Persona 5 Strikers Review — The Phantom Thieves’ Last Surprise
Persona 5 Strikers is an excellent return trip for The Phantom Thieves and hits all the stylish, energetic highs of its predecessor.
Persona 5 is simply a stellar game; one that I wouldn’t think could be easily followed up between its exceptional music, stylish visuals, and incredible RPG gameplay. By the time I finished Persona 5 Royal last year, I knew its world and characters. Combined, they made it so easy to dedicate the dozens upon dozens of hours needed to finish it.
Friendship and connection have always been at the heart of the Persona series, and that especially has been on full display with the Phantom Thieves and their journey in Persona 5. The relationships shared between Joker and his friends were ones that truly felt close to home for me, making it all the more difficult to get to the very end of Royal and having to leave it all behind.
As its spiritual “sequel,” Persona 5 Strikers gave me the chance to spend just a bit more time with friends and characters that I’ve grown to love. Of course, “a bit more time” for a Persona game is still a lot (roughly about 40+ hours, in this case); but even then, Persona 5 Strikers is a worthwhile follow-up that is more than just a simple spin-off. Taking the best elements of the original and infusing it with the style of an action RPG, Strikers is in every way a true successor to Persona 5 while being an incredibly satisfying and fun to play experience in its own right.
Persona 5 Strikers picks up a few months after the original Persona 5, and finds Joker and Morgana as they reunite with the rest of the Phantom Thieves to take off for a summer road trip across Japan. Right from the beginning, Strikers captures all the original’s familiar beats as players stroll down Central Street, hang out with Futaba, Ann, Makoto, and the rest of the gang, and then head back to Leblanc for a night of sleep (whether Morgana tells you to or not).
Like coming back to your hometown after a long time away or catching up with old friends, the simple act of being back in this world and seeing how much (or little) it’s changed helped make the experience of jumping into Strikers even more appealing. It also helps that, for the most part, Strikers assumes that most players will have played Persona 5. It doesn’t take long for players to hit the ground running and stealing hearts once again.
However, compared to the Phantom Thieves’ first adventure, the biggest difference that sets Persona 5 Strikers apart is how it plays. Coming from Omega Force, Strikers integrates a more action RPG style of play in the vein of Musou games, taking cues from the studio’s other recent franchise crossovers like the Hyrule Warriors series or Fire Emblem Warriors. Yet compared to something like Hyrule Warriors, Strikers is aiming for something a little deeper than just giving the familiar Musou formula a fresh coat of Persona paint. For the most part, it’s much closer to a tried and true Persona game than I ever would have expected.
“Strikers is in every way a true successor to Persona 5 while being an incredibly satisfying and fun to play experience in its own right.”
In nearly every way, Persona 5 Strikers’ biggest goal from the beginning is to give fans an experience that feels directly influenced by its predecessor. In most cases this would be a pretty high bar to clear to match the style and tone of Persona 5, but Strikers almost effortlessly meets or exceeds them. Nearly all the signature gameplay elements of Persona 5 are here in Strikers, even if they’re scaled down or altered to some degree, though not necessarily in a bad way. While Strikers is largely more streamlined, the core rhythm of the Persona series is there–hanging out with friends, exploring dungeons, fighting enemies–and injected with newfound energy and depth from Omega Force.
For the most part, Persona 5 Strikers moves at a quicker pace by focusing on combat and the Phantom Thieves’ trip across Japan, while being less reliant on the series’ time management and social aspects. The Confidants system is here in spirit, though in a more condensed form through the “Bond” system, which is tracked across the entire party instead of individually with each character.
In the instances where players can hang out with the different members of the Phantom Thieves, you’ll earn Bond points that can be used to unlock various upgrades and new skills for the party. It’s a bit more simplistic than the Confidants system in the original Persona 5, but for Strikers, it makes sense and gives some leeway for players to simply enjoy the company of their favorite characters without worrying about wasting a precious day.
“Persona 5 Strikers moves at a quicker pace by focusing on combat and the Phantom Thieves’ trip across Japan.”
Strikers keeps things to a minimum when it comes to managing your time and trying to get the most out of your social calendar, but it’s an understandable change to make way for the core parts of the experience: exploring Jails and combat. Functionally similar to Palaces, the Phantom Thieves explore a variety of Jails that reflect the desires and psyche of the target they’re going after.
Much like Persona 5, each Jail is densely packed with enemies to defeat and treasures to find, making it worth it for players to take their time and fully explore each area. In turn, Strikers also reinforces an emphasis on stealth for the player, as enemies that catch the Phantom Thieves off-guard will not only be able to ambush the party but will also raise the Jail’s security level and risk cutting them off from the rewards of a treasure chest. Additionally, players can make use of different objects in the environment to reach new areas or get a better vantage point to drop a stealth attack on enemies.
Read full review here - https://www.dualshockers.com/persona-5-strikers-review/
Ryan Meitzler (2020, February 19)
Persona 5 Strikers Review - The Phantom Thieves' Last Surprise. Retrieved from https://www.dualshockers.com