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Persona 5 Strikers is one of the most shocking Persona spin-off games to come out for the series. In many ways, both a sequel and spin-off for the series, the Persona 5 Strikers overview will reveal details about this unique experience.
In this Persona 5 Strikers overview, I will let you know about the new characters that arrive in this game, how the gameplay works in this completely different title, and whether or not it is a sequel. Here’s everything that you need to know about this latest Persona game.
Bottom Line Up Front
Persona 5 Strikers is the latest title in the Persona series and one of the few major spin-offs of the widely popular Persona 5 era. It is, technically, a sequel to the original Persona 5, taking place after the events of that game and with a couple of new main characters.
The gameplay is vastly different, though, using an action-based format that is similar to the Dynasty Warriors series while retaining some key parts like collecting and fusing Persona.
What is Persona 5 Strikers?
Persona 5 Strikers was first released in Japan on February 20, 2020, before arriving worldwide a year later on February 23, 2021. What is fascinating about this game is that it was mainly developed by Omega Force with some assistance from P-Studio, while being published by Atlus who created the Persona series.
P-Studio is a newer team at Atlus that is focused on creating Persona games, hence the “P” in the title, but they were only part of the developers for this experience. The bulk of the gameplay style comes from the other developer that worked on this game and that was Omega Force.
If that name sounds familiar at all to you, that is because this is the same developer who is known for Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors franchise. Collectively known as Musou games, the Warriors titles have invaded many different properties and licenses over the years.
Omega Force will take the 1 vs. 1000 idea of its games and then translate it into a series that would normally not play like that. Recent examples include The Legend of Zelda, Dragon Quest, Fire Emblem, and many more. Persona 5 Strikers is the most recent example of this, taking that Musou formula and introducing it to Atlus’ premier JRPG series.
This is all done while keeping many of the core values of Persona 5, including its characters, story, and Persona elements. Persona 5 Strikers may be a spin-off but it is also the closest that we have gotten so far to a spin-off title that is both trying something new and similar to what we have had so far.
At the same time, Persona 5 Strikers sits in this strange place where it is a spin-off that has a detailed storyline that is quite interesting.
It has some wondering whether or not the plot of this game is considered a direct sequel to Persona 5 or even Royal and if it is recommended for you to play. Fortunately, that is where we come in as we will give you the full breakdown of this title, starting with the characters.
Given that Persona 5 Strikers is a follow-up to the original Persona 5, this means that it shares a lot in common with that game including its beloved and fun cast of characters. Many of the main party members from that game return here for an adventure across Japan to stop the Jails that have popped up.
Among these returning characters is the protagonist that you once again play as and that is Joker (the protagonist). Keep in mind that there are some slight spoilers for the storyline and ending of Persona 5 that are necessary to talk about regarding Joker here but nothing too huge.
As you may know, Joker left the city of Tokyo after the events of Persona 5 and was planning to return home. That said, this adventure seems his return to the city and his home at Cafe Leblanc. Following the events of the first Persona 5 game, he is still the same stoic and thoughtful leader of the Phantom Thieves.
He is joined by Morgana who has accompanied him back to Tokyo. Morgana is still able to exist in the real world and is a valuable member of the group as always. The two come back for a summer vacation trip only a few months after the conclusion of Persona 5’s storyline.
The two are soon reunited at the start of the game with the fellow Phantom Thieves, including Ryuji. The best bro is back and has bettered himself since the events of the past game. He quickly joins the group and is one of the first party members that you have access to.
Ann is another member and someone who has mostly passed the final exams for the school year. She is still the model extraordinaire and has a minor connection to the first villain in Strikers.
Yusuke is back in this game and still the aspiring young artist. He feels some similarities and understanding with one of the villains that appears in this game.
Makoto is another returning member and has since graduated from high school. She is currently attending college with her future career still unknown at this point. Unfortunately, her sister is not featured much in this game so there isn’t much of a chance to catch up with her.
Futaba is back in the game and has grown from her shut-in self in Persona 5. She is now living a rather normal student life, attending Shujin Academy, where Joker was previously enrolled, as an average student.
