It’s really hard to believe that Persona 5 came out in 2016. It looks stellar and, even with the refurbishment that the “Royal” title brings, the game didn’t really need much polishing to look as current as anything else on the market right now.

But first, this isn’t a remake.

We know that’s a hot trend and we could see why some people might be mistaken in thinking that. Persona 5 Royal is an update to the original game that adds more of everything.

If you played the original and couldn’t get enough, then this is a godsend.

If you haven’t played the original and you’re looking for one of the best JRPGs on the market right now, then read on to find out why Persona 5 Royal is a must-buy title.

A series that is itself a spinoff of another JRPG, Shin Megami Tensei, Persona is somewhat bound to its past but not in terms of lore.

Like Dragon Quest, this game knows its history and it shows.

Even so, the mechanics that give the game life are not esoteric, antiquated, or unfriendly. Refreshingly, this game can be as hardcore or as soft touch as you’d like it to be.

The reasoning behind this is probably because the story itself is a huge draw for many Persona players and the gameplay might be a secondary thing.

Rocking a multimedia empire that would make a Final Fantasy game blush, Persona 5, like other titles, is buoyed by tons of lore and a fan base that is drawn to the series for different reasons.

And it is to that audience that Persona 5 Royal seems to be directed.

It isn’t as if the non-hardcore need not apply, it just might not be as meaningful for that cohort.

The release of this edition follows in line with the previous game’s “Golden” edition and is marketed by Atlus as an update to the core game.

For those that completed the original game, this title brings an extra third semester of gameplay which is basically more lore and character development.

Again, this might be attractive to players who need more Persona 5 as well as those who have never played the game.

But there’s nothing here that will win over people that didn’t like Persona 5.

So, if you’re new to Persona, you might be asking yourself: What is this latest game all about? Without giving away plot elements or spoilers, each Persona follows a group of high schoolers who, for one reason or another, are brought together by tragedy and tasked with solving a central mystery. Storytelling elements are heavy, frequent, and contain allusions to world religions, folk tales, and even psychology.

The game presents everything with a dual surface and hidden meaning that makes deeper analysis fun and necessary for understanding some plot elements. On top of all of this, the series has a noir feel when it comes to the mystery central to the plot.

Otherwise, Persona tends towards a mature, old-school manga expository style that hearkens back to the classics of the 1990s. In short, Persona 5 Royal, like its predecessors, is a study in style and substance that really is only rivaled by the best from Square Enix.

That’s probably the first thing you’ll notice about it, too. This game is just dripping with style and flair. From menus that are so busy you’ll wonder what in the heck you’re supposed to be doing to character designs that are bleeding-edge cool, Persona 5 never lets up.

The atmosphere is equally palpable and the game’s ability to create Japan in a video game makes it stand out among a sea of titles that seem constructed out of copy-and-paste landscapes. Here, too, the music is exceptional.

When you take Persona 5 as a sum of its many parts, you quickly see why this game inspires legions of fans. If you’re a fan of the story and can’t get enough of this world, the addition of extra content will be more than enough to justify the purchase.

The combat is fun and engaging and the summoning system is fun without being cumbersome.

Where Persona 5 Royal does stand out from its forebear and other games on the PS4 is that it is almost the quintessential and thus perfect JRPG. It is not a remake, like FFVII Remake, and it is not firmly rooted in the past like the blockbuster Dragon Quest XI. In every sense of the word “classic,”

Persona 5 fits the bill. Iconic characters that have more depth and life than the casts of many movies along with situations that seem both organic and firmly grounded in the game’s reality serve to transport the gamer to a different world. The game is as engrossing as it is compelling and there is no single area where one could claim even the slightest disappointment.

It is instead the most sublime expression of Japanese popular culture and role-playing games currently available on this generation’s consoles.