At the tip of Persona 5, we parted methods with a terrific forged of characters we grew to like over the course of a 100-hour story. Last yr’s Persona 5 Royal gave us an excuse to revisit that very same journey with extra content material, however followers yearned for an all-new journey. Persona 5 Strikers reunites the forged from the unique sport six months later for an all-new journey throughout Japan. Even although it drastically adjustments a couple of key parts of the expertise, it nonetheless seems like a real, compelling continuation of the sport that stole RPG followers’ hearts almost 4 years in the past.
Many elements of the Persona 5 expertise carry into Strikers; after listening to rumors of individuals abusing their energy, you management the Phantom Thieves as you examine the allegations earlier than leaping to the cognitive world of the Metaverse to infiltrate their dungeon (that are known as “jails” this time round) and alter their hearts. Along the best way, you combat by way of tons of Shadows as you progress towards the chief of the dungeon for a climactic showdown. While realizing the unique sport’s story enhances the expertise, it’s not a requirement to get pleasure from Strikers. The familiarity of this components is sort of a heat homecoming for those who did play Persona 5, however when you begin beating up enemies, it’s evident it is a completely different beast from the historically turn-based RPG collection.
When it’s time to battle, Persona 5 Strikers adjustments from a methodical dungeon-crawler to an all-out motion sport. The hack-and-slash model of fight from Musou video games like Dynasty Warriors is applied in small-scale encounters; every Phantom Thief has mild and heavy assaults you utilize in numerous combos to carry out particular assaults with standing results. I cherished the frenetic and intuitive motion that comes from slashing by way of hordes of enemies and watching them fly off the sting of Joker’s knife or Panther’s whip, however the fight provides further depth utilizing the characters’ Personas.
At any level in a battle, you’ll be able to summon a personality’s Persona; the motion pauses as you select a spell to forged and the realm it can have an effect on. If you hit an enemy’s weak point, you open them up for a follow-up assault. If you hit them exhausting sufficient, you provoke a strong All-Out Attack, the place the entire group pounces on the enemies without delay. The summoning system, when mixed with the fast-paced fight and completely different environmental interactions, delivers a easy expertise that empowers you to take down enemies in trendy and environment friendly style. My favourite battles had me swapping between characters, rattling off completely different combos, exploiting weaknesses with their Personas, detonating explosive units, dropping chandeliers, and delivering devastating ultimate blows to shut out the present. A fixed stream of this motion can be exhausting, however Persona 5 Strikers does a very good job of pacing the encounters out inside the jails.
Jails share many attributes with the palaces of Persona 5. They each exist within the Metaverse, have a ruler you’re making an attempt to defeat to vary their habits in the actual world, and are stuffed with Shadows to take down. However, jails don’t ship the creativity of the palace design. I appreciated the waypoint at all times telling me the place to go, however when almost each jail is a point-A-to-point-B enterprise, I ultimately felt like I used to be merely going by way of the motions to succeed in my vacation spot. One jail makes an attempt to combine up the components with a brief stealth part and paths with portals that dump you in different areas, however these adjustments come throughout extra as half-hearted gimmicks that I used to be glad to see deserted after one look.
Each jail is dominated by a monarch, a strong particular person within the real-world who has discovered a strategy to steal the needs of on a regular basis folks to basically enslave them. Instead of giving in to one of many seven lethal sins, monarchs have had their hearts corrupted by some type of private trauma. I generally struggled to sympathize with the characters when the time got here for his or her change of coronary heart, however when this narrative thread works, the story of Persona 5 Strikers delivers some really touching sequences about how trauma can change an individual. These moments are enhanced by what number of of them draw parallels to what a member of your group went by way of within the first sport.
Catching up with numerous members of the Phantom Thieves was the factor I used to be most excited for in Persona 5 Strikers, and it delivers for probably the most half. I cherished studying what they’ve been as much as for the reason that first sport and watching them develop much more by way of this journey. However, I used to be dissatisfied to have restricted social-simulation alternatives. The social-link mechanics are nowhere to be present in Strikers. Instead, you’ve got a bond system that permits you to improve the occasion. You can discuss to the characters across the metropolis and invite a companion of your selecting to do sure actions throughout the story, however the conversations are usually inconsequential and underwhelming.
While not each disparate factor comes collectively in addition to it did in Persona 5, I used to be very happy to go on one other journey with the characters I developed such bonds with again in 2017. The motion might play out utterly otherwise, however the coronary heart of the collection stays intact.