As summer break arrives, Joker returns to Tokyo and reunites with friends from his Phantom Thieves days. But when a new threat emerges and puts their vacation plans on hold, The Phantom Thieves of Heart re-enter the stage to save the day and clear their name in the process.
When Persona 5 was released, it became a massive success within the RPG genre. And it became even bigger once its main protagonist Joker got announced for Super Smash Brothers Ultimate as the first official DLC character (not counting the Piranha Plant pre-order bonus).
Now, two years later, the western market is getting its hold of what is officially a sequel to the original. However, unlike its first entry, which has yet to be ported to other consoles outside of PS3 and PS4, the sequel arrives for Playstation 4, Steam, and Nintendo Switch. Having played the expanded version (Persona 5 Royal) and being someone that spends most of his time reviewing games for Nintendo consoles, it felt quite fitting to review this persona(l) experience and strike while the iron was hot
Whereas the original is more of a turn-based RPG, which gives you the freedom to approach your journey and school year in whichever way you chose, Strikers takes a different approach. Its hack n slash battle system, reminiscent of a Dynasty Warriors game, makes the experience more linear and direct than the previous installment. Though the hack n slash angle is to be expected with Koei Tecmo being involved, it never comes off as a crossover like Age of Calamity does. Speaking of its Dynasty Warriors-style, unlike in the Breath of The Wild prequel, there is next to nothing when it comes to a noticeable frame rate drop. I dare say there were so few of them that one could argue this point is a nitpick. This goes for playing handheld and/or docked.
However, the biggest problems within the game lie in the structure of the “jails” that you infiltrate. Due to the lack of abilities to garner the game’s answer to a traditional “mana potion”, you could find yourself constantly looking for the closest checkpoint you can find to exit and re-enter a jail for the sake of refilling your Stamina Points; because you need SP to use your “Personas” abilities. It arguably kills the flow of the gameplay in many instances. If the developers had simply added something such as it being re-filled whenever a character leveled up, which is common on most Koei Tecmo crossovers, it would had helped a great deal.
The voice acting for this game is superb. Both the veterans that return to their respective roles and the newcomers introduced to the world of Persona 5 excel in their performances.
I don’t often mention this aspect of a piece of media in my reviews; but it would be blasphemous if I did not mention Persona 5 Strikers original soundtrack. It inherits the torch of top tier video game music from its predecessor and keeps it lit proudly. There is a reason why these catchy tunes have already blown up on Spotify.
I find this game a worthy sequel to the original Persona 5, even with its flaws. The story is easy to follow even without playing the prequel, but Persona 5 Strikers is without question a game that is easier to recommend to fans of the original, even with the changes of gameplay in mind.
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