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Persona 5 Tactica

Persona 5 Tactica preview: The Phantom Thieves are back!

We've already had a glimpse of how this spin-off, which perfectly combines the heart of Persona with tactical strategy, works.

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We're just under three months away from the release of Persona 5 Tactica, the next spin-off of what is so far the most successful instalment of Atlus' Persona JRPG series. A title more distant from the other Persona 5 spin-offs such as Persona 5 Strikers or Persona 5: Dancing Star Night, as while these two maintained a similar visual style to the original title, Tactica has opted for a more 'chibi' character design, with big eyes and big heads, but with a lot of charm. It's also a new genre to expand the series, which is why it was one of our must-visits in our coverage at Gamescom 2023.

Persona 5 Tactica

P5T is, as the name suggests, a strategy game in the tactics vein, and we had the chance to try out a couple of levels in this story that takes place after the events of Persona 5 Royal. In the first scene we see how the Phantom Thieves are a group of friends who must face the difficult moment of separation when they each plan to go to a different university or job. It's then that the Metaverse once again plays its part and transports the group to a new location, where they find themselves separated. At this point Joker, Skull and Morgana walk us through a combat tutorial that shows us the basics of combat.

At this point in the brief demo I had access to, I thought I was going to find an experience similar (at least in the basics) to the Fire Emblem series, but the truth is that already in the first few seconds everything is much more similar to the XCOM titles and, above all, to Mario + Rabbids. Our characters have a turn with several phases, in which we will first have to move around the stage in search of a position of cover that protects us from enemy projectiles, and at the same time allows us to perform attacks, either ranged or melee. The former are usually the easiest to perform, as depending on the range of the weapon you can perform them from cover without putting your character at risk. Melee attacks are more powerful, but logically they force you to throw yourself at the enemy and leave you unprotected.

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Persona 5 TacticaPersona 5 Tactica
Persona 5 TacticaPersona 5 Tactica

And then there are the special abilities, which come from each character's Persona. We can perform attacks, heal allies and imbue ourselves with power-ups. Our characters and enemies also have resistances and weaknesses to elemental damage, as in the role-playing side of the game, so you don't have to keep too many aces up your sleeve if the battle gets tough. Triggering a weakness effect or critical allows you to perform an extra action, so it's a good idea to try out different actions and effects on each enemy.

In addition, each mission has optional side objectives that provide more experience if you complete them (such as finishing the level below a certain number of turns) and invite a second playthrough after completing the mission, although for us time was pressing in our 20 minute slot, so I headed to the second part of the demo, where I was able to try out some advanced strategy.

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This second part takes us to a more advanced part of the game, because here Skull is gone and replaced by Persona 5 Tactica's new main character, Erina. It is with her that we try out the "Triple Thread", an attack in which we can deal devastating damage to groups of enemies if they are within the triangle area formed between the strategic position of our three active characters. This "ultimate attack" can greatly shorten the battle, but sometimes requires putting a party member in a more vulnerable position.

Persona 5 Tactica
Persona 5 Tactica

Getting used to these turns and movement patterns becomes intuitive in the first few moments of gameplay, and Persona 5 Tactica is closer to the Mario and Rabbids series than XCOM, making it very accessible to the general public who may not be as familiar with the genre and want to continue adventuring with the Phantom Thieves. As for the story of Persona 5 Tactica we haven't seen anything else, but the enemy and stage design I've seen, coupled with the expectations already inseparable from the Persona 5 name, makes this one of the best demos I've seen at Cologne, and I can't wait for November 17th to come around so I can dive right in.

Persona 5 Tactica

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Persona 5 Tactica

REVIEW. Written by Johan Vahlström

We've seen a lot of spin-offs from Persona 5, but how does Atlus handle a tactical action game?



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