Instead of adding minor fixes and adjustments to an already great game, this RPG packs in so much gameplay that it feels like a new game. Some things that Persona 5 Royal includes you'd expect out of virtually any "director's cut" of a game, like adding more voice acting in either English or Japanese during key story moments (players have the option of choosing which they prefer at the start). Older cutscenes have been re-edited to include new characters and events, which helps to flesh out the game's story. There's even an extra school semester that expands the gameplay significantly, with new holidays, events, and exams. In most cases, that would be enough, but that's barely scratching the surface. Not only are there new characters that you can interact with (and get to help you in your adventure), but there's a new location called Kichijoji, which includes a sports bar where you can play pool and darts with your Phantom Thief friends, a jazz bar you can hang out in and invite people to, and clothing stores to sell off gear to collect in battle. It's definitely a location you'll want to return to often. Similarly, there's a Thieves Den feature that gives you a space full of unlockable content, like new music, character models, artwork, and more. It even has challenges that you can complete simply by playing the main story and side missions, and a card game inserted as well. Even better, the visuals leap off the screen in the PS5/Xbox Series X versions of the game. Everything from the cutscenes to the end of battle transitions feel smoother and more detailed, taking advantage of the hardware to render the gameplay in sharper, more vivid detail.
Dungeons have received a significant overhaul as well, thanks to a grappling hook feature, which can be used to reach hidden areas or even ambush opponents from a distance. Some dungeons have new layouts, including items called Will Seeds in areas that are off the beaten path. These items restore your magic points and can give significant bonuses when their entire set is collected. The randomized dungeons known as Momentos have been enhanced as well, with larger levels, as well as an in-dungeon store that can provide bonus experience, money, and items when you're exploring these areas. And for Persona 5 veterans, the key adjustment of restocking your ammo after each fight means that you no longer have to spare your ranged weapon attacks during a mission, which makes them vastly more useful. If there's a downside to Royal, it's that there are so many things to do and so many options that get presented to you, especially when your group grows past four members, that it can be daunting to figure out what activity you should do when, and with what characters. But Persona 5 Royal is so large that you'll love diving into it (or reintroducing yourself to its gameplay) for dozens of hours. Even if you've played the game before, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X versions of the game are so slick and detailed that it's worth sinking in additional time just to re-explore the tale of the Phantom Thieves.