Persona 5 Strikers Review

It’s been a while since Phantom Thieves returned, especially for those who haven’t gotten into Persona 5 Royal yet. Luckily, a whole new adventure for the Thieves is coming in Persona 5 Strikers, a spin-off/sequel to the original Persona 5. As the retired justice rebels begin to plan their big tag trip -init, another Metaverse is discovered, and it’s over. with the Thieves to once again save the world. Combining Musou-style action mechanics with the elemental affinities and strategy of traditional Persona games, playing through Strikers is an absolute treat, despite being a bit rough around the edges. Serving as the closest possible experience to a Persona 5 sequel, Persona 5 Strikers is a joyride that fans of the original game will surely appreciate. Controlling the Phantom Thieves in this new battle system feels surprisingly familiar to Persona 5, albeit simplified in a way that doesn’t break the game’s momentum. There are a few quirks in the combat scenarios that can make battles too intense, but Strikers combat is often enjoyable. The strikers’ journey to Japan begins in very familiar territory, but the latter half is where things get more interesting. If fans of Persona 5 want a little more Phantom Thieves, Strikers is a worthy sequel. persona 5 strikers conversation road trip As Joker returns to Tokyo for summer vacation, he and the former Phantom Thieves plan an epic road trip across Japan. The Thieves certainly get their road trip as Persona 5 Strikers begins, though they’re forced to come out of retirement to save the world once again. A new threat to the Metaverse has emerged in the form of EMMA, a ubiquitous smartphone assistant app that harbors a more sinister purpose than showing people the nearest five-star restaurant. “Changes of Heart” are suddenly happening all over Japan, and it’s up to the Phantom Thieves to put on the mask again to stop the epidemic of people succumbing to twisted “Desires.” Admittedly, the premise of Persona 5 Strikers is a bit more conceptually hare-brained compared to Persona 5 proper, but it’s not so convincing that it’s immersion-breaking. The focus of the story in the first episode is clearly on reuniting the Phantom Thieves, rather than focusing on establishing the main conflict. Persona’s usual calendar-based time progression contextualizes events in Persona 5 Strikers, but it doesn’t seem to restrict gameplay. Although as a result, the game’s narrative struggles to pick up serious momentum until about the Strikers half. It’s not until the story focuses on the new Phantom Thieves, Sophia and Zenkichi, that the game truly builds a compelling main conflict. The first three “Dungeons” (dungeons) in Strikers closely resemble the narrative beats of Kamoshida, Madarame, and Okumura’s Palaces in Persona 5. Veterans of Persona 5 will probably feel like Strikers is being followed again its steps, but when Strikers fully leans into its main conflict, the narrative of the game becomes more interesting. The character development for Zenkichi and Sophia is well done, but it’s a little disappointing that players have to wade through Persona 5-like story arcs before Strikers can tell its own compelling story. RELATED: Persona 5 Strikers Voice Actors Explain Why The Game Took So Long To Translate persona 5 strikers joker arsene showtime attack Speaking of which, Persona 5 Strikers does a surprisingly incredible job of combining the best parts of Persona 5 with the Dynasty Warriors Musou framework. Players combine attack combos, special attacks, and environmental triggers to overcome the hordes of Shadows attacking them. However, the game also implements a collection of Personas, elemental affinities, weaknesses, and various skills for players to implement in battles. Each Phantom Thief is fully playable, with movesets unique to their character designs, along with their iconic Persona from the original game. In action, combat is often engaging, if a little unnecessarily taxing. Unlike other Warriors-like games such as Age of Calamity, the matches in Strikers are more microcosmic in comparison. Combat takes place over larger sections of the map, rather than the entire open world, while still maintaining high enemy counts and frantic action. Strikers boast a unique mechanical complexity that many Musou-style games haven’t done before, but player feedback can be a bit lackluster. Sometimes players can be stun-locked, or walloped by an enemy targeting their weakness, seemingly out of nowhere. Once players get used to the flow of combat, the difficulty increases become slightly less prevalent, but it’s an issue that player skill never fully resolves. As an action-RPG, Strikers’ progression systems are more simplified compared to Persona 5’s mechanically complex progression system, which isn’t a bad thing. Instead of focusing on separate social links/confidants, Persona 5 Strikers uses a single “Bond” level for all of Joker’s companions. Any activity, whether inside or outside Jails, rewards Bond points to purchase various stat upgrades or abilities for all playable characters in Strikers. Not only does this preserve the game’s flexibility of playable party members, but it also doesn’t slow down the game’s pace with a complex system in a relatively shorter gameplay experience. RELATED: New Persona 5 Strikers Trailer Shows off Each Thief’s Unique Fighting Abilities persona 5 strikers gameplay frame In the visual department, Persona 5 Strikers is very similar to Persona 5, although it differs in many ways. Persona 5 Strikers arguably adapts the original Persona 5 aesthetic into its own unique identity. While Persona 5’s UI aesthetic is sleek and stylish, Strikers’ menus are full of visual fanfare and flashy poses. There’s nothing subtle about navigating the menus in Persona 5 Strikers, with each transition revealing a unique 3D interaction with a specific Phantom Thief. The in-game art and environments are brighter in Strikers than in Persona 5. The game maintains its own visual identity in a familiar way, but also brings its own unique tone. A few things to note on the performance side of Persona 5 Strikers: When the game works, it looks and runs great. Character models are a bit low-res up close, but that’s rarely a noticeable downside. Being able to engage in combat at 60 FPS on PC is definitely the definitive way to play Strikers, though the game also performs well on other platforms. A surprising issue with the game’s pre-launch performance was the load times, even with a high-speed SSD on the PC. Granted this is an issue that can be resolved with updates/patches, but the game booting up and the loading times between entering/exiting Jails are shockingly abysmal. Early in the development of Persona 5, P-Studio considered an action-RPG format for the original Persona 5. While Phantom Thieves’ debut retained Persona’s traditional JRPG framework, Persona 5 presented Strikers what could have been successful in general. There were kinks that could have been worked out, with matches lacking a significant level of player feedback that unnecessarily increased the game’s difficulty. The strikers story is a bit too long to hit its stride, but it rewards players who stick around for a long time. Acting as a sequel to the critically acclaimed JRPG, Persona 5 Strikers is a fantastic continuation for Phantom Thieves. Persona 5 Strikers will be released on February 23, 2021, for PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch. Today Technology has been provided the PC code for the purposes of this review. MORE: Persona 5 Strikers Kicks Off the Franchise’s Anniversary Year, But It’s Not All

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