For years, Persona has worked as a solid role-playing series, engaging players with its epic storyline and memorable characters. But the series has also made the foray into other genres, like fighting (Persona 4 Arena, anyone?) and even dancing (who doesn’t remember the Dancing All Night spin-off?). But now, with the success of Hyrule Warriors and the later Dynasty Warriors games, Atlus has teamed up with Omega Force to give Persona 5 a try with the formula. Enter Strikers.
But this isn’t your typical entry in the Warriors phenomena. Sure, you get to beat up enemies like crazy with a number of members in the Persona cast. But you also get to experience some cool action/role-playing elements that fit wondrously into the series. The end result is a game that might surprise you from left field, even more so if you’re a fan of the franchise.
The events within the game follow Persona 5, but it’s easy to get caught up if you didn’t necessarily conquer that game. It revolves around Joker, Morgana, and their crew of Phantom Thieves once again getting caught up in a whirlwind adventure, all revolving around – wait for it – a corrupt and highly popular phone app. What follows is a journey that sees the Phantom Thieves doing what they do best – wreaking havoc.
While the story sounds silly. Omega Force has done a splendid job blending it in with the Persona universe, making the game feel just as fresh for its world as the latest Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity did for Legend of Zelda’s. These guys understand what makes a world tick, and modifying it into their familiar Musou system is really something.
The gameplay isn’t routine Musou, though. Sure, there are hundreds of foes to beat up, but we’re talking about Persona here. There are some crafty role-playing portions that really blend in rather nicely, making each of the bigger battles in the game lively and fun to partake in. What’s more, seeing what each character brings – instead of just the typical Joker – is refreshing, and may have you changing up your favorites. After all, it’s Phantom Thieves, not just a Phantom Thief.
This also opens up the game’s world rather nicely, as you explore Persona’s world and discover new enemies that you can get the jump on. What’s more, the special techniques are dazzling, albeit limited, per an SP meter. Balance it properly, however, and you’ll watch the Personas flash across your screen with ease.
That said, the game can feel a little grindy at times, and, with any Musou title, there is the possibility of repetitiveness setting in with some players. Still, there’s more freshness here than we were expecting, and that makes Persona 5 Strikers something special in the typical field of Musou games.
It also looks fantastic, with a wonderfully designed world and great character animations that almost appear ripped straight from the Atlus universe. Fans will be right at home here, and the Switch version doesn’t disappoint. The camera can be slightly problematic in some places, but not enough to delve off the sheer energy this game provides. The soundtrack is excellent as well, along with the dialogue and sound effects.
Even without the core Persona experience on Switch (we didn’t even get Arena, man!), Strikers stands out as a gem on the system. It plays wonderfully and offers a deeper experience than we’re used to from Omega Force, and the presentation is on point, despite some mild hiccups. If you’re any kind of a fan – or you just want to keep busy until Joker and his team make their next go-around – you shouldn’t miss the chance to add this game to your library. It’s like a heist that works in your favor.