“It’s all style and little substance in this sequel / split from Persona 5.”
Lack of convincing gameplay
Persona 5 Strikers is more of a sequel than the previous Persona spin-offs, but it doesn’t live up to fans’ high expectations. Persona 5 fans who just want more of this world, in whatever form, will be satisfied even if what made Persona 5 really great is sorely lacking. Its reserved nature does not offer enough for newbies either – – Those intimidated by the density and length of Persona 5 will still see Strikers, a 30-hour action game in the hack-and-slash form of Dynasty Warriors, in exactly the same way.
All of the fantastic visual and acoustic elements are still there in Persona 5 Strikers, and the story goes in some interesting directions, but everything stagnates compared to the epic story told in the original game.
Strikers feel like Persona-Lite
Not only was Persona 5 able to hold gamers’ attention for nearly 100 hours or more, it also told a story so compelling that many people were eager to play it again right from the start. With the main character Joker, a fish out of the water who slowly expands his social circle over time and withdraws the mystery of his own past and the fantastic world he and his friends face, it was a game about that one begged to be played – and one that for the most part justified its ridiculous length.
All of the fantastic visual and acoustic elements are still there, but everything stagnates compared to the epic story told in the original game.
While Strikers makes up about a third of the run time, its incentives to keep playing dry up relatively quickly. The mystery of the return of “palaces,” an otherworldly manifestation of people’s subconscious, is quite an interesting storyline, but it lacks the personal side that was the driving force of the original game. The characters in whose palaces the Phantom Thieves dive are nowhere near as interesting or well developed as those in the first game, and the desires that define their unconscious dimensions are only superficial in comparison.
The Phantom Thieves themselves are as well-written as ever, but when fully sculpted from the jump it just reminds you of how great their getting together was in Persona 5. Without this trip, it’s just a lot of hilarious banter and nudge buttons occurring within the group. This extends to the gameplay, which has many different elements from the original game but drops the incredibly popular social stats and links. Playing as a joker is like a fly on the wall, with the character’s interjections not having nearly the same weight.
There are a couple of new cast members joining the team. I don’t see them going to be anyone’s favorites though, as they’re mostly treated as a means of operating the plot rather than as fully worked out additions to the thieves. Given that Strikers serves as the sequel to Persona 5, the lack of the new and interesting characters that Persona 5 Royal fans loved makes this spinoff pretty thin.
Musou gameplay lacks a challenge
Persona 5’s turn-based gameplay has been replaced with the Musou gameplay from Koei Tecmo’s Warriors series. This is one of the main reasons Strikers is a shorter proposition than its predecessor. The game does an impressive job of translating many of the combat elements from the original game to the split, and there are a surprising amount of attacks and abilities the player can use to stay true to the spirit of the series.
Playing as a joker is like existing as a fly on the wall.
Another recent Musou game did something similar. In Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, almost all of Link’s sleeve tricks from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild were carried over into the spin-off prequel. Age of Calamity is an example of the tight integration of these features, and it just goes to show that Strikers didn’t.
Whether you’re pressing the attack button, quickly swapping characters with a “baton”, or doing great damage to a character’s Persona skills, there is very little strategy other than gaining your VP for advanced attacks. Persona 5’s turn-based combat could have dragged harmless battles out longer than necessary, but every conflict felt crucial – – One wrong move could prove disastrous for the squad.
The game impressively translates many of the combat elements from the original game into the spin-off.
There is no such threat in Strikers. This can be seen in the number of times the game gives you a lifeline. Most battles can be ended in seconds if the player feels the tide turning, and dungeons have incredibly frequent checkpoints where players can leave and regroup for free. In Persona 5, the decision to tackle a palace required careful planning, and once you were inside the only way forward was. The dungeons in Strikers offer so little challenge that I didn’t feel compelled to buy new items or equip new equipment on a regular basis.
Persona 5 Strikers is as eye-catching as Persona 5, and features the same beautiful artwork and animation, great dialog, and brilliant music. Unfortunately, it lacks the meat on the bone that made the original an addicting experience for its loyal fan base. It also offers little incentive for newbies to play it, although it dramatically shortens its immense length.
Is there a better alternative?
Age of Calamity is a superior musou game. Those looking to immerse themselves in the world of Persona, as daunting as it may be, better spend their time with Persona 5 Royal.
How long it will take?
Even rushing through the main game, it would take a player anywhere from 20 to 30 hours, or between 30 and 50 hours if they stayed nearby and smelled the roses.
Should you buy it?
No. Only die-hard Persona 5 in desperate need of more Persona content will get much out of this split.