A quick hands-on with Persona 5 Royal - Here are some new things we saw in the re-release

Earlier this month, we had a chance to check out an early English build of Persona 5 Royal at an Atlus West event in Los Angeles. Persona 5 is a huge game, and its re-release is even bigger, so admittedly, it's difficult to really get a good grasp of how new additions made to such a dense RPG will fit in with the rest of the game in our short demo time. However, we were able to see snippets of a few new elements that can be found in this upcoming JRPG.

If you're reading this preview, you probably know that one of the biggest additions to the game is that of a new character named Kasumi Yoshizawa. She is a high school competitive gymnast who will play a major role in the game's expanded storyline. The development team has previously stated that they made an effort to blend the new elements involving Kasumi into the existing narrative, as to not simply alter the plot in an awkward way that deviates from the original game too severely. We got to see an early game scene introducing the character as well as the daily struggles with her personal life.

We also once again got to take on Suguru Kamoshida: the game's first major antagonist at the end of the first palace dungeon. While this battle scenario is largely the same as it was in the original release, he does have a few more tricks up his sleeve to change the pace of battle up just a little bit. We can probably expect other boss encounters to have similar tweaks to their patterns and design. Within Kamoshida's Palace, we also saw a few new elements added with Persona 5 Royal -- for one, a couple new Shadow enemies made an appearance that were not present in the original game, such as Cait Sith. Joker also has a new grappling hook, which can be used in certain places to traverse the dungeon in new ways. 

We also got to explore an entirely new region in Persona 5 Royal - Kichijoji. Here are a number of new activities that Joker can partake in while spending free time. We chose to take a look at the new billards activity, which can be used to raise the bonds between Joker and the Phantom Thieves, as well as raise his Proficiency stat. There are lots of new activities to check out and while we only saw one, it seems like there will be plenty of ways to decide how to spend your free time while building Joker's personal stats and his bonds with his friends and confidants.

Finally, we checked out the Thieves Den, a new in-game area that is used to showcase achievements the player has gathered during the game. In this area, the player can win something called P Medals which unlocks various content such as concept art, character models, OST tracks, and more. These P Medals are earned through in-game achievements that can range from battle statistics such as performing 50 ambush attacks, to confidant achievements such as raising bonds to a certain level, or even school/life achievements such as hitting so many home runs at the batting cage. Some of these admittedly seem somewhat tedious, but for those who love to get lost in the world of Persona 5, these can work as extra incentives to check out various events or change up how you approach combat.

We've captured three differents sections of gameplay below, each containing some new elements to the Persona 5 Royal re-release. You can check out an introduction to Kasumi and get a chance to hear her English voice, take a look at a new billards activity and Thieves Den area, or watch Kamoshida take a beating.

Persona 5 Royal is set to release for PlayStation 4 on March 31.

Kasumi Event Scene

Billards & Thieves Den

Kamoshida Boss Battle