The Phantom Thieves Strike Again! – Persona 5 Strikers – First Play
Persona 5 Strikers, known as Persona 5 Scramble in Japan, is a Warriors-style Shin Megami Tensei Persona game. The game was released February 20, 2020 in Japan, and February 23, 2021 in the rest of the world. It is available on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows. I played the Microsoft Windows release. Persona 5 Strikers is published by Sega, and developed by Omega Force.
I was apprehensive when I learned that Persona was making the genre switch to a Warriors-style game. It made sense for Zelda, even Fire Emblem since most of the focus is on weapon combat, but Persona is an RPG and one heavy on magic, and demon summoning. Not the kind of magic to be wielded interactively in close combat.
To my surprise, they seem to have made it work. You can briefly pause the action to cast the spells of your Persona. It’s a little like it works in Dragon Age but with the traditional Persona menu system in place of the command bar.
Besides, the magic. The combat is your usual Dynasty Warriors gameplay. Each character has unique weak and strong attacks. Your up against many enemies, most of which are not much of a threat. Unlike most Warriors games though, your not defending and taking territory but rather clearing dungeons which makes more sense in the case of the Persona series.
Dungeon crawling is split up by town exploration (much like it was in Persona 5), and visual novel segments handle the story elements. Occasionally, you can make a choice to alter the conversations a little bit. Whether these choices impact the ending or not remains to be seen.
It is highly recommended that you first play Persona 5 as the game assumes you have played it. Set after the events of Persona 5 Royal, it seems to be to a direct canon extension to the story. The phantom thieves are planning a vacation but it is soon interrupted by a new case. Our phantom thieves find themselves in this games alternative to the palaces, jails and it is up to them find out just what is behind this new phenomenon. Also, making an appearance is a mysterious AI virtual assistant who seems to have a connection the metaverse.
Graphically, the game continues the style of the games - both with the UI and the gameplay. The graphical style is cell-shaded which fits the series very well. And extremely stylish. This is Persona, after all. They have done a great job of adapting the Persona 5-style to the Warriors genre.
The PC port is running great. I had no problem with my modest rig (Ryzen 3500, GeForce 1060) at a solid 60 fps.
The game is immediately available on Steam as well as the respective stores of the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.