Persona 5 Dungeons

Persona 5 Dungeons – Apr 5, 2017

A quick post on Persona 5 dungeons. The first of which I completed two nights ago.

Before all else, let me present:

Historical Persona and Shin Megami Tensei Dungeons

Shin Megami Tensei 1 screenshot
Shin Megami Tensei 1 (1992). This is supposed to be a Tokyo suburb.

This is what comes to mind whenever I use the word “dungeon.” Featureless, repetitive tunnels supposed to represent entire schools or towns. Or massive labyrinths one can’t move two squares down without triggering an encounter. It feels like only yesterday that I was doing my best imagining I was adventuring in post-apocalyptic Shinjuku, when all I had before me were geometric lines and flat colours. And you know what, it was still exhilarating. Shin Megami Tensei was one of the best JRPGs I played in the 90s.

Revelations: Persona screenshot
Revelations: Persona. The English translation for this, BTW, was awful.

The first Persona game was released for the PS1 there about four years after SMT 1. There were lots of improvements, obviously, and dotted here and there were unique looking rooms. Sadly, with the improvements also came loading issues. Every encounter brought on a loading screen. In spite of that, I still played through the entire game.

Persona 3 Screenshot
Persona 3. Compare this to the similar school corridor in Revelations: Persona.
Persona 4 screenshot
Persona 4. Some say this was the best JRPG released for the PS2

Persona 3 and 4 upped the standards substantially, as you can see from above. Everything was essentially still a maze, but there is no longer such a heavy labyrinth feeling everywhere.

Persona PSP screenshot
The PSP remake of Revelations: Persona removed many of the things gamers hated about the PS1 version. On the other hand, dungeon crawling reverted to first person view.
Shin Megami Tensei: Apocalypse screenshot
The “dungeons” from SMT IV and SMT IV: Apocalypse were actually quite impressive.

Between 2008 and now, Atlus went into hand-held console mood. It released a flurry of titles, both remakes and new ones, for the PSP, DS and 3DS. Again, there were noticeable improvements, But even with Shin Megami Tensei IV and Apocalypse, there was still that retro dungeon crawling feeling. I remember several reviews terming these titles to be homages to the retro dungeon crawling era. My feelings about IV and Apocalypse are a little mixed.

Jump forward to 2017, and we now have:

Persona 5 Dungeons

Persona 5 Dungeons
Phantom Thieves in an European Castle!
Persona 5 Dungeons
Larger rooms of the dungeons almost always contain unique features.
Persona 5 Dungeon Screenshot
Varying colour schemes break the tedium of dungeon crawling.
Persona 5 Dungeon Screenshot
Even smaller rooms have unique designs.
Persona 5 Screenshot
School corridor.
Persona 5 Screenshot
Okay, this has a slight labyrinth feel, I admit. But those creepy pictures compensate.
Persona 5 Screenshot: Madarame's Palace
So far, save points are always near unique places in Persona 5 Dungeons. Something to look forward to!

For the first time ever, I do not get that repetitive tunnel feeling. There are still lots of corridors in the dungeons, especially in Mementos, but all are intersected with enough variety of background or quirky dialogue to remove dungeon crawling tedium. Perhaps I’m imagining things, but Persona 5 dungeons also feel smaller and faster to clear. Unlike what I anticipated earlier, the lack of a save-whenever-you-want function turned out not to matter that much. It’s great!

Persona 5 Screenshot: Mementos
Mementos, the massive free-missions dungeon, is the Tartarus of Persona 5. Mementos is obviously designed to feel like a maze, with lots of repetitive tunnels. I dislike entering it, but luckily, areas are small. (So far)

This would sound silly, but writing this post gets me emotional. How much gaming has improved! How fast time flies too! Have I really been playing Shin Megami Tensei and Persona for over twenty years? Wasn’t it only yesterday that I shivered after my first “step” into underground Tokyo?

And what’s down the road? How great would SMT V or P6, P7 be?

Seems like there are indeed things to look forward to in life. Small things. Perhaps unimportant and irrelevant to many . But these are what prevents us from slipping into shadowy gloom.


All screengrabs are copyright property of Atlus.
If you haven’t, please, start playing Persona 5 today!


Check out my other Persona 5 posts!

Take Your Heart Premium Edition Unboxing

First Impressions

Open-World Roaming

Persona 5 Tips: 15 Things I Could Have Done Better in the Game

Persona Official Magazine Persona 20th!

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About Scribbling Geek

The geek divides his free time between video games, movies, anime, and attempting to write decent short stories. Oh, and trying not to sprain his fingers from playing demisemiquavers on his Electone.

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