Persona 5 features nine palaces for players to explore, but which are the most intriguing to infiltrate? Here is our ranking of Okumura’s Palace to Madarame’s.
Persona 5 is a one-of-a-kind experience that effortlessly blends basic JRPG battle mechanics with some of gaming’s most iconic characters, all in an immensely stylish acid jazz noir-inspired package. Persona 5 Royal, which was first released in the United States on September 15, 2016, will be updated and re-issued on March 30, 2020.
The dungeons, or “palaces,” in P5 provide a distinct atmosphere for the Phantom Thieves to invade. As the squad sets out on their mission to steal hearts and correct societal wrongs, they find themselves immersed in warped, though iconic, portrayals of their target’s psyche. Here we rank all nine of them from worst to excellent.
Okumura’s Palace should be one of the coolest in theory. The future scenario is awesome, and the idea of Okumura viewing his fast-food employees as disposable mechanical drones is the type of perverted villain feature that makes the player’s eventual defeat of him really enjoyable. It also helps that the Palace itself is visually distinct and provides a welcome change of pace from the other places that players have explored in the game.
However, this palace is hampered by its enormous length as well as narrative flaws. The stakes are still high, but this time they are in regard to Haru, a character introduced as Morgana’s sidekick during his rebellious phase. The rapid introduction of Haru’s character, along with the fact that she is the final permanent member of the Phantom Thieves to join the group, lessens the effect of this Palace even further.
By the time the player discovers Okumura’s riches, their objective has shifted away from saving their new friend from her forced marriage. Typically, they are more concerned with progressing past this stage in the game, which is logical given that the plot hits a particularly intriguing phase soon after Okumura’s Palace is completed, albeit this is easier said than done. After all, the boss fight against Okumura is easily one of the most difficult in the game, and it will stump players unless they apply smart techniques and don’t let any decent survive for too long.
The Final Palace
The Final Palace in Mementos has a lot of work to do. It must not only propel the Phantom Thieves to their final battle, but it must also keep things moving and enjoyable. It works well for the most part. The harsh red and black colour design, a fun puzzle mechanic, and some sobering realisations all contribute to this being a highly usable palace.
P5 is at its best, though, when its characters are at the forefront of the struggle. Sure, the hearts of Tokyo are in danger, but a world-ending menace isn’t as gripping or inventive as the Phantom Thieves’ more personal moments in previous palaces.
Having said that, confronting the Holy Grail and being shrugged off by such a tremendous threat still acts as a powerful wake-up call that wonderfully sets the stage for the ultimate encounter… at least in the base game. After all, Persona 5 Royal has its own new epilogue in which players must traverse Maruki’s Palace… but that’s a discussion for another day.
The debut of the newest Phantom Thief, Queen (a.k.a. Makoto, a.k.a. nicest Girl), is the nicest thing about Kaneshiro’s palace. The truly insane boss fight, in which an insectoid version of Kaneshiro summons a massive mechanical piggy bank to destroy the player’s day, is the next best thing. This struggle can be difficult, but it never becomes unfair, and it serves as a formidable test of everything the gamer has learned up to this point.
However, there are a number of unpleasant aspects of this Palace that detract from the entire experience. The keypad puzzles are entertaining at first but become tedious after a time. Plus, following the highs of Madarame’s palace (both narratively and in terms of level design), stealing a genuine bank feels a little mundane. It’s a shame, because Kaneshiro could’ve had a more interesting Palace, but this villain feels virtually insignificant in the larger scheme of things, and caring for him simply isn’t as rewarding as caring for the other villains who had more personal squabbles with the Phantom Thieves.
Persona 5 Royal introduces a new semester, as well as a brand-new Palace that will remain a mystery for some time. Visiting this Palace for the first time is an exciting experience, with Kasumi also awakening her Persona during this fascinating chapter.
