Persona 5 is one of the best JRPGs that ever came out for the PS4, and a lot of people are willing to die on that hill. And they’re not wrong for their conviction: the story, the romance, and the whole game itself is an absolute banger from start to finish. The sense of style is incredibly apparent, and you can feel the care that the developers had when they’re making the game. And now, we have a sequel on our hands. Persona 5 Strikers is a game that pretty much follows the same formula, but there are some additions.
These additions might not be to the liking of some, but they added a lot of flair to the game. And for that, we’re pretty grateful. For now, though, shall we talk about Persona 5 Strikers?
- What is Persona 5 Strikers?
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Persona 5 Strikers is an action RPG co-created by P-Studio and Omega Force, and Atlus is behind its publication. It’s a sort of spiritual crossover between the Persona games and the Dynasty Warriors franchise created by Koei Tecmo. This is due to them using the familiar playstyle of the Dynasty Warriors franchise. The game is set six months after Joker went back to his hometown in the original Persona 5 game. With that said, you won’t be able to see the best Kouhai Sumire here.
The game follows the Phantom Thieves of Hearts as they are again dragged back into the Metaverse after the events of Persona 5. This time, you’ll investigate some mysterious and inexplicable events that involve several individuals all over Japan.
The game was exclusively released in Japan way back in February 2020 for the Nintendo Switch and PS4. However, the game was also released worldwide eventually as well as on PC this February 2021.
If you’re looking for a new game to play soon, check out our preview of Outriders before its release.
Persona 5 Strikers Review
Persona 5 Strikers wasn’t really what people were expecting when they saw a Persona 5 sequel was being developed. Moreover, fans were still hoping for a Nintendo Switch port of the first game. The announcement that Persona 5 Strikers is going to be a Musou game was met with a few meh’s and a fair bit of disappointment. After all, the two series didn’t feel like a fit to them; others thought otherwise when they heard about this collaboration.
Some people are worried that due to the merging of the two genres, the storytelling aspect of the Persona series would be lost. The good news is that Persona 5 Strikers still has a lot of the things and aspects from Persona 5 that fans loved. The only thing different is the fact that the game’s combat system is straight out of a Musou game. This is, quite honestly, not that bad of an idea now that we have the benefit of hindsight.
If you still aren’t with the current program, then here’s a revision. Persona 5 isn’t a full crossover between the Persona series and Dynasty Warriors franchise. The game took a few things from Dynasty Warriors—the combat system, in particular—and added in a mostly Persona 5 flair to it. This fusion makes it even more apparent that the game has aspects from both franchises. The most obvious being the real-time action combat of Dynasty Warriors combined with Persona 5’s Persona summoning to ravage enemies.
As before, Joker can use different Personas due to his Fool Arcana. Like the original game, you can gain more Persona through different methods. These can range from random acquisitions to defeating named bosses and threatening other Persona enemies.
After getting said Personas, Joker can then go to the Velvet Room, where he can request Lavenza to combine them to create new Personas. Unfortunately, the Confidant system that is so prominent on Persona 5 isn’t in the game. Replacing it are Requests, which are the game’s side-quests, and the B.A.N.D. System that allows Joker to gain stat increases and other benefits. Players can level it up through interacting with the other members of the Phantom Thieves, defeating enemies throughout the game, as well as hitting milestones and achievements.
Similar to the OG Persona 5, players can create a party of four members. As per usual, Joker still can’t be removed from the active party, which makes sense since he’s the main character. When you’re not in combat, you can swap members on your active party with those on standby.
As expected of the Persona games, you can only use Joker when you’re out in the real world and not on the Metaverse. When exploring the game’s dungeons, or Jails, you can use all of the characters in the game to fight. This leads us to the dungeon exploration part.
