When a Persona 5 spin-off made in-half by Dynasty Warriors developer Omega Force was introduced, most people assumed it might be a Persona-skinned, musou-type motion sport just like the studio’s different licensed sequence like Hyrule Warriors or (*5*). In actuality, nonetheless, the straightforward however partaking actual-time fight of Persona 5 Strikers is structured a lot nearer to motion-JRPGs like Kingdom Hearts, barely resembling a musou sport in any respect – and what appeared prefer it might be a throwaway summer season trip romp really delivers the story of a full-blown Persona 5 sequel almost worthy of the ‘2′ Atlus averted placing on the finish of its title.
Persona 5 Strikers rejoins the lovable gang of misfits that make up the Phantom Thieves just some months after the top of Persona 5 (awkwardly pretending Royal by no means occurred), swapping its signature flip-based mostly fight for combo-pushed hacking and slashing. It feels acquainted in that you just nonetheless name on personas to forged spells, exploit the fundamental weaknesses of your enemies, and discover elaborate, otherworldly dungeons, however the JRPG fundamentals of the unique have been changed, and most of the elaborate programs round it – like Persona’s iconic calendar system – are slimmed down considerably.
Another shift is the time scale: as a substitute of going day-by-day over the course of a yr, Strikers is condensed right into a single summer season trip street journey that takes the Phantom Thieves all throughout Japan. It’s a enjoyable twist on the earlier construction, and the overarching story is a genuinely nice one. It retreads among the similar floor as the primary sport in a method that usually feels cleverly referential relatively than spinoff, justifying itself as a special journey whereas tying into the earlier one (and even pushing again on a few of its assumptions) sufficient to really feel like a correct sequel – at the least story-sensible.
Considering all that’s totally different, it’s actually exceptional how a lot Strikers nonetheless seems like Persona 5, and rejoining the Phantom Thieves as somebody who has overwhelmed the unique and earned the platinum PlayStation trophy for its expanded Royal version genuinely felt like coming dwelling. It was a thrill to slide so seamlessly again into this world, and Strikers maintains every little thing from Persona 5’s wild, stylistic aptitude via all its menus and UI to the just about visible novel presentation of its dialogue (with the identical glorious English voice forged returning) to the downright unbelievable soundtrack, this time full of wonderful excessive vitality remixes alongside solely new tracks. It was straightforward to overlook I wasn’t simply taking part in extra Persona 5 after I wasn’t in actual-time fight.
That mentioned, irrespective of how a lot developer Atlus tries to border Strikers as an accessible sport for newcomers to the sequence, I actually can’t think about taking part in it with out having overwhelmed (or at the least having performed a big quantity) of Persona 5 beforehand. The characters are all sharp and entertaining on their very own right here – together with a few glorious new additions to the forged, who even managed to handily outshine Royal’s new characters by the top – however their backstories and the occasions they went via within the authentic sport are referenced way more usually than they’re defined. That stretches from mentions of small character moments that occurred in Persona 5 all the way in which to its climactic finale. You may in all probability nonetheless benefit from the overarching story of Strikers with out that context, however don’t count on to know issues like why there is a speaking cat insists he’s not a cat and may also flip right into a bus.
There’s additionally the truth that you begin with a full JRPG occasion of eight playable characters just about from sq. one. I enormously want having the entire gang collectively immediately, relatively than there being some arbitrary motive why it’s a must to collect them once more, however there actually appears to be the idea that you’ll already know the final strengths, weaknesses, and specialties of every one. So whereas I loved that Strikers treats its story as a real sequel and didn’t waste time telling me what I already knew, I couldn’t shake the sensation that anybody who hasn’t performed Persona 5 will in all probability not have almost the identical emotional connection to its characters and occasions. Granted, that’s true of most sequels, however given Strikers isn’t being outwardly framed as such a direct comply with up (and Persona 5 nonetheless isn’t obtainable on PC or Switch like Strikers is), it feels notably notable right here.
Too Fast For Eyes
Thankfully, Strikers’ fight is a whole lot of enjoyable no matter your familiarity with Persona 5. Fights are damaged into discreet encounters triggered by stealthily partaking a lone enemy, however when you accomplish that they’ll explode into a complete horde of baddies. While that is decidedly totally different from a musou’s typical open warzones, these battles do share that style’s signature deluge of weak opponents that act as little greater than fodder to satisfyingly hack via. However, swimming via these oceans of pushovers like sharks are harder enemies that want a extra nuanced contact to take down, normally counting on exploiting considered one of their elemental weaknesses to stagger them for comply with up assaults and extra injury.
