Rise up to the Revolution! The Persona 5 Tactica Review is here. Sakura Index’s review of the latest entry to the Persona series will look into some key aspects of the game.
But, before we dive in, here are a few disclaimers for our Persona 5 Tactica Review:
– We played the game on Steam with a PC that has some MID specs (4GB Gfx card, intel i5, non SSD, etc).
– This article has minor spoilers for Persona 5 Tactica.
And now, onto our review….
The Story Goes
The game is set before the ending of Persona 5 Royal and and months before the events of Persona 5 Strikers. Persona 5 Tactica opens up at Leblanc with the Phantom Thieves mulling over the graduation of their third-year members and Joker heading for his hometown. They are transported, while inside Leblanc, into a new dimension where the citizens are ruled by a haughty and sinister villain named Marie. Together with her ‘legionaries’, she rules this new place with an iron fist.
But it won’t be just the Phantom Thieves against Marie. A rebel leader named Erina, of the Rebel Corps, is there to try and overthrow Marie. It’s up to the Phantom Thieves and their new friends of the Rebel Corps to rise up against Marie’s tyrannical rule. And in a nutshell, that is the starting premise of Persona 5 Tactica.
Persona 5 Tactica shelves the series’ usual turn-based RPG style for the tactical RPG gameplay. The last tactical RPG (Suikoden Tactics) I played was nearly 2 decades, but this is game made me enjoy this kind of genre all over again with a Persona 5 twist. Tactical RPG may not be your cup of tea if you’re pretty much used to the RPG style of play of the main Persona line. That’s ok. Familiar Persona game mechanics like ‘one more’ and ‘down’ are also here so that won’t be a totally different mechanic. Of course the Persona system is here and we will get to it later.
The game has a few of ways to help a tactics game newbie. First, they have a tutorial on the initial stages of Persona 5 Tactica. These tutorials can really help the player grasp the basics of the P5T gameplay. Second way is setting the difficulty to adjust to the player’s skill set.
If you are just there for the story, the ‘safe’ difficulty setting is there for you. There is no need to go to the nitty gritty of strategy and playthroughs to enjoy the game.
BUT…if you are that kind of player who is into this genre and have played tactics games, the merciless mode might be for you. That, or you’re a glutton for punishment. Choose which one, I won’t judge.
Third aspect I need to point out is the new ‘skill tree’ system that can make playing Persona 5 Tactica very fun. You may swap skills depending on the skill points you got to make your characters best suited for your in-game needs. However, since this IS a Persona Game, why not talk about Personas?
“I am thou, thou art I”
No Persona game is complete without a Persona or two involved. The Velvet room is back with Lavenza and with a new twist.You can fuse personas that are obtained through ‘golden cogs’ throughout the game.
Compared to the base game of Persona 5 where you get them as ‘masks’, they are now ‘cogs’. Even the velvet room has been changed in this game into an armory type room.
Persona 5 Tactica adds a new wrinkle with the ‘Sub-Persona’ system. Every Phantom Thief member has their main personas but can equip a second persona that would add 1-2 moves or other benefits. The catch is, the wildcard ability of Joker is all but gone. Even Joker now has just Arsene and a second persona he can equip. On face value this may be annoying to a long-time Persona player. Personally, it gives me the option to tinker around the Sub-Persona I would like to equip.
Persona Sound Trip
Like any other game in the Persona series, P5T has a great soundtrack. Lyn and ATLUS Sound Team did a bang up job on the in-game tracks. The opening theme “Revolution in your Heart” has a spot in my favorite Persona intros of all time already. The track “Got Your Tail” also holds a special place in my heart with its very catchy tune. If you want to listen to the whole soundtrack outside the game, it’s available now on Spotify.
Speaking of soundtrip, the original cast for both the English and Japanese voice actors are back for Persona 5 Tactica. Favorites such as Erika Harlacher (Ann) , Max Mittelman (Ryuji), and Xander Mobus (Jimmy Firecrack-…Joker) are back in the action! Newbies Leeanna Albanese (Erina) and MacLeod Andrews (Toshiro Kasukabe) make their Persona series debuts in stellar fashion.
For the Japanese cast, the biggest get would be famous voice actress Rie Takanashi (Erina) joining the already star-studded lineup of the game. She’s been on a roll this year with other roles such as Ai Hoshino in Oshi No Ko, Kaoru in Ruroni Kenshin, and many more. Tomoaki Maeno lends his voice to new series character Toshiro Kasukabe. I must say, their voice sounds familiar with each other. It’s as if they may have worked at some funeral parlor in their past lives. 😉
As a new entry to the Persona series, is it a safe game to start the series for any player? Technically yes. You can play and enjoy Persona 5 Tactica without having any background of Persona 5 or any previous main line titles.This is an entire story to itself in the first place. A stand-alone story if you will.
However there will be dialogue or lines from the Phantom Thieves that would leave you hanging. Situations like why does a certain phantom thief very sympathize with Toshiro’s family relationship won’t be answered much. In fact you’d have instances asking yourself as who is this ‘boss’ or who is Makoto’s sister? Maybe it would be a good idea to play Persona 5 (or even Persona 5 Royal) after finishing P5T.
– Phantom Thieves Return – My favorite Persona crew (The Phantom Thieves) is back for another go-around. Led by the every cool Joker, they are poised to steal the hearts of many Persona fans with this new game. It’s a nice feeling to see the Phantom Thieves on a brand new Persona title.
– Dubs and Subs – You get the best of both worlds. The English and Japanese voice cast did wonders in this game. It also helps that Rie Takahashi shouting ‘Persona!’ is just so cute!
– Groovy OST – Atlus strikes another home-run on the game’s OST. I gave my top two favorite tracks for the Persona 5 Tactica OST above already. Once you played this game, you better tell us your favorite tunes. This is a banger of an OST delivered yet again by Atlus.
- The animation style is not everybody’s cup of tea – I very much enjoy this new art style that feels like a mix-up of the Persona Q art styles with a dash of Scott Pilgrim. However, maybe some Persona fans would be turned off by it. So take it as you will. If you like it, good. If not, it’s no harm no foul.
- Slight Tactical Adjustment – The Persona video game series goes to a new frontier in the tactical role-playing game genre. It’s not a far departure from the standard turn-based JRPG, but it’s still not the system we grew to know and love for Persona. It may take some time adjusting to this new gameplay for some fans.
- Required Playing – Can you play Persona 5 Tactics without playing Persona 5? Yes! BUT, it may leave you feeling wanting. There are certain dialogue or lines some characters from the Phantom Thieves that may make first time players wonder who or what they are missing. There might be some ‘required playing’ after completing P5T for those who may feel that ‘gap’ in the Persona 5 lore.
Persona 5 Tactica – The Verdict
OVERALL: 4 of 5 Stars
My P5T experience was pretty good. I may have had to do some slight adjustments during my first playthrough but it was a quick one. I guess after this review you’ll be hearing me trying to tough it out and complete the game in merciless mode. Yeah right. I’m not that good. Maybe Hard difficulty is more feasible for my skill set. For those who are fans of the Persona series, especially Persona 5, this is one title you SHOULD NOT miss out on. It’s not too long, not too short of a game. It’s just the right game for you to complete during the Christmas Holidays.
Persona 5 Tactica is available now on the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch and on Steam.
Special thanks to SEGA Asia and Atlus SEA for the review code.