Yesterday, IGN and Gamespot both showed off-screen gameplay footage of Persona 5. This morning Atlus Japan hosted a Persona livestream where they showed this footage directly and there is a ton to dissect. They also released a trailer later in the day that you can find below.
The trailer was released a few months ago in Japan, but was officially subbed by Atlus. This way we can get more story context to the footage we've seen.
The gameplay shows a healthy mix of the day to day town gameplay. Answering questions at school, checking text messages, shopping for items, hanging out with friends, and all the usual Persona mainstays seem present. The ability to play baseball is a nice new feature and makes me wonder if more mini games will be present. The beef bowl challenge from Persona 4 seems to be making a return in some capacity, but I don't speak Japanese so I'm not sure what it does.
The gamepaly then transitions to the castle we've seen in previous trailers and we get an extended look at the combat systems and dungeon gameplay. Since the theme with this game is masks and phantom thieves, there is a heavy stealth component. You crouch around the world and attempt to sneak attack enemies (which leads to an awesome animation) so that you can get the first move in battle.
Combat remains largely unchanged. The turn based weakness exploiting system is still in effect, but now with a few twists. It seems each character has a melee option as well as a gun option. Enemies will likely have weaknesses to one or the other. There is a new mechanic called "Hold Up" which seems to allow you to decide if you want to all out attack like previous games or if you want to persuade that Persona to your side like demons in SMT. The new Baton Touch feature allows you to pass your turn to the next character while giving them a power up. This seems to add a new depth to the strategy of Persona games, since you'll want to power up characters with certain abilities in order to take down certain enemies.
The animations, transitions, and colors are standouts in the gameplay. Everything looks so smooth and the color palette really works well with the tone of the game. The menus are full of flair and style; they feel much more dynamic than previous games.
Persona 5 releases Feb. 14, 2017, on both Playstation 3 and Playstation 4. See the collector's edition here.