For Haru Okumura, the other third-year from Persona 5 who has since graduated, she is currently in the middle of studying at university in Strikers. She is learning about managing businesses as she prepares to take over her family’s business, Okumura Foods.
Perhaps the most notable part about the cast of returning characters in Persona 5 Strikers is the fact that it only includes these members. You will not see Goro Akechi return as a main party member in this game nor does the newer character, Kasumi, from Persona 5 Royal make an appearance here.
Furthermore, there are very few side characters not part of the group that show up in this game. Even Sojiro makes just a minor appearance at the beginning and that is is it.
Some of the side characters and other Confidants are briefly mentioned at one point but that is all for them. None of them make an appearance here as the focus is on the core cast of the Phantom Thieves and the new characters.
Speaking of the new characters, what is interesting about Persona 5 Strikers is that it includes a couple of new major characters in the story. There is even a new party member that joins the group and her name is Sophia.
Sophia is a mysterious girl that is encountered towards the very beginning of the game and one of the initial party members in the group. This is not a spoiler since it is revealed right from the start that she is an AI that was created by an unknown person to be a companion to humanity.
It is unknown what exactly Sophia’s true purpose is and how she fits into the story of Strikers other than she is meant to assist the group. Through doing so, she learns about herself and develops her personality. She can wield a Persona and fights in combat alongside the group.
The other main character introduced in Strikers is Zenkichi Hasegawa. With a new string of problems and issues that are happening related to the Metaverse from the first Persona 5 game, he is an investigator who is looking into the matters.
It does not take long for Zenkichi to arrive at the Phantom Thieves’ doorstep and he proposes for the two groups to work together to stop the incidents that are happening around Japan. His motives and goals are uncertain but the group works alongside him regardless to gain access to the knowledge that he has regarding what’s going on.
Strikers is set a few months after the conclusion of Persona 5. At the end of that game, we know that Joker and Morgana set off to return to the protagonist’s home after spending his full year in Tokyo. With his story finished, it was, unfortunately, time for him to go back to his family.
That said, Persona 5 Strikers picks up a few months after the fact and it is now time for summer vacation. The Phantom Thieves are out of school for the summertime and Joker has returned to the city alongside Morgana to meet back up with everyone.
In the end, they decide to do a camping trip but it is turned upside down when they end up downloading the EMMA app. This mysterious app sends them to the Metaverse to a Jail found there. It is here that they learn that there are new villains in the country of Japan that are using this app to get away with crimes and evil deeds.
Thus begins a journey across Japan for the Phantom Thieves alongside some new members of the group to find out who is behind the app and deal with every person who is using it to do illegal and evil acts. Along the way, they gain help from a police investigator and an AI who join them in their trek to various cities in Japan.
The setting for Strikers is surprisingly larger and more grand than anything that was featured in Persona 5 or Royal. In both of those games, the story was almost entirely restricted to the city of Tokyo and, even then, usually around the Shibuya area.
Outside of the random story beats like the trip to Hawaii, much of Persona 5 was focused on this one area. That said, Persona 5 Strikers starts much the same way in the first part of the game but then surprises by taking the player across Japan to various cities and regions.
It is a game that features lots of different famous cities in Japan, including Kyoto, Okinawa, Sapporo, and more. You get to see lots of different areas of Japan and they also contain much of the similarly faithful recreation that Tokyo had in the original Persona 5.
Alongside these new cities and areas that you can visit in the game, the setting also includes the new Jails. These are the dungeons that players visit in this game and they differ a bit from what players might be used to from Persona 5.
The Jails are a new type of dungeon that is the focus of Persona 5 Strikers. There is a reason behind this new name for the dungeons since the Palaces are essentially no more after the events of the previous game. The Jails are a bit different but operate in much the same way.
They also take place in the Metaverse and feature shadows that are roaming around for players to defeat. They are also ruled by a lord who is presiding over this area and is the reason for its existence. It also features much of the same idea of stealing the treasure, or Desires in the case of this game, to stop the villain.
What is unique about the Jails, though, is that many of them are pretty wide and grander in scale than those of the Palaces before them. There are a lot of outdoor sections, likely due to the gameplay, for players to explore and plenty of puzzles.
