Atlus has been knocking it out of the park in the roleplaying genre, firmly establishing the Persona series as a cornerstone following its early form as a spin-off of the Megami Tensei franchise. Now, the attention is turning towards a more strategic slant on things with Persona 5 Tactica, with the beloved Phantom Thieves returning once more.
What is Persona 5 Tactica?
Taking place sometime towards the end of Persona 5, players will join the Phantom Thieves in the Metaverse, where The Kingdoms and the Legionnaires are at odds, with the latter led by the monarch Marie.
Quickly overwhelmed and brainwashed, only Joker and Morgana are left unscathed, rescued by the Rebel Corps and their leader, Erina. Striking a deal with the rebels in order to save the rest of the team, this new tactical adventure begins in earnest as more strange and alternate worlds are introduced, providing the flexibility and creative freedom to bring even more worthwhile causes into the mix.
A Spin on Combat
While Persona 5 Tactica is canon, this new game will switch out the turn-based battle system many have associated with the series for a different offering, tasking players with navigating a grid-based map and engaging in more strategic decisions out in the field.
Restricted to just three characters in the active party, the numbers game is seldom stacked in the favour of the player. Instead, making smart decisions is the only way to survive. Whether you are using close-range attacks or firearms, making full use of cover to negate damage, exploit elemental strengths and weaknesses, or simply taking the higher ground, it all contributes to the combat efficiency of the Phantom Thieves.
The ability to switch control from one character to another also expands the possible combat options, where attack orders can be set up and executed in one fell swoop. Instead of all-out attacks, players can count on the Triple Threat attack — Tribangle, where the party forms a triangle using smart positioning and damaging all enemies caught within. Successful hits will charge up the new Voltage gauge, and when it’s full, players can pick from a variety of powerful abilities to turn the tide.
The battlefield itself is also an active part of the combat, with interactive elements that can pose a threat as well. Clever use of hazards like explosive barrels can make a world of difference, and unwittingly stepping into the range of surveillance cameras can summon enemy reinforcements to make things even more difficult.
As for the Personas, fusion is once again a key part of the strategy, so be sure to head into the Velvet Room often and speak to Lavenza, so you can call upon more powerful fusions that have all sorts of useful skills and abilities.
It all makes for an exciting and intense experience in every battle, and there is no better feeling than watching a tactical gambit pay off as things fall into place. However, watch out; the enemy is more than capable of doing the same.
Naturally, Persona 5 Tactica doesn’t forget about the importance of characters and their growth in the role-playing sense, featuring several skill trees for each party member that players can invest in using Growth Points. Each tree also has various branches that can be pursued, giving players their own unique Phantom Thieves fit for the occasion.
More importantly, players are never locked into their choices, with free resets allowed at any time. So, for those willing to experiment or needing to change things up for an upcoming battle, feel free to do so at your leisure.
These Growth Points can be accrued from gaining levels or, more in line with the series, by engaging in social interactions in the form of Talk events back at the hideout. While this is familiar to veterans, the team has made sure that there are fresh conversations and situations to venture into in Persona 5 Tactica, giving even more dimensions to a beloved cast of characters. The same goes for the newcomers like Erina, which can only be a good thing.
While Persona 5 Tactica might be positioned as taking a different route than the mainline games, there are familiar series concepts that make a welcome return, albeit with a fresh twist. This makes the game more enticing not just for those who want another exciting adventure with the Phantom Thieves, but also for the players who are more into cerebral gameplay. With Atlus at the helm, the roleplaying fundamentals are strong, and this cross-genre journey looks to be another homerun in the making.
Persona 5 Tactica is out now on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam. Visit the official website for more information.
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