“How Atlus fails fans of Persona 5” is really getting at the issue from the wrong angle imo. nine times out of ten shoddy translation work is because of working conditions, and given how poor working conditions are in the video game industry across the board I can’t imagine this is something different. I’m sure Atlus USA would have preferred to have more time/staff/resources on the project, but couldn’t.
Also I just finished the game two days ago and I’m a bit disappointed tbh. [spoiler] The story was pretty simplistic and moralistic for something banging on about how ~mature~ it all is. It comes roaring out the gate with a sexual violence scenario in a high school setting, yet after the dungeon is cleared the perpetrator is just dumped out of the story and one of the main characters victimized is similarly removed, relegated to only ever being spoken of when Ann needs a reason to be sad/determined. I had hoped that if they were going to try for more serious story-lines that they would also carry them longer; following the victim through her recovery and the arduous struggle to get something like this through the justice system, for example. But no, it’s all cleared away nice and neatly by beating a boss fight. (A strange chaser for this sexual violence scenario is also the comedy scene where Ann is coerced into a potentially dangerous, sexual situation with only a talking cat as back-up. because the only power dynamic the game seems to recognize is adults having power over teens, I guess. It’s not as bad as P4 in this respect though, since that game had several male characters who specifically got off on boundary violation, but this seems a low bar to clear)
I feel like a lot of the stories have this very episode-of-the-week feel to them, and it really would have been better to tie it all up in a big mess of tangled stories. P4 really benefitted from the cohesion of the overarching story of the ‘murder mystery’. here it feels like they were going for a more crime drama structure, but the whole reason why those tv shows/books are structured like that is because they want people to be able to sit down and watch an episode without having to catch every single one. There is literally no way to replicate this consumer experience with P5 since you have to play the whole game start-to-finish, you end up sacrificing potential story depth for a non-existent benefit.
In P4 the theme of “be true to yourself” was kinda undercut at various points by the characters deciding that being true to themselves meant living up to the expectations imposed upon them (yukiko doesn’t want to take over the family business character development happens yukiko wants to take over the family business; kanji is gay, wait a minute, no he isn’t; Naoto struggles with body dysmorphia, she’s gets over it), but for P5 to have this theme of rebellion and then portray everything in terms of a very straight-laced morality system seems self-defeating in a much more fundamental way. Teen delinquent stories usually focus on kids who have no support system in society having to make their own and the camaraderie that grows from that – and the vulnerability in their search for that camaraderie (“mixed up with the wrong crowd” etc). I only found one story thread that tried to do anything like that (a s. link scenario) and in the end that very quickly was dealt with by simply telling the person in question sternly to quit being a bitch and suck it up. Obviously this was never going to be Alleycat Rock: The Game, but it’s still very disappointing.[/spoiler]
All the dungeon/fusing stuff is vastly better though, so I suppose I still enjoyed 100+ hours I spent with the game, but there isn’t really anything I think I’m going to remember fondly, beyond, like, cool character designs.