Sunday, January 29, 2023

Persona 5 Strikers live review – IGN

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When a Person 5 spin-off produced in part by Warriors of the dynasty Developer Omega Force was announced, most people assumed it would be a Persona-skinned musou-style action game, similar to other licensed series from the studio like Hyrule Warriors or One Piece: Pirate Warriors. In reality, however, the simple yet engaging real-time combat of Persona 5 Strikers is structured much closer to action JRPGs like Kingdom Hearts, barely resembling a game of musou – and what appeared to be a throwaway summer vacation game actually delivers the story of a full-fledged Persona 5 sequel almost worthy of the ‘2’ Atlus had. avoided putting at the end of his title.

Persona 5 Strikers joins the adorable gang of misfits that make up the Phantom Thieves just months after the end of Persona 5 (awkwardly pretending Royal never happened), swapping his turn-based combat signature for combined hack and slashing. It sounds familiar to you in that you still use characters to cast spells, exploit elemental weaknesses in your enemies, and explore elaborate otherworldly dungeons, but the JRPG fundamentals of the original have been replaced, and many systems developed around it – like Persona’s iconic calendar system is significantly lightened.

Another change is the timescale: instead of going from day to day over the course of a year, Strikers is condensed into a single summer vacation road trip that takes the Phantom Thieves across Japan. It’s a fun version of the previous structure, and the overall story is really great. It escapes some of the same terrain as the first game in a way that generally feels cleverly referential rather than derivative, justifying itself as a different adventure while also linking to the previous one (and even pushing back some of its assumptions) enough to make it happen. feel like an appropriate sequel – at least at story level.

Considering all that is different, it’s truly remarkable how the Strikers still feel like Persona 5 and join the Phantom Thieves as someone who beat the original. and won the PlayStation Platinum Trophy for its Expanded Royal Edition, truly felt like coming home. It was a pleasure to slip into this world so perfectly, and Strikers maintains everything from Persona 5’s wild stylistic flair across all of its menus and user interface to the almost visual presentation of its dialogue (with the same excellent cast of English voice returning) to the downright amazing soundtrack, this time full of excellent high-energy remixes alongside entirely new tracks. It was easy to forget that I wasn’t just playing Persona 5 more when I wasn’t in real-time combat.

Considering all that has changed, it’s truly remarkable how much the Strikers still feel like Persona 5.

That said, no matter how hard developer Atlus tries to present Strikers as an accessible game for newcomers to the series, I really can’t imagine playing it without beating (or at least playing a significant amount of) Persona. 5 beforehand. The characters are all crisp and entertaining on their own – including some great new additions to the cast, which even managed to outdo the new Royal characters in the end – but their stories and the events they’ve been through in the original game are referenced much more often than they are explained. It ranges from mentions of little character moments that happened in Persona 5 to its climactic finale. You could probably still enjoy Strikers’ overall story without that context, but don’t expect to understand things like why a talking cat insists they are not a cat and can turn into a cat too. bus.

There’s also the fact that you start off with a full JRPG party of eight playable characters pretty much from square one. I would much rather have the whole gang together right away, rather than having some arbitrary reason why you have to get them together again, but there certainly seems to be the assumption that you already know the strengths, weaknesses and challenges. general specialties of each. So while I appreciate that Strikers treats their story like a real sequel and doesn’t waste time telling me what I already know, I couldn’t shake the feeling that anyone who hasn’t played Persona 5 does ‘will probably not have about the same emotion. connection to its characters and events. Granted, that’s true for most sequels, but given that Strikers isn’t portrayed externally as a direct follow-up (and Persona 5 still isn’t available on PC or Switch like Strikers), it feels particularly noteworthy. here.

Too fast for the eyes

Luckily, Strikers’ combat is a lot of fun no matter how familiar you are with Persona 5. Battles are broken up into stealthy encounters triggered by the stealth engagement of a lone enemy, but once you do, they’ll explode into a whole lot. horde of wicked. While this is decidedly different from the usual open war zones of a musou, these battles share the signature deluge of this kind of weak opponents who only act as fodder to hack in a satisfying way. However, swimming in these oceans of pushes like sharks are tougher foes that need a more nuanced touch to take them down, usually relying on exploiting one of their elemental weaknesses to shift them for attacks of. tracking and additional damage.

