On the finish of Persona 5, we parted methods with a terrific forged of characters we grew to like over the course of a 100-hour story. Final 12 months’s Persona 5 Royal gave us an excuse to revisit that very same journey with further 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. Despite the fact that it drastically adjustments a number of key components of the expertise, it nonetheless looks like a real, compelling continuation of the sport that stole RPG followers’ hearts almost 4 years in the past.
Many components 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. Alongside the way in which, you battle by means of tons of Shadows as you progress towards the chief of the dungeon for a climactic showdown. Whereas understanding the unique sport’s story enhances the expertise, it’s not a requirement to get pleasure from Strikers. The familiarity of this method is sort of a heat homecoming for people who did play Persona 5, however when you begin beating up enemies, it’s evident it is a totally different beast from the historically turn-based RPG sequence.
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 gentle and heavy assaults you employ in numerous combos to carry out particular assaults with standing results. I beloved the frenetic and intuitive motion that comes from slashing by means 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 may summon a personality’s Persona; the motion pauses as you select a spell to forged and the world it’ll have an effect on. For those who hit an enemy’s weak point, you open them up for a follow-up assault. For those who hit them onerous sufficient, you provoke a strong All-Out Assault, the place the entire workforce pounces on the enemies without delay. The summoning system, when mixed with the fast-paced fight and totally different environmental interactions, delivers a clean expertise that empowers you to take down enemies in fashionable and environment friendly style. My favourite battles had me swapping between characters, rattling off totally different combos, exploiting weaknesses with their Personas, detonating explosive units, dropping chandeliers, and delivering devastating last blows to shut out the present. A relentless stream of this motion could be exhausting, however Persona 5 Strikers does a superb job of pacing the encounters out throughout 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 true world, and are stuffed with Shadows to take down. Nevertheless, jails don’t ship the creativity of the palace design. I appreciated the waypoint all the time 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 means of the motions to succeed in my vacation spot. One jail makes an attempt to combine up the method 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.
Every jail is dominated by a monarch, a strong particular person within the real-world who has discovered a method to steal the wishes of on a regular basis folks to primarily enslave them. As a substitute of giving in to one of many seven lethal sins, monarchs have had their hearts corrupted by some type of private trauma. I typically 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 actually 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 workforce went by means of within the first sport.
Catching up with numerous members of the Phantom Thieves was the component I used to be most excited for in Persona 5 Strikers, and it delivers for essentially the most half. I beloved studying what they’ve been as much as for the reason that first sport and watching them develop much more by means of this journey. Nevertheless, I used to be dissatisfied to have restricted social-simulation alternatives. The social-link mechanics are nowhere to be present in Strikers. As a substitute, you’ve gotten a bond system that allows you to improve the social gathering. You possibly can speak to the characters across the metropolis and invite a companion of your selecting to do sure actions in the course of the story, however the conversations are sometimes inconsequential and underwhelming.
Whereas not each disparate component comes collectively in addition to it did in Persona 5, I used to be more than pleased to go on one other journey with the characters I developed such bonds with again in 2017. The motion could play out utterly in another way, however the coronary heart of the sequence stays intact.