Persona 5 Tactica Review
- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
Persona 5 Tactica is another great spin-off with a great alternative take on the story and exciting strategy gameplay.
- Charming Characters
- Fun Strategy Combat
- Returning Persona Mechanics
- Unique Art Style
- Masterful Soundtrack
- Minor Difficulty Spikes
- Unjustifiably Priced DLC
- Uninteresting Villains
Being a massive fan of JRPGs, playing Persona 5 in late 2017 was a defining moment in my history as a gamer. Not only was it an exceptional title in its own right, but It was also responsible for introducing me to previous entries in the as well as the Shin Megami Tensei games.
And with the exceptional success of the game, came a string of spin-offs. Persona 5 Tactica is one of those spin-offs, and it switches up the gameplay with its own take on strategy combat, I had the distinct pleasure of reviewing it for our readers.
Story And Setting
The story of Persona 5 Tactica picks up right during the climatic moments of the original Persona 5, so don’t expect to understand what’s happening if you haven’t played the base game yet.
We’re immediately put back in Tokyo, at Leblanc Cafe, where our Phantom Thieves are getting ready to bid farewell to their leader. And all’s well until while watching a TV Broadcast, the gang is suddenly transported to another world.
We find out they’re in a world separate from the one they know, in a mysterious place where hostile cognitive beings act as rulers and reign over various Kingdoms, enslaving most of the former inhabitants or brainwashing them.
The Protagonist and the gang are soon confronted by one of the major villains, Marie Anto, who is preparing for her wedding and taking care of anyone who gets in the way.
Her true threat is realized here as she easily overpowers our heroes, manipulating and seizing control of their consciousness and leaving only Joker and Morgana, who end up retreating away helplessly for the time being.
From here, you are introduced to the new characters in this game, Erina and Toshiro Kasukabe. Erina is the leader of the Rebel Corps, a rebellion alliance trying to take back the lost Kingdoms with her revolution, one that gets backed up via the support of the Phantom Thieves throughout the game.
The heartfelt moments between your party members are still excellent, and so are other standout encounters against major antagonists that the Persona series is known for.
Meanwhile, Toshiro is a diet member who gets mysteriously transported from the real world, but I’ll save the part about how he got here and his motives for you to experience yourself due to spoilers.
And since he is still is an up-and-coming politician, Toshiro is initially against the actions and morals of the Phantom Thieves, being opposed to what they stand for, including their ideals.
This minor recurrence throughout the story is definitely a highlight for me, one that made me grow to like Toshiro and appreciate Atlus’ attention to detail when developing characters.
The overall story across my 45+ hours of playtime was rather enjoyable, aside from a few instances where I felt the pacing was too over-the-top. But the heartfelt moments between your party members are still excellent, and so are other standout encounters against major antagonists that the Persona series is known for.
Plus, the new characters and setting introduced in this spin-off title fit rather perfectly, considering the baseline narrative of Persona 5 was always regarding ‘Cognitive Pscience’ and breaking free of modern society’s shackles.
Persona 5 Tactica features strategic turn-based combat, almost similar to XCOM or Fire Emblem. However, it is worth stating that the strategy elements presented here aren’t as hardcore as the aforementioned titles and, as a matter of fact, can be easily enjoyed even if you’re someone who just doesn’t find the genre appealing.
This is coming from someone who’s only played a couple of strategy games, and I felt that Persona’s themes and mechanics translated vert well to this new format.
Most of the game takes place in a mission-based format, so there are no traditional social sim elements present here, nor any kind of exploration. A decent portion of the game revolves around prepping from the hideout, the Leblanc Cafe, which becomes the base of operations for the Rebel Corps.
Despite no social elements here, I really liked the Talk aspect, which allows you to experience extra interactions with the characters and your party members. Some of these events are amusing, while others can give you an insight into a character or ongoing matter at hand, making each narrative element feel engaging.
Combat occurs in large arenas against enemies where each opposing side gets a turn to move their units across grid placements. Attacks can be executed from any position provided you’re in range, and other elements like positioning behind cover for defense bonuses, etc are also present here.
