The Persona sequence is not any stranger to spin-off video games. You may even argue spin-offs are in its DNA, because the property itself started as a spin-off to developer Atlus’ long-running Shin Megami Tensei sequence. Within the almost 30 years since then, the studio has explored a handful of various genres utilizing the sequence’ memorable characters and storylines. However whereas we have seen our protagonists and their ragtag band of misfits duke it out, dance all evening, dungeon-crawl, and tackle hordes of enemies in a Musou-style hack-and-slash, we have but to see them enterprise onto the gridded subject of a tactics-style sport. Persona 5 Tactica, nonetheless, is right here to treatment that.
I lately received the possibility to play about half an hour of Persona 5 Tactica, and in that brief time, I used to be bought on Atlus’ imaginative and prescient for a technique RPG. Gameplay was not solely plenty of enjoyable however felt like such a pure extension of the sequence. I discovered myself repeatedly impressed by how effectively thought out its tactical challenges had been and the way a lot of the unique sport’s spirit got here by way of in its type and mechanics. Whereas many spin-off titles can really feel like pseudo-experimental methods for a studio to rake in additional cash utilizing a longtime IP, I walked away from Persona 5 Tactica feeling assured the sport can justify bringing again the Phantom Thieves for one more spherical of vigilante justice.
In Persona 5 Tactica, you get the possibility to expertise a brand new Phantom Thieves’ story because the gang will get pulled into some supernatural drama following the disappearance of a Nationwide Eating regimen member. Whereas my time with the sport did not dig too deep into its background politics, it is clear one thing is up. The group then finds themselves not within the Metaverse–the title given to the cerebral universe they tackle baddies in in Persona 5–but reasonably a brand new, alternate world they’ve but to nail down. On this world (or at the least on this portion of the world), the charming-yet-short-tempered Woman Marie guidelines with an iron first and a military of Legionaries. Joker and the group rapidly discover themselves on the outs with this Queen-of-Hearts-esque dictator, and be a part of up with a revolutionary named Erina to assist take her down.
Nonetheless, reasonably than the normal turn-based battles you is perhaps used to, the Phantom Thieves now interact in strategic position-based battle–think XCOM, Closing Fantasy Ways, or the much more apt Mario + Rabbids sequence. This transition works extraordinarily effectively, because it maintains the Persona sequence emphasis scheming to take advantage of your turns however does so in a wholly new manner.
Whereas conventional Persona battles can develop a bit repetitive, having a set space crammed with environmental hazards, locations to take cowl, and distinctive enemy varieties fully adjustments the game–literally. It is now not a matter of exploiting elemental weaknesses, baton-passing, and shelling out All-Out Assaults, however reasonably infiltrating, combining allies’ distinctive skills, and punctiliously balancing offense and protection to take down models. I discovered sustaining cowl and listening to your environment turns into important, as even on the default issue stage, the enemies packed an honest punch.
Every character has their very own ranged and melee assault in addition to the flexibility to forgo their flip and focus to lift their likelihood to do important harm. The sequence’ titular Personas come into play as distinctive character skills. Morgana, for instance, can use his Persona Zoro to summon a gust of wind that can knock enemies out of canopy, whereas Joker’s Arsene doles out a hard-hitting hearth assault that covers a big space. Tactica additionally affords a brand new tackle P5’s All-Out Assault known as a Triple Menace Assault. These are executed by triangulating your characters, which provides one other aspect into consideration when transferring your models across the battlefield. Lastly, every of those battles additionally has a set of distinctive bonus targets, corresponding to “full match in x quantity of turns” or “preserve all characters alive.” Whereas I am undecided if these are purely for bragging rights or provide a reward, the mere presence of them made me wish to be as environment friendly as potential.
All of those parts made the handful of battles I skilled really feel dynamic with out ever straying into “overwhelming” territory. The sport’s tutorials onboard you rapidly, and its straight-forward mechanics stop confusion. That stated, there may be loads of room and alternatives for battles to ramp up in each problem and complexity, and I hope they do. Whereas I instantly sensed and located myself appreciative of Tactica’s recent strategy to fight, it is simple to see the way it might stagnate if Atlus would not up the stakes and constantly introduce new parts and ways into the combo.
And although I did not get to spend a substantial amount of time exterior this new world and its battlefields, the time I did spend was heart-warming. I used to be delighted to listen to the unique voice actors reprise their roles because the Phantom Thieves–to hear their acquainted bickering and laughing as a lo-fi model of “Beneath the Masks” performed within the background. Whereas I might now not freely roam round LeBlanc’s, I loved the visible novel-style artwork behind the characters and the way comforting it nonetheless felt. Whereas it could possibly be divisive, I discovered the sport’s chibi-style character artwork extremely endearing. And past that, it additionally establishes a really clear and separate id for Tactica–one that makes it really feel honest and considerate reasonably than Atlus milking its hottest franchise.
Based mostly on my time with it, Tactica looks like a pure companion to Persona 5 in addition to a viable possibility for future spin-off titles. It takes the fight we all know and asks that we barely rethink it–that we see our acquainted allies and assaults in a brand new manner. There’s plenty of potential right here for lots of enjoyable, and I’m excited to see the way it performs out. Persona 5 Tactica is scheduled to launch for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Sequence X|S, and Nintendo Change on November 17.
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