Atlus teams up with Koei Tecmo and Omega Force to give a twist to the continuation of Persona 5. And we promise you will love it.
In recent years we have witnessed a growing increase in the interest of players for Megami Tensei, a Japanese role-playing saga that began its adventures back in 87 in the Japanese Famicom. Part of the blame comes from its spin-offs, such as Persona 3 (PS2, PSP), Persona 4 (PS2, PS Vita, PC in 2020) and the recent, in quotes, Persona 5 (PS3, PS4). Persona 5 Royal, the extension of the last iteration in the saga has further promoted the madness for Megaten since it arrived in Spain entirely translated into our language.
Those of you who are regulars at FreeGameTips already know that both the first edition and the last one named in the previous paragraph achieved perfect scores after going through our test bench, so the desire to know more about the Phantom Thieves, their protagonists, was more than evident . That’s why Atlus has partnered with Koei Tecmo and Omega Force to bring us the continuation of Persona 5 – not Royal – to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and, surprise, computers. And we are sure that the proposal will surprise you …
Summer, barbecues and … prisons
Before getting into the rag, keep in mind that Persona 5 Strikers follows the story of the original version of Persona 5, the one that arrived in our country in perfect English. The events that occur in the plot follow the one that ended in the aforementioned video game but nevertheless, if you have previously enjoyed Royal – the extended and localized edition to Spanish – it is possible to play Strikers without problem.
As a direct continuation, the plot begins a few months after finishing the course at Shujin Academy. Joker, the protagonist, returns in summer to Tokyo, to LeBlanc cafe. His friends and colleagues are eagerly awaiting him and plan to spend the holidays together. The Phantom Thieves have not executed their enemies for months, but all that changes the day they begin preparations for their summer getaway.
Alice, a fashion designer who has the Tokyoites dazzled, will be the cause of the Phantom Thieves return to the fold, specifically to the metaverse and what are now called prisons, which were once the palaces. In addition to the name, the prisons have different characteristics, the most notable being the notorious increase in enemies compared to the strengths that the group’s objectives possessed in Persona 5.
Alice will be the Phantom Thieves’ first nuisance but not the only one. The story, lasting about 60 hours —depending on many factors—, leads us to visit the Joker’s group and his friends throughout Japan, so we will visit places such as Okinawa or Kyoto among others. The way the adventure is narrated in Strikers is exact to how it is done in other video games in the franchise and the topics are still as sensitive as bullying, mistreatment or abuse. In other words, a critical look at society in which players are expected to become aware of the problems that exist beyond our noses.
The characters that appear in Royal are not visible around here but Atlus has added a few others to Strikers. They are very varied and will appear throughout the adventure but one of the most notable is Sophie, a strange “woman” who decides to join the Phantom Thieves. Mysterious, helpful and creative, Sophie will set up an online store to supply the group with medicine and ingredients in addition to having the ability to fight, so it could be said that she ends up being a heart thief with the rest of the group. Another of these additions is Zenkichi, a Kyoto prefectural police inspector even more mysterious than Sophie.
Changes in traditional mechanics
Persona 5 Strikers is not a traditional rpg, nor is it similar to the ones in the franchise. His agile character causes that there are changes in the mechanics that until now we had seen in the saga. For example; in the usual calendar. We are used to the fact that in every Persona video game we can carry out tasks during the day and decide when to go to sleep. Here these characteristics do not exist and everything flows according to the script. However, the player can increase their bond with the rest of the Phantom Thieves by fighting and completing the story. Raising the link grants special points that we can exchange for a wide range of skills ranging from sales in Sophie’s shop, recovery of life and magic or earning more links. There are many advantages to unlock because of what variety there is.
Another difference is found in the requests that come to us through other NPCs. Now they are a little more fun and different and do not always require entering the metaverse to be carried out. There are just under a score of them and they usually give out interesting objects, especially a repeatable mission that brings in a lot of money to the group. On the other hand, the stores that we saw in Iwai and Takemi’s Persona 5 / Royal – weapons and medicines respectively – are not available in Strikers but Sophie will take on the role of both in her particular online store. There are, yes, other shops and street machines that contain medicines and ingredients.
Yes, ingredients, you read that correctly. At a certain point in history, our hero Joker will be able to create consumables capable of restoring life and mana to Phantom Thieves. These ingredients can not only be bought in local stores, they can also be obtained in prisons, in fact it is possible that on more than one occasion we have to go into one of them to make these medicines. It is not an extremely interesting novelty and in fact makes things much easier but at the same time it is a breath of fresh air that does not feel bad at all.
