Although this is mainly hype for Persona 5, the newest main entry into the series of the same name – a quick acknowledgement goes to Persona: Dancing All Night which did actually make a brief showing at E3 2015, unlike Persona 5. However, given all the excitement for the game pre-E3 and now, I thought I would highlight some of the reasons to be optimistic about this 5th entry in the long-running JRPG.
The Persona games have a history of fantastic original soundtracks, all created by composer Shoji Meguro. The music is even more important as the often short tracks are repeated multiple times over a play through which can take anywhere between 50 and 100 hours. Unlike most other similarly lengthy games, particularly western RPGs, Persona’s tracks are predominantly upbeat pop themes often with catchy melodies, jazzy beats and vocals. Thus, the player is regularly listening to lyrical songs in comparison to long orchestral interludes meaning each tune has to be both memorable and interesting after the 100th time. This does, however, provide the opportunity for the soundtrack to provide a more intimate and integral role with the series. In persona 4, for example, there is the opportunity to take part in the school band, with each band practice rehearsing for a performance. There is also opportunity to listen to playlists of all the songs in the soundtrack via the TV, where they are constantly playing on one of the channels – connecting the music cleverly with the existing world.
One theme central to the entire series is ‘Aria of the Soul’, prominently played in the key location of the Velvet Room. The song uses a haunting vocal melody which rises out from a simple piano accompaniment, with the stark and unique tone creating an unusual sound. Its fascinating to see how the theme has changed over the years, from the ending theme of the original game through to Persona 4, with the initial version being faster and more flamboyant and the 2nd scaling back to just piano.
Alongside the initial entries in the series has come a number of different games. These have included Persona 3 FES and Persona 4 Golden which were unique versions of the original games, often transformed for a different platform (such as the aforementioned P4G for the Playsation Vita). With them came additional songs or remixes of previous tracks. Furthermore, with albums such as Never More – Reincarnation: Persona 4 there is a plethora of music to sink into.
There’s a lot to be excited about Persona 5, from it jumping to a new level of visuals on PS4, to all new characters, but its the personality of the game that will get me really engaged and addicted – the characters and most importantly, the music.