It was around this time four years ago when I started my first playthrough of Persona 5. It was my first time ever playing a Persona game, so I had no idea what to expect. Little did I know that it would have been my favourite game of 2017. Fortunately, Persona 5 Strikers retains the same qualities that made its predecessor so great, while offering new and welcome innovations. It has brought back many of those same feelings I felt while playing the original, and a whole lot more.
“The way that Koei Tecmo has brought the strategy elements of Persona and merged them in with the Warriors’ type of gameplay has to be commended.”
Persona 5 Strikers feels similar to Persona 5 in terms of the way the game flows. When I first heard that Persona 5 Strikers was going to be a Dynasty Warriors type game, I wasn’t completely sold on the idea because I personally could never get into the Warriors games myself. But since I loved Persona 5, I was willing to give it a shot. In the end, I was blown away by what I played in terms of the action gameplay and level design.
The way Koei Tecmo has brought the strategy elements of Persona and merged them in with the Warriors’ type of gameplay has to be commended. Because while the Warriors’ style of gameplay remains mostly the same, the weaknesses system and skill choices keep the gameplay fresh as you go through the story.
“Having the opportunity to play as other characters from the Phantom Thieves too was an absolute treat.”
The main group of the Phantom thieves were my favourite characters in Persona 5, mostly due to their interactions and how they handled situations pertaining to the metaverse. It was hard to say goodbye to this ragtag group of misfits at the end of Persona 5. Fortunately, Persona 5 Strikers picks up a couple of months after the events of Persona 5. It was fantastic to see this group reunited again, and it felt just like reconnecting with some old friends.
Persona 5 Strikers is a Warriors type of game, and as such, it benefits from that title’s incredibly refined and very satisfying combat. In addition to the hack-and-slash gameplay traditionally found in Musou games, you are able to use each character’s unique persona. These act as special abilities of sorts and can destroy mobs within seconds of encountering them. Having the opportunity to play as other characters from the Phantom Thieves, too, was an absolute treat. Their normal combo styles and personas differ so much from Joker’s style that playing as each one of them felt like a unique experience. Persona 5 Strikers also features jails that I felt, while not as deep as Persona 5’s palaces, served their purpose well.
“I never felt as if the Musou elements detracted from the overall experience.”
Persona 5 is undoubtedly a visual spectacle that oozes with style. It borrowed from the previous title’s style and innovated upon them to create a unique aesthetic. This can be seen throughout all of the game’s UI and was most prevalent in its menus. Unfortunately, I find that menus in other games have a rather lacklustre appearance. They often feel as if they’ve been left to the last minute more or were simply an afterthought. Fortunately, Persona 5 Strikers adheres to the same principle of UI design as its predecessor. It exudes style and charm, just like Persona 5 before, making for a more visually distinct experience. Koei Tecmo did a fantastic job of transitioning the style and feel of Persona 5 to Strikers.
Persona 5 Strikers isn’t without its flaws, however. There were some inconsistencies while playing that let the overall experience down. For example, during certain hectic fights, the camera would get caught on walls, impairing my vision of the battlefield. Similarly, certain pieces of dialogue were drowned out by the egregiously loud combat sounds. While neither of these issues were entirely detrimental to my overall experience, they’re worth noting.
Persona 5 Strikers encapsulates everything I love about the Persona series. It retains the well-developed characters; the witty and charming writing allows for the fun banter between the Phantom Thieves; and the slick and stylish action the series is known for. I never felt as if the Musou elements detracted from the overall experience. Instead, they innovate on certain aspects of the franchise and never feel intrusive. There may be slight niggles here and there, but for the most part, Persona 5 Strikers is yet another in a franchise full of some of the greatest JRPGs out there.