Players usually have to solve puzzles, defeat mini-bosses, and so on to unlock new areas and reach the next region of the Jail.
The largest change in Strikers is with the gameplay. Visually, it is quite impressive how this game looks with a striking similarity to the style of Persona 5. There is even the beginning part where you are exploring the backstreets near the cafe and it is almost hard to tell the difference between the two, even on the Nintendo Switch version of Strikers.
That said, you should not let the looks deceive you as the general gameplay is very different. You might be able to run around and explore in a somewhat similar fashion but the actual combat is very different. This also includes the various activities that you can do in the game.
There are almost no side objectives and activities outside of talking to people and buying items. There is a progression system and leveling up but they are much more focused and limited than what we had in Persona 5. This is to make it clear that this is still a spin-off game and one that is all about its action-based battles.
Strikers represent yet another new foray for the series as it eschews the turn-based battles in favor of an action system that is most similar to the Musou games. There is no slow nature at all to the action or tons of time to plan out what you are going to do.
The basics of the combat is mostly just hack-and-slash button-mashing most of the time. You will encounter a shadow that is roaming around in the Jail and engaging with it will summon a whole bunch of enemies. There are typically dozens of enemies onscreen at once.
Your job is to button mash your way to hit them most of the time. Where the small amount of depth comes into play is the fact that each party member has a different weapon and way of handling the situation. At the same time, they also have access to melee and ranged attacks alike.
There are also All-Out Attacks and other signature moves that you can make if you set up the right situation. There are also the Persona that you have at your disposal that you can use in battle to use elemental spells and other abilities to defeat your enemies.
Like in most Persona games, there are elemental weaknesses and strengths, and you want to always be taking advantage of this. Using an ability that a shadow is resistant to will deal much less damage and have you in the battle for too long.
You can switch between your four selected party members at any point to control, giving them a boost in the process. Most fights, though, are pretty simple and will not require too much effort to win. The only changes are when you have bosses and mini-bosses that you are taking on.
They will have swarms of enemies protecting them and several sections of health essentially. You can even use environmental attacks by swinging on a nearby object and so on to help with winning. With bosses, the key is to reduce each heart to nothing, which will down the enemy, and allow for an All-Out Attack. The point is to keep that up until you can win the match.
Given how different the combat is in Persona 5 Strikers, the one thing that remains the same are the Persona. You can switch between them in the middle of battle, allowing you to heal up, using different elements, and be flexible as you need to.
Of course, to be able to do this, you will need different Persona in your possession. As for how you collect Persona in this game, it is a bit limited but there is a Compendium that you can fill out just like in the main series. Collecting Persona simply has to do with just participating in tons of battles.
As you do battles, you will gain Personas that will join your team and add to your collection. As you go through the main story and try out different Jails, you will have the option to collect different Persona. It is pretty much chance-based in this way so it can take some grinding to get all of the ones in an area.
That said, the fun in collecting Personas comes from the return of the fusion system from the main series. You can visit the Velvet Room, complete with some changes given what happened in the main story here, and view all of the Personas that you currently have.
You have the Compendium that you fill out and can summon older Personas from for money, and then fusion. You can take the ones that you already have access to and fuse them to create a new one. It is worth mentioning that the Personas will level up in battle, too, alongside the leveling that each character has.
Your First Few Hours in Persona 5 Strikers
When you first boot up Persona 5 Strikers, what you will find is that it takes a little bit of time to start going. This is common in the mainline Persona games so that should be none too surprising to you in the end. That said, Strikers is a bit faster and shorter game than its predecessor, likely due to the lack of other content and day-to-day school life.
When you first start Strikers, no spoilers, but you will arrive in town as Morgana and Joker as they show up in time for summer vacation. You will get quickly reintroduced to everyone in the cast and thrown into the very first Jail dungeon. It is here that you will go on a mostly linear path through this dungeon.
It is an introductory section of the dungeon that will teach you about how this gameplay works, how to defeat enemies, how to sneak around, and how to collect Personas. Before long, the main story will kick in and you will be shown the first villain that you need to take down.
