Persona 5 Strikers (Switch)

Persona 5 Strikers is the latest hybrid title from Omega Force and a popular franchise, is Persona 5 Strikers nothing more than a scrambled mess or does it Strike a perfect balance? Let’s go Joker!. 

Persona 5 strikers sees the phantom thieves returning for summer vacation  a pseudo sequel to  Persona 5 curiously ignoring the events of Persona 5 Royal, could there have been miscommunication at some point throwing this title into a precarious place of canon who knows?.

There is a much quicker pace than that of the original persona 5 and it’s assumed you have at least some familiarity with the phantom thieves and the tale that they took players through a few years back through various mediums involving video game anime or the manga. Without taking the time to re introduce the characters and the events of the previous game strikers quickly thrown into another mystery this time involving jails rather than palaces, very similar but with a few differences, enough to be a sequel but without rocking the boat.

I found it was very welcome to rejoin the phantom thieves and fall back into familiar routines, Ryuji quickly loses temper ar Morganas sniped cheeky comments, Futaba keeps out in the corner it’s like revisiting old friends again after a long time which is funnily enough one of the themes of this game.

The Phantom Thieves meet up for a summer vacation, being that this is a Persona game it doesn’t go to plan and as mentioned previously involved the Thieves infiltrating jails and doing what they do best flat defeating Shadows and doing it with style.

So as mentioned persona 5 strikers is a sequel and follows directly on from the events of persona 5 it is done in a way that it is possible to follow if you haven’t played the original material but you would be missing a lot of the references and have a very weak understanding of what exactly is going on. At time the narrative does have a stink of “filler” arc, especially if you factor in Royal where there is an additional Phantom Thief who isn’t even mentioned, nevermind included. 

Visually Persona 5 Strikers looks just as good as the original PS4/PS3 release with a few extra tweaks, visual style still dominates throughout and makes Persona 5 stand out from the crowd and here it manages to do the same for Strikers. In the Nintendo switch version I did notice there are a lot of jaggies within the character models and some of the effects took a while to load in there was also a few cutscenes which tended to chuck very low frame rate which was a shame, for the most part Persona 5 Strikers shows at least that Persona 5 Royal would be perfectly playable on the Nintendo Switch surprising no one really.

Being this is a crossover with the Musou series, one known for its large enemy count and battles, Strikers maintains a steady framerate when in combat throwing potentially hundreds of Shadows of various sizes and looks at you. The gameplay performance held up much better than it did in the cutscenes, which while curious means the real meat of the game is flawless. 

Of course we can’t talk Persona without mentioning the soundtrack and voice acting quality both of which still maintains the high bar set by the series. Let’s face it, it is always good to hear the battle music from Persona 5 and “wake up, get up, get out there” at any given opportunity. The remixes here are expertly done and will have fans toe tapping through the lengthy campaign that is on offer and possibly add a few more songs to that Persona playlist all of all the players have.

Gameplay is where Persona 5 Strikers vastly differs from the original Persona 5 as mentioned this was developed by Omega Force famous for the Dynasty Warriors games, Persona 5 Strikers aims to create some sort of a hybrid between the turn-based rpg action of the Persona/ Shin Megami Tensei series with the fast paced real-time hack and slash chaos of the Musou serie. This does work to a certain extent but  fans going in expecting something more akin of One Piece Warriors or hyrule Warriors may feel a little confused as the mix seems to heavily favour Persona in this bath rather than musou.

Being the Phantom Thieves are a stealthy bunch, the game once again relies on you keeping out of sight to avoid raising that alarm metre on every jail. This is done through various actions and ambushing enemies which then triggers the fights rather than it being in an all-out war zone like most Warriors games are. While it keeps things close to Persona 5 as a whole, it does feel at times at odds with the Warriors side of things early game.

Being the game follows a more Persona style of gameplay there is a heavy focus on weaknesses which are triggered by your Persona abilities, the damage is increased and triggers stuff like All out attacks. Unfortunately it is easy to run out of sp or do not have the correct party meaning some fights will stay long past its welcome and this causes some serious pacing issues down the line. Fortunately the further you get into the game you unlock Bond points allow you to upgrade your party giving you more abilities and ways to tackle problems, it also allows you to level up your characters stats.

Combat is done in a real-time hack and/style closely following the Warriors series standard combos involve a combination of weak and strong attacks. You use your Persona  

So as mentioned the game follows persona 5 Formula a little more than Dynasty Warriors, The first Jail which is where the bulk of your gameplay will be should see players around 6 to 7 hours and that shows you the pace at which the title will be. Travelling around the real world to investigate and buy items which are often needed to replenish health and SP, there is no Social link system and it also doesn’t feature a free play mode games this is primarily due to the fact there is a high focus on the narrative being told and that like Warriors game this isn’t set in any kind of Battlefield. Each jail plays wildly different to the last and it’s highly engaging throughout.

Initially I’ll be honest I wasn’t a fan of the mix I expected something along the lines of Hyrule Warriors and this could be quite jarring initially to some players. I will say by the time the curtains closed on the 1st JaiI I was more than engaged in the story and back consumed by the world the Phantom Thieves had once given me on the PlayStation a few years ago familiar music and characters help bring this one back for returning fans so I’m not sure new fans who have yet to experience Persona 5 in any fashion would get quite as much out of this title.

The main campaign for Persona 5 strikers will see players around 40 to 50 hours which is roughly half of what the original Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal offered. This feels like the ideal amount for the campaign as musou combat can tend to become rather repetitive.

Overall once I had got passed my initial disagreements of Persona 5 Strikers and allowed myself to fall back into the world of the Phantom thieves, I felt like my heart was changed much like the foes within the narrative. I wholeheartedly recommend Persona 5 Strikers to anyone who has played the original game or at least experienced it through anime or manga. Newcomers will not get as much out of this game, and especially Warriors fans expecting another Hyrule Warriors or One Piece Warriors, may be left with a nasty taste in their mouth as they realise it’s more about the Atlus crew than it is about the Omega Force.

4

Summary

Much like Tokyo Mirage, another unexpected combination favouring the Persona side of things in a pleasent action romp.

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Nameless Andi

Pride of utopia & greatest thing ever, I found the One Piece, Collected the Dragon Balls & won the Mortal Kombat Tournament in one night, it was quiet for me that night!

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