Announced in June this year, Persona 5 Tactica would certainly not be what the franchise’s most ardent fans expected. The adventure leaves its natural RPG field to take on the tactical component, while maintaining the essence of the series, with the return of the iconic Phantom Thieves.
Over the last few decades, Persona, especially in Brazil, has come to be seen as a niche saga. Massive campaigns, many gameplay mechanics, a very engaging story and the absence of localized texts emerged as barriers to achieving even greater popularity.
In this whole cake, Persona 5 Tactica discreetly appears. And in a completely opposite way, the title goes against an already consolidated formula, and yet manages to be a solid project with many virtues, especially when it comes to a strategic game.
Something — or someone — is messing with the world
After going through some good times, the Phantom Thieves take their traditional moment of rest at the best establishment in the world: Café Leblanc. Suddenly, television news reports about a scandal involving local politicians, and all the attention seems to go to the headlines.
Until, at a certain point, a strange door appears in Leblanc. Instigated by curiosity, the group decides to open the portal to find out why it appeared right there. It is then that the real world completely transforms.
Joker, Morgana, Ryuji, Ann, Yusuke, Makoto, Futaba and Haru appear in a magical world where all of humanity has been replaced by small, peculiar creatures. Meanwhile, an oppressive leader has plans to expand her dominion across the kingdom, spreading fear through the Legionnaires.
Instigated by the desire for justice, the Phantom Thieves assume an alert stance and see their new adventure as yet another way of helping people. What they didn’t count on was that the trip to the alternative reality would have something to do with someone very close to them…
Persona 5 Tactica is an RPG and strategy game developed by Atlus. The title works as a derivative of the franchise, introducing new characters and bringing events that occur beyond the real world — that is, without direct impact on the fifth arc of the series.
Furthermore, the adventure brings an experience where the characters are portrayed in chibi form. Despite this, make no mistake: the design of all of them is very beautiful, whether during gameplay or in 2D or 2.5D narrative scenes.
Traditional elements from the series return, such as the skill tree, persona evolution, original soundtrack and dialogue with choices. However, while text selections do not change the story at all, customization completely changes the difficulty and success of missions.
RTS + visual novel
The Persona 5 Tactica campaign can last up to 30 hours, if all secondary missions are completed and the difficulty level is normal or higher. Of that time, it’s possible to assume that most of it is just visual novel screens and some CGI, while the rest is filled with raw gameplay.
Dialogues occur between multiple characters and are compatible with English or Japanese. Unfortunately, at least at this first moment, the only subtitles available are English and there is still no localization for Brazilian Portuguese and other languages. As the narrative load is huge, many players will miss details from the most banal to the most relevant.
Despite this, Persona 5 Tactica seeks to be as didactic as possible, introducing a semi-medieval universe with maximum detail. All of this, driven by good voice acting and very beautiful animations, makes the game extremely enjoyable.
On the other hand, the turn-based battle system is the real charm. Battles can be quite dynamic, especially when all the mechanics are already available.
Throughout the campaign, Phantom Thieves will be introduced to the subpersona feature. This function allows you to add additional personas to battle settings, contributing passive or active effects.
Additionally, subpersonas can be fused to enhance effects and grant more powerful perks. Later, it will be possible to break them to manufacture unique weapons, each of which is characterized by having an exclusive attribution: shock, sleep, fire, ice, confusion and much more.
Other highlights in Persona 5 Tactica are the real-time events. As confrontations unfold, players will enable double attacks, critical strikes (which allow them to attack once more), chains with all three characters attacking at the same time, and single strikes.
Mastering these systems is quite simple and does not require any type of force — everything is natural and each phase will provide the conditions to be crossed in the way players prefer.
Persona 5 Tactica is a level design show
Joke or not, the creation of levels in Persona 5 Tactica is very reminiscent of mobile games based on the star system. Each combat in the game has three requirements to be met, and obtaining three stars guarantees additional XP and more powerful sub-personas.
Basically, each map requires completion without losing any of the three team members, eliminating all enemies and completing with a maximum number of turns. However, other things can affect the path determined by the scenario.
Persona 5 Tactica features very well-realized level designs, with vertical and horizontal zones, traps, ladders, field modifiers and a satisfactory variation of enemies. Playing on maximum difficulties is a real delight, as not only does the damage suffered change, but also the AI’s response.
The game has a replay feature and allows fans to try countless times to reach the three stars. This way, there is the possibility of delving deeper into the dynamics of the maps and understanding how each Phantom Thief manages to adapt to the circumstances.
While some characters are more powerful when attacking in groups, others cause more damage to just one enemy. Furthermore, they vary in relation to mana (SP), health, melee attack and firearm attack attributes. Each one also has a maximum number of houses and range.
Unfortunately, a negative point in this issue is the many loading screens. As the game has many transitions between areas, visual styles, foundations and replays, better optimization in this aspect would be essential.
Finally, Persona 5 Tactica also includes a New Game+ mode, where entries in the Compendium are added and there is access to subpersonas at the Ultimate level. In this campaign, only money, Reports, personas and weapons are transferable.
Persona 5 Tactica: is it worth it?
RPG with great narrative drive, Persona 5 Tactica may not please all fans of the franchise, but it is an important piece to expand an already consolidated universe. New characters, personas, equipment and an addictive gameplay system are just some of the new features.
The heroes introduced, like Erina and Toshiro, are very interesting. They work surprisingly well alongside established names and include never-before-seen abilities, changing the gameplay style.
The essence of Persona 5 is present at every moment, whether in the personality of the Phantom Thieves or in the general concept. The title also has difficulty levels and simple-to-understand features, making it ideal for those looking for a solid and very light experience.
That said, Persona 5 Tactica is highly recommended for the P5 community or enthusiasts of the tactical gameplay genre. On the PS Store, the title costs R$299. If you like the style and the series, it’s certainly worth it.
Persona 5 Tactica will be released on November 17th for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch and PC.