Exploring the various dungeons in the game is similar enough to Persona 5. You still have the prerogative to use stealth and subterfuge to avoid enemies on your path. Ambushes are still part and parcel of the game, and getting a successful one allows you to have the advantage in combat. Another thing that makes a return is the Third Eye, an ability that highlights the strength of enemies as well as showing interactive objects.
As per usual, you will be forced to leave the dungeon if its alert meter reaches 100%. Players can lower a dungeon’s Alert by defeating enemies and winning any battles that they started with surprise attacks (aka Joker ripping out the masks of giant shadows). You can also do that by leaving the dungeon.
One thing that separates it from previous Persona entries however is the fact that time doesn’t progress when you leave the dungeon. Moreover, there’s no demerit or disadvantage by doing so. If you feel like you need to grind a bit more before going back, then you’re free to do so.
In terms of its controls, Persona 5 Strikers follows the Dynasty Warriors-style of gameplay, with some Persona 5 additions. Combat in the game is usually started when Joker or any of his party touches an enemy shadow. If they position themselves right, and if they’re not spotted, they can proceed to use a surprise attack. This allows them to get a combat advantage over their enemies.
A real-time combat system replaces the usual turn-based one the original has. However, players will still make use of a command-based menu when using the skills their Persona gives them. While this is happening, the battle will is paused so that players can position the effects of their Persona skills in the most effective manner.
As per usual, enemy strengths and weaknesses need to be taken into account. Incapacitating all enemies in a fight will allow Joker and his friends to use a devastating All-Out Attack. In addition to this, Joker and all of the party members can get moves new to the series known as Master Arts. These can be gained by manually controlling characters as well as killing enemies.
Overall, the game’s controls are a pretty solid fusion of Dynasty Warriors and Persona 5, which is a refreshing thing to see. Gameplay-wise, it’s a bit similar to the series, as well as a few others, which is something to be commended on.
Maps in the game are called Jails, which is composed of some pretty huge areas. However, that’s where the theme of sneaking around to accomplish missions happens. The Security Level on Persona 5 returns with a vengeance, and the stakes are now higher. You can jump around the map if there’s something that allows you to, like an upper platform or a balloon you can use. Also, ambushes are quite honestly OP. It allows you to stun enemy shadows you encounter, leaving them open to be quickly mopped up.
Before we start to talk about the game’s setting and story, we need to make one thing incredibly clear: This game is Persona 5’s direct sequel. No more, no less. There might be Musou inspirations to it, but the game’s story shows that it is stuck to its Persona roots.
A Streamlined Experience
Despite the story being complicated, the game is a pretty straightforward and streamlined Persona experience. In terms of its story structure, it took out quite a bit of a thing. These ranged from the Social Links being replaced by the new B.A.N.D. System to the removal of Free Time. However, this simplification works in the context of the game’s story. Indeed, the game’s all about the Phantom Thieves getting back to form. However, there’s no need to rehash Social links since their bonds were already maxed out back on the first game. Several additional dialogs show how close the characters are. Something else has to be added in due to the removal of the system, and that’s where the story comes in.
One thing that makes the game special is the fact that it manages to add some extra development into the game’s established cast of characters. This is something worth praising as it shows great storytelling flair. Also, these personalities develop as the story progresses, giving a sense of time to the game as well as adding flavor.
After Joker returned to Tokyo to spend time with his friends and generally hang out, things start to spiral downwards. Not long after he returns, he and his friends find themselves in yet another conspiracy. The game’s plot does have a few new faces, most notable of these being Zenkichi Hasegawa.
All of the game’s new characters are incredibly well written, and their placements on the narrative make sense. However, the game does have some areas where they stuck to the road well-traveled on the first game of the series, which isn’t bad per se. It’s something that people might notice but shouldn’t ruin the experience.
Are There Romance Options In Persona 5 Strikers?
Unfortunately, for a lot of people and fans of the series, there’s no romance on Persona 5 Strikers. It puts a lot more emphasis on the story and combat, removing any potential romance options players can pursue. You can’t woo any of the women on the Phantom Thieves nor any of the side characters available.
