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Persona 5 revolutionized the JRPG genre, being one of the largest and most popular JRPGs in recent memory. Though it is so strong, there is also the fact that it has a pseudo-sequel in Persona 5 Strikers that helps to extend its reach. These two games, despite sharing so much in common, surprisingly have many more differences than you might realize. When it comes to Persona 5 vs Persona 5 Strikers, which one comes out on top?
That is the question I aim to answer here. I played and reviewed both when they first came out, spending hundreds of hours with each of them. As such, I have spent enough time to have a definitive answer as to which is ultimately worth your time.
If you can only spend your time with a single unbelievably long JRPG, there is a clear answer to which one that should be. Find out the solution I came up with in this Persona 5 vs Persona 5 Strikers.
Bottom Line Up Front
At the end of the day, there are a lot of similarities between Persona 5 and its sequel, Persona 5 Strikers. They use the same characters, world, and even Personas. The key differences between the two have to do somewhat with the graphics, some of the newer characters, and even the combat, which is entirely action-based.
But the sequel nature to Persona 5 Strikers makes it difficult for newcomers to come in and understand everything going on. Couple that with the vastly superior Persona 5 in nearly every category, and the clear winner between the two is Persona 5.
Main Differences Between Persona 5 vs Persona 5 Strikers
The main differences between Persona 5 vs Persona Strikers are:
- Persona 5 has a turn-based combat system, whereas Persona 5 Strikers focuses on an action-based battle system.
- Persona 5 lets you do a wide variety of side content, like going to school and building relationships with Confidants, whereas Persona 5 Strikers focuses almost entirely on the primary story experience.
- Persona 5 features the signature Palace dungeons in the Metaverse, while Persona 5 Strikers has Jails as its dungeons.
- Persona 5 takes place almost entirely within the confines of Tokyo, whereas Persona 5 Strikers takes place all across Japan.
- Persona 5 starts the story of the Phantom Thieves and stealing hearts, whereas Persona 5 Strikers is a sequel set several months later and dependent on the previous game.
Persona 5 Graphics
On the visuals side, Persona 5 is an impressive step up from the previous games in the series. Despite being available on the ancient platform of PS3 and PS4, Persona 5 set the series standard for this almost cel-shaded, highly stylized art style that features some of the most gorgeous menus and UI ever in a video game.
The characters have a nice mix of their 3D selves in the vibrant and sometimes dark world with the 2D anime-style portraits otherwise. It makes for a unique graphical style that is stunning, especially in battles when you have so many effects and everything happening across the screen.
This is all before considering the various Palace dungeons you visit in the game. Each has unique styles, ranging from a traditional medieval castle to a spaceship. Couple this with the highly realistic recreation of Tokyo, and you have a solid set of graphics for Persona 5.
- The mix of anime style and cel-shaded art helps Persona 5 to look unique and brilliant, despite its aging platform in the PS3.
- The various dungeons look so intriguing and varied
- The characters have fascinating designs that help each one, including even the side characters, to stick out in a good way
- Some of the best stylization and menus for a video game
- There are times when the PS3 dependency shows in Persona 5’s graphics
Persona 5 Strikers Graphics
On the other hand, we have Persona 5 Strikers. Unlike its predecessor, it removed the PS3 platform and stuck to modern-day consoles. This change helped the graphics improve, but the differences aren’t that drastic. The camera seems slightly different, providing a more expansive worldview.
There is more detail in the world, too, allowing further backgrounds and more comprehensive levels to explore. Many enemies are on the screen at once, giving a grand feel to the environments that even Persona 5 couldn’t capture. That said, it lacks some variety when it comes to the new Jail dungeons that you visit.
Thankfully, it makes up for that in the cities that you visit. Persona 5 Strikers is on a much larger scale than its predecessor, letting players explore the entire country of Japan rather than just a single city. This provides a surprisingly realistic look at cities like Kyoto, Osaka, Sendai, and many more. And with the few new characters come even more striking character designs for which the series is known.
- The cities across Japan offer intriguing visual styles and recreations that help Persona 5 Strikers never feel too similar.
- The environments are much more massive, with many characters and enemies in the background.
- The new characters have solid designs that are sometimes even more extravagant than most of the existing cast.
- The Jail dungeons are a far cry from the varied nature of the Palaces in Persona 5. They feel too repetitive and similar to the cities in which they are featured.
- There are noticeable visual problems like pop-in issues and stuttering at times, likely due to the vast number of monsters onscreen at once
Without a doubt, Persona 5 Strikers is the newer game, so it benefits from some graphical improvements all around, but they are only slightly better than Persona 5. In fact, some of the risks, like the Jails and the numerous enemies onscreen, hurt the game. However, the variety of cities you explore and the new character designs help Persona 5 Strikers only slightly edge out in this category.
