Persona 5 is one of the most popular JRPGs of the modern era, featuring an engaging, character-driven story, a satisfying turn-based combat system, and a confident sense of style. Technically, it’s a very interesting game: essentially, it’s a PS3 game with assets and rendering technology built around Sony’s 2006 system, but eventually released on PS3 and PS4 in 2016. An expanded re-release called Persona 5 Royal was uploaded a few years later on PS4 with new content, gameplay improvements, and visual tweaks. After a three-year wait, this version of the game is finally available on non-PlayStation platforms, including current-gen console releases and the much-requested Switch port. So how does this PS3-derived game scale up to the PS5 and Series X and leave everything the Switch should be?

Persona 5 had a bit of a strange pregnancy. It was developed exclusively with PS3 hardware in mind, but after missing several release dates, it was released on PS3 and PS4 in the fall of 2016 as one of the last major games to hit Sony’s seventh-generation system. Models are stylized but low-poly, environments are boxy and use basic baked-in lighting, and texture resolution is poor. The PS4 version of the game benefited from a 1080p render resolution and UI, but left everything else unchanged – a very barebones conversion of the PS3 code.

With Persona 5 Royal, you get the feeling that Atlus is trying to make the game fit a little better on last-gen hardware. Some of the more horrible looking textures in the original game are replaced with higher quality assets. New artwork adorns many of the game’s buildings and streets. Depth of field is added to certain gameplay segments, while 2D elements are redrawn with smaller text and new skins. Lighting and color gradations are also being reworked, with the updated game having a brighter, tougher look. These are differences that are only apparent in side-by-side comparisons, but there are improvements. It’s certainly still a PS3 title at heart – which perhaps makes it ideally suited to the Nintendo Switch.

Persona 5 Royal – there is no “bad” port here, just a general feeling of a lack of ambition.

The Switch translation of Persona 5 Royal is indeed a complete and feature-packed version of the game with no major cuts, meaning the same structure, style and gameplay of the other console releases is present and correct. On the technical side, there are some things worth praising: load times are still mercifully short and effectively masked by short animations, and animated cutscenes are mostly free of visible artifacts, despite a fairly large reduction in file size.

However, I left with mixed feelings about the end result. There are several key issues here. First, texture resolution took a significant hit across the board. The Switch uses texture assets from the Royal version, but they are significantly degraded compared to their PS4 debut. In the worst case, the results can look a bit messy and in some cases we get missing material properties. This also affects the baked shade of the game, all of which leads to the conclusion that the port is not quite up to par with the PS4 version. Not only that, but the rendering resolution has been reduced. In docked mode, the game displays at 1440×810, just above 720p. Portable gaming only scales back to 960×540.

Persona 5 is a game that relies heavily on raw pixel count to resolve fine details like the thin lines surrounding character models. It offers a very high-contrast aesthetic, devoid of any image treatment, even simple post-AA, so aliasing and other visual flaws are clearly visible. The picture quality at 1080p is already somewhat marginal, but at 810p the picture looks quite messy. Not too bad, but I expected a stronger result here: in principle, Persona 5 Royal is still a PS3 game, and many seventh-gen efforts run at 1080p on a TV on Switch.

The original Persona 5 vs. the royal version – the improvements are many, but it’s really noticeable in side-by-side comparisons.
Console 3D solution UI solution Performance
Transition 810p/540p 1080p/720p 30 fps
PlayStation 4 1080p 1080p 30 fps
PlayStation 4 Pro 2160p 1080p 30 fps
Xbox One S 900 p 900 p 30 fps
Xbox One X 2160p 1080p 30 fps
PlayStation 5 2160p 2160p 60 fps
Xbox Series X 2160p 2160p 60 fps
Xbox Series S 1080p 1080p 60 fps

But it’s the portable mode that really disappoints. At 540p, Persona 5 Royal displays about 56 percent of the full 720p panel resolution — and it shows. Expect a blurry and unclear resolution with clumsy handling of distant details. This is a far cry from the 720p pixel resolution I was hoping for. At least Atlus opted for a two-line scale here, unlike some other low-quality Switch releases, so aliasing artifacts aren’t unnecessarily highlighted. And the UI appears at console output resolution in both modes, so it tends to look cleaner than 3D content. A plus point? All 3D elements play at 30 frames per second without any problems, so at least the performance is consistent.

