Persona 5 Dungeons | Apr 5, 2017

Persona 5 Dungeons
Comparison of Persona 5 Dungeons with those in earlier episodes and the Shin Megami Tensei series.

Persona 5 dungeons, also known as palaces, are simply breath-taking.

A quick post on Persona 5 dungeons. The first of which I completed two nights ago.

But before that, allow me to present a trip down memory’s lane.

Historical Persona and Shin Megami Tensei Dungeons

Shin Megami Tensei 1 screenshot
Shin Megami Tensei 1 for the SNES (1992). This was supposed to be a Tokyo suburb.

This is what comes to mind whenever I think of the word “dungeon.” Featureless, repetitive tunnels supposedly representing entire castles or towns. Or massive labyrinths you can’t move two squares down without triggering an encounter.

It feels only yesterday that I was doing my best imagining I was adventuring in post-apocalyptic Shinjuku. All I had before me were black lines and flat colours. But you know what, it was still exhilarating despite the simplicity.

Shin Megami Tensei I remains one of the best JRPGs I’ve ever played.

Revelations: Persona St. Hermelin High School.
Revelations: Persona. The English translation for this was awful. To say the least.

The first Persona game was released for the PlayStation 1 thereabout four years after SMT 1. There were loads of gameplay and graphics improvements, obviously, and dotted here and there were unique looking rooms.

But with that also came loading issues. Every encounter brought on a loading screen, which became truly unbearable before long. In spite of that, I still completed the game. I also deeply enjoyed the macabre story. (So many Marys!!!)

Persona 3 School Corridor Screenshot
Persona 3. Compare this school corridor to one in Revelations: Persona.
Persona 4 Yukiko's Castle.
Persona 4. Some players firmly believe this was the best JRPG released for the PS2.

Persona 3 and 4 substantially upped the standards, as you can see from above. Everything was essentially still a maze, but there was no longer such a heavy labyrinth feeling everywhere.

Between 2008 and now, Atlus also went into hand-held console craze. It released a flurry of titles, both remakes and new ones, for the PSP, DS and 3DS.


Again, there were many improvements but even with Shin Megami Tensei IV and Apocalypse, there was still that retro dungeon feeling. I remember several reviews declaring these titles to be homages to the retro dungeon crawling era. Not all of these reviews were positive.

Persona PSP screenshot
The PSP remake of Revelations: Persona removed many of the things gamers hated about the PS1 version. On the other hand, dungeon crawling reverted to first-person view.
Shin Megami Tensei: Apocalypse screenshot
The “dungeons” from SMT IV and SMT IV: Apocalypse were actually quite impressive.

Persona 5 Dungeons i.e. Palaces

Jump forward to 2017, and we now have:

Persona 5 Kamoshida's Castle Screenshot.
Phantom Thieves in a European Castle!
Persona 5 Dungeons
Larger rooms of the palaces almost always contain unique features. (Update: 2020 In Persona 5 Royal, you can buy these features to decorate your Thieves Den!)
Kamashida's Palace Corridor.
Eye-catching colour schemes break the tedium of dungeon crawling.
Stealing Kamoshida's Heart.
Even smaller rooms have unique designs.
Persona 5 School Days.
Shujin Academy corridor.
Persona 5 Madarame's Museum Screenshot
Okay, this has a slight labyrinth feel. But those creepy pictures compensate.
Madarame's Palace Central Garden.
So far, save points are always near unique places in Persona 5 palaces. Something to look forward to, at least visually!

For the first time ever since 1996, I am NOT getting that repetitive labyrinth feeling! There are still lots of corridors in the dungeons, especially in Mementos, but all are intersected with enough variety of background or quirky dialogue to remove dungeon crawling tedium.

Perhaps I’m imagining things, but the Persona 5 dungeons also feel smaller and easier to clear. Unlike what I anticipated earlier, the lack of a save-whenever-you-want function turned out not to matter that much tpp. You would never be stuck in a dreary situation you can’t get out of.

Mementos Missions in Persona 5.
Mementos, the massive free-missions dungeon, is the Tartarus of Persona 5. It’s a maze, with lots of dark and repetitive tunnels. TBH, I dislike entering it, but luckily, areas are small. (So far)

A Maudlin Conclusion

Writing this post gets me emotional, almost on the verge of tears. How much has gaming improved! How fast time flies too!

Have I really been playing Shin Megami Tensei and Persona for over twenty years? Wasn’t it only yesterday that I shivered after my first “step” into underground Tokyo? (And made that solemn promise to one day get lost in the actual labyrinths of Shinjuku?)

And what’s down the road? How would SMT V or P6, P7 be?

Seems like there are indeed things to look forward to in life. Small things. Perhaps unimportant and irrelevant to many too. But these are what prevent us from slipping into shadowy gloom.

All screengrabs belong to Atlus.
If you haven’t, please, start playing Persona 5 today!

Check out my other Persona 5 posts!

Take Your Heart Premium Edition Unboxing

First Impressions

Open-World Roaming

Persona 5 Tips: 15 Things I Could Have Done Better in the Game

Persona Official Magazine Persona 20th!

Persona 5 Dungeons
Article Name
Persona 5 Dungeons
Comparison of Persona 5 dungeons with those in earlier episodes and the Shin Megami Tensei series. It’s an emotional experience for me.


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