Persona 5 Gameplay
When it comes to gameplay, Persona 5 has it all. You can explore massive dungeons, battle tons of enemies, and even hang out with your friends. In the combat realm, specifically, the turn-based battle system of Persona 5 is the best strategic combat in any video game ever.
Even titles after Persona 5 haven’t been able to triumph over this game’s brilliant tactical turn-based combat. Collecting Personas and then using their skills in battle is so fast and fluid, even with up to four party members on your team at any one time.
In fact, there are Atlus games (the developer of Persona 5) that came after, such as Soul Hackers 2, that don’t even compare to the system in Persona 5, despite having similarities. There is nothing like the in-and-out nature of Persona 5 and the fluctuating difficulty that you can adjust as need be.
- The single greatest turn-based combat in any video game to date
- The battles are fast and fluid, despite being strategic
- The difficulty is flexible and can go up and down depending on your preferences
- Boss battles are an actual test of everything you’ve learned
- Turn-based battles aren’t for everyone. The speed may not be enough to compensate for the lack of mechanical control that other games offer.
- Dungeon exploration can be too linear and even frustrating at times
Persona 5 Strikers Gameplay
Persona 5 Strikers takes the most significant departure from the main Persona series in its gameplay. There are no menu selections for your next move, waiting until your next turn or any of that here. Instead, Persona 5 Strikers uses an entire system that revolves around hack-and-slash action-based combat mechanics.
You can run around the map, slashing over and over at the enemies you face in combat as much as you want. But the Personas from the core of the series are here, too, letting you select special skills whenever you want to use them in battle. There are also some environmental obstacles to take on that let you switch your strategies in the middle of these action-packed battles against tons of enemies at once.
The boss battles are intriguing, too, usually involving massive foes with more challenges than other foes. However, the challenge and uniqueness are a bit lackluster compared to how it works in Persona 5.
- The action-based combat is unique for the Persona series
- Battles let you freely maneuver around the field and feel like you’re in control of everything
- You still have Persona skills, so that aspect of the series lives on in a much more intense manner
- The action-based combat idea is fun, but it feels a bit mediocre and like an experiment more than anything.
- It lacks the impressive strategy that is felt in other Persona titles
- The dungeons and bosses are incredibly lackluster compared to Persona 5
Persona 5 is the clear winner here in the gameplay department. Even though Persona 5 Strikers comes after, it learns almost nothing from what its predecessor did, instead choosing to go in a risky action-based direction.
While this move is welcome and helps to differentiate this title, I still vastly prefer the turn-based nature of Persona 5. After all, it is the best strategic combat I’ve ever played in a game before compared to a mostly mediocre hack-and-slash system in Strikers.
Persona 5 Story
The storyline in Persona 5 is hard to top, telling the tale of the Phantom Thieves. This group of misfit kids trying to save the world while breaking free from the chains holding them back is compelling and superb. While the game is much more character-centric than story-based, there is no doubt how beautiful the story’s themes are.
There are some genuinely breathtaking twists and moments, too, including in the first arc of the entire game. There are still some surprises that happen that still shake me to my core to this day. While there are other Persona games with better stories, Persona 5 is among the best in the entire genre.
The places this story goes and the scenes it tackles are shocking and dark at times. But it matches this well with comedy in such a glorious way, feeling like the perfect blend of the goofiness of Persona 4 and the depressing nature of Persona 3. It is one of the finest JRPG stories ever made.
- One of the best JRPG stories ever made.
- The blend of wackiness and depressing moments are balanced so well
- The themes and writing in this game are surprisingly mature
- Some of the twists still haunt me to this day
- It falls just short of some of the other stories in the Persona series
- This focuses much more on the characters rather than the plot itself
Persona 5 Strikers Story
The story in Persona 5 Strikers is an odd one. Unlike its predecessor, it feels much more plot-based than character-based, which is a weird twist for the Persona series. That said, it works in a way since the story revolves around this summer vacation trip across all of Japan to save the day once more.
The idea of needing to return to the Metaverse is a bit odd, especially if you played the ending of Persona 5, but this is mostly just an avenue to explore a different side of the unseen world. The individual storylines with each of the villains are arguably better at times than some of the villains in Persona 5, especially as you reach the final sections.
This more significant focus on the overall plot works, and it leaves some room for questions about what’s happening and some solid twists of its own that occur.
- A much larger focus on the overall plot than in Persona 5
- The villains have better story arcs than the ones in their predecessor
- The plot feels much larger and more expansive, given its focus on all of Japan
- The plot can sometimes feel a little forced, given how Persona 5 ended initially.
- The twists aren’t as impactful as that of Persona 5
- The writing needs a bit more attention to detail, as it feels like it takes a backseat to the gameplay
Persona 5 Strikers attempts to put more of the focus on the overall plot than Persona 5. Even still, though, it doesn’t do enough beyond its focus on all of Japan to outpace its predecessor by that much.