I was disappointed with the Switch, but the results are improving as we scale up to a more capable set. As for the basic visuals, it’s about what you’d expect – essentially, we’re getting the PS4 version rendered at different pixel counts. There are no readily apparent differences in texture quality, shadows, shooting distance, or anti-aliasing. But higher resolutions significantly improve Persona 5’s image quality, and there’s a big spread here. The PS4, as previously mentioned, offers a 1080p resolution, while the Xbox Series S. The PS4 Pro, Xbox One X, PS5, and Xbox Series X upscale to a full 2160p resolution with no quirks to offer a non-native presentation.

These are all pretty straightforward – but there are two exceptions. First, the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X get 4K 3D resolution, but miss out on the 4K UI, getting the same 1080p 2D art as the PS4. And the Xbox One S only clocks in at 900p for 3D content and has a 900p UI as well, which feels odd and out of place given the game’s age and visual complexity. A 1080p display would be well within the Xbox One’s capabilities, despite its limitations on more demanding software.

The Nintendo Switch and all last-gen console versions of the game run at 30 frames per second with a solid lock.

Stacking the consoles side by side, there is a big difference in the resolution of the main image. There is no anti-aliasing in Persona 5, so increased rendering resolutions significantly improve the consistency of the presentation. For example, details that are not very relevant on the One S are clear and sharp on the One X. However, even at 4K, there’s still a lot of jagged edges and image distortion in fine details like character outlines and highlights. The performance is at least quite decent. To break this down, Persona 5 Royal is targeting 30fps on last-gen machines and 60fps on current-gen. And just like the Switch, that goal was effectively met, as I didn’t see a single frame rate drop in 3D content on any home console platform in all my hours of testing. Regardless of the system, you should expect a very consistent experience here.

Persona 5 has a lot of fast-paced animation without any motion blur, so real-time cutscenes and complex attacks can be a bit difficult to follow on last-gen consoles. Everything has a staccato, slightly choppy look that fits well with the game’s anime stylings, but doesn’t always feel good to look at. The 60fps boost on current-gen machines largely solves these problems with cleaner animation in motion. The game looks especially nice at 4K60 on the PS5 and Series X – sharp, sharp and smooth rendering of Persona 5, which manages to hold up quite well.

There’s one last platform to look at: Steam Deck. Valve’s Linux-based portable looks like it could give us the best of both worlds — a portable experience that rivals current-gen consoles. And here’s what you can get first. Running the Steam deck at 1080p resolution, I was able to run the game at max 60fps in the opening sections with more or less the same visuals and performance as the S Series. Steam Deck even reported fairly light usage levels, with low GPU clocks and minimal CPU usage.

The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles all run at a solid 60fps from start to finish – but sadly, the Steam Deck can’t match that feat.

Unfortunately, as soon as I entered urban areas, I experienced some drastic performance drops for no apparent reason without a corresponding jump in usage or clock speeds. Lowering the resolution or settings had no effect in my tests – the drops remained no matter what I tried. Early dungeon units also exhibited serious FPS issues. Dropping the framerate to 30fps using the in-game framerate limiter seemed fine, and the SteamOS limiter was preferred as it caused a smaller increase in input lag. Changing the display to 40Hz is another option for a smoother, more consistent experience. These would be my favorite ways to play the Steam Deck – but I don’t think the deck is particularly suited to these types of games.

That’s because Persona 5 has a sharp, bold color scheme that makes extensive use of pure black. Many UI elements and dark 3D content are intended to be completely black. Unfortunately, the Steam Deck’s IPS LCD display is pretty average by modern standards and lacks the contrast ratio to really do Persona 5’s art justice. Dull gray tones dominate the image, especially at night. The Switch OLED, in my opinion, produces a more visually dynamic image for portable gaming, with a bold, sharp look with beautiful pure blacks. It offers lower resolution 3D, but packs display technology more suited to this particular title. It’s not an easy choice, but if I had to choose, I think I’d lean towards the OLED Switch for this game.

In summary, Persona 5 Royal is a very engaging, unique title that packs serialized, TV-style storylines into a 100+ hour single-player adventure. Compared to the original game, it’s more of a remix than a significantly expanded title – I’ve beaten both, and I reckon there’s probably around 15 or so hours of extra content in there, in addition to various gameplay tweaks and improvements. But this is definitely the best version of Persona 5 and now it is available to play on all modern systems. The game scales fairly predictably between more capable home console platforms, but these ports don’t translate Persona 5’s PS3-era tech very efficiently, so more power-constrained consoles – especially the Switch – come with relatively severe visual compromises. to the PS4 release. There aren’t necessarily bad ports here, just a couple that fall short of expectations for a modern conversion of seventh-gen software.

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