During a recent Q&A session on Twitter, a Japanese fan had the sense to ask Atlus about one of the most pressing concerns surrounding the upcoming Persona 5 Royal: will Morgana continue to force you, a nearly grown-ass man, to go to bed against your wishes? Thankfully, the answer is “not as often”.
Being made to go to bed by a talking cat, and see a precious evening slip by without the player having done anything/improved any stats, was one of the most frustrating parts of Persona 5, so it’s nice to see Morgana will be loosening his grip on your nocturnal schedule for the upcoming expanded edition of one of the best games around.
While saying there will still be times in the game that you’ll be forced to sleep, many other nights where previously you were tucked in against your will you’ll now be given the option of kicking back with Morgana and doing stuff like studying or watching a DVD (which you could of course always do on regular nights, but they now seem to be options on a new menu).
It’s not as ideal a scenario as being able to sneak out of your room, get some drinks and hang out with magical teens, but it’s something.
Royal is out in Japan in October, but won’t be released elsewhere until 2020.
Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.
One of my favorite games of the last several years is Facepalm Games’ The Swapper. I like it for a lot of reasons: it’s got this beautiful stop-motion clay art style, an immediately compelling hook in the titular Swapper, a gun that lets you clone yourself and zap your consciousness between those clones, and a disconcerting story.
But the primary reason The Swapper has long been a favorite is the Recreation area. In The Swapper, you’re mostly alone in an empty research lab and the desert planet it is built on after an unexplained disaster. . You spend the game trying to figure out what has gone wrong, and contemplating the existential dread that comes with using your weird gun that lets you clone yourself and zap your consciousness around. It’s an eerie, quiet game. And then you get to the Recreation area, and you hear this music:
It’s immediately arresting. You hear this elegiac, bittersweet piano piece when you’re not expecting it, in a space meant for people to enjoy themselves and be at ease, now abandoned. When I first reached the Recreation area, I stayed there, doing nothing, for 10 minutes, letting the music loop. I’ve never forgotten this game, and I think about it all the time. And a big part of that is thanks to composer Carlo Castellano’s beautiful, tender composition.
Stopping and listening to the music is one of gaming’s quieter pleasures. Sitting around and taking in the score was the unquestionable highlight of Destiny’s early days, and it has consistently been one of the best things about Final Fantasy XIV, a game that is just dripping with music that makes you want to stop and listen.
The bigness of many games is sometimes intimidating, but more often I’ve found it to be a source of delight. Delight at the sheer possibility of what may be waiting for you in the next village, in the next room, and what sounds may greet you when you get there. I love the way they linger, letting my mind stay in this world even after I leave it to do something else.
The highly anticipated Joker from Persona 5 has finally been added to the roster of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a platform fighter that’s rapidly reaching Wrestlemania levels of “everybody is here—even, somehow, that guy.” Thankfully, with Joker, Smash Ultimate continues to hit it out of the park with newly designed fighters who continue to be both faithful to their source material and full of surprises.
In Persona 5, Joker is a high schooler who was expelled from his prior school after attempting to stop an assault and instead being blamed for it. Dealing with the trauma from that, he becomes a bit of an outcast at his new school. There, he takes on supernatural powers as part of an alter ego called “Joker” with the help of Arsene, a manifestation of Joker’s internal malevolence. When using these powers, he shifts from a coy, somewhat ambivalent high schooler into the “phantom thief,” a brash and passionate trickster. Persona 5’s vibrant, flashy aesthetic and sexy soundtrack contribute to Joker’s vibrant character, but when he returns to being just a high schooler, life can look pretty drab.
Smash Ultimate’s incarnation of Joker completely reflects this double life. After he fills up his “Rebellion Gauge,” he summons Arsene, who alters his moveset and boosts the strength of his attacks. That meter fills up when Joker takes damage or has fewer stocks than his opponent. It also fills up when Joker uses his down special, the Rebel Guard. It works a little like a counter, absorbing most of the damage done to him.
On his own, Joker is a bit of a joke. While he can move quickly, his tools include a dinky little gun, a small knife, a mediocre energy projectile, and a grappling hook that can grab opponents but is tricky to aim. His smash attacks are all right, and thankfully, his aerials have some good range. Overall, however, he isn’t much of a threat. With Arsene’s help, Joker dramatically transforms into a powerful, maybe overpowered, monster. His “Rebellion Guard” down special turns into an exacting counter that can reflect projectiles and counter melee attacks. His pitiful little grappling hook becomes the Wings of Rebellion, which propel Joker far upward and make him briefly invincible. His energy ball gets a huge damage boost. The Rebellion Gauge decreases over time and as Joker takes damage, and once it depletes, Arsene will leave.
Playing Joker requires lots of quick thinking on how to minimize time spent without Arsene. Because taking damage fills Joker’s Rebellion Gauge, and it can be difficult to properly time his meter-filling Rebellion Guard, players will need to come up with good strategies on how to transform quickly without putting themselves at too much risk. Losing a stock also resets the meter to a set point. That added layer of tactics makes playing Joker, so far, feel immensely satisfying and a little cerebral. Waiting for a powerful transformation at the end of a long meter adds a level of hype recognizable from traditional fighting games.
Even when he’s just an angsty high schooler, Smash Ultimate’s Joker feels as true to form as can be. His movement and animations are impeccable recreations of his Persona 5 incarnation. The role-playing game’s recognizable bold, bright colors appear alongside Joker when certain attacks hit. His victory pose in Smash is the same as his post-battle animation from Persona 5, complete with his catlike friend Morgana. Joker’s final smash attack summons his Phantom Thieves friends, who coordinate an “All-Out Attack”: another feature from Persona 5. All of this generates the feeling that Nintendo rolled out a big red carpet for Joker’s arrival in the game.