Persona 5 Strikers PlayStation 5 Review

Persona 5 Strikers is a worthy sequel and while it removes some beloved elements still features that same rich experience fans of the original will love.

By Grayshadow, Posted 17 Mar 2021

Persona 5 Strikers is a fantastic sequel to the beloved Persona 5. It offers a similarly amazing story as the Phantom Thieves reunite and take on more difficult challenges but in a new way. With Omega Force and Koei Tecmo changing up the gameplay by using Musou elements while remaining loyal to Persona 5's core systems. The social systems have been reduced to a barebones structure but the gameplay is so much fun that much of the game's appeal comes from fighting. Persona 5 Strikers is a worthy sequel and while it removes some beloved elements from the previous game still features that same rich experience fans of the original will love.

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First off this is not a sequel to Persona 5 Royal so players expecting returning characters from that title will be disappointed. Instead, the game takes place after the events of the original game with Joker and his fellow Phantom Thieves reuniting for Summer Break. Things take a different turn as Joker, Ryuji, and Morgana are transported to the Metaverse once again, finding that people known as Monarchs are using the Metaverse. Instead of Palaces, these Monarchs use large cities called Jails as a way to imprison people's Shadows and capture their desires to turn them into slaves in the real world.

The Monarchs are doing this using a social media application called EMMA which has become a staple within everyday life as a personal assistant to everyone. People can add one another to each other's friend's list using specific keywords and the Monarchs are using this as a way to trap people in their Jails. The Phantom Thieves must come out of retirement to save the people captured in these Jails and stop the Monarchs. All while traveling throughout Japan and visiting various iconic locations.

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Unlike Persona 5 this is not a turned-based RPG but instead an action-adventure RPG. Part of the Musou series of games the title plays more like a Dynasty Warriors title with Personas still playing a major part in combat. It's actually insane how well the developers incorporated the systems found in Persona 5 into this new active combat system.

Players can take control of any of the Phantom Thieves and take 3 more allies into battle. Joker is no longer necessary and if defeated the fight will continue, which is a huge relief. When in combat players input various combos to cause damage and can summon their Persona for special attacks or use their guns. Joker is still the only one who can change Personas while the other characters are limited to a set of skills, strengths, and weaknesses to encourage players to swap allies. For some reason, the experience is not shared with those outside your party which is annoying since each ally has specific attacks and weaknesses paramount to certain boss encounters. Many of the fights include massive battles against huge amounts of enemies ranging from specialized Personas to regular Shadows. The combat is just insanely fun as you dispense huge amounts of enemies but things ramp up during boss encounters.

Boss fights are no joke in Persona 5 Strikers and can often feel like fights of attrition. Bosses have huge amounts of health and can deal heavy damage with a single blow. Some fights have multiple phases that alter the environment sometimes and all of this can be hellish. Because of this, the game requires you to not only master the various combos, take heavy advantage of enemy weaknesses to break their armor, but comprehend the dodge mechanic. By dodging at the right time you can completely avoid damage and during the end-game content, you'll need to do this to near perfection.

The other members of your team are AI-controlled and are effective in their attacks. Allies will often avoid attacks and take care of themselves. In fact, allies provide are a great way to see how to avoid specific attacks during boss fights as they always play defensively.

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Because of the new combat system, armor defenses play a vital role. Players are required to take down enemy defenses before they can cause major damage and use an All-Out Attack. In addition, allies all have unique Showtime attack that fills as you fight. These one-time attacks reward risk-taking and can shift battles in your favor.

To aid in battle you can purchase items but the developers decided to go further and add Joker's cooking skill into the mix. After learning the many skills of cooking from Sojiro Joker can now create new dishes from the various recipes he learns from visiting restaurants. The game encourages you to make these dishes as they have more potent healing effects than core items. In addition, the Phantom Thieves remark on Joker's incredible food each time you make something new.

This can become vexing at times, especially in the beginning. The first set of boss fights and encounters are the most difficult due to the lack of equipment and skills but like Persona 5 as the game progresses it becomes easier. More powerful Personas and skills provide extensive avenues to create a deck of talent in your favor. However, this does expose Persona 5 Strikers' weakest elements the social systems.

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Persona 5's biggest draw was the various social systems and confidants as they encourage the player to manage their time and choose their next activity wisely. Persona 5 Strikers this system has been stripped and the time limit made less important. There's still a date set to complete things but seeing there's nothing else to do often you'll just head into the Jail. The bond system has been simplified into a series of requests the player can take part in. By completing these requests Joker can increase his Bond and invest in more skills such as increased defenses, attacks, more money, better items, and more.

This also extends unfortunately to romances. One of the biggest fan debates within the franchise has been who was the best romance option in Persona 5 but that's not here. Instead, you can go on 1 date with a female ally but it's never brought up after that moment. This may seem trivial but fostering bonds through personal engagement was one of the more appealing parts of Persona 5. With the player learning more of each person you interacted with, gaining new skills for doing so, and seeing them grow. The romance was an additional option to choose but the entirety of that relationship building is simply not here.

Exploration has been improved greatly. Players can explore a wide area instead of just a Palace, with Jails taking up an entire city. Each Jail contains unique enemies distinct to that area along with the ability to return to previous Jails. This option allows players to not only unlock missed chests but fight against powerful optional Shadows. The level design is often basic and contains more large empty spaces to accommodate the large enemy fights but the freedom to jump and explore allows for better environmental puzzles. It also helps that you can explore as any of the Phantom Thieves and your party does party while you explore. Often indicating environmental hazards you can use to surprise enemies.

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Just like Persona 5 the game's visual design and the soundtrack is outstanding. The game has such an amazing sense of style and a musical score that keeps you engaged in everything. Whether it's combat, exploration, or a profound emotional moment the developers nailed it with the overall quality of the game's atmosphere. The title screen alone is full of inventive interactive elements as you navigate the menu. The musical team went further to remix beloved tracks like Rivers in the Desert as well.

Persona 5 Strikers offers incredible combat against tough enemies leading up to an eventful conclusion. The stylish combat system, beautiful visuals, and motivating soundtrack keep you hooked until the credits start rolling. It does make sacrifices with a lackluster social system that veteran fans may disapprove of. Despite this sacrifice Persona 5 Strikers is one adventure that fans of the Phantom Thieves should not miss out on.
 

Adam Siddiqui,
Managing Editor, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PS4, Switch, PC
Publisher(s): SEGA
Developer(s): ATLUS
Genres: Action-Adventure
Themes: Social
Release Date: 2021-02-22

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