Depending on how long you take with this intro part of the game, you can be down with the first Jail in just a few hours time, which is quite different from how Persona 5 was. That said, if you’re like me and take your time with learning the systems, leveling up, collecting all of the Persona, and so on, you could take upwards of nine or even 10 hours to finish this first part.
Is Persona 5 Strikers a Sequel?
Many may be wondering how Persona 5 Strikers connects to the previous game in the Persona series. The answer is, yes, it is a direct sequel to the original Persona 5. It takes place a few months after the end of the school year in which the main story of Persona 5 comes to a close.
After all, Joker was originally only meant to stay in the city for a single year and the end of that year aligns with the conclusion of that storyline. That said, Strikers picks up a few months later as Joker returns to the city for summer vacation.
It does reference some of the events that happen in that game but it does not necessarily spoil everything that happens there, especially with some of the main villains at the end of the story. So, technically, you could kind of play this game without playing 5 but I would never recommend it to anyone.
This is meant for Persona 5 fans and will reward you for knowing the characters already. After all, there is only a little bit of time that is spent focusing on the existing characters as much of the story is centered around the new characters in Strikers.
What is weird about Strikers is that it came out after Persona 5 Royal but it is not necessarily a sequel to that game. It is mainly considered a sequel to the original Persona 5 as it does not reference some of the events that happen in Royal’s third semester.
Technically, Strikers could still be a sequel to Royal but there are themes and story beats that are a bit too similar to that semester, making it feel like they might not be in the same universe. For now, we will have to wait and see on this one.
Persona 5 Strikers may be the most recent entry in the Persona series but there are still other games that you can play once you are done with this one. Here are some of the best alternatives that we have come up with to recommend to fans of this game. Some of these are Persona games that you should play while others are in the Musou genre:
- Rest of the Persona series if you have not already
- Persona Q/Q2 especially
- SMT series
- Dragon Quest Heroes II
- Fire Emblem Warriors
- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
- Dynasty Warriors 9
Question: Is Persona 5 Strikers a Good Game?
Answer: I do think that Persona 5 Strikers is a good game, even on its own. That said, I would never recommend this to someone who has not yet played either Persona 5 or its Royal version. For existing fans, though, this is a great game even and something that you should check out.
• The gameplay is vastly different from the main Persona series and, understandably, not as good as it. Even still, it is the best and most fun iteration of the Musou gameplay that I’ve ever experienced and I have, unfortunately, reviewed a lot of those games in my time.
• The Persona elements are great, too, with the ability to collect and fuse Personas just like in the main game. Though these parts are not too in-depth, it is welcome and helps to make this game better.
• The graphics and style are just like the original Persona 5, which also helps to make this a great game. The story is fine and a bit too derivative but good enough for a spin-off experience.
• The only downsides for me are the limited exploration and other activities outside of combat as well as the characters themselves. The gang is back together but there is such little focus on most of the returning members, which is a bit weird.
Question: How is Persona 5 Strikers Different?
Answer: Persona 5 Strikers is different in many ways, namely the combat. It trades the turn-based gameplay for more of a button-mashing, action system. There are skills and Personas involved but it plays very differently from its predecessor.
It is also different in that it either waters down or removes many of the features from Persona 5, like exploration, side activities, and so on.
Question: Is Persona 5 Strikers a Normal Persona Game?
Answer: No, it is not a normal Persona game at all. That said, it is the most similar to a regular, mainline Persona title out of all of the spin-off games in the series. It contains so many different features and elements that I was surprised by, while also looking just like Persona 5 visually. This is something that I can’t say really about any of the previous spin-off games in the franchise.
Persona 5 Strikers is the most unique spin-off game that Atlus has ever released for the series. I would even argue that it is the best spin-off game, triumphing even over the wonderfully intricate gameplay of the Persona 4 Arena titles. It is a must-play for Persona 5 fans as it continues the story of that game, albeit in a complicated way.
If you want to know about some of the other spin-off games that are in the series, be sure to check out our full guide to the gameplay in the Persona franchise.
Included in this is an overview of all of the spin-off games that have been released up until this point. If you want to know about the different fighting games, rhythm games, dungeon-crawling experiences, and more that the Persona series have tried, this is the place to check.