Persona 5 Strikers is an Action RPG and a direct sequel to Persona 5. It is available on PS Plus this month. Persona 5 raised the bar for what a modern JRPG could be when it was first released. They made a bunch of spin-offs and even an anime. Enter Persona 5 Strikers, a game that at first glance seems like your typical Dynasty Warriors-style spin-off. While it certainly makes use of the 1 versus 100 action combat that the series is known for, this game is actually more of a full-blown sequel. If you enjoyed Persona 5 you will definitely enjoy the sequel.
It’s been 6 months since the events of Persona 5 and the gang is getting back together for summer vacation before the festivities can begin however The Phantom Thieves are drawn back into the metaverse once again. There’s been a string of strange behavior reports and it’s up to them to get to the bottom of what’s going on. This time around however the metaverse has changed slightly instead of infiltrating palaces you now enter jails. They are referred to as jails because instead of the Phantom Thieves trying to steal the treasure of one person, they’re trying to liberate desires belonging to a large host of people.
All these strange occurrences seem to be tied to a new digital assistant app called Emma and little is known about what role it plays in manipulating people and it’s this mystery that will keep you intrigued until the very end. There is one new playable character called Sophia, an AI companion who lives in your smartphone in the real world and is a yoyo-wielding fighter in the metaverse. Maybe my favorite aspect to Persona 5 Strikers story is that it’s a big road trip, while you do start off in Tokyo you will soon get access to an RV and travel all over Japan to cities like Sendai, Kyoto, and Okinawa.
Each jail is in a different city so locations constantly feel fresh as they differ quite a bit from one another. While in these cities you don’t just jump right into battle but have opportunities to explore and take in the sights. Unlike the original, this game is much more structured and you don’t have to worry about wasting days with a strict calendar system. While the story does have a calendar, this is more for visual flair than anything else. Overall, I really enjoyed the story in Persona 5 Strikers as it doesn’t feel like a half-baked one you might find in other warrior-style spin-offs and it truly is a sequel to Persona 5.
What I really appreciated is that every Phantom Thief is there from the beginning and all of them get equal screen time as this wasn’t the case for Persona 5. This is also a fairly long story that depending on your playstyle could easily take you over 50 hours or more to complete. If you didn’t play Persona 5, this game makes an attempt to introduce you to this world and you could start here but honestly, this is clearly aimed at fans of the original Persona 5. Despite what it seems Persona 5 Strikers plays more like a traditional Persona game than you might think.
Of course, it uses the typical action combat system found in every warrior style game but also manages to incorporate aspects of Persona 5’s turn-based combat in clever ways. Before combat even begins you can sneak up on enemies and rip their masks off for an advantage which usually leaves them vulnerable. You need to play this like a Persona game and take advantage of any weaknesses. Like in previous games, each character is able to call in their Persona. Persona are creatures that are summoned in battle to help you fight. This battle system feels like if Persona 5 was an action game and honestly it feels really good.
There’s a fast frenetic flow to combat as you’re constantly swapping between characters to utilize the right attacks. In the jails, there are plenty to explore, treasures to find, puzzles to solve, and even some light platforming segments. There’s also a ton of interactive objects throughout levels to keep combat interesting like cars that can explode or chandeliers you can drop. Persona 5 Strikers was already exhilarating to play but these extras really put it over the top in fun ways. While not quite as extensive as Persona 5 there are side activities to partake in when you’re not exploring jails or experiencing the story.
Most of these events are pretty structured with no room for choice however later in the story there are some events where you are given a bit more freedom. Throughout Persona 5 Strikers you’ll earn bond points which are earned by talking with your companions or at certain points in the story. You can spend these to give you boosts like increasing your Max HP or Persona damage etc. You can also return to past jails to complete side quests for helpful items. You will also accumulate recipes that you can use to cook food and these you can use in battle or for bonding points.
Persona 5 Strikers looks incredible and it utilizes the same environments, character models, and character portraits from Persona 5 so that shouldn’t come as a surprise. There’s such a huge variety of environment types both in jails and the cities themselves that keep Persona 5 Strikers constantly feeling fresh. Every aspect of the presentation continues Persona 5’s stylish flair from new menus to attacks in combat. Watching each character’s showtime attack was a spectacular thing to behold. One nice feature in the options menu is choosing between fidelity or framerate and I played with this a bit and honestly, I couldn’t notice a real difference in either mode.
Both looked amazing and ran at a buttery smooth 60 frames per second at all times. Personally, I really enjoyed the music in this game but you also have the option to choose between Persona 5 or Persona 5 Royal’s music. Persona 5 Strikers isn’t just another side game but a full-blown sequel to Persona 5 and a great one at that. The action combat feels incredible, the story gets its hooks in the early and honestly, it just feels great to go on another adventure with the Phantom Thieves. If you enjoyed Persona 5 and are looking for more from this universe then Persona 5 Strikers is an absolute must-play.
Persona 5 Strikers will be available to PlayStation Plus members until Tuesday, February 1.
Persona 5's style and mechanics are remarkably adapted for great action-RPG combat, The Phantom Thieves are as cool as ever and their trip across Japan has many great moments in them. The dungeons are also overhauled in this game and it does fit with the overall aesthetic of the game. If you enjoyed Persona 5 then this is a must-play.