It goes to show you how characters are never black and white as we think they are, moreso than the other fic. If you can handle the teenage melodrama and are looking for some really good angst from both Akira and Akechi with a good focus on the Phantom crew, look no further.

Up next, hopefully something not Akira/Akechi related. That's the one problem with this pairing, it's an emotional roller coaster (It kind of needs to be, with the issues and baggage that Akechi brings with him). After rereading this fic again, I need a break from their melodrama. >.>

Edit: So apparently, the author decided to write a sequel to this, and there's probably going to be more, maybe? I may do a review of this one and any fics in this timeline here after, but I think I'll wait, mostly because I wasn't expecting anything else to be written, since this story stands well on it's own and ended in a way that the reader could fill in the gaps. But I'm definitely in favor of any more stories on this timeline. >.>

Just when I said I was taking a break from this pairing too... SIGH!
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Well, a fic that I was keeping my eye on finally finished, so I might as well start with this one.

First off, maybe because this fandom is still really new, but the quality of fics that I found for Persona 5 is pretty high. Most of the time, when I see a fic that catches my eye, it actually turns out to be a good story. There is only one tiny problem.

The majority of the good quality fic tends to be Akira/Akechi. Yeah, this is a pairing I feel the most neutral on, obviously because of game spoilers. I vastly prefer Akira/Yusuke if I'm going for slash, and if I'm going for het, Akira/Makoto or Akira/Futaba. 75% of the time when it comes to quality fic though, it's on Akira/Akechi, which is actually surprising because this is probably the most controversial pairing from canon. It's also the pairing I have the most mixed feelings on because of it's controversial issues. To be blunt, it NEEDS to be well written for me to actually believe it. There also needs to be a ton of angst in it for me to believe it too or it HAS to cover some issues when it comes to Akechi.

You'll also be seeing a TON of 'fix it' fics, for obvious reasons. But believe it or not, a lot of the fix it fics I've seen do NOT forget the shit that happens in the game. Well, most of the time. Sometimes I feel the characters are too forgiving, but it really depends on the character, the context of the story, and when the story takes place.

Also, I'm going to warn, because of this pairing in general, there's going to be a shit ton of end game spoilers (Most stories written for this pairing are either during late canon or post end game), it just can't be helped. So if you see me reviewing a fic that has anything to do with Akechi, assume that there's going to be end game spoilers.

Series: Persona 5
Title: if you never shoot, you'll never know
Author: junfhongs
Genre: Flangst, though more angst than fluff, AUish for end game
Rating: T
Warning: Fix it fic, AUish, massive spoilers for end game
Couple (if applicable): Akira/Akechi

Plot: 8/10 - There really isn't much of a plot to this, this is pretty much more of a character study than anything else. Basically, Akira finds Akechi outside of LeBlanc the day after Valentine's Day and takes him in. And the characters basically learn about each other that the other doesn't know and so on. There's also a bit of background about Akechi being in bigger shit that causes problems too and Akira wanting to help, but that's kind of the gist of what you could call a plot.

I think the summary of the story sums up this story well enough: "Since Akira was so obsessed with bringing out the light in him, Akechi could revel in the darkness that made Akira just a bit more real to him." It's also a big reason why I decided to read this fic to begin with, because the characters aren't just black and white. That Akira isn't a pure hearted hero (This is seen more so when he confronts Makoto), he does have some shades of black, and that Akechi isn't a cold hearted villain, that he does have shades of good inside (How he tells Akira that he was wrong for yelling at Makoto and the proceeding conversation, how he doesn't want to endanger Akira).

There is one thing I will give credit to, how Akechi survived. In canon, you max Akechi's Confident rank right after the whole Cognitive Double stint, so maybe because of that, it gave him the strength to somehow survive (His own Persona gaining some strength, though they usually evolve into another form, but Akechi is a kind of weird case). It's actually believable.

Writing: 9/10 - No problems with the writing. I really like the interactions between the characters. And though it pains me to admit it, I really liked the confrontation between Akira and Makoto and the aftermath conversation between Akira and Akechi, it's painful, but it manages to stay perfectly in character.

The story flips around to being really angsty for both parties and turning into fluff for both parties as well, which fits well with the story. Though there seems to be more angst than fluff, which to be honest, is how I like this pairing. It has enough angst for me, along with just enough fluff for me to be satisfied.

