What’s The Difference Between Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal?

A captivating story. A memorable cast of characters. A host of activities. A catchy soundtrack. Persona 5 Royal and the game that preceded it, Persona 5, are some of the best JPRG offerings of the past 4-5 years. When P5 originally launched in 2017, no one imagined it could get any better. But Atlus wanted us to experience more of the Phantom Thieves’ adventure, so Royal was bestowed upon us. If you’re wondering what the difference between Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal is, we’ve got you covered.

What is Persona 5 Royal?

In a nutshell, Persona 5 Royal – abbreviated P5R – is an updated version of the original game. The story is pretty much intact, albeit with a few tweaks and a whole new chapter. The gameplay has also received some cool extras. At first glance, it seems like a frustrating prospect to have to rebuy the entire game instead of having the option to buy an expansion at a cheaper price. If you’re a neophyte who simply just wants to experience the original P5, you’re likely going to get a good bang for your buck by buying it on sale. We can assure you, however, that what separates P5 from P5R is quite worth picking up the latter regardless.

Story Difference Between Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal

The tale of the Main Protagonist and his ragtag group of high schoolers by day, thieves of hearts by night is very much the same in both games. Here is where Persona 5 Royal, though, has the most meat on its extra bones. A whole new added semester coupled with a brand new Palace to explore and two new characters add a significant chunk of narrative to an already sizeable one. Kasumi, the new playable Phantom Thief, is present throughout the base story which fleshes out her background alongside the rest of the cast. When she finally takes the stage fully, it makes sense without changing the rest of the story too heavily.

Beyond these meatier additions, P5R sprinkles a few more story bits that expand the game’s narrative journey. There are quite a few new animated cutscenes which look just as good as the original ones. Phantom Thieves members who appeared way later in the game, now have some additional screentime early on. For instance, Haru, who sort of just swoops in out of nowhere in P5 gets to make a few short appearances around Shujin Academy in P5 Royal. Confidants also get some more social scenes which give them some more development. Story-wise, Persona 5 Royal’s new goodies already justify the price of re-entry on their own. But there’s more.

New Location for Hangouts and Dates

Persona 5 Royal adds an entirely new location called Kichijoji. By far the biggest one in the game, there’s a lot to do here. From taking your Confidants to hangout and date to playing new minigames, Kichijoji is far from shoehorned content. The jazz bar allows you to speed up leveling and stat progression for some of your Phantom Thieves that are lagging. Several new shops provide cool services and useful items. The billiards club can help build up relationships that you’ve been neglecting while playing darts enhances your Baton Pass. There’s also a temple where Joker can meditate to increase the amount of SP he has.

Palaces in Persona 5 Royal Are Better

Admittedly, some of Persona 5’s Palaces were a bit too lengthy and tedious. In Persona 5 Royal, pretty much every Palace has been streamlined and given some new extras to seek out. This is where one of the new gameplay mechanics takes the stand. Early on in the game, Joker will acquire a grappling hook that allows the Phantom Thieves to reach new rooms and pathways. This new power is also key to finding Will Seeds, a new item in P5R. By finding all three Seeds hidden among the nooks and crannies of each Palace, you will receive exclusive accessories. Some boss battles have also received some TLC. For instance, Madarame’s tedious multi-target grind-fest is merely a first in Royal which is then followed up by a completely different one with more fun mechanics involved.

Persona 5 Royal Has Some New Battle Mechanics

Another cool difference between Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal are welcome tweaks to the battle system and some new toys to play with. Remember how in P5 you needed to visit a safe room to reload your guns? That’s all gone. Guns now replenish amount at the end of combat. This makes them far more useful as there are always plenty of enemies weak to Gun attacks. Baton Pass is available to all party members right off the bat and can be escalated in effectiveness when chained. The coolest new trick, however, are the unlockable Showtime attacks where two Phantom Thieves team up to perform a flashy dual attack.

More Free Time and Other Extras

One of the most annoying aspects of Persona 5 was how tough it was to manage your free time. This made it near impossible to max out all of your Confidants. Persona 5 Royal has a revamped calendar with way more free time to do as you please. On top of that, Morgana will be way less annoying about you going to bed. There’s also a new Thieves Den where you can gather collectables. Mementos has been expanded and given a “stamp” system and NPC to go with it. Naturally, there are new items to find, new Personas to collect, more Fusions and other mechanics in the Velvet Room. Even the opening movie and main menu have been jazzed up.

Are the Differences Between Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal Worth It?

The TL;DR version? Yes. Absolutely.

The long version? Persona 5 Royal may not effectively be an entirely new game in its own right. The story at its core is still the same and the new additions to the gameplay can make things a bit too easy at times. All of the new content combined, however, feels like there’s an additional half-game added to an already stellar JRPG experience. If you loved Persona 5, you’ll find a lot more of what you enjoyed and more. As for those new to the game, you’d be remiss not to pick up Royal as you’d be effectively experiencing the definitive Phantom Thieves experience right from the get-go.