23 April 2024
Games Technology

Persona 5 Tactica Has Me Questioning If I Need Extra Phantom Thieves Video games

About 5 hours into Persona 5 Tactica, the tactical RPG spin-off of the Phantom Thieves’ supernatural adventures by corrupted Tokyo, I discover myself serious about Persona 5 Royal greater than what’s happening on this group’s newest journey. That is much less a condemnation of Tactica than it’s the broader dealing with of Persona 5 and all its spin-offs and prolonged media for the reason that authentic recreation launched in 2016.

Tactica is ok sufficient to date. As we talked about in our final preview, the tactical fight riffs on Persona’s established turn-based mechanics by retooling them for a position-based, strategic battle system that could be a bit easy at first, however ramps up a couple of hours in. The soundtrack is stuffed with bangers, together with new songs carried out by Persona 5’s signature vocalist Lyn and remixes of outdated tracks. Plus, it’s all the time a delight to see Joker, Ryuji, and all their mates as soon as once more.

A lot of what I’ve performed within the first 5 hours is what I noticed again in August, save for a couple of extra story beats. The mysteries aren’t that juicy to this point, however I gained’t spoil them right here. As an alternative, I’m reflecting Persona 5’s household of spin-offs, and the way Tactica falls into the identical traps each recreation earlier than it fell into, however I’m hopeful it would crawl out of it by the top.

Pre-order Persona 5 Tactica: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Ryuji prepares to fire his shotgun at a crouched enemy.

Screenshot: Atlus / Kotaku

With rumors of Persona 6 floating round, each time I see the Phantom Thieves feels prefer it could possibly be my final, and meaning wrestling with what I would like out of a Persona 5 spin-off, and questioning why they haven’t hit the identical as the unique.

Persona 5’s spin-offs’ story struggles

Tactica ignores the new conclusion added in Royal by conveniently going down through the authentic story, quite than including onto it. It doesn’t go so far as the Strikers does by pretending Royal by no means occurred, nevertheless it does appear hellbent on not acknowledging something that got here from the “definitive” ending of the beloved RPG to date. Persona 5 Royal launched three years after the unique and is the model that was ported to each different platform below the solar. Its new finale put the Phantom Thieves on totally different paths that felt like a profound strategy to conclude the unique story, launched characters who added to the Phantom Thieves’ story, and added a redemption arc for a villain the bottom recreation solely hinted at.

In spite of everything that setup, Persona 5’s spin-offs have executed all the things of their energy to push Royal, its new characters, and new arcs out of the collective consciousness. The collection has discovered methods round transferring Persona 5’s story ahead, whether or not that be by Strikers not going down inside the Royal timeline or, Tactica, Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, and Dancing in Starlight all slotting inside a narrative that’s already been instructed. Why did I play one other 120 hours if we have been all simply going to overlook it occurred?

Persona 3 and 4’s casts bought farewells in spin-off video games that gave us a way of who they might grow to be, whereas Persona 5’s forged feels frozen in amber, unable to be greater than they have been on the finish of base Persona 5. And Royal’s ending has been just about relegated to a profound “what if” situation. Seeing the Phantom Thieves in Tactica is like assembly up with mates I haven’t seen in a very long time—however that’s like each time I get to play a brand new Persona 5 recreation (of which there are actually 5), so it’s beginning to really feel like seeing mates who I’m slowly operating out of issues to speak about with. Nothing has modified since we final noticed one another, even when their chibi artwork model is totally different and the usual turn-based fight has been changed with a tactical battle system that feels overly easy within the shadow of Baldur’s Gate 3.

Ryuji and Morgana argue, with the former saying "Watch it, or Captain Kidd'll serve us up some fried cat!"

Screenshot: Atlus / Kotaku

Persona 5 Tactica might have a few of that story development ready on the finish, and provided that Akechi and Royal add-on character Sumire are stars of the sport’s day-one DLC Repaint Your Heart, it at the least confirms that Tactica takes place inside Royal’s canon. But it surely, as soon as once more, slotting into the margins of Persona 5’s story as an alternative of being additive has reignited this specific frustration. It additionally has me questioning what I would like out of a Persona 5 spin-off—and if I even need extra of them.

For the final decade, I’ve been completely content material to eat up no matter Persona spin-off Atlus and P-Studio needed to crank out. I am keen on the Dancing video games, Persona 4 Area is an all-timer, I might have beloved a Persona 5 combating recreation, and the Q video games have been a low-stakes, fan-servicey romp by some actually well-designed dungeons. However Persona 5’s spin-offs are caught in a bizarre place—they really feel like they’re simply providing extra of fan-favorite characters with out ever truly doing something with them, locking them in an everlasting stasis, a jail of perpetuity.

Am I outgrowing a forged developer Atlus refuses to let develop up? I hope not. But it surely does make me surprise if it’s possibly time to simply transfer on to the subsequent factor, as a lot as I don’t wish to say goodbye but.

We’ll have a full assessment up forward of Persona 5 Tactica’s November 17 launch on PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Sequence X/S, and Change.

Pre-order Persona 5 Tactica: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop