Dear Persona 5, Can I Please Craft a Lockpick Already?

Persona 5

Persona 5 is a fantastically dark and twisted mix between a dungeon crawler and a life simulator. While it’s incredibly engaging as a whole, the “life simulator” part of that equation could use a little bit of tweaking.

Here’s an example: When I was exploring Persona 5‘s first dungeon, I ran out of lockpicks about halfway through. Lockpicks are important, you see, because they let you open chests in the dungeon that would otherwise be locked. But running out is no big deal, because you can just craft some more between dungeon explorations, right?

Well, that’s what I thought. But I was wrong.

Crafting lockpicks is an option; it’s just hardly ever available during this first dungeon. In order to make some, you’ll need to use the desk in the protagonist’s attic/bedroom. For some reason, when you enter the attic after an afternoon spent in the dungeon, you go straight to bed without the option to even tinker around in the attic for a minute.

Keep in mind that this was an activity that, in the first few hours of the game, wasn’t restricted at all. You could spend hours idling around in that attic, despite the fact that there was very little to actually do there.

Persona 5 Attic

I tried to cheat this system by skipping out on dungeon activities for several days in a row, only to find out that my crafting desk was unavailable to use on non-dungeon evenings as well. In fact, I had to wait until a Sunday before the game finally allowed me to do any crafting. I made four lockpicks, and for some reason it took up my entire morning and afternoon to do so, even though the protagonist had woken up relatively early that day.

For a halfway decent comparison, look at how the recent Yakuza 0 handles time management. When you’re done with a story event, you can literally spend 15 hours of real-world time completing sidequests, even though this particular stretch of free time is supposed to take place on a single evening. This time dilation makes the side activities an entertaining way to blow off steam between the super intense story events.

Persona 5 takes the opposite approach — and takes it to the extreme — giving you the option to perform one or two activities before calling it a day, flash-forwarding past a lot of the scenes where you’d otherwise have a little bit of free time. You’ll walk up the stairs to the attic in the evening, and the game will automatically advance to the point when school is letting out the following afternoon. You’ll be given no time to do any of the side activities that are no doubt piling up in the mental schedule you’re trying to create.

Persona 5

Now, I get that this is the game’s way of controlling the pacing, and it’s deliberately designed to force you into making hard decisions, sacrificing one activity for another. But how freaking long can it possibly take to make four lockpicks? Couldn’t I do that really quickly before heading off to school for the day?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m having an enormous amount of fun making my way through Persona 5‘s strange little world. I just feel like a simple thing like crafting a lockpick or two shouldn’t be so restricted that you might spend a week of in-game time before the option is available.

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