RPG fans and Shin Megami Tensei: Persona spin-off enthusiasts; this week marks the English release of Persona 5 Strikers. This title is both a spin-off and sequel to 2018’s wunderkind JRPG Persona 5.
What kind of game is it? Instead of being a turn-based RPG, it’s an action RPG game with tactical elements. If you’ve played the Dynasty Warriors or Hyrule Warriors series, you’ll get into Persona 5 Strikers just fine. If we’re being honest, it’s just a slightly-complicated 3D beat-em-up featuring anime characters. Unlike most Warriors entries, there is a level of thought and care put into the package.
This feature is just to give you a heads up; if this game is right for you.
Where Is Persona 5 Strikers In The Timeline?
This spin-off is the sequel to Persona 5/Persona 5 Royal, so it takes place a few years after those storylines. You still play as Joker and control the Phantom Thieves in this sequel.
How Does Persona 5 Strikers Play?
It’s an action RPG. Like we said: if you’ve played Dynasty Warriors and similar hack-and-slash titles with minimal RPG elements like leveling up and upgrades, you’ll get into Persona 5 Strikers quick and easy like a lax teacher moonlighting as a fetish maid.
Players in the game infiltrate Jails, beat up Shadows, sneak up on them for advantage-laden battles. Your heroes can wield Persona attacks, with Joker being able to use multiple Personas at once. When you pick a skill, you freeze time: this is where the tactical maneuverability bits come in. You can use skills to exploit weaknesses; hitting Shadows with elemental weaknesses stuns them. If you stun them all, you can pull off an All-Out Attack for big damage.
Do I Need To Play Persona 5 To Enjoy Persona 5 Strikers?
Not really, though I would recommend you do so to feel a bigger attachment to the Phantom Thieves. While the game does a good job in making Persona 5 Strikers self-contained with just references to the past game as just that, it does help that you are up-to-date with Persona 5/Persona 5 Royal. Thankfully, the story in Persona 5 Strikers does not outright rely on the previous games.
Still, we do recommend you play Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal on PS4 (or PS5 since it’s backwards compatible with next-gen consoles). PC and Nintendo Switch players get squat, unfortunately. At the very least, you don’t need to play Persona 5 Royal if you’ve played Persona 5 already to enjoy Persona 5 Strikers’ story & character development further. We understand that not many of us can spare an extra 100 hours to replay a bonus round Persona game.
But I Don’t Want To Spend 100 Hours To Play Persona 5 And I Wanna Know The Gist Of The Plot
Okay, here’s your spoiler warning.
In Persona 5, the Phantom Thieves (led by Joker/Ren Amamiya/[your custom protagonist name]) are tasked to take down a series of public figures. To do this, they need to infiltrate the target’s literal Mind Palace in the Metaverse, a realm that exists outside the normal world. These Mind Palaces form when its ruler’s bad thoughts become highly distorted. Defeating the ruler’s shadow deep in their Palace will change their hearts.
While you’re doing all this, you also have to serve a full year of school in Shibuya, Tokyo. You can make friends, participate in after-school curriculum, eat giant burgers to boost your courage, and hook up with older women and possibly break social taboos. All these things will improve your Social Links with special folks called Confidants. Better Social Links with these Confidants (be it from a successful meet-up or date) means better Personas to fight evils & Shadows in the Metaverse with.
After taking down the last major target, corrupt politician Masayoshi Shido (ie the guy who caused Joker to be in this predicament in the first place), he has his heart changed just after he wins the parliamentary elections. However, people are still clinging to him; this is due to an underlying threat called Yaldabaoth, the God of Control. His plan is to “release” humanity from its free will. Naturally, our heroes win, defeats Yaldabaoth with a giant magic gun, and destroys the Metaverse.
Are There Social Links In Persona 5 Strikers?
Yes, they are, but it’s more basic now. You can spend time with your fellow Phantom Thieves through optional social events, but they won’t be as impactful as Persona 5/Persona 5 Royal. Stuff you did in those old games won’t carry over.
What Else Is New/Dumbed Down?
- You need to switch party members so that they gain EXP during infiltrations and level up appropriately. If not, someone from the team will be left behind.
- Cooking in the game is now expanded. Instead of just coffee and curry, Joker can cook a variety of meals from your camper van as long as you have the recipe for a specific dish and the ingredients. Food in this game not only restores HP and SP (health and mana, respectively), but also increases your BOND meter with your team.
- Requests are different in Persona 5 Strikers. You can complete requests inside Jails and the real world; these offer rewards like BOND points, new weapons, or money. Unlike the previous game, you can replay some requests for farming/grinding purposes.
- If you have a Persona 5 save file on your PS4/PS5, you can unlock a Persona 5 sound set where you can use the original battle music in Persona 5 Strikers. To unlock this for the Nintendo Switch, just have a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate save file/play history handy in your Switch’s storage since Joker is playable in that game.
We hope that this guide will set your expectations for this Persona 5 spin-off and clear up any confusion. Persona 5 Strikers is available now for PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch.