This preview is written using the retail copy of Persona 5 Strikers on Nintendo Switch and will cover information upto and including the first boss with any spoilers placed in their own section, so anyone wanting to go in blind can skip over them.
Persona 5 Strikers is a sequel to the award winning Persona 5, however not in the traditional sense. What separates each game is how each treats combat; Persona 5 is a turn-based JRPG while Persona 5 Strikers turns combat into a musou battle. The musou genre is synonymous with the Warriors franchise and the many spin offs that have been released, from Hyrule Warriors, Fire Emblem Warriors, and One Piece Pirate Warriors. What separates these spin-offs from Persona 5 Strikers is that this is more of a Persona game with musou combat, instead of being the entire focus of the game.
The gameplay is mostly like Persona 5 where you explore a dungeon, collect items to heal yourself, level up, and use equipment to make your characters stronger. However with the combat being musou, combat feels more reflex-based and a lot of fun to mess around with instead of the more slow, thought-out combat typical of turn-based RPGs. Fans of Persona 5 will find many familiarities throughout the game whilst exploring the new story, and while you don't need to have played Persona 5, there is a lot of information that will be missed, including how the team formed, where you are staying and who everyone is, as well as character relations having no context.
There are a couple of negatives from a technical perspective that I have noticed from playing the Switch copy of the game, with the biggest point of contention being the load times between maps are quite lengthy. This is probably more due to the Switch’s lack of power and highlights the need for a Switch Pro for more intensive games like this. So far though I haven't noticed issues with the graphics during gameplay or any noticeable framerate issues in my time so far.
The combat flow feels natural and relatively fluid with each character having their own unique playstyle that matches their weapons and personalities. You can also take a moment in the combat to freeze time and use your SP to cast one of your persona’s skills at will, however you can weave it into your combos with no SP cost, using the correct YX combination. Overall though, I have been thoroughly enjoying my time with Persona 5 Strikers and highly recommend the title to any fan of the series.
Here is your spoiler warning for story content. Turn back now if you want to go in blind and experience everything for yourself.
It’s been around five months since Joker visited his hometown and is now returning to Tokyo for summer holidays to catch up with his friends and go camping together. However, it only takes a single day before everyone is dragged into the game's plot as the metaverse has returned and somehow people are taking advantage of it to control the general public. The story already has me hooked due to Igor currently absent from the Velvet Room, the metaverse returning, and catching up on all the characters that made me fall in love with the game. The flow of the plot feels relatively natural for the characters to meet up on their summer break, however it is still yet to be seen whether it feels forced due to the metaverse returning with no explanation so far.
The trigger of all these events is an idol named Alice who is sending people to the metaverse via a code through this new AI program named Emma. Upon arriving in the metaverse, her victims are having their desires stolen from them and, in turn, become Alice’s slaves essentially. Unfortunately, Futaba still plays the navigation role and is unplayable, however the game makes great use of her as she is used to hack open doors while the player is defending her in what has been dubbed a Hack Battle.
Persona 5 Strikers is a true mix of both genres and it’s exciting to finally be able to dive into it with an english localisation and the returning voice cast. The story has already hooked me in with its intriguing plot, being a continuation of the events from the end of Persona 5; and with that, look forward to a full review closer to the release date from us here at Switchaboo as I make my way through Persona 5 Strikers.
Thank you for checking out our Persona 5 Strikers Switch preview, thank you to Five Star Games PR for the preview code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:
- Andrew Caluzzi (Inca Studios / Camped Out)
- Jon Crispe
- Matthew Sandstrom