Following the events of the third semester, in which the Palace ruler is revealed to be none other than Takuto Maruki, a series of intriguing story elements occur. These culminate in the revelation that the Kasumi with whom players had been interacting all along was actually Sumire Yoshizawa. It’s an intriguing aspect of the incursion, however one must concede that this was also the peak of the Palace.
The entire Palace becomes a quagmire once the Phantom Thieves team together to take down Maruki. Forcing players to go to Mementos to remove a barricade is ineffective. Furthermore, the random quizzing portion in the middle of the incursion annoys players rather than providing a change of pace. For a Palace that is supposed to be the final stop on this incredible adventure, it’s a little annoying to discover that this dungeon overstays its welcome due to its excessive length.
Shido’s palace has some of the game’s greatest and most thematically evocative scenes. It’s extremely fulfilling to teach a much-needed lesson to everyone Shido has persuaded into his circle. However, the impact is diminished once players realise that they are merely cognitive creatures in Shido’s head and nothing more. Despite this, the final battle with Akechi is both thrilling and devastating. Shido himself is a task, but that makes the eventual victory all the more satisfying.
If only those obnoxious mouse puzzles weren’t so infuriating. The palace is already somewhat long, but converting into a (albeit cute) rodent in enemy-infested rooms makes backtracking and exploring a chore. It’s a tedious and annoying portion of the Palace. The conclusion of an otherwise excellent infiltration procedure would surely irritate most players. It’s the only flaw in an otherwise wonderful Palace, even if it does feel a little too long at times, which is presumably due to those rodent parts.
The best palaces in P5 teach players more about the person they’re penetrating. Futaba’s palace is a nearly entirely colored-in representation of her psyche from top to bottom. What begins as a mission to get Medjed off the Phantom Thieves’ back becomes a charming and touching story about assisting Futaba in coming to grips with remorse.
Crawling through the pyramid is also a lot of fun, if a little monotonous. The Egyptian-inspired characters that players find contribute to the palace’s strong feeling of location, while the puzzles both convey a tale and break up the action. This tomb takes the cake for the most emotional dungeon to explore, even if the level design is far from flawless at times.
Madarame’s palace is the first time Persona 5 genuinely shines. Whereas every castle is about stealing a treasure at its core, this is one of the few that actually seems like a robbery. The museum appears to be completely realised, with everything one might expect to find: an elaborate security system, obtuse modern art, and, yes, even a help desk. Even the different sections of the museum feel distinct and distinct. It’s also one of the few palaces in Basket Random game where the Phantom Thieves must infiltrate both the Metaverse and the physical world.
Furthermore, Yusuke’s narrative is told really nicely here. His complicated relationship with both Madarame and art helped to distinguish someone who could easily become a comedic character as one of the group’s more emotionally grounded members. To top it all off, the last Escher-esque section of the palace offers some insane aesthetics as well as a fascinating navigation mechanic.
Many video games include the disclaimer “it doesn’t get good until about [10, 15, 30, etc] hours in.” Persona 5 deviates from this tradition by thrusting players right into Kamoshida’s palace. Even though it serves as an extended tutorial, each trip into the castle manages to be entertaining while still teaching us about the realm, its rules, and its characters.
Kamoshida, on the other hand, quickly establishes himself as one of the greatest jerks in gaming as Ryuji, Morgana, and Ann become more endearing to the player. Taking him down is a great feeling, and it launches the player into their duty as a Phantom Thief for the next 90 hours of gameplay.
A true 777! The greatest way to describe Sae’s palace is “bop.” Everything in this palace amplifies the best aspects of P5. Akechi has arrived! The music is slapping! Players can use dice to cheat! The Phantom Thieves have fully formed by this point in the game, the story has caught up to the first scene, and all systems are operational.
Cruising through the casino can be difficult if unprepared, but it feels so wonderful when players reach the last encounter with Sae and, for a brief time, everything appears to have gone according to plan. Joker, you’re looking good!
Persona 5 Royal is now available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Game Pass, PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.