It's not a complete uphill battle to play Persona 5 in Japanese though. If you've played a Persona game or two, you can probably work how to play Persona 5 at the very least. Same as the other main series Persona games, gameplay is similar enough between each edition that it’s pretty easy to work out how to play one Persona game if you’ve played another. It’s the same with Persona 5, with the added bonus of it being polite enough to put some of the basic battle controls and main menu interface in English. For dialogue heavy moments, because Persona 5 is such a visual improvement on pre-current gen Persona games, it’s easier to get context from the visuals making Persona 5 a bit easier for international players. If missing plot intricacies doesn’t bother you, mechanical knowledge of Persona and some button mashing through new mechanics is most likely enough to at least get to the end of Persona 5. This is how I played through the first dungeon of Persona 5 and despite wanting to understand more of the story, I was able to have a lot of fun with the battle mechanics and understand just enough of the story for it to be interesting. Dungeons were probably the most stress free part of my dictionary-free run because of the battles and animated cutscenes, so if you’re importing this aspect won’t be too much of a problem and they're a good way to have fun with Persona 5.
|My Japanese is....(see above)|
There is hope though. For the patient and for those with an interest in learning Japanese, my trusty picture translator and dictionary method requires me be much more patient, but works in Persona 5. In my new save file, I’ve been able to look things up to my heart’s content and actually understand what's going on, which makes me feel way happier when I play. It is, however, taking a lot longer; I’m not at the first save point yet and it’s probably been 4 hours in my new save file. But feeling like I know what’s going on is important to me, which is what drove me to write this article. Some people won’t mind getting a glimpse at Persona 5 without understanding everything, but if you love the details of Persona’s stories, actually waiting may not be a bad idea for a game like Persona. If you want to understand how truly evil some of the characters are, you may not get that from a bunch of words you can’t read and some maniac laughter as much as you think, which is what I found in my first save file. I completely understand the impatience of waiting for such an anticipated and consistently great series, but as I said in my previous article about playing Persona 5 before release, localisations exist because of how much dialogue there is to translate and Persona 5 probably has more than ever.
You can pre-order Persona 5 for PS3 and PS4 in English or buy the Japanese version at Play-Asia.com!
(This link helps support the site, so if you use it or buy something from there, thank you!)
Do you play games in Japanese before they're localised? What's your best/worst import game experience?
Leave a comment below, send me a tweet at @JRPGJungle, hit me up Facebook or Instagram and let's talk!