Persona 5, on the other hand, has some intriguing twists and turns that stuck with me, even though it focuses more on its characters than the overall writing. As such, I have to give this to Persona 5 by a slim margin.
Persona 5 Characters
The heart of any Persona game is the characters. Each game lives or dies based on the cast of characters that it has. And many would say that Persona 5 has the best cast of characters in the entire series. I agree with that if you include the Persona 5 Royal version. But the base version is up there, even without some changes.
The Phantom Thieves are some of the best characters I’ve ever seen in a video game. They become a family over the course of their adventure, and they show the true power of friendship in a way that most video games aren’t able to do.
This is helped by the fact that you can befriend and even romance the main characters in the game, helping to elevate their personalities and stories. The craziest part, though, is the fact that even the side characters not part of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts are worth spending time with at the same time.
- One of the best casts of characters in any video game
- Persona 5 puts such an emphasis on the characters and spending time with them
- It elevates when you raise your Confidant ranks
- Even the side characters defeat some main characters in other games
- Persona 5’s base version misses out on the fantastic changes and additions to the cast in Royal.
Persona 5 Strikers Characters
As teased in the story section, Persona 5 Strikers takes a step down in the character department. Sadly, it moved the core story to the forefront and disrespected its characters in a way in the process. Sure, the main cast of Persona 5 are all here, minus a couple, but they are almost useless.
The game doesn’t do much at all with the original Phantom Thieves’ stories, instead focusing on the new characters. Those couple of new characters are great, don’t get me wrong, but they aren’t as compelling as some new additions in something like Royal, nor are they able to carry the entire game on their backs.
- You get most of the original Phantom Thieves in another adventure
- The new characters are pretty great
- There are some intriguing twists with a couple of new main characters
- There is a severe lack of disservice to the oldies in the group
- This game lacks some of the best characters from Persona 5
- The new characters, while good, can’t carry the story on their own
This is Persona 5’s category, bar none. Persona 5 Strikers’ greatest flaw has to be in the characters’ department. It fails to do anything compelling with the older cast of characters from the Phantom Thieves. While a couple of new characters are surprising and exciting, Persona 5 has its number with one of the best casts of characters in gaming.
Persona 5 Content
You may have heard about Persona 5 before, such as the fact that it takes over 100 hours to complete. Well, that is not wrong. Part of the reason for this is the immense amount of content that is jam-packed into this title.
The main story is already intense with its various dungeons and an entire year to experience. But then you throw in the optional stuff, such as the dungeon Mementos, tons of side quests, all of the dozens of Confidants to raise your relationship with, part-time jobs, shops, movie theaters, books, crafting, Persona gathering, and more.
And yet, I still didn’t include everything that you can possibly do above. How you spend your days in Persona 5 is up to you, and that is one of the best parts of the entire JRPG. The sheer amount of content begs multiple playthroughs to see everything it offers. While it can sometimes be overwhelming, there is no denying how glorious the content is in this game.
- The main story alone will likely take you 100 hours to complete
- The optional content is well-thought-out and worth doing
- Everything from Confidants to part-time jobs to Persona collecting is some of the best content in Persona 5
- You get some serious bang for your buck with this JRPG
- There is no doubt that this is one of the most overwhelming games in history.
- The sheer amount of content may turn some players, understandably, away
Persona 5 Strikers Content
Persona 5 Strikers takes a much different approach to its content. There are some side elements to mess with, such as collecting the Personas as always and optional treasure, but that’s about it. You don’t have the full-on Confidants system, the ability to spend your days how you like, or anything like that.
This was a grave disappointment for me when I first played through the game, but I came to appreciate the focus it has. It sticks to the main story and doesn’t deviate much from that. This leads to a more cohesive experience that is much shorter and more manageable than the giant that Persona 5 is.
I appreciated this aspect of it, even if I sorely missed some of the other features that could have padded out Persona 5 Strikers. I should note, though, that I played through Persona 5 three times in total (including Royal playthroughs), whereas I only touched Strikers once and have no intention of ever replaying it.
- The focus is on the main story, which is a nice change of pace.
- It is much shorter than Persona 5, which is welcome after how long that game can be.
- It has the ability to fill out the Persona Compendium, which is always appreciated.
- It lacks all of the unique side content that made Persona 5 so fantastic
- No Confidants is unacceptable
- I feel no desire ever to replay this game
Persona 5 Strikers surprised me with a complete Compendium to fill out with Personas to collect and fuse together, but that was the extent of my positive experience with the game. Sure, I appreciated the shorter nature, but the unbelievable content from Confidants to part-time jobs helped Persona 5 be a game that I always wanted to return to.