However, the decision makes sense if you think about it. After all, if you DID play your cards right back on Persona 5, you already HAVE a girlfriend amongst your teammates. It could be Makoto, the by-the-book upperclassman with a wild side; Haru, the heiress of Okamura Foods who’s also an absolute sweetheart; maybe you’re more partial to Futaba, your intelligence expert, genius hacker, and absolute NEET; perhaps you’re more of an Ann Takamaki fan, not that we can blame you since those curves are to die for.
Environment and Graphics
Graphics-wise, the game still follows after its predecessor. The game harkens back to the cool and sometimes flashy, sometimes understated tones that the dominated Persona 5. Tokyo still looks incredible in this color palette, and you can see a lot of the visual and artistic flair still intact.
Overall, the game’s graphical tone sets the bar high for other JRPGs like it, and it will probably keep that bar high in the future.
Sound and OST
There is no question about this game’s soundtrack. The music rocks your socks off.
The game follows after the original soundtrack that its predecessor has. It’s incredibly upbeat, very catchy, and has a complete mix of awesome tunes depending on where you’re currently at and what you’re doing. There’s always something playing while you’re doing stuff. From opening the menu to fighting shadows and bosses, you can fully expect a good time listening to the soundtrack while trashing your enemies.
Is Persona 5 Strikers A Great Sequel?
Person 5 Strikers is an action game isn’t what we expected when we heard Persona 5 was getting a sequel. Not at all. Fortunately, the sheer awesomeness of the gameplay and style that it exudes makes it one of the best sequels that are out there currently.
However, they’re not the only things that we need to talk about. We need to talk about the games similar to Persona 5 Strikers, and how they stack up.
Persona 5 Strikers vs Similar Games
First on the list is the game that started it all, Persona 5.
Now for all intents and purposes, Persona 5 is a prequel to Persona 5 Strikers, and that’s no contest. This is something reflected not only in its story but also in its combat.
For one, the original Persona 5 is a turn-based action RPG. You go around Palaces, you get to explore the layout, get the treasure, and get out. Done and dusted, simple as that. However, P5 Strikers is a Hack & Slash game in the same vein as the Dynasty Warriors series, which we’ll talk about later.
Both P5 and Strikers, however, have Personas, the masks that people use to defend themselves from the outside world made manifest. Joker and the rest of the Phantom Thieves use these to deliver enormous damage to enemy shadows. The Personas are used similar enough to abilities from other Hack and Slash games, which added more variety to the game.
Similar to the OG Persona 5, Joker, the leader of the Phantom Thieves, can swap between multiple Personas. This gives him more versatility when compared to the other Phantom Thieves members. However, each of the other members has unique capabilities that give them unique ways of dealing with enemies. And like the original Persona 5, you can swap to them as well and you can use their abilities. If you’re looking for an RPG experience, go original Persona 5. If you’re looking for a hack-and-slash game while still having a Persona 5 vibe, go for P5 Strikers.
The Dynasty Warriors Series
Next up on the list is the Dynasty Warriors series. However, we don’t have that much to say other than the old games are the best when compared to the newer ones. The series pioneered hack-and-slash games way back in the day. It’s definitely one of the best games that came out of that era.
However, it’s unfortunate that other series did the genre better than what the current Dynasty Warriors series are doing now. This is a sad thing to see because the original series was a lot of fun and a joy to play.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Some people might see the similarities between FFVII Remake and Persona 5 Strikers and be a bit skeptical, but bear with us here. The game follows the same combat system where you do normal attacks, but there’s also a command system where the game pauses so you can use abilities. Now look at Persona 5 Strikers. Yeah, you can see it now, can’t you?
Overall, the games are similar in terms of their combat. The save-the-world theme is also there, though the protagonists couldn’t be any more different. Joker is a cool cat, but Cloud Strife is just dripping in awesome.