The cast and setting of Persona 5 is the gift that keeps on giving, with the main release also spawning an animation, a dance game in Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight, an extended version of the main game with Royal, and now a game from Dynasty Warriors developer Omega Force, Persona 5 Strikers. With a new formula added to the mix, yet sporting the same cast, does this shine as brightly as the mainline games, or is this a mixture better left alone. We tell you that and more in our Persona 5 Strikers review.
Persona 5 Strikers, or P5S as many have come to call it, places players in the familiar role of the Phantom Thieves, a group of high school and college kids who lead a very different life outside of school. The game begins with the group ready to get some much needed R&R while on school break. However it wouldn’t be much of a game if things went that smoothly, and the team is drug back into the world of the metaverse, a world where desires from characters hearts manifest themselves as jails. It is up to the player to visit these palaces and attempt to quell the desires, getting to the bottom of what’s causing all of this trouble.
Persona 5 Strikers Review – Beatin’ the Snot out of Everyone
The biggest change from past Persona games is the shift to a hybrid hack-n-slash combat system. Past games have you walking around a dungeon and triggering turn-based combat with enemies. This time around, you are given a mixture of Dynasty Warriors exploration and a crazy amount of enemies on screen, with a feeling of FFVII Remake combat mixed in. You will either have the option to approach enemies on foot to trigger battles or sneak up from behind them to launch a surprise attack. Once inside the combat, things become a chaotic rainbow of enemies, characters, personas, magic, and weapons. It’s like one big splatter painting of bright colors and amazing attacks. Things can at times become a little too hectic and cause for some frustration as there is a lot going on, but it really just works like a dream.
You have your two basic attacks, along with both magic and physical from your personas that you can use. It’s not a straight hack-n-slash though, as you find areas inside combat to jump onto a hanging light and drop it on enemies, or climb onto a box to then do a dash attack at a set of enemies. There are also special attacks called Showtime you can pull off once you build up your gauge, and you can switch freely between the four characters of your party during combat. Save points found throughout also allow you to switch party members in and out, depending on the need. Characters also each carry a gun with them, allowing for some ranged combat and the ability to start a battle from distance.
Combat offers a nice bit of strategy to each encounter, as you switch between characters, called a Baton Pass, to try to find the weak point of enemies to take them down quicker. The Baton Pass also helps to increase your Showtime gauge quicker, allowing you to perform a Showtime move more often. You can surely just hack ‘n’ whack away at everything, which works in most fights, but boss battles require a bit more thought and some tough enemies throughout will bully you if you just run in guns blazing.
Finding an enemy weakness is the key to most battles, as it allows you to take them down and perform All-Out Attacks with your teammates. Your mates will also occasionally prompt you during combat, asking to perform a certain move, which you can approve with a single button press. Thankfully things like using items or magic is done basically with the combat paused, allowing you to pick and choose a new spell or item without getting destroyed. There is plenty more to combat and building up your team as each character has their own unique Master Arts. Playing with and leveling up each character allows you to learn new Master Arts, making them stronger in battle.
Persona 5 Strikers Review – Life Outside Combat
Outside of just beating the snot out of everyone on screen, there are other things to keep you busy, though don’t expect the same level of depth as Persona 5. You won’t be spending any time increasing your friendship. Here in P5S, you can roam various places in Japan to purchase healing items from restaurants or stores, along with ingredients and recipes for you create your own support items. There are also side quests to take on, with these ranging from running errands around the town or diving back into a specific palace to defeat X number of enemies or find various different items throughout.
Some of these quests can be a tad frustrating and vague, with a general cross street location inside of a palace of where you might find a specific enemy. A quest tracking system here would do wonders, but most of them are fairly easy to find either way. You can also spend time in the velvet room, upgrading your current crop of Personas or combining them together to create new and improved personas. Each character in the game has a single persona except for the main hero, who can equip up to eight different ones that can be switched quickly in combat.
What would a Persona game be without the soundtrack? This one doesn’t fail to deliver. The opening theme is fun and snazzy, with the rest of the game carrying an air of wit and just pure fun. The voice work, both English and Japanese, is as top notch as you can get. The team should be hailed for basically nailing the sound of each character to perfection. Sure, some of the characters are annoying and you never want them to speak, but that’s more on the character themselves, and not the voice work done to bring them to life. The art style of the world, palaces, characters, and menus all have a funky and fresh flair to them, providing so much life to a game already filled with life.
There really isn’t a lot that Persona 5 Strikers does wrong. The combat is rewarding, the story is interesting, and the characters/setting are fleshed out, all with a good soundtrack. It’s by no means a perfect game, but what is wrong really isn’t anything that impacts the wider experience. This game did such a great job with something new, blending in a few different game types, that now I really wish Persona 3 and 4 had done the same thing. Those who enjoyed Persona 5 will love getting the band back together for another adventure with a new gameplay style, falling in love all over again. For those new to the series, you won’t feel like you missed a beat at all.
Persona 5 Strikers review code provided by the publisher. Version 1.00 reviewed on a PS4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.