There are also team-based attacks that are essentially called Triple Threat moves, This unique attack command can be executed by knocking out any enemy and having your units flank them from differnt directions.
Any extra enemy caught within that surroundings will also receive damage, which is all the more reason for you to experiment carefully when attempting combat sections.
Furthermore, Tactica still lets you use Personas, the various demons you summon that allow you to use different kinds of elemental abilities and buffs to change the tide of battle in your favor at the cost of your SP.
These abilities and other character stats can be upgraded via the Skill Tree by investing in your GP points earned from completing battles, optional battle objectives, and side quests.
While there are not many roleplaying aspects present here, you can also upgrade or purchase both melee and ranged weapons for your units via the hideout. These can be done via Yen, and I strongly recommend upgrading your ranged weapons ASAP, as using melee attacks in this game can be risky in the later stages.
Most of the game takes place in a mission-based format, so there are no traditional social sim elements present here, nor any kind of exploration.
While on the subject of improving your character’s efficiency in gameplay, another returning feature here in Persona 5 Tactica is the Velvet Room. Though you can’t access it right from the early going, it is here where you can create new Personas to use for Joker.
Later down the line, you can also craft new weapons via specific Personas, and the Fusion mechanic. This is probably my favorite returning mechanic since it kept the combat fresh for me by letting me try out new Personas to use against tough encounters or boss fights.
While there are moments in the game where you can feel overwhelmed by certain boss battles, as long as you’re paying attention, you won’t find it difficult to overcome tough encounters. This is mostly because the game does a fairly good job of telling you the criteria for special conditions to win the fight or complete certain objectives.
Plus, if you get the hang of things here, try to complete the optional awards of combat scenarios to get some extra GP to spend later since the game rewards you decently for playing strategically.
Visuals And Performance
While the original Persona 5 has an anime-inspired character art style, Tactica opts for a rather unique take as the characters are now stylized as “chibi” versions of themselves. It heavily reminded me of the Scott Pilgrim series’ outlandish comic book character designs.
It’s definitely cute, of course, but also, with this kind of art direction the game easily gets a chance to showcase its cartoonish or gag-humor moments vividly.
Tactica opts for a rather unique take as the characters are now stylized as “chibi” versions of themselves.
In terms of performance, I played the game on my PlayStation 5, and while I didn’t necessarily run into any kind of bugs or glitches. I also gave it a go on a GTX 1660 SUPER, and I could run the game on mid to high with little to no issues. This is simply not a very demanding game, so most modern PCs should be able to run it.
While I certainly had bid farewell to the Phantom Thieves back when I played the Persona 5 Strikers spin-off, Tactica felt like a decent ‘what-if’ story to their time spent together. Even though it mentions the pivotal moments of the base game and Royal in its memo entries, it’s thankfully not canon at all.
The strategy-based gameplay is neither difficult nor easy, making anyone feel right at home with being able to play it for the story on normal difficulty. However, while the story does a great job of introducing you to new stakes at hand as well as characters, it still lacks the depth of the original Persona 5.
I would’ve loved it if the game had a few social elements, such as further party member bonding events or anything similar. But despite that, Persona 5 Tactica is still a great title for fans of the beloved JRPG, as it made me fall in love with its characters, music, and original story all over again.
This has been our Persona 5 Tactica Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.
- Remnant 2: The Awakened King Review
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III Review
- Jusant Review
- Like a Dragon Gaiden Review
- The Finals Beta Review
- My Time at Sandrock Review
Get The Game If:
If you are a fan of turn-based strategy games and the Persona series in general.
Dont Get The Game If:
If you expect a game as deep and complex as Persona 5.
Do I Need To Get This Game?
It’s mostly aimed at existing Persona 5 fans looking to revisit some old friends. So if that’s you, then consider buying it
- Persona 5 Royal
- Persona 5 Strikers
- Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
- Persona 4 Golden
- Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
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