First Impressions : Persona 5 Strikers

With Trails of Cold Steel 3 finally completed, I am free to play Persona 5 Strikers. At present, I have less than ten hours in the game, right before sending my first Calling Card, so I thought it was the perfect time to share my very first impressions of the game!

 

 

Good to be back among (Most of) The Phantom Thieves

 

I know that Persona 5 Strikers is a sequel to the original Persona 5, and not Persona 5 Royal, but I have to say I really miss Akechi, and to a lesser extent Kasumi. Sophia doesn’t make up for their absence, in my opinion. With Morgana as mascot character and Futaba as our hacker extraordinaire, Sophia feels very redundant, at least in the point of the game I’m in so far. It feels like she is trying to fill spaces in the Phantom Thieves that are already taken—Morgana is the hope of humanity taken physical form and Futaba is our human computer. It’s kind of insulting to think that after all the Thieves have been through, that they can’t figure out their new foes and their Jails, without the help of an AI. In fact, we already see Morgana putting together most of the new pieces of the puzzle without Sophia’s help, and Futaba is the one who hacks obstacles to let us through, so really do we need the gimmick of Sophia? I think not. I also find that Sophia’s persona is super underwhelming too, and can only hope that evolves into something other than what resembles a bunch of blocks.

 

Menus look great

The party menu shows Joker leaping up to join Ann.

I am in love with these dynamic menus. Seeing the Phantom Thieves together in the menu is really cool. I wish they had combined the menus and made them into a dynamic theme for my Playstation, to be honest. The Phantom Thieves are my favorite cast of Persona characters, so I adore seeing them all together. I honestly haven’t taken a Persona 5 theme off of my PS4 since I platinumed Persona 5 Royal. 

 

Feel like a weak excuse to reunite

 

I know, I know, this game is a sequel to the vanilla Persona 5, and not Royal. But it’s hard to go from the storytelling of Royal, which shows the characters trashing Maruki’s false reality—something that granted them all of their wishes, even bringing loved ones back to life—and choosing to live in the less happy true world, to this summer vacation trip of Persona 5 Strikers. Likewise, at the ending of both the original and Royal games, we saw the characters going their separate ways and pursuing their separate goals, choosing to grow as individuals rather than as The Phantom Thieves.

 

So to me, it seems a little cheap to have the gang meet up a mere six months after the events of the original game, almost as if they hadn’t decided to go their separate ways, and to pick up where they left off as The Phantom Thieves. I feel like Atlus is more than capable of coming up with a better reason for the gang coming together again, but they went with the easy “summer-vacation-road-trip-route.” It’s especially odd after how both Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal treated Joker’s return home, as a final closing of the chapter of The Phantom Thieves. The game also glibly  brushes off how life in his hometown was for Joker, who merely says it was fine. We know nothing about his parents who shipped him off to Sojiro in Tokyo, or anything else about his home life. While not rare for Persona games to be vague about a protagonist’s background, it is glaringly obvious in this game.

 

Though I think Atlus could have done a better job with the concept for this game and the overall narrative and writing, I am honestly just so happy to be back in the same world with the same characters that I don’t care about the weakness of the plot. I guess you could say that The Phantom Thieves have completely stolen my heart, ha ha. (Sorry, not sorry.)

 

 

Opening with Alice Hiragi doesn’t hit nearly as hard as the other games

 

One of the things I liked so much about Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal is that it didn’t shy away from dealing with extremely tough topics, like child abuse, mental trauma, suicide, and sexual assault. Both the original Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal opened with the abuse of a teacher at the Phantom Thieves high school, Shujin Academy. Not only did Ann have to deal with the unwanted sexual advances of the teacher, but also her best friend being used as blackmail to manipulate her, and the entire school turning a blind eye to his known abuse of his volleyball players because his teams keep winning their matches. Kamoshida also threatens Joker on multiple occasions, exposes his status as a delinquent, and has injured Ryuji’s leg in the past, effectively ending his track career, which he was depending on to get into college and take the financial pressure off of his mom.

 

There was so much riding on the changing of Kamoshida’s heart in the original games, and I just don’t feel the same sense of tension and urgency in Persona 5 Strikers, with Alice Hiragi. Yes, there are a few references to the trauma of bullying she experiences, but it’s nothing like the widespread and extended period of abuse that the characters experienced in Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal. Maybe the writers of Persona 5 Strikers felt they didn’t have as much to prove in their light-hearted, summer vacation romp, but it certainly lacks the serious undertone.

 

New Battle System

The Phantom Thieves look great in action battle system, it’s seamless and looks how you would imagine The Phantom Thieves actually fighting, but I miss and prefer the turn based battle system of the other games. I find the system of Persona 5 Strikers to be overwhelming, with everything there is to manage and to look at. However, it does combine a lot of the traditional hallmarks of Persona, such as all out attacks, requests, baton passes, and more with the action based system. It still feels like a Persona game, even though it’s battle system is completely different.  Fans of action RPGs will probably really love this fast-paced new system.

 

Divider

 

Have you played Persona 5 Strikers yet? If so, what are your thoughts on the game?

 

Divider
First Impressions : Persona 5 Strikers- Blogging with Dragons

Posted March 19, 2021 in Games

Tags: , , , ,

2 responses to “First Impressions : Persona 5 Strikers

  1. I’m also playing through Strikers right now! I also found (and still find) the combat to be a bit overwhelming, but as I’ve continued to play, its grown on me a bit. As you say, it feels strange coming into this game with Royal fresh in mind, because those new characters being absent hits hard – Sophia feels dull in comparison. Hope you enjoy the game, and looking forward to your thoughts once you finish it ?

    • Thank you! Hopefully, I will get used to the combat too… eventually ? Yeah, I just think this game isn’t up to par with the others and that they are capable of more because we’ve seen it! Still really enjoying it anyways ? I wouldn’t be averse to a more serious sequel though. ?

Geek Out:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.