Persona 5 Strikers Screenshots
The fight mechanics aren’t particularly deep, however they’re not mindlessly shallow both. You construct a celebration of 4 characters between fights and might then swap between them on the fly whereas the opposite three are managed by AI, with every Phantom Thief providing their very own taste of Strikers’ easy combo system. Mashing the assault button will string collectively a brief combo, however ending that combo early with the Special button will end in a novel finisher relying on what number of hits precede it – for instance, three hits first will usually unleash an elemental AOE spell assault (saving the mana of casting it manually), whereas only one can vary from Yusuke’s fast, agility-buffing slashes to Haru chopping enemies along with her axe like they have been firewood. There’s additionally a dodge button, All Out Attacks to make use of if you stagger enemies, comply with up assaults that seamlessly swap you to a different character, and the power to pause time and forged acquainted Persona spells, however the motion actually is as simple as that two-button combo system more often than not (a basis that will likely be recognizable for anybody acquainted with lots of Omega Force’s different video games).
That means fights can really feel pretty comparable because the marketing campaign goes on, primarily distinguished by the component a baddy would possibly use or be weak in opposition to (which may often be fairly punishing in the event you unluckily construct your occasion improper and enter a boss combat with none characters which are in a position to exploit its weak point). But the place the fight stays entertaining is within the differentiation and character of every character. The onerous-hitting, lightning-based mostly knucklehead Ryuji stays considered one of my favorites, with a particular that may make him immune to flinching and combo finishers that may be charged up for extra injury. Compare that to Morgana, who makes cute cartoon noises as he strikes and might even rework right into a bus mid-combat, and every character feels mechanically distinct regardless of being functionally comparable.
As you journey round Japan, a lot of the metaverse dungeons you’ll be combating via take over a big part of no matter metropolis you might be in, relatively than simply being a single (albeit closely warped) constructing. They’ll even flip a couple of of the true-world areas the place you’ll peacefully store for objects in between excursions into remixed fight arenas. It’s a very bizarre and funky option to spin the Persona 5 components – cities aren’t fairly as visually distinctive as every Palace within the final sport, however that selection is changed with an oddly pleasant little bit of digital tourism that comes from visiting and studying about actual places throughout Japan.
Crucially for followers of the unique, the tempo of those infiltrations is drastically totally different as properly. While infiltrating a Palace in Persona 5 felt like a mixture of a race and an endurance check, the place administration of your magic and well being was crucial to creating it via with out losing calendar days, Strikers is considerably extra relaxed. You can almost at all times come and go from every dungeon as you please, which totally heals your workforce and respawns enemies, and there’s no calendar clock ticking away as a time stress. I didn’t thoughts that change, since you do nonetheless must be prepped with assist objects and a plan as you proceed (notably in opposition to longer boss fights, the place the villains virtually at all times had about twice as a lot well being because it appeared like they wanted to), nevertheless it’s a really totally different kind of JRPG the place problem is concentrated extra in bursts.
Similarly, different programs just like the persona-summoning Velvet Room and Confidant bonds have been slimmed down considerably. On the constructive facet, the recognizable Velvet Room summoning interface has been streamlined in a method that made managing my loadout method much less of a problem (partly as a result of there are fewer obtainable personas complete). On the opposite hand, the lack of Confidants and the facet tales that accompany them might be the largest method Strikers diverges from what a correct “Persona 5-2” would seemingly be. Instead you achieve Bond together with your entire workforce simply by combating or progressing the story, which may then be spent on persistent expertise like elevated injury or battle rewards. It’s a effective system, with expertise price perusing and a few cute methods to get further Bond like shopping for native recipes to prepare dinner with the workforce.
But whereas Strikers’ primary plot is nice, the lack of the smaller tales that got here from selecting which characters to hang around with throughout downtime can undoubtedly be felt. The members of your workforce actually get entertaining moments and alternatives to shine all through, however there’s additionally much less character development exterior of the brand new occasion members (who, once more, are severely nice). That mentioned, that is clearly a really in another way paced sport as a complete; whereas Persona 5 takes greater than 100 hours to finish, the month-lengthy journey in Strikers took me round 42 hours (which included doing a lot of the pretty uninteresting optionally available Requests that earn you higher objects for revisiting older areas). I didn’t thoughts this comparatively shorter size because it by no means feels just like the central plot is being unduly rushed alongside, nevertheless it’s undoubtedly a extra restrictive expertise affair than its predecessor.