Persona 5 Strikers screenshots

The combat mechanics aren’t particularly deep, but they aren’t superficial either. You build a party of four characters between fights and can then switch between them on the fly while the other three are controlled by the AI, with each Phantom Thief offering their own flavor of Strikers’ simple combo system. Crushing the attack button will chain up a short combo, but ending that combo early with the special button will result in a unique finisher depending on the number of hits before it – for example, three hits first will usually trigger an attack of elemental spell AOE (saves mana from casting it manually), while only one can go fast slashes and agility-enhancing Yusuke to Haru slicing enemies with his ax as if they were firewood. There’s also a dodge button, All Out Attacks to use when you stage enemies, track attacks that seamlessly switch you to another character, and the ability to pause time and cast spells. Persona familiar, but the action really is as easy as two. button combination system most of the time (a base that will be recognizable to anyone who knows many other Omega Force games).

This means that the fights can look quite similar as the campaign progresses, mainly distinguished by the element a villain might use or that a villain might be weak against (which can sometimes be quite punishing if you build poorly. your group and enter a boss fight without any character able to exploit their weakness). But where the fight remains entertaining is in the differentiation and personality of each character. Ryuji, the hitting, lightning-based knucklehead, remains one of my favorites, with a special that can make him flinch resistant and combo finishers that can be charged for more damage. Compare that to Morgana, who makes adorable cartoon noises as she moves and can even transform into a bus in the middle of combat, and each character feels mechanically distinct despite being functionally similar.

Each character feels mechanically distinct despite being functionally similar.

As you travel through Japan, most of the Metaverse dungeons you’ll fight in take up a large portion of the city you’re in, rather than being a single (albeit heavily warped) building. They’ll even transform some of the real-world areas where you’ll peacefully purchase items between excursions to remixed combat arenas. It’s a really weird and cool way to spin the Persona 5 formula – the cities aren’t as visually unique as every palace in The Last Game, but that variety is replaced by a weirdly delicious bit of digital tourism that comes from visiting. and learning. real locations across Japan.

Crucially for fans of the original, the pace of these infiltrations is also dramatically different. While infiltrating a palace in Persona 5 felt like a combination of a race and an endurance test, where managing your magic and health was key to success without wasting calendar days, Strikers is significantly More relaxed. You can almost always come and go of each dungeon at your leisure, which completely heals your team and spawns enemies, and there’s no calendar clock running like time pressure. I didn’t mind this change, as you always need to be prepared with support items and a plan as you go (especially against longer boss fights, where the bad guys were almost always around twice as healthy as they were). ‘it seemed necessary to do so). ), but it’s a very different type of JRPG where the challenge is more focused in bursts.

Likewise, other systems like the Velvet Character Summon Room and Confidential Bonds have been significantly reduced. On the plus side, Velvet Room’s recognizable summon interface has been streamlined in a way that makes it easier to manage my loadout (in part because there are fewer characters available in total). On the flip side, the loss of Confidants and the side stories that come with them is probably the biggest way for the Strikers to stray from what would likely be a true “Persona 5-2”. Instead, you gain bond with your entire squad just by fighting or advancing the story, which can then be spent on lingering skills like increased damage or combat rewards. It’s a good system, with skills worth learning about and cute ways to get extra Leap, like buying local recipes to cook with the team.

But while the main storyline of Strikers is great, the loss of the smaller stories resulting from the choice of characters to hang out with during downtime can certainly be felt. Your team members certainly have fun times and opportunities to shine everywhere, but there’s also less character growth outside of new party members (who, again, are really awesome). That said, it is obviously a very different paced game overall; While Persona 5 takes over 100 hours to complete, the month-long adventure in Strikers took me around 42 hours (which included most of the pretty uninteresting optional queries that earn you better items for revisiting more areas. old). I didn’t mind this comparatively shorter length as I never feel like the central plot is unduly rushed, but it’s definitely a more restrictive experience affair than its predecessor.


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