Other Alternatives to Consider
When it comes to Persona 5 and Strikers, there is a chance that you will beat these games and likely want even more similar games to check out. In that case, I’ve come up with a few titles that I believe are the best ones for you to play to scratch that Persona itch. Since there are some differences, mainly in gameplay, between these two titles, I’m breaking up my recommendations.
Let’s start with the games you should consider if you are a fan of what Persona 5 offers. For those of you who prefer the wide-open battles and action combat in Persona 5 Strikers, be sure to check further below.
Persona 5 Royal – Similar to Persona 5
This guide was mainly focused on Persona 5, but I skirted around mentioning the vastly superior Royal version. This game has an added third semester and a more conclusive story with better new characters that you have to experience.
Persona 4 – Similar to Persona 5
The predecessor to Persona 5 features a much more contained storyline featuring a serial killer in a small countryside town in Japan. The characters aren’t my favorite, but the goofier tone and more diminutive cast lets you get to know everyone much more intimately.
Persona 3 – Similar to Persona 5
My favorite game in the series, this is the darkest and moodiest game in the series. It has some of the best characters, too, with solid character development and twists. The gameplay is a bit outdated but exploring Tartarus is still a blast.
Shin Megami Tensei Series – Similar to Persona 5
This series inspired the Persona games and takes a similar but different approach. It refines the demon-summoning formula and offers a sometimes more profound, more complex turn-based battle system. Plus, the choice in the other endings is always a nice touch.
The Legend of Heroes Franchise – Similar to Persona 5
Only a few turn-based games compare to the breadth and strength of the characters and story in the Persona series. The Legend of Heroes franchise, especially the Cold Steel sub-series, is one of the few examples.
In fact, Cold Steel III is easily the best JRPG I’ve ever played, beating out Persona 5 in every category, including content, characters, and story, only falling slightly short in its turn-based battles.
Tales of Series – Similar to Persona 5 Strikers
This series features action-based combat that is quite similar to Strikers. It is tighter and better built, though, being a much more exciting experience overall. The games I recommend are Tales of Berseria, Tales of Symphonia, and Tales of Arise.
Nier Series – Similar to Persona 5 Strikers
The Nier series features the best hack-and-slash gameplay you’ll find in a JRPG. Better yet, the characters and storylines are surprisingly fantastic, offering something that plays better than Strikers while still hitting you in the feels.
Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana – Similar to Persona 5 Strikers
This is an odd pick, but playing the combat in Persona 5 Strikers feels a lot like this game, but Ys VIII is better in every way. Out of the four Ys games I’ve played, this is the best one in terms of characters, story, world, and music.
Final Fantasy VII Remake – Similar to Persona 5 Strikers
This feels like the popular kid that Persona 5 Strikers strives to be. Its combat is action-based but with a strategic twist, and the world is both modern and fantastical. The characters are genre giants for a reason, with this being possibly the best action JRPG ever made to date.
Question: Are Persona 5 and Persona 5 Strikers the same story?
Answer: No, Persona 5 and Persona 5 Strikers don’t have the same story. They do contain the same characters and world, but Strikers is a direct sequel storyline to Persona 5. As such, you should optimally experience 5 first. But this brings up an intriguing alternative reality: Strikers was just the same game but action-based, which I kind of dig.
Question: Is Persona 5 Strikers as good as Persona 5?
Answer: No, Persona 5 Strikers isn’t as good as Persona 5. It pales in comparison in combat, the storyline, writing, character development, and content. That said, it is still a good game, nonetheless. In review score terms, I would give Persona 5 a 9.5/10, whereas Strikers is more like a 7.5.
Question: How is Persona 5 Strikers different from Persona 5?
Answer: Persona 5 Strikers is different from Persona 5 in several ways, including the gameplay. It has action-based gameplay, whereas Persona 5 is turn-based. It also has new characters not featured in the previous game. Strikers also has Jails, instead of Palaces and features the entirety of Japan, not just Tokyo.
How Does Persona 5 Compare to Past Games?
In the end, you need a definitive answer to which is the better game when it comes to Persona 5 vs. Persona 5 Strikers. I should note that even excluding the vastly superior Persona 5 Royal, the base version of Persona 5 is the better game overall. It nailed the turn-based combat, characters, story, and overwhelming amount of content far more than Persona 5 Strikers.
Honestly, Strikers feels more like a spin-off game, which it is, than a true sequel, even though it directly follows the events of Persona 5. If you have to pick one of these games to play, you should play Persona 5 without a doubt. And if you love it, be sure to check out Persona 5 Strikers, too, for something surprisingly different and welcome.
And when you’re done with both games, I recommend checking out Persona 4 next. As the game that came before Persona 5, it lets you compare and see which one of these games you like more. Believe it or not, a large portion of the fan base prefers 4 over 5, so I’m excited to see where you land on this hot topic.