Final Thoughts : Persona 5 Strikers

Months after the game initially released in the U.S., I have finally finished my playthrough of Persona 5 Strikers! After over 75 hours into the game, I even acquired the Platinum Trophy for it.  Since I initially shared my First Impressions of Persona 5 Strikers, I wanted to share my final thoughts on the game now that I’ve spent much more time on it and completed it.

 

 

i never liked sophia

I know, I’m heartless. But I just never really learned to love the character or to even see her as a Phantom Thief.  From the beginning, Sophia was just an unneeded gimmick to me, and lacked the presence of the other characters. Plus, I found that much of her journey echoed Morgana’s to find his place is the world and where he belonged, so that it was just a literal rehashing of that storyline, but not as well done. Sadly, this is basically Persona 5 Strikers in a nutshell.

 

same formula

 

And the same can be done for the rest of the storyline, to be honest. Persona 5 Strikers copies both vanilla Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal (which was in development at the same time), but never does as good as a job as either of the other games. For instance, [spoilers] the Metaverse takes over the real world, as a god attempts to rob humanity of pain by taking its free will. This is a carbon copy from both Yaldaboth and Maruki, [/spoiler] but lacks the emotional punch that either of those games do, especially Persona 5 Royal.  

 

This is even though the game follows pretty much the exact outline of both Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal, with the Phantom Thieves entering distortions in the cognitive world known as Jails, and ruled by corrupt monarchs. Like in the other games, each Phantom Thief encounters a Monarch that they have a big connection with. In the original games, Kamoshida’s Palace is Ryuji and Ann’s, Madarame’s is Yusuke’s, and Kaneshiro’s is Makoto’s and so and so forth.  The same happens in Persona 5 Strikers, but on a much more superficial and less heart-wrenching level. For instance, the first Monarch, Alice, is an idol figure that Ann knows. Ann despairs that Alice has lost her real reason for being an idol and reminds her throughout the boss fight with her. Nowhere in sight is the physical abuse or sexual harassment of students at the hands of a celebrated teacher.

 

On smaller levels, there’s even more similarities, such as corrupt politicians and police officers, and an insider cop, Zenkichi, trying to bring it all down one way or another. But Zenkichi’s story is a pale imitation of Akechi, and his position and pain. Like Akechi, Zenkichi is forced to play nice with the police and other corrupt agendas in order to achieve his true goal. But the only time Zenkichi’s story reaches even an iota of that same emotional high is when Zenkichi’s daughter, Akane, gets involved. And of course, Persona 5 Strikers makes Akane a huge fan of the Phantom Thieves in order to make her seem more relevant to the story, but she’s really just a plot device.  Despite his daughter, I never found Zenkichi’s throwing in with the Phantom Thieves very believable–a police officer willing to throw away his career and possibly go to jail for a bunch of strange teenaged criminals, but not for his View Spoiler » This seemed really unlikely to me.

 

doesn’t deal with past plot

It really irked me that Persona 5 Strikers does not once mention anything serious, like the death of Haru’s dad, but mostly the character of Akechi. Admittedly, Akechi is one of, if not my absolute favorite character from the other games, but it was freaking awkward for the Thieves to mention Shido, but never once Akechi, their former teammate who sacrificed himself for them to live. The only person who even slightly references the Detective Prince is Akane, who mentions in passing that sometimes there are eight Phantom Thieves, and sometimes, there are nine. Just wow. You’d think there’d be at least some leftover trauma from one’s peer being murdered before everyone’s eyes, but doesn’t seem like there is. Thank god we have Persona 5 Royal to deal with that.

 

Not a lot of character growth

Honestly, nothing life-altering happens in Persona 5 Strikers, and with the fate of the world supposedly hanging in the balance once again, that’s not a good thing. Characters lack a lot of their nuances from the other games, and are more caricatures of themselves than anything else. The Thieves don’t spend a whole lot of time hanging out with each other outside of the action of the Jails, either, with most interaction happening in the form of bland requests, which are no big deal if you miss them—the world’s not going to end if you miss Makoto cracking open a watermelon on the beach, you know?

 

The battle system grew on me

 

Despite what I felt was a lackluster story that was afraid to take any chances or to stray from the mold of the original games, the battle system was definitely new and innovative. At first, I found the hack and slash battle system really overwhelming and like a lot to manage. But as I progressed through my playthrough, I really grew to like it! I got used to having to dodge, being able to attack with both guns and melee, and welcomed being able to unlock Bond points to make my party members even more battle capable. I also really enjoyed being able to switch between characters and their very different playstyles, which really kept the grind feeling fresh. (That being said, it is completely ridiculous how long it takes to max out bond points).

 

 

Though I did ultimately end up enjoying Persona 5 Strikers, the fact of the matter is that the game is basically a fan-service spin-off that sticks to the same tried-and-true formula of the original Persona 5 games, without taking any risks or adding anything necessary to the series as a whole.  The best thing this game, which lacks the heart of the originals, has to offer is the new battle system, and a chance to catch up with our old friends and to meet two new lackluster ones on summer vacation.  If you’re a huge Persona 5 fan, the game is definitely fun, but don’t expect a revolutionary experience in the series.

 

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Final Thoughts : Persona 5 Strikers - Blogging with Dragons

Posted September 10, 2021 in Games

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4 responses to “Final Thoughts : Persona 5 Strikers

  1. I pretty much agree with everything you said here! I never liked Sophie either LOL. Like you said, the overall plot ended up being way too similar to P5. How did you find the grind to get your Bond points maxed out? (it nearly drove me insane)

    • I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that felt way. I’ve seen a lot of other persona fans really like Sophie. The bond points trophy was the worst. K switched the game onto easy difficulty, and spammed Metatron until all of my party members were level 99. Then, I started a New Game Plus on Merciless and went to Sendai Jail and farmed the dire Shadow there *over and over* until I maxed them. He gets stun locked by blizzard spells, so it was at least easy ?

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