Best RPG 2022: Persona 5 Royal

Best RPG 2022: Persona 5 Royal
(Image credit: Sega)

Finally on PC, and well worth the wait. Persona 5 Royal is our favourite RPG on the year. You can see the rest of our awards over on Game of the Year 2022 page.

Wes Fenlon, Senior Editor: This is easily the definitive version of Persona 5: 100-hour RPGs don't belong on big TVs, they belong on handhelds that can run them without sacrificing performance or graphics. Bless the Steam Deck and its sleep mode for letting me squeeze in a day of school life when I have a spare 15 minutes. 

Mollie Taylor, News Writer: Seeing my favourite RPG on Steam makes me so goddamn happy. No other game feels so stylish, snappy and fulfilling to play the way Persona 5 Royal does. The high-impact moments flow beautifully into the quiet respites, from zipping around museums and casinos to pull off big heists, to sauntering around the tiny back alleys of Tokyo after a hard day of school. 

It's a time commitment for sure, but one that doesn't feel wasteful. If you're willing to push past the triple-digit completion time, let that jazzy music sink in and deal with wagon-riding penis monsters, then Persona 5 Royal will reward you with the best turn-based JRPG you'll ever play.

Joshua Wolens, News Writer: Yes, it's too long, and yes, it has its weak spots, but I lost a whole month to my first time through Persona 5 Royal, and my only regret is that I can't lose another. The camaraderie of its main cast, the innumerable improvements—big and small—to the rough edges of the previous games, and the sheer, confident style of the whole thing combine to create highs so high that the lows barely warrant mentioning. I put over a hundred hours of my life into P5R, but as soon as I saw credits my first impulse was to do it all over again. No other game had that kind of hold on me this year.

Robin Valentine, Print Editor: Frankly, Persona 5's pause menu is more entertaining than some entire games. There really isn't anything else out there that packs so much style and energy into every inch of its being—and then blasts a killer pop soundtrack over the top of it to keep you moving.

(Image credit: SEGA)

Phil Savage, UK Editor-in-Chief: You'll note a running theme through everyone's praise: Persona 5 is stylish as all hell. But it's important to stress that Atlus isn't going for style over substance here. Yes, it feels effortlessly cool in a way that does justice to its central premise of rebellious teens doing crime on hearts in order to redress the injustices caused by the adults in their lives. But it's also just outright the best Persona game in how it feels to play.

I loved Persona 4 Golden for its story and characters and general small-town vibe, but its dungeons were a total drag. In comparison, Persona 5 is snappy and lively and utilises its sense of style for a purpose: making you feel like a professional thief, deftly pillaging the grotesque palaces of evil intent. The cover system makes it much easier to get the drop on enemies—guaranteeing yourself the initiative in battle. As such, it becomes a JRPG where success is all about never letting your enemies make a move. Instead, you exploit weaknesses to down enemies—using One Mores and Baton Passes to clear the board and initiate your killer All-Out finisher. It feels great every single time.

For the first time in the series, I looked forward to having a new dungeon to clear, because it was a chance to test myself and the new alliances I'd formed with the shadows that I'd previously captured and fused—to prove that I had an answer for every possible outcome. And then I'd return to the coffee shop and enjoy the smooth beats that marked the end of the day—a song indelibly burned into my head after hundreds of hours spent enjoying it in-game.

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.

With contributions from