Persona 5 Royal - Switch Review
"As much of a showstopper as it has always been."
Persona 5’s history and success speak for themselves. Despite the multiple delays in its original release date, it made fans go ballistic the moment it was released and it has been praised at length for what an incredible game it is, expanding on what was already an incredibly popular series. And just like how its predecessor Persona 4 got an updated version in Golden, Persona 5 obtained a bigger and better version when Persona 5 Royal was released in 2020 for the PS4.
Two years later, the game has finally been ported to the Nintendo Switch for the franchise’s 25th anniversary and is the first of the three most well-known Persona games to make its way to the handheld. But before 3 and 4 arrive, it’s up to Persona 5 Royal to prove that Atlus has what it takes to make a quality port, and steal the hearts of its player base all over again.
The Good - Running well, Joker!
Persona 5 Royal has long since been established as an outstanding game, but now it can add an extra notch to its belt: it is also an amazing port. Being developed for more standard high-powered consoles such as the PS4, there was some fear from fans that the performance of a Switch port would not be up to par. That could not be further from the truth: the optimisation of the game for the Switch is all but flawless. There are no moments of noticeable lag, frame rate drops, or struggle of the console throughout the game. In fact, the graphics hold up just as well as they do on the bigger consoles, with barely any noticeable drops in quality and a butter-smooth experience.
The performance is fantastic on both docked and handheld modes and avoids two of the most common problems of such high-detail games on the Switch: It is not overly taxing on the console battery, being able to be played comfortably for 3+ hours without needing a charge, and not overheating the Switch. The heat is noticeable when docked due to the higher performance, but it is still nothing out of the ordinary.
As for the game itself, the switch port has no changes compared to the original release of Persona 5 Royal, and it truly does not need any. The original merits of the game are still shown in full force here: from the style, to the soundtrack, to the gameplay and beyond this is one of the most stylish games of the past decade; it’s truly a feast for the eyes and ears. None of those aspects have been sacrificed during the transition to the Switch.
Not only that, but Persona 5 Royal enhanced virtually every single aspect of the original Persona 5 with not just a staggering amount of quality-of-life changes but also the addition of a treasury’s worth of extra content. More time on the calendar, new social links, new items, collectibles, personas, endings, hangout spots, animated cutscenes, mechanics to enhance, and - perhaps most important of all - with Morgana no longer forcing Joker to go to bed every other night. Persona 5 Royal is the definitive way to experience the fifth entry of the series. There is so much more to look forward to here than Confidants and Palaces that it might as well be an entirely different game.
- Smooth, high-quality performance
- Visuals and audio just as good on Switch
- Staggering amount of extra content
- Quality of Life changes that enhance the game
The Bad - Take your time. I am not asking.
The transition to the Nintendo Switch has been all but flawless, and every aspect of the game has been polished and enhanced in Persona 5 Royal - but any base aspects that were less than ideal are, of course, still present. The demon/persona negotiation mechanic, a staple of Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei games, is still present and it still has its eternal problem of being absolute nonsensical and mostly luck, even after Persona 5 Royal introduced a small system of tips to help the player. Certain party members are still introduced extremely late in the game, even with the added time on the calendar to complete their Confidants; and the infamously groan-inducing subplot between Morgana and the other members past the fourth Palace is still as silly as it ever was. Much of the game has been enhanced but any base issue with the plot and pacing that players would find irksome is still there.
Persona 5 Royal is also a game that demands a lot of dedication. With the sheer amount of things to do, it is very difficult to see everything that the game has to offer and obtain 100% completion in one playthrough without previous knowledge. This is something that many players may find discouraging. Persona 5 Royal takes a long time to play through and experience, which is great for those that have time to spare and not so much for those that don’t, or do not want to spend any more time than is strictly necessary.
- Hold Up negotiation is still nonsensical
- Remaining story and gameplay base issues
- Demands a lot of dedication
Final Score: 9/10
There’s not much to add: It’s Persona 5 Royal. It’s amazing and just as incredible as it was on release and just as incredible as every fan of the franchise already knew it was. The most important part of this port is that it shows that Atlus is finally willing to really bring their games to the wider market and meet demand, and do it very well. It’s an amazing port for an amazing game, and any fan of JRPGs that, for some reason, hasn’t played Persona 5 Royal yet, should immediately get a hold of this game. It’s exactly as much of a showstopper as it has always been.
Thank you for checking out our Persona 5 Royal Switch review, thank you to Atlus (via Five Star Games PR) for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:
- Andrew Caluzzi (Inca Studios / Camped Out)
- Bel Cubitt
- NintenVania Podcast
- Rachelle Suri-Tucker
For more reading, check out our Xenoblade Chronicles 3 review.