Finally and as the most notable change of all is the fact that there are no longer palaces like in Persona 5 / Royal. Failing that, there are prisons and these differ quite a bit from their not so homonymous ones. The dungeons are no longer so linear to provide a three-dimensionality so far never seen in the saga. There are puzzles, objects to interact with the environment, platforms, camera changes, 2D gameplay, infiltration and all this in gigantic maps full of possibilities. And we warn, it is easy to get lost in them.
One of the problems we have seen with this aspect is that the development team takes advantage of the characteristics of the dungeons to inflate the story greatly. There are few times that the plot has stretched the gum too much to take advantage of this situation and it does not do the video game any good.
The revolutionary turn of the screw
And we come to the most important change of Persona 5 Strikers; their combat. For the continuation of the Persona 5 video game, Koei Tecmo and Omega Force have collaborated, mostly known for their Dynasty Warriors saga and for the genre they dominate; the musou. We would be lying if we said that we had no reluctance to learn that a saga like Persona was passing into the musou genre. However, after completing the game, we can only clap our hands for joy; This twist is brilliant.
Persona 5 Strikers abandons turn-based combat to switch to mass beat’em up — or me against the neighborhood — without losing a shred of their original DNA. EVERYTHING remains. The elemental wheel that uses the ranged weapons and abilities of each Persona, the All Out Attack, the Baton Pass feature, the One More extra attack or even the spectacular Showtime movements. There is also no lack of ambushes, technical attacks or the personal skills of the Persona. Not even the Persona gathering, merging and visits to the Velvet Room to meet your new guide; Lavenza. Come on, nothing is missing.
And how can you unite all the features of traditional rpg with the musou genre? The combat in Persona 5 Strikers is very agile, very fast, very lively. Most skills are possible to perform if we press the appropriate button at the exact moment. It can be the crosshead or the button panel, and when pressed we unleash powerful attacks associated with those mentioned above. For example, if we leave an enemy semi KO, we are given the possibility of carrying out a combined attack – All out attack – by pressing the B button on the controller. If we can run a Showtime, our character’s avatar will glow and ask us to press two buttons at the same time. Then it only remains to enjoy the meaning of the word epic on the screen.
However the action will be paused if we decide to use our ranged weapon or the abilities of the Persona. In the first case it works very similar to Persona 5, while in the second, a cone will come out of the Persona indicating the extent of its magic. If we use an ability that on the elemental wheel is contrary to the enemy’s related element, it will become vulnerable. For everything else, four buttons will be used in which we can spank the enemy, jump or interact with the environment. In Persona 5 Strikers it is possible to use elements of the scene in battle such as a confetti cannon or a skateboard to overwhelm the horde of enemies.
Another positive point of combat is that we can take control of any member of the Phantom Thieves. Each one has a different fighting style, either because of the weapon they carry or because of differentiating them from each other. This feature is extrapolated to the exploration mode so if we want to finish the game from the beginning to the end with Ryuji, for example, it is possible. The negative point is this same, that the variety is of little use since in the end you will always control your favorite. There is no incentive to use this or that and none stands out more than the rest. It’s just a matter of taste.
Introducing the musou genre in a JRPG video game like Persona 5 raises many doubts, especially knowing that such Japanese titles are not usually liked in the West. They seem boring to most, too much of a struggle, and too repetitive. But do not tell Joaquín Relaño, illustrious literary collector of this our house.
We also had this doubt, but once again, the final product is surprising. And that’s thanks to the fact that each developer has done what they do best in their area. Persona 5 Strikers is terribly balanced between the action parts and the rpg parts. In fact there are more of the second than of the first.
The sensations are the same as if we had in front of the pure continuation of Persona 5 —which it is— without any change; an RPG video game with a fantastic plot, exploration and specific combats. There comes a time that after a few hours of playing you can even come to conceive that the video game needs that musou touch. That need stems from respect for the Persona saga, from not wanting to make massive battles predominant. There are here and there, spaced out, very short duration 80% of the time and longer at events or in spectacular bosses. But not at all a whole scene to clean as we have seen on other occasions.
It is difficult to get used to everything that happens on screen due to its limited range of vision and the frenzy that there is in each encounter, possibilities and abilities that emanate everywhere, but when you master it it is pure orgasm. The bad part is that unless you play in a somewhat higher difficulty mode almost all battles are solved without having to call your Persona.
