Persona 5 Strikers is an action-packed sequel to the beloved JRPG Persona 5. Taking place half a year after the events of Persona 5, this new chapter brings the teens known as The Phantom Thieves of Hearts together for a reunion as their summer vacation begins.
Naturally, they soon find themselves tossed back into the magical world known as the Meta-Verse and face a brand new mystery, which the player takes on in an all-new, action-oriented way.
Many enemies and lots of combos
The Persona series has been known to try out different gameplay styles for their spin-off games. Strikers takes this opportunity to try out a Musou style, which works spectacularly here. For those who are unfamiliar with Musou games, these could be seen as hack-n-slash beat ’em ups. Your character is dumped into a level with hundreds upon hundreds of enemies, and the character cuts through them like butter. Of course, there is way more to this game’s systems than simple button mashing.
Persona 5 Strikers makes this kind of combat feel very satisfying and powerful. However, the game can be deceptively simple. There were a few times when I got careless while wiping out waves of foes. This naturally resulted in an enemy humbling me without warning.
Persona 5 Strikers does feel fair when it embarrasses you repeatedly. However, I feel like some of my deaths could have been prevented if my AI teammates were a bit smarter. The player always has a choice of four characters that they can switch between freely. That is, when they aren’t already dead or dying. Their life expectancy can be improved with gear, weapons, and skills, but not by much it seems.
Where action meets RPG
Something that I was not expecting from Persona 5 Strikers is the respect that is shown to the original game’s mechanics. Players are able to use a variety of personas in combat by pausing the game momentarily so they can choose which move they would like to use. Setting up elemental attacks on dozens of enemies at once always feels good.
Chaining those persona attacks alongside the melee combos is just endlessly fun. Plus, it feels like it actually belongs within the world of Persona. Needless to say, I am absolutely impressed with how well these two genres have meshed together in Strikers.
Upon learning that Persona 5 Strikers would continue the story of the original game, I didn’t expect much. In all honesty, I didn’t want much more, especially following the release of Persona 5 Royal, which was a massive expansion of the base game. The story ended at a good place, and it would have been easy to mess things up by adding more to it.
I actually underestimated exactly how much of this game would be focused on plot. The story and relationships aren’t quite as in-depth as Persona 5, but the plot of Persona 5 Strikers feels like a natural continuation of the characters and world. Naturally, this is fantastic news for fans of the series!
While the story doesn’t go to many new places, it definitely does a great job of delivering more of the characters the fans love. Plus, the new characters featured in Strikers are delightful and fit in very organically with the original cast. Sadly, however, many fan favorites from Persona 5 are absent from Strikers. Although, they would have really felt unnecessary if they were there.
Trapped in jail
Persona 5 Strikers introduces “Jails.” These dungeons take the place of Persona 5’s “Palaces,” where most of the action happens within the game. Players will have to explore these jails and contend with the enemies that inhabit them in order to save the day.
These dungeons are really interesting to look at, and they share the same visual flair and style as the rest of the Persona series. There are also little arenas scattered throughout the jails that make for great combat encounters, complete with opportunities for environmental attacks and even stealth. Everything about the jails is awesome in that regard.
However, the biggest issue that I have with the dungeons, and the game, itself, is that they are not respectful of the player’s time. Persona 5 Strikers tends to rely on fetch quests and boring obstructions in order to make the game longer. This isn’t a huge deal, as the combat is always fun to play. Although, it doesn’t feel as rewarding as the palaces in Persona 5. In that game, it always seemed like progress was happening at a steady pace.
The little details
Something that Persona 5 was praised for was the style that flowed through every frame of the game. The music, the menus, and the art style were often the main factors that drew new players in. Fortunately, all of this coolness returns in Persona 5 Strikers.
The music in Strikers is great in particular. Some of those great tunes from the original Persona 5 are present, both in their original form and remixed into something new and fresh. Just like everything else in Strikers, though, the music made exclusively for this game feels like a natural extension of Persona 5.
All-in-all, Persona 5 Strikers is absolutely worth checking out for fans of the Persona series. Naturally, there are some traditional aspects that are missing, such as turn-based combat and the confidant system. However, there’s more than enough here to satisfy longtime fans of the games.
The game can feel a bit repetitious and lengthy in the wrong ways on occasion. However, the gameplay, story, and characters more than make up for that in the long run.