Persona 5 Strikers (PC) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 16.03.2021 1

Review for Persona 5 Strikers  on PC

Atlus and Sega's Persona series is full of amazing traditional JRPG masterpieces. Its long and colourful history is currently topped off with Persona 5 Royal, an entry that Cubed3 presented with an illustrious 10/10. Royal expanded upon what was already a fantastic experience; however, with Atlus presumably working hard on Persona 6, Omega Force and Koei Tecmo have in the interim stepped up to create a direct sequel to the original Persona 5 in conjunction with Atlus's P-Studio. Atlus had a watchful eye over the development as it's publisher but seems to have allowed Omega Force to put its own spin on the gameplay.

Following on from the original Persona 5, Strikers sees the Phantom Thieves regrouping to go on a summer vacation. Most of the cast returns for this action-packed take on the Persona series. Upon returning to Tokyo, Joker finds himself pulled into a new mystery, once again due to an app on his smartphone. Thrust into a new world, Joker and friends discover that Desires are being taken from ordinary citizens, allowing for them to be controlled. The Phantom Thieves subsequently decide to unravel the mystery and take down the "Monarchs" behind the Desire thefts. It's in one of these other worlds that they discover and save new character Sophie, who has a character design similar to Royal's Yoshizawa, implying that both entries were designed with the idea of having a red-haired character who opens up a new chapter for the Thieves.

Trying not to spoil anything makes the story hard to discuss, but just know it is a fantastic continuation and will put players right back in the world of Persona 5 as though they never left it. In fact, it operates almost like an expansion to the original narrative. Surprisingly, the story sees the Phantom Thieves travelling Japan and entering "Jails" in multiple districts throughout the country including Kyoto and Sapporo, among others.

Screenshot for Persona 5 Strikers  on PC

The first element worth mentioning is the music. The music absolutely rocks, with punchy remixes of the original battle themes of Persona 5 as well as new battle and ambient themes. Each battle song is heavy with guitar riffs and has a strong sense of rhythm to support the new gameplay changes. Meanwhile, the ambient music - both returning and new - sets the scene perfectly.

This time, the gameplay is focussed on retaining the atmosphere of the previous title but adds some real-time action flare to combat. Anyone familiar with the "Warriors" series will know what to expect here; namely, utilising a fair amount of simple hack and slash combos to smash through hordes of enemies. However, aside from the expected, there are all sorts of themed attacks and abilities including holding a trigger button to access a list of Persona abilities which, similar to Final Fantasy 7 Remake, puts the game into slow motion. This allows for more strategic options during the fast-paced combat encounters.

Screenshot for Persona 5 Strikers  on PC

In order to more closely mirror Persona's design sensibilities, the action is treated like traditional JRPG combat with encounters that are started by interacting with enemies wandering the dungeon worlds. They can be ambushed à la Persona 5, which provides bonuses like speed boosts during the ensuing battle. This also means that unlike the other titles by Omega Force, the maps are fully explorable and don't rely on simply cutting down thousands of foes to capture points. The area design is similar to that of Atlus's own Persona entries with a variety of visual flare and attractively themed areas. The first area is a mimicry of an Alice in Wonderland setting, meaning that there are certain points on the map that hark back to card, crown and other imagery associated with that world, while also being a shadow version of Persona 5's Shibuya area. The area design of the non-dungeon areas is exactly as it was in Persona 5 but now with a free-moving camera. It's very cool to explore these areas a little more intimately.

Visually, Strikers reuses a lot of assets from Persona 5 like character models and some hub areas. This results in an instantly familiar feeling; however, it's hard not to notice the more stark lighting used which gives the visuals more contrast and makes them punchier than the mainline entry, losing some of that much loved stylisation in the process. The visuals lack the same polish as the previous title and have a lot of jagged edges on PC.

Screenshot for Persona 5 Strikers  on PC

Character animations can also appear a little odd but it could just be the new camera highlighting any issues that existed previously. The lower quality visuals are also highlighted in some areas with blander textures than what was seen in Atlus's own effort. This is also true of the menus and other UI elements. Load screens are now more bland and static, though luckily don't overstay their welcome. Menus have some really nice artwork and animation but don't move as cleanly as the menus in Persona 5 due to having lost some of the slickness observed in the main title.

One huge bugbear is that the writing seems to lean a lot more heavily into the character tropes that were reserved for jokes in the mainline title. They're hyper-tuned, making the cast feel almost like caricatures of the original characters at times. There are inconsistencies in their actions which causes some narrative dissonance. For example, it's possible to find Futaba out chilling in the busy areas of Shibuya which is so at odds with her character, even when her Bond level is maxed out in the previous Persona 5 entry. It's an odd oversight and can ruin certain moments in the story.

Speaking of characters and Bonds, this title also features a Bond system. It's a shadow of the main series' Bonds but it has a unique implementation. Using Bond Points, players can level up HP and SP, reduce item pricing, and unlock all sorts of other upgrades, allowing for a somewhat progressive feeling even in the more generic setting.

Screenshot for Persona 5 Strikers  on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

It is hard to say this is a great Persona title. The combat is fun and punchy, the story cool and on point, and there are some attractive design sensibilities. Unfortunately, the overall experience doesn't feel as cohesive as it could. At its core there is a great Persona story and experience but the move to the new systems and Omega Force's take on the series highlights why it is that Persona needs its turn-based combat and carefully considered character narratives. This is an excellent title in its own right and probably Omega Force's best work yet. It's just lacking that special something that would make it a stellar Persona title. It might have worked better as an expansion to the original Persona 5 as the story is awesome.

Developer

Omega Force

Publisher

Atlus

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I really love the look of Persona, and was so excited for it to finally arrive on Switch... but then read that this was simply a Musou game with a Persona skin... and given how much I dislike any of them, including Hyrule Warriors, sadly I think I need to pass Smilie and just keep hoping for P5R at some point, instead.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

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