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Game review: Persona 5 Strikers (PS4)
Wed, 17th Feb 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The original release of Persona 5 came out in 2017 and instantly became one of my favourite games of all time. Even though the game took me over 100 hours to complete, the long length didn't deter my enjoyment of the game.

Persona 5 mainly shined because of its great characters and strong story. Sure the gameplay was also fun, but the dialogue and plot are what made me love the game so much. I was sad when I finished the game because I didn't expect a sequel to be made.

To my amazement, a direct sequel has been announced and we finally see the release of Persona 5 Strikers in 2021 for the PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC platforms. Though it has been years since the release of Persona 5, in the video game's timeline Persona 5 Strikers takes place only six months after the first game ended.

In Persona 5, Joker and his high school friends (named the Phantom Thieves) go inside the Metaverse which is a special place where you can change the hearts of villains. They thought the Metaverse disappeared after their heroic acts of the first game, but it has come back and more work is needed to be done.

In Persona 5 Strikers, the Metaverse can be used to manipulate the desires of ordinary human beings. For the Phantom Thieves' first investigation, they find out a popstar named Alice Hiiragi is using the Metaverse to force Japanese citizens to become obsessive fans of hers.

The fan obsession becomes dangerous because they end up being broke because they spend too much money on Alice Hiiragi merchandise. Some men also even ditch their girlfriends/wives to fall in love with the popstar instead.

There are other investigations that happen throughout the game, but I don't want to spoil the fun in this review. All I'm going to say is that weird stuff continues to happen in Japan and the Phantom Thieves have to make things right again.

As for the gameplay, Persona 5 Strikers ditches the turn-based RPG combat system of the first game. Rather than taking turns in combat, Strikers is like a Dynasty Warriors game where you can hack-n-slash your way to victory.

Persona 5 Strikers is more than just a button mashing affair because the combat is more engaging than that. This is thanks to fact that you can choose to play as many of the main characters and you can swap them in and out at any time. The only character that has to be in the party at all times is the main character named Joker.

Aside from just using physical attacks on enemies, there are also special abilities and magic that you can use too. Each character is tied to their own Persona and their special abilities can focus on the weaknesses of enemies. If you knock down an enemy, you can do an “All-Out Attack” which enables you to attack a whole group of bad guys.

At the end of each dungeon (called a Jail in this game), you will have to face a final boss. Bosses have larger health bars than everyone else, so you have to make sure you're fully prepared before you encounter them. Using health magic and items is a great way in order to make sure your allies remain safe in battle.

The Jails in this game are also quite large and they're not just linear, narrow corridors. Some of the Jails have secret passages you have to find because many paths and doors might be locked. It's cool there are many checkpoints you can use as you need to save often in order to get past all the enemies successfully.

Outside of the core gameplay, Persona 5 Strikers does share some of the same features as its predecessor. You can still walk around small towns in Japan to do side missions or buy food and items to help you inside the Jails. It's cool exploring in this game because there are several new areas you can visit that wasn't in Persona 5.

As for its visuals, the graphics in Persona 5 Strikers still looks like a cartoon. The 2D anime style graphics matches the tone of the game brilliantly. Style has always been a huge factor in the Persona series and this game retains the look of the original game perfectly.

While there are a lot of great things to talk about Persona 5 Strikers, the game only has a few flaws in my opinion. One thing some people might not like about the game is that it's very dialogue heavy. You may have to go through 30 minutes or more of dialogue scenes before you are able to enter combat again.

The game also does not have many of the cool side activities that you could do in the original Persona 5. It's not a huge loss, but it's something that might upset some gamers that liked to go out on dates in the previous game.

I also think that it's best that you play Persona 5 or its re-release Persona 5 Royalbefore you tackle Persona 5 Strikers. You get a better idea of the story and its characters if you have played the previous game. You might not understand the story too much if you play Strikers first instead.

That being said, Persona 5 Strikers is a great sequel that is just as enjoyable as Persona 5 was. The story is still excellent and the combat system is fun and engaging. It may feature too many dialogue scenes, but other than that I still loved playing this game.

Verdict: 9.0/10