Characterization: 9/10 - Pretty much everyone is IC here, though Futaba is sort of pushing it. Then again, Futaba is very socially awkward, so I guess you could use that as excuse why she doesn't violently react to seeing Akechi alive (Even Haru was sort of forgiving in canon, like, 'I can't forgive you, but I understand how you feel'). She's also pretty rational too and probably believes in Akira, so she trusts his judgment, in the end.

They also, like I said above, aren't very black and white. And Akira's relationship to his parents in this story parallels very nicely to Akechi's. You see traces of Akira's dark past and how though he's usually calm and collected, even he has his limits. I really like that. I also like how Akechi doesn't want Akira to damage his relationships to others because of him, and how he has to fix his problems on his own.

Also, the fact I think a lot of people forget here: Akechi isn't stupid. I mean, a lot of what he was solving were 'pretend' cases, but he HAS shown in game canon that he has a brain.

Though I think this story ends a bit too happily, I think the ending is fitting. Basically, both boys can start a new life and to both, it's a new beginning to what may lead them, which actually fits in tone of the actual ending of the game.

Negatives: None really, unless you count the lack of plot

Summary: Pretty much a character study on Akira and Akechi that takes place after gameplay but before the game ends. Their relationship seems very black and white, hero and villain. That's how it's supposed to be. Yet not every villain is cold hearted and not every hero is a picture of virtue...

Overall: 8.6/10 - Pretty solid character study. Even if you don't ship this pairing, I'd still recommend it. It won't get you over the ship fence, but you may see the characters in a different light.
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Well, let's kick my move to dreamwidth with the game that a lot of people (Including myself) have been waiting over a decade for to drop, Persona 5. Now I'll admit, I ignored a lot of the hype, and I tend to ignore a lot of hype, in general, mostly to avoid being disappointed (FF15 would be the best example of that, but I wasn't as disappointed because again, I got off the hype train). I don't watch trailers either because trailers usually just contain cutscenes and no actual gameplay content about 75% of the time. But unlike FF15, where I was overall disappointed, Persona 5 pretty much exceeded what I was expecting.

Also, be warned, there are some heavy spoilers in here, mostly with characters themselves. I'm going to try to avoid main plot spoilers, but be warned.

Title: Persona 5
Rating: M
Genre: JRPG, Modern

Graphics 7/10 - Now I'll admit, the graphics don't look any different than like, say, Tales of Xillia on the PS3. I mean, this is where the game probably suffers the most, so if you're going in expecting to see like FF15-like detail, you're going to be really disappointed. But I think the style makes up for it. The biggest example is probably the menu system, where you're treated to seeing the main character sort of interact with you depending on what you're doing.

The dungeons range from being dark to colorful and bright. I actually did feel like I was in a subway (And getting lost the first day as well) and I did actually feel like I was in Shibuya the times I was walking down the street. The artwork for portraits is done really well. The cutscenes are done well too and there's a lot more than previous installments as well.

While it's not the most heavily graphic detailed game, it makes up for it in it's style.

Plot: 8/10 - I'm going to try to hold off on major plot spoilers, but the game comes down to this: The Main Character (Since there's no official name for him, I'm going to go by the name he's called in the Manga, Akira) is walking home one day, where he happens upon a scene where a woman is obviously having... difficulties with a drunken man. Of course, Akira being a sensible human being, goes to help, only to have the situation completely turn on himself after the man falls down on his own accord and proceeds to yell, 'I'll sue!' (It's more like, 'I'm going to press you for assault!' rather than sue). Yeah, you should guess where this going, because this situation? Happens in real life.

Anyways, he's falsely accused of assault, and ends up with a criminal record. He's sent off to another town to be put on 'probation' for a year. Along the way, he meets people that, like him, were pretty much 'wronged' in some way, which leads us to our main theme, a bunch of outcast teens being lorded over by some of the shittiest 'adults' I've ever seen.

While walking to school one day, Akira gets pulled into a strange world along with another boy named Ryuji and... there is our 'Dark Hour'/'Midnight Channel' world of the game, called the Metaverse. Everything seems strange at first, and I'm not going to spoil it, but basically, Akira awakens to his power of 'Persona'. While in this world, they come across a cat-like creature named 'Morgana', who has no memories of his past, but seems relatively knowledgeable of the Metaverse. And basically, rocks fall and shit happens from there.

To be honest, trying to summarize the plot without some major spoilers is like impossible. So I'm going to cover the companions a little instead.

Spoilers for 'Confidant' Links, I also make some comparisons to Persona 4 )

I am going to say, I find the overall plot good for the most part. It does get dark, especially early on, so be warned on that. I don't think it gets as dark as Persona 3 or even 2, but it does get dark enough for me to give a warning about. I found Persona 3's story to be over the edge of 'too dark', but I think this game hits a perfect balance between dealing with dark issues and having it's light but quirky moments.

