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Game Over: Persona 5 Strikers

Game Over: Persona 5 Strikers

While I’m not a fan of musou “Dynasty Warriors-style” games, I had a blast with Persona 5 when I played it, and was interested in the direct sequel Persona 5 Strikers. I wanted to see what was next for the characters I knew, and how they were going back into the metaverse which was implied to be no more at the end of the original roleplaying game. Honestly, the way that Omega Force translated turn-based combat into hack-and-slash works perfectly, as well as the enemy “Shadows”.

The story of Persona 5 Strikers sees the gang going on a roadtrip across Japan to find out how people are having their hearts changed by celebrities, and how the ersatz Alexa “EMMA” fits into it. More curious is the new addition to the team Sophie, a digital being who has a body in the metaverse, but lives in main character Joker’s phone in the real world. Where did she come from, and what’s her relation to the Metaverse “Jails” that they keep finding?

In the original game the Phantom Thieves had to put a stop to Metaverse Palaces which were ruled by ne'er-do-wells in Tokyo. They were mostly ruled by people in positions of power whose corrupted desires distorted their inner “Shadow” selves, creating the Palace to store them. Once the Phantom Thieves stole a desire, in the form of a treasure, the ruler’s personality would change and they would seek forgiveness and accept responsibility for their crimes. A change of heart, courtesy of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts.

Jails in Persona 5 Strikers, on the other hand, are used by their rulers to change the hearts of others. Whereas Palaces could only be visited thanks to a mysterious phone app called Metaverse Navigator, Jails are found through the EMMA app which is used by many people across Japan.

As I already mentioned, the game is one of those “run around in third person and fight dozens of enemies” types that I’m generally not a fan of. However, I found the gameplay loop satisfying here as the fights are self-contained. You’re not doing a constant battle from one end of the map to the next, you can sneak around and ambush enemies to gain an advantage. Of course, if you’re spotted before you get the drop on them it increases the alertness level of the Jail, and if that hits 100% alertness you get a game over, just like in the Palaces of Persona 5. You can use items to lower the alert level, or just defeat enemies without getting spotted again.

Outside of the Metaverse you get to control Joker and check out the real world locations to learn more about them. Or, rather, learn more about the type of foods that are famous in the region, because these kids talk about food almost as much as they eat it! Still, it’s great getting to interact with the cast of characters as they’re just chilling between visits to the Metaverse. You can even cook for them, which has the added benefit of giving you useable items for healing.

Something that I didn’t realise until quite late in the game was that each shop has a limited amount of each item to sell. However, by going into the local Jail and exiting out again it will restock the shops. Persona 5 Strikers suggests that you leave the Jail to take a break, restore health, etc, but you don’t have to and for the most part I didn’t. I’d burn through items to restore health, or just swap out party members, and endeavour to complete each Jail in as few visits as possible.

There are requests that you’re sent and can take on, such as defeating a certain enemy type with a specific character or move. These can get you unique items, but honestly for the most part I ignored them. I’d finished the Jail, I didn’t want to traipse back to a place I’d already completed just to locate 10 particular shadow types… To be fair I did go out of my way to do a couple of them, because some dialogue choices give you social points which you can use to get upgrades. Stat increases, passive abilities, that sort of thing. Well, some of those require you to hand in requests before you can increase its level, and while I forget which one I wanted now, I really had to do it.

The only thing that didn’t make it across from Persona 5 is the time management aspect of the game. I think that might be why I felt like I had to complete Jails without leaving them, because leaving the metaverse in Persona 5 meant that the next day would come sooner, and I would have less time to do things like try to romance Makoto. She is Best Girl, I am not taking questions at this time.

While I can’t honestly say that I was surprised by the twists in Persona 5 Strikers’ story, I did enjoy it very much. The gameplay was also decent and not too difficult, with higher difficulties available for those who are better at it than me. Being able to “pause” the action while choosing a spell and swapping characters at will were welcome changes to the type of musou that I’m familiar with. The new characters introduced are fun in their own ways, and there’s even the odd cameo appearance of familiar ones here or there. Honestly, I’d be up for another direct sequel either as a turn-based RPG, a musou, or even another completely different genre!

Andrew Duncan

Andrew Duncan


Guaranteed to know more about Transformers and Deadpool than any other staff member.

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