I have come out several times on the blog as a fan of the JRPG series “Persona”. In order to be able to play “Persona 4 Golden”, I even bought a PlayStation Vita. I also tested “Persona 5” here in the blog – and of course the improved version “Persona 5 Royal” too. Now a new offshoot is available: “Persona 5 Strikers”. However, this is not a role-playing game, but a hack-and-slash game in the style of the “Dynasty Warriors” series. In my test, I’ll tell you whether the jump to a new genre has been successful.
In “Persona 5 Strikers” you go into the field with old and new characters against hundreds of hordes of opponents. This is the typical style of “Dynasty Warriors” and its offshoots, also known as Musou games. The developers of Omega Force, in turn, are known for this type of game – in addition to “Dynasty Warriors”, they have also adapted the game principle for “Hyrule Warriors” with characters from Nintendo’s “The Legend of Zelda” and “One Piece: Pirate Warriors”. Now “Persona 5 Strikers” is the next step.
“Persona 5” is now especially known for its strong story. This is where “Persona 5 Strikers” comes in and offers a lot of what I loved about the main game: The characters are lovable as ever. Morgana, Ryuji, Ann and Co. are all part of the party and can be added to your team of four. You can also see visually that in addition to Omega Force, Atlus’ P-Studio also worked directly on the development. The visual style is 100% “Persona 5”, which extends to the smallest details of the menus and transition animations.
“Persona 5 Strikers” is available for the Nintendo Switch, the PC and the PlayStation 4. I tested the game via backward compatibility on the PS5. Here the game runs smoothly, but of course it is clearly recognizable as a last-gen title. Technically, the “Persona” series has never been a franchise that has set standards. Rather, it is the fantastic art design that also makes the new offshoot an eye-catcher. Anyone who likes to watch anime from studios like Madhouse will quickly be enthusiastic.
However, the turmoil in “Persona 5 Strikers” sometimes ends too much in optical chaos for my taste. As much as I love the motley and deliberately overloaded design: It happened more than once that when fighting against masses of enemies, for a short time, I had no idea where my own character had ended up. In such moments, only a little hammering on the keys will help. Even if button mashing is involved, tactics are also called for in the fights. Furthermore, opponents can be “tamed” as personas and also merged with one another. This happens again in the Velvet Room, a kind of limbo that has always played a role in previous parts of the series.
The soundtrack deserves special praise, as fans of “Persona” probably expected. Here you can hear both new tracks and remixes of songs on “Persona 5”. The mixture of electronica, rock and jazz sticks in the ear and is also awesome outside of the game. The sound effects, on the other hand, are mostly known and identical to those of “Persona 5”. Fortunately, so does the excellent English-speaking voice actors who lend their voices to both old and new characters.
Relationships that otherwise play a major role in “Persona” do not exist in the classic sense of the action-heavy “Persona 5 Strikers”. There are only secondary tasks from some characters that you can fulfill. The visual novel elements are retained, some cut scenes can take a good 20 minutes, but the “high school simulation” has disappeared. So you no longer roam freely through the city doing jobs, studying in the library or looking at what classmates are up to.
In general, it’s a bit of a shame that “Persona 5 Strikers” doesn’t offer much space to explore. Outside of the combat areas, there is little that you can graze. At least there is a lot of variety. Because the new game is not limited to one district of Toyko, but takes you through all of Japan. In the battles, however, you have little time for sightseeing, because then the hordes of opponents overwhelm you. As in the main game, you should send the right persona into the field in order to be victorious. It works on the rock-paper-scissors principle.
For example, a creature is then resistant to ice, but susceptible to fire and so on. During the fights you will be accompanied by up to three AI comrades who are busy getting involved and also providing comments. In general, it should be noted that the character development is somewhat weaker than with the full-fledged JRPGs of the series. The main story is essentially a modified version of “Persona 5” and most of the characters on your team already know each other, so there is less dynamic in the relationships.
However, playing “Persona 5 Strikers” feels like meeting an old buddy again: Maybe you’ve lost sight of something and the chemistry isn’t exactly the same, but you can still do a damn good job together . Especially since “Persona 5 Strikers” does a lot better than other brands, such as “The Legend of Zelda” or “Hyrule Warriors”, mastering the balancing act of adapting the Musou gameplay on the one hand and its RPG roots and its distinctive visuals on the other Maintain style.
The new characters, such as the artificial intelligence Sophia, are welcome additions to the cast. A little treat for Apple fans: Siri’s English voice, Susan Bennett, is spoken by the digital smartphone assistant EMMA. Kind of random, but for that kind of sprinkling you just have to love the “Persona” series. The boss fights are also highlights again, even if the imagery here doesn’t always fit like a fist, as was the case in “Persona 5”.
“Persona 5 Strikers” is an extensive title. You can’t get close to the more than 100 hours of “Persona 5 and Person 5 Royal”, but you can plan in 30 to 40 hours, depending on how many secondary tasks you take with you. In any case, I really liked this Musou game, even if I usually don’t get so warm with these mass battles by Omega Force. Fortunately, the “Persona 5” DNA predominates here, so I definitely advise fans of the series to play this title as well and spend more time with the phantom thieves.
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