PERSONA 5 STRIKERS IS A SPINOFF OF THE MUSOU GENRE, BUT, DESPITE OMISSIONS AND LIMITATIONS THAT COME WITH THE WORD “SPINOFF” TO RATS, IT FEELS LIKE A REAL SEQUEL
We currently know of some franchises that have adopted the musou genre to create a spinoff. Dragon Quest Heroes and Hyrule Warriors are two of the greatest exponents.
When I found out that Omega Force, known from the Dynasty Warriors series, and P Studio, the developer of Persona, were getting together to create a Persona 5 spinoff, I figured it would be something like what happened with The Legend of Zelda. and Dragon Quest: You know, a Dynasty Warriors with skin from the franchise in question.
But I was SO wrong. Persona 5 Strikers feels more like an official sequel with a revamped battle system and this was a very nice surprise.
THE PHANTOM THIEVES ARE BACK
Strikers’ story begins just a few months after the events of Persona 5.
The Phantom Thieves are once again involved in mysterious events that they must solve by changing people’s hearts, but although we briefly return to Shibuya; Joker and his friends will also travel to several key cities in Japan, where Osaka, Kyoto and Sapporo stand out.
Basically, our heroes are on vacation and start a road trip releasing hearts in their wake so as not to go to jail.
Forget stories from previous Persona spinoffs like Arena or Dancing All Night, Strikers feels coherent and much more relevant; not like a filler Naruto would be proud of.
In addition, new characters arrive in the franchise, where Sophia and Zenkichi Hasegawa stand out. The first is an AI with vibes from Aigis from Persona 3, while Zenkichi, a detective full of years, gray hair and experience, gives a new dynamic to the group of Phantom Thieves.
There is an option for Spanish subtitles, but it is from Spain.
PERSON 5 PART 2?
Even though this is a spinoff on paper, at almost every moment it felt like a numbered sequel, something like Persona 5 Part 2.
This is because, in general, Persona 5 Strikers follows everything that its predecessor offers: much of the time is spent between conversations with the team, gathering and merging of Personas, exploring dungeons and battles.
If you see it suddenly, you may be mistaking it for the base delivery. This looks and plays mostly like Persona 5.
There are only two very noticeable changes and one notable omission, which might disappoint some Persona fans.
The first change is the palaces or dungeons, here called prisons. The prisons in Strikers are usually the cities we visit in their alternate version: streets and some buildings, which is a big difference against the level design of other Persona. However, despite so many flat streets, there is more verticality now, as jumping mechanics were included in the exploration. Sometimes to continue the player will have to climb buildings or explore upwards.
The second, of course, is the battle system that in Persona 5 was a turn-based RPG. This is where the musou element comes in. Normally, if I think about the musou genre, the image of dozens of enemies dying with only a minimal movement of the protagonist comes to my mind.
Although there are sometimes many enemies on screen in Strikers, the truth is that it takes more elements from the battle system of Persona 5 itself, than from any Dynasty Warriors.
The systems return to exploiting the enemy’s weaknesses based on elements, collecting and summoning Personas, as well as opportunities for extra hits or the famous collective All-Out attack; All of this strengthens the action and separates it from a simple hack and slash.
Already in action and all running, it’s just as if Persona 5 had become an action RPG … with little more enemies than normal.
This change did the series surprisingly well, and while there may certainly be improvements adding even more strategic opportunities, this may well be that breath of fresh air the series needs in future installments.
A PAINFUL OMISSION
Now for the omission: goodbye social and time management part of Persona 5.
There is still a schedule, but it is purely cosmetic, as there is no longer the pressure to explore most of the dungeon in a single day, as you can go and return as you please without penalty. There are no deadlines that will stress you out and force you to improve your social skills faster. In fact, these skills like Intelligence or Courage are no longer there.
And although you keep talking with your colleagues and having special events on the calendar, the system is no longer in place to improve your relationship with them and thus strengthen your People.
Instead there are the bonding points, which rise fighting, advancing the story or cooking. These, in turn, will help you unlock
Skills, ranging from opening certain chests in prisons or having more VPs, to being better in the kitchen when preparing recipes.
This is a stronger change than it sounds, because the best thing about being in Shibuya was managing your time between knowing the stories of the Social Links or going to restaurants or cinemas to improve specific skills.
We are in many more cities in Strikers and what we have to do is very limited. Basically in these recreations of the most iconic cities in Japan we can only buy or talk to NPCs and the latter was incorporated into a dynamic.
Now, before starting a prison, we must “investigate” by talking to specific NPCs who will tell us more about the person who leads the prison. Once we talk to everyone specified, an indicator will mark 100%.
Truth be told, this “research” part is very boring and real city settings feel wasted.
Well, without a doubt the Social Links were my favorite part of Persona, because we knew fascinating stories that gave more depth and personality to the world and the people who inhabit it.
Probably due to the omission of social and time management elements, Persona 5 Strikers lasts for around 40 hours, while its predecessor lasted more than 100 without doing side missions.