There are three difficulties; Easy, Normal and Hard. We also have a council; start with the easy way. There is a stratospheric difference between easy and normal mode, so much so that it seems that you are invincible in the first and cigarette paper in the second. It can be changed in the middle of the game so there is no problem with it.
The continuation that every fan wanted
Persona 5 Strikers will please all fans of the previous installment. We have experienced tremendously epic moments throughout its duration and there are a lot of fanservice willing to enter the depths of your heart. The twists in the script, Ryuji’s particular humor, Takamaki’s tenderness, the waste of imagination in the final enemies, the settings, the music. We swear it on Morgana; it’s fabulous.
The video game has a lot of scenes both animated and generated with the game engine that are pure spectacle. These sequences follow one another continuously and are garnished by kilos and kilos of epicity both visually and soundly.
As you can guess, the technological section is on your side. Persona 5 Strikers runs at 1080p resolution and a very stable frame rate on both PCs and PlayStation 4 of 60fps. On Nintendo Switch, these two sections are reduced, reaching 30 both in portable mode and docked. In the highest setting the game looks really good but in case you have a PC with less features the lowest setting still looks pretty decent. In fact, this is how the version for Nintendo Switch can be seen, with somewhat lower quality textures and less edge smoothing. The edition for the hybrid, as an additional comment, has quite high loading screens as a general rule.
Don’t worry because all versions look great and their performance on their respective platforms is fantastic. Scare away the ghosts of the past with the latest Hyrule Warriors for Nintendo Switch, there are no such problems here. Optimization is very good.
The art style of Persona 5 Strikers follows in the wake of its previous chapter. Certain parts of the interface remain largely unchanged while all the main menus have been revamped and animations have been added as transitions. The color palette is truly wide and vivid and the settings are more detailed than ever. But beware! There are also exceptions that confirm the rule and from time to time we will see somewhat poor places.
To highlight the design of the new final enemies, some really brilliant, as well as their animations. Everything is done with exquisite taste and, as we said, very much in line with what is seen in Persona 5 / Royal. The new characters more of the same, except for Sophie, although this is already a more personal than critical appreciation.
The last point left to comment on is the sound and, as always, Atlus demonstrates with Persona 5 Strikers what they are capable of in this section. There are new melodies, vocals, some really impressive rock remixes and recycled tracks from the Persona 5 soundtrack. Maybe that’s our feeling but we think that the choice of themes matches much better with what happens on screen and, therefore, the scenes they take on even more prominence and enter by direct vein. It comes with texts in Spanish on all platforms and audio in English and Japanese with the same voice actors who participated in Royal. As with Persona 5 Royal, the translation is at a good level – even a notch above Royal’s – and still has no filter in the language of some characters. Yes, we pointed to you Ryuji.
After finishing the first act of Persona 5 Strikers in which we go back to LeBlanc cafe, we talk with Sojiro, we visit Shibuya, we remember little battles and we meet up with our friends, the video game continues to grow. That same beginning works because it points to our memories, but once it takes off, interest in it barely wanes.
The musou touch feels great, it doesn’t bother you at all, and it is very likely that you will end up liking it more than you expected. The work of Atlus in conjunction with Koei Tecmo and Omega Force is really good and the respect that there is for both the RPG part and the action part is surprising. Balanced to the core, his combat will not bore you or besiege you with battles at every turn, quite the opposite and also providing a little bit of strategy.
It has a considerable duration, submissions to complete, new additions not seen in Persona 5, characters, a commendable plot and moments to remove the hat. But beware, it also has several negative points. The game practically invites you to take command only of your favorite character, the dungeons can become tedious and attract a lot of filling to the story, the difficulty is not very well measured and the very particular schedule of the saga goes to hell in order to speed up the dynamics of the game.
However, for everything previously discussed in the review, Persona 5 Strikers is a fantastic continuation that will blow your mind. Have no doubts about its musou touch, you will love it.
- The musou touch suits him fantastic.
- More epic than ever. The moments of maximum action are worth it.
- The soundtrack is still from 10. Their music is put to better use.
- On Nintendo Switch, optimized to rage.
- The story serves as a worthy successor to Persona 5.
- An online multiplayer or some network feature would have been fine.
- Feeling that all characters are the same. In the end you end up playing with your favorite.
- The story suffers from filler in some dungeons and these end up being heavy.
A game with a remarkable finish that we will enjoy and remember. A good buy, highly recommended for lovers of the genre. It is well cared for at all levels.