Aside from the fact you’re battling Persona 5 enemies returning from the original game, you can ambush enemies like in P5 to get a leg up in battle, and you can even enact an All-Out Attack to really lay the smackdown on the battlefield.
Persona 5 Strikers Screenshots
Going into battle with a party of four, players can “Baton Pass” control to each character to employ their different skills, much as you took turns as each character in the original. But with battles being real-time, you may be wondering whether it’s worth it to mix things up in battle like that. Thankfully, P5S lets you temporarily pause the action to plan out your attacks and employ skills like characters had in P5 to fully take advantage of their skillset. Elemental skills, mid-battle analysis, and more return. I don’t of course no for myself whether the new action system actually lets players have the time and space to confidently use all these various skills in action, but everything seemed easy to access mid-fight. I’m eager to get my hands-on the system itself to see how what it shares with Persona 5 translates to real-time battles.
The dungeon-crawling aspect returns and feels like a much more direct parallel to Persona 5’s dungeons. In addition to the standard returning mini-map and other UI touches like character art and the real-world day counter outside of palaces, environmental puzzles like shutting off security cameras and treasure hunting to gain new equippable gear still seem essential to the process. Strikers introduces checkpoints that appear to replace save rooms, and the inclusion of more frequent 2D sections (at least in this palace) led to a little bit more platforming and treasure-chest hunting.Outside of that, I didn’t get too much for a feel of the overarching story in P5S, and certainly didn’t learn much about the new character, Sophia. But where I came into the story, it felt as if the group knew her well enough to comfortably bring her along on a Phantom Thieves mission, so she’s obviously worth some level of trust that makes me intrigued to find out more. And the returning voice cast, coupled with both returning and new music tracks that certainly fit the Persona 5 vibe, and Strikers looks to be building toward an unexpected but welcome return for the Phantom Thieves.
While Strikers looks to be following up on Persona 5’s story, rather than the additions Persona 5 Royal introduced to the world, it’s still an adventure I’m eager to see continue. The returning voice cast, look, style, and genuine attention to detail makes the change from turn-based JRPG to real-time action much easier to wrap my head around. I’ll still need to get my hands-on the action to see if it can hold my attention the way P5’s clever turn-based system did, but my first in-depth look has me as intrigued as ever to jump back into the world of the Phantom Thieves.
Jonathon Dornbush is IGN’s Senior News Editor, host of Podcast Beyond!, and PlayStation lead. Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.