ReFantazio Looks Like The High-Action Persona I Secretly Wished For


I am practically bubbling with anticipation about Metaphor: ReFantazio. I was cautiously intrigued by the fantastical trailer unveiling the title at the 2023 Game Awards. The monarchic period fantasy-genre anime teasing political strife, hard battles, and unifying moral themes seemed right up my alley, but I needed to see more.

Bursting out the gate at the 2024 Summer Game Fest with a stellar nearly 30-minute gameplay showcase and seeing its similarities to one of my other favorite anime-stylized RPG series was enough to quench that thirst for more. Metaphor: ReFantazio, by all current appearances, is ATLUS demonstrating a refreshing attentiveness to their audience, and, as a member of that core audience, I am here to do my part and fanboy from the rooftops.


The Next Persona 5 Spinoff May Be Set In Another Universe

These aren’t The Phantom Thieves you know and love.

As a long-running series progresses, the natural expectation is to see its core systems, signature mechanics, and confidence in itself improve over time. A prime example of this is the Persona series (and its parental counterpart, the Megami Tensei series), with Persona 5 Royal being the last mainline entry into the series and, arguably, the most polished.

With numerous spin-offs and alternate titles making use of these beloved characters, a lot of us fans have been itching for news about the next Persona peeking its head over the horizon, eager to see what new shine ATLUS can add to the next installment. But patience, as they say, is a virtue. There is enough love and satisfaction with the developers and the projects they’ve released thus far for fans to trust their process and timing.


The sudden appearance of Metaphor: ReFantazio, a completely new IP from this beloved developer making use of improved assets from their golden child, front-running series was like stumbling across a unicorn while following Bigfoot tracks. The game made a loud entry as an unapologetic high-fantasy with traditional turn-based (with a blend of real-time?!) RPG aspects.

There are bizarre, humanoid and non-humanoid races, spectacles of magic, freakish monsters, and over-the-top armor, weapons, and action sequences, and none of it takes a moment to explain itself, it just is. We are dropped directly into a beautifully rendered world apart and almost entirely alien to our own with the faith that fans of the fantasy genre will acclimate to the familiar tonality; on top of that, this title operates on an upgraded scale of gameplay that is a mechanical outline from an already adored series. And the kicker is that it works.


Persona Could Learn A Lot About Player Choice From Shin Megami Tensei

Persona’s parent series has a lot of wisdom to pass down about making player choices matter.

As far as we can see in the gameplay showcase, this blend of high fantasy and a peek into the potentially optimized Persona gameplay skeleton is every bit the kind of combination you’ve probably had a vivid dream about at some point during your deep-dive Persona and JRPG days (don’t worry, we’ve all had them). From the high-definition, polished infamous ATLUS anime character portraits (somehow even better looking than those featured in Person 3 Reloaded) to the layered, strategic battle system complete with a thrilling head rush of an OST and punchy animation finishes, Metaphor: ReFantazio sells itself on pure fever dream fantasy in addition to being a good indicator of the honed systems and gameplay components we may yet see inspire some of the direction of the next Persona titles.

If it wasn’t more obvious that the game was a clear-cut spin-off, the gameplay showcase even gave us a look at the in-depth and varied combat systems, including an ‘Archetype Evolution’ portion of the combat system, which, in as many words, seems to be a mimicry of the beasts and myths used as Personas designed, instead, to fit into the lore of this world.

I even espied some of the abilities sharing names with Persona abilities (i.e. ‘Tarukaja’ ability used to raise a party member’s attack stat), though these seemed few and far between. The designs of these larger-than-life creatures are also entirely all-new and unlike anything we’ve seen by ATLUS prior. The flashiness and haze of blended colors in combination with the sound effects and camera angles make the combat feel weighty and satisfying before I even get my hands on it to say as much in replete testimony.



Best Tactical JRPGs, Ranked

Love tactical tactical JRPGs? Looking to break into the genre? We’ll go over the best of the best!

Since the showcase did more to highlight the game’s improved mechanics and visuals, there wasn’t a lot of focus on the characters themselves, which are also a pretty big part in what makes a Persona game great. I’m left to wonder about what the calmer, slower-paced sides of Metaphor: ReFantazio have to offer, what with it being a staple of the series the game takes so many notes from.

I don’t find myself worrying about this lack of airtime, however, as the writers at ATLUS tend to do their big one when it comes to the pacing and believability of their characters, famously giving them traits players can empathize with that endear us to them as well as realistic interpersonal relationships. Though it has been confirmed by the developers that there will be no romantic relationship options (for better or worse), given that the premise of the game revolves around the pursuit of the unification of peoples and races, I don’t imagine that the formation of bonds and moments in-game to build strong relationships and friendships with NPCs and party members will be lacking in any sense.

All in all, Metaphor ReFantazio is a high fantasy tossed salad of ATLUS’s best assets from what I can tell so far, and it’s very quickly become one of my games to watch for 2024. Slated for release in October, it’s already sitting pretty on my wishlist. ATLUS does a stupendous job of addressing sociological plights both common and peculiar through subtext and fantastical fiction anecdotes in every game I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing so far, so I expect, with this plethora of material rife with room to depict stories that reflect the unfortunate nature of human (and in this case, nonhuman) division, there are just as many opportunities to present tales of togetherness and the strength of bonds. I’ve been taking my sweet time with Persona 3 Reload, enjoying the characters, and crying at the side tales. But October is right around the corner, and I plan to lock myself away for the majority of that month to get lost in it. And that is not a metaphor for anything, I mean that quite literally.


Metaphor: ReFantazio Looks Like A New Breed Of Fantasy Game

Hashino aims to create a fantasy game that goes beyond empty worlds of fiction and helps players reimagine their lives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *