Persona 5: Royal finally released in the West at the end of March, and it's been a blast so far. We played through the original game and even got a chunk of the way through NG+, but boy are we glad we put it down in advance knowing that a second release was on the horizon.
Tons of things were added into the Royal version of P5, too much to go into, really. So, we'll just be talking about the most obvious new inclusion and that's the brand new character "Kasumi" Yoshizawa! Here's a couple of things we wished we had known about the late-game Phantom Thief before diving into Royal.
DISCLAIMER: This will have spoilers for Kasumi's backstory and gameplay, so be aware.
10 Just How Well-Written She Would Be
To be honest, we aren't huge fans of Marie, the additional character from Persona 4: Golden. Marie felt hamfisted into the story and her design just clashed horribly with the rest of the cast. So we were expecting another similar situation with Kasumi. But, we just want to be clear, that's absolutely not the case. Kasumi is a very well written character whose design is so powerfully restrained that we would've never expected the twists and turns her story would take.
9 How Unique Her Confidant Link Would Be
Heads up, from here on in we'll be talking about minor spoilers related to Kasumi, so get ready. Right out of the gate, it's clear that Atlus really wanted to push Kasumi/Sumire as the forefront "canonical romance" for Joker. Obviously, players can woo whoever they want, but Sumire's gradual admiration for Joker just feels so well-written! Frankly, we wish we had known in advance just how much this Gymnastic Phantom Thief was going to sway our heart away from Makoto so at least we could've prepared a bit.
8 How Tragic Her Past And Motivation Is
So yeah, Persona 5 is pretty dark. For example, the entire backstory of the MC revolves around stopping a sexual assault and being unfairly punished for doing the right thing. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Sumire's eventual reveal having to do with her sister and what happened feels like some of the most tragic stuff Atlus has written for a character to date. Not only because it's violent and dark, but because the cause and effect of what happened are directly tied to Sumire herself. Usually, a scriptwriter would try their best to make sure it was no one's "fault" but not this time.
7 That She Wasn't The Female MC We Were Hoping For
So this much was pretty clear if you had been following the trailers up until the release of Royal, but for a while in the beginning, fans were almost positive that Sumire was going to be another female MC like with Persona 3. And, don't get us wrong, we love Sumire and everything her story adds, but giving us a female MC and letting us explore the social link changes would have been great! Still, you can't really blame people for thinking this was going to be the case if they wanted to go in blind, Sumire has a lot of similar design choices as Joker does.
6 Oh, She's A Glass Cannon
Every party member in Persona 5 has their specializations. Yusuke is a fantastic physical damage dealer, Ann is the strongest mage in the party, and Haru is a specialized unit that covers any holes your team might've had previously. Each one of them has different strong stats and weak stats, but they can all take a few hits at the very least. Maybe it was just us, but Sumire feels like the definition of a glass cannon during gameplay.
Her mechanics seem to revolve around dodging enemy attacks or decreasing their hit chance but if she does take a blow it's usually quite dire. We can work with it and Sumire is still a fantastic party member to use, but if we'd known in advance we could've saved some time grinding up the money to kit her out a completely different way.
5 How Long It Would Be Until She Joins The Party
You would think that the brand new character that Atlus spent so much time writing into the Phantom Thieves narrative would join the crew pretty early. You'd be wrong. Luckily they manage to avoid another Haru situation where players are meant to bond with someone to the same level as the other party members but with little to no time left in the story. Still, though, Sumire/Kasumi pops up throughout the story plenty but doesn't actually join the team until after the halfway point! We're not sure what we would've done differently had we known, but we sure would have done something.
4 That Her Persona Would Throw The Theme Off
Don't get us wrong, Cendrillon is a fantastic Persona design that is obviously themed after Cinderella. And, the magic wearing off or glass slipper aspects of the Cinderella story play into Sumire's past quite amazingly. But, what kills us is the fact that Cendrillon doesn't follow the same sort of theme as the rest of the team. All of the Phantom Thieves have Personas that are based on historically famous thieves such as Captain Kidd or Lupin the Third. And, maybe they consider Cinderella's "tricking" the prince as a type of stealing, but it still doesn't quite match.
3 How Heavily She's Focused On Bless Spells
Bless, Almighty, and Darkness are the three most volatile elements in the Persona series. And, before Royal, we had to primarily rely on Joker's assortment of Persona in order to use decent Bless, Almighty, or Dark-based spells. But no longer!
Why? Because Sumire is here! Much like her Faith Arcana would suggest, Kasumi is a Bless-based Persona user. Her spells become key to cleaning up difficult Persona in the late game, and we absolutely would've leveled her up earlier if we knew.
2 How Amazing Her Confidant Skills Are
There is a pretty wide divide between the good and bad Confidant unlocks in Persona 5. It's not like some are good and some are pretty good, it's more like some are amazing and a few are straight-up terrible. For example, in the original game, the Party Switch ability was unlocked following Hifumi's confidant and was a mechanic absolutely needed in later-game fights. In contrast, the Devil Arcana Ohya's unlocks may as well not even exist because they're so pointless. Kasumi is more on the Hifumi side, all of her unlocks are amazing, and most of them simply give the team a second chance to execute a certain mechanic whether its a follow-up attack or a Demon Negotiation. Unfortunately, her Confidant ranks are pretty heavily tied into the story so you can't exactly knock them out asap, but its good to know how useful they are before you dive in.
1 Lastly, Her Radically Useful Trait Skill With Cendrillon
And finally, let's talk a bit more about Cendrillon. Every Persona in the game has a "passive" ability that is "in-use" while they're summoned. Of course, all the party members have one, but you'll get to most play out of this mechanic while switching between Joker's many Persona who all have passives of their own. Kasumi's persona, on the other hand, has a notably useful Trait Skill. It's not anything useful offensively, but rather a saving grace when it does activate. Basically, the Trait Skill Veil of Midnight has a chance of not downing an ally when they would otherwise be downed by an enemy's attack. And for those who have played these games, you know how crucial having all your allies for even one extra turn can be.
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