- System: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch
- Publisher: Sega
- Developer: Atlus
- Release Date: February 23, 2021
- Pricing: $59.99
- Rating: M
- Genre: Musou, Adventure, Visual Novel, Action, JRPG
- Players: 1
- Official Website: https://atlus.com/p5s/
Persona 5 Strikers – Announcement Trailer | PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC
Who it Caters to
What to Expect
Sadly, this is not a full-fledged musou game, but more on that in the Gameplay section.
As in every other musou game, it's not easy to have hundreds of enemies without repeating the same models, but at least there's a nice variety of foes to slash. All in all, Persona 5 Strikers is more of the same when it comes to aesthetics, and for this franchise, that's always a good sign. It also includes anime cutscenes!
As we mentioned before, it takes place after the events of Persona 5, which means that whatever happened in Persona 5 Royal (an extended, revisioned version of the original Persona 5) never existed in this continuity. That's bad because Persona 5 Royal really is an extraordinary game, capable of making you go through all the story again just to enjoy the new details and extra content... but yeah, we can still ignore that.
After several months living on their own, the Phantom Thieves meet again to enjoy the summer holidays and organize a camping trip. While buying some tools at the famous Shibuya 705 store building, the protagonist, Morgana, and Ryuji end up in a strange location that looks exactly the same as the Metaverse—but all they did was using an AI virtual assistant called EMMA that Futaba recommended?! In that strange place, they meet a new character, Sophia (aka Sophie in the Metaverse), another artificial intelligence and the Phantom Thieves' latest addition.
Regardless of personal preference, the most appealing part of a musou game has to be running around the map, facing hundreds of enemies, and achieving insane combos before taking on gigantic and/or extremely powerful bosses. That's why we can't get to fully enjoy Persona 5 Strikers' gameplay since it's an experiment that never conveys the true essence of the genre. It works, it's fun, and if you go for the harder difficulty options, it's challenging too... but it's hard to actually enjoy the gameplay when you're being interrupted every few seconds because of irrelevant dialogue or cues that take you for a total noob. All maps in Persona 5 Strikers are too small for a musou game, and the fact that you need have to wait a few seconds between areas is not helping either.
The worst part of Persona 5 Strikers' gameplay is that it encourages you to take a stealthy approach, running past enemies without being noticed or ambushing them for an easier battle, which totally contradicts the premise of the musou genre. So the whole point of this spin-off is to bring new combat mechanics to the table, yet you never allow the player to be on their own and have fun with it? Other than a few specific moments, it never feels like an epic battle against a thousand monsters but a sequence of small fights in a closed area. There are some survival segments where you need to kill wave after wave until the time runs out, and sometimes you need to protect Futaba while she hacks a door, so there is some gameplay variety, at least. And why do we criticize the lack of true musou fights so much? That's easy to answer: because we LOVE how these real-time battles play out and how the use of different Persona companions—with their own weaknesses and strengths—affects it all without the need for turn-based tactics. In fact, it's so fun you're left asking yourself why does the ambush mechanic even exists—just let us go all-out against them, we'll exterminate all Shadows, one after the other!
We love how Persona 5 Strikers integrates the party-based system, the use of Persona companions, and how it manages to give the Phantom Thieves a new adventure that takes them to explore new cities of Japan and new aspects of the Metaverse. We really enjoyed the pace of the storytelling and how it presents two new characters that proved to be important to the Phantom Thieves, but also how it dealt with a new final boss and all the previous bosses and their reasons to be on the dark side.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
- A unique art style and amazing anime cutscenes.
- Another powerful OST that's a gem of its own.
- A summer trip around Japan is an original setting for a Persona game.
- They couldn't bring out the best of the musou genre, and all the interruptions are more annoying than useful or necessary.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Maybe Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal are such good games that the bar is set too high? That could be the case, but we feel like this new approach to combat is a hit or miss—we knew about the controversy when it launched in Japan last year, but now we can confirm it.
As always, this is nothing but our impressions after finishing the game. Judge Persona 5 Strikers for yourself once it releases on February 23, and let us know in the comments how you feel about it!