One complaint I have, I found the weaker parts to be, sadly, at the end of the game (And a certain character that I talked about above). However, it wasn't bad to the point of ruining my game experience. Overall, the game had me hooked from beginning to end. But I will warn, put aside at least 2 hours when you reach final boss time, cause holy shit, this game's ending is one of the longest endings I've sat through.

Music/sound 8/10 - I'll have to admit, I was really tempted to lower this, mostly because there's quite a few tracks I'm not fond of. But the tracks that I did like, I really liked them a lot, and I realized, that's how I felt about other Persona games, so I kept it as is. This Persona sort of goes for a more jazz type theme, which does fit the mood of the game. Some of the Dungeon's music is really well done and I like all the battle themes in the game. And the 'overworld' theme is really well done and I was thrown for a loop when after playing the game for over 10 hours, they put lyrics to it. But that has actually been a staple of the games, having lyrics in many of the songs in the game.

Gameplay: 9/10 - I have to say, it's been a while since I really enjoyed a turn based JRPG. Honestly, I can't really remember an old fashioned turn based RPG that I liked since Bravely Default on the 3DS, let alone a home console JRPG.

The gameplay is pretty much in the same vein as Persona 3 and moreso Persona 4. With a few minor changes/upgrades. First off, you can switch people out whenever you want. This is good because if someone is low on sp (Mana bar for this game), you can swap them out for someone who has a full bar, even if you're in the middle of a dungeon. You have your typical melee weapons, and they brought back guns from Persona 2. But honestly? Unless you have a gun that gives stat debuffs or the demon happens to be weak against guns, you're probably going to not bother with it until boss fights where extra attacks may make/break the fight.

You also have your Personas, and everyone has a set Persona besides Akira, who can swap out Personas at random. You can gain Personas by either making a contract with a shadow or by fusing them in the Velvet Room. Whereas your party members are stuck with their Persona for the rest of the game. So basically, whoever you put in your main line up will be that, and you can basically compensate for what you lack via Akira. Everyone learns different moves, but for the most part, whoever has the 'fire' spells will be only learning that, and so on and so forth.

Personas have a range of skills, but they basically serve as your 'magic' of the group, though there are 'physical' skills that will use your hp instead of sp. Dungeons are pretty much a balance of trying to clear them as fast as possible, but also focusing on saving your sp or using it to do 'all out attacks'.

Speaking of all outs, most enemies you meet will have some sort of weakness. The big trick to the game is exploiting those weakness to knock all the enemies off their feet. And if you manage to knock them all down, you can go for an all out attack, which usually kills all the enemies on screen or will do massive amounts of damage. In regular fights, you can actually talk to the demons (Something taken from earlier Persona games) and you can either have them become your Persona, or instead, they can give you money/items. Doing this will bypass the fight entirely (Though you do gain exp and money if you killed any).

Basically, it comes down to you either needing money (For your daily life, equipment, or fusions), needing items (Saving you the trouble of buying them or getting lucky and getting a sp healing item), needing power (More Personas means more chances of fusions or maybe you just really want that Persona?), or needing exp (All out attacks will usually wipe the entire pack out, unless you're underleveled/undergeared).

You also get cards later on down the line, so if there's a certain skill you need, you can slap it onto the Persona of your choice and bam. You can get more when a certain character joins you instead of farming one of the dungeons for that one card you want, basically, this character can make you a duplicate of any card and if you level his Cofidant link, he can make higher level ones.

I'm avoiding speaking about the Dungeons because they are heavily linked to the story and I don't want to spoil it. But for the most part, the Dungeons are your typical RPG flair, and unlike the last 2 games, these aren't based at random. There's also some clever puzzles in this one, and one of them actually caused me to have to write shit down, and it's been over a decade since I actually had to do shit like that.

There's also a stealth system in the game, which I think is a miss, because some parts of the game, it's nearly impossible to hide in certain areas, especially long ass hallways, without getting caught or waiting for the enemy to turn it's back, you dashing in as fast as you can, and causing a surprise attack. And you'll want to do surprise attacks as much as you can, cause if the enemy gets the drop on you, you can easily die.

And if Akira dies, the game automatically ends (Unless you play on Safety). That's the only thing I wish they would drop out of the game, cause it sucks getting far into a dungeon, only to make one stupid mistake and Akira dying because that light/dark skill that kills in one shot decided it wanted to work that one time. :/

Also, if you get caught by enemies too many times, you can get thrown out of the dungeon. I mean, in a way, it makes sense, you're supposed to be a thief, and what does a thief do? Sneak around without getting caught. There's certain tools that can bring down your 'bar' if you get caught too many times and the bar lowers if you ambush an enemy, but still. It's a clever new system, but it has some obvious flaws. I will say this though, I never managed to get a bar over 50% in the entire time I played, the highest was maybe close to 40%, but I ended up playing a lot more carefully than I usually do, and probably a couple of hours was me waiting for the enemy to come into sight before ambushing them. So needless padding.

And yes, you can play the game on a mode that basically makes battles trivial. If you're looking for a much more casual experience or going through NG+, it's good to have on, but I'd recommend to play on easy at the very least. Unless you know the tricks and trades of the series as a whole, would I recommend anything beyond Normal, because I heard the harder modes are really brutal.

Now that I covered the fight system of the game, let's get to the other important aspect of the game, the 'life simulation' portion, which was added in from Persona 3. Remember, Akira IS a teenage student, so while you have this 'mystic' power shit, you still live the life of a student. Which can range from studying for exams, hanging out with your friends, going to the movies, working a part time job, taking a bath at the bath house down the street, trying to pass the 'Big Bang Burger challenge', watching DVDs, playing video games (Playing a game within a game...), making tools for your 'heists', or hitting a home run at the batting cage.

There is SO much shit you can do compared to the previous Persona games that even I haven't found everything. And everything you do raises 'social stats', which basically serves as 'flags' for most of your Confidant routes.

If you think also, that the life sim part isn't important to the game, think again. By forming close bonds to your teammates or maybe the non teammates, say, for example, that guy in your class, you increase your own power. In previous games, it just meant fusing more powerful Personas for your main protag and your teammates would just get a more powerful Persona if you befriended them. But in this game, your 'Confidants' offer you a wide variety of abilities. You have the obvious ones, like getting more exp or money after a fight. But you have others, like befriending a certain character will let you switch characters out DURING a fight, which can come in real handy in a pinch. Or another will help you make powerful sp healing items. Or another which will let you read or make tools during class. And another will teach you special moves that you can use during fights. This isn't limited to non-teammates, as in the closer you are to your teammates, the more they offer in battle (They'll help you with negotiations with demons if you fail or they may take a fatal blow for you), and if you form a tight bond with them, their own Persona will evolve into a more Powerful version of their original.

The one good thing of this is now it's just as important to level those non party member links as it is to level your teammates. Not to mention, you can now take your party members to different places you can unlock because someone invited you there previously, or you read about it in a magazine. You can actually continue to do this even when they're maxed out, and if you take them to a place they like, they can give you something to decorate your room with. It's not something you HAVE to do, but it is a nice touch.

And yes, you can actually 'get into a relationship' with certain girls of the game. You can date one or you can date them all, if you so wish. The choice is really up to the player, and you get something special from them during two 'love bonding' events in the game that actually does go over to NG+. For the curious, in this game, I chose the Priestess, who happens to be one of my favorites of the game, on my first run. >.>

And it's all on you. Basically, you have to focus your social teenage life with the life of a Persona user. If you spend too much time on being a Persona user, you may actually hurt yourself in the long run, because you don't have enough power to defeat the tougher enemies down the line (Even outleveling sometimes doesn't fix it). However, if you spend too much time on your social life, someone will get hurt or killed and the game ends (Or it flips back a week, and all your previous progress is basically set back, which is really annoying). It's all a balancing act. Now I've seen a lot of people use the guide over at GameFAQs, but I'd highly suggest if this is your first Persona game to ditch the guide and find stuff on your own. I found quite a few things on my own that the guide doesn't really mention or doesn't mention until late end game.

Also, you do have a limited time and I think one flaw in this game is that if you explore certain dungeons, you waste an entire day until you max a certain Confident who will let you go out at night. And I feel like a lot of days are wasted, because the characters talk for like 5 minutes, part ways, and the game goes to the night, only to have Morgana nag you that you need sleep. It's really frustrating at times when you want to go out and do something, and the game basically tells you otherwise.

Other than a few minor things, the gameplay is pretty much the same as the previous with some life improvements.

Overall: 8/10 - Despite a few minor complaints and the graphics being previous generation, this is a very solid JRPG that any RPG gamer should have in their library. If you're new to the Persona series, this game is a very good one to pick up to get into it. And fans of the previous games will definitely be satisfied for the wait.

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