Persona 5 Scramble Preview – My Heart is Stolen
Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers is coming out in Japan on February 20, and while the game hasn’t received an official English announcement yet, this joint Atlus and Koei Tecmo title has a lot of people excited, including myself.
With Persona 5 Royal’s western release around the corner, I have been craving some more Persona 5 content to pace out the wait. Luckily for me, Atlus decided to release a demo for Persona 5: The Phantom Strikers, which will hopefully d0 just that. So, with the handy dandy power of a Japanese account, I decided to check it out.
Persona 5 Scramble takes place six months after the conclusion of the original game, with our insert-name-here protagonist returning to Tokyo for a summer vacation with their friends. However, given this is a video game, that’s not going to be the case for long, as a new threat decides to take hold.
The demo covers the opening hour of the game, but I don’t feel the need to get into the story. I’ll wait until the English release to give the narrative a proper critique as my Japanese knowledge would be a disservice to you and the writers.
Persona 5 Scramble is developed by the Omega Force division of Koei Tecmo, which implies the title is going to be a Musou game, a sort of hack-and-slash subgenre that Omega Force is known for with their Dynasty Warriors titles.
However, according to developer interviews, this was only the origin point of the company collaboration as it became fleshed out into a full action RPG and a sequel to Persona 5. This does show in the gameplay as someone who has spent even a short amount of time with a Warriors game will be able to pick up the basics immediately.
In the switch version, your basic combo comes from the Y button. Pressing the X button at any point will halt the combo earlier, and you’ll perform a flashy finishing attack. You can dodge and lock onto foes as well. It’s pretty standard.
However, Persona 5 Scramble has more than a few unique tricks up its sleeve. Opening an attack with X will instead fire your character’s ranged weapon, which only has a limited amount of bullets per fight. Environments have interactable parts you’ll be able to warp to, such as streetlights or ladders, and you can even attack from or jump between them. Pressing R2 will open up a skill menu, freezing time while you pick one to fit the situation, be it an elemental spell, a physical attack, or a status move.
The new battle music is absolutely killer and gets the energy going. It is so much fun slaughtering rooms full of foes that I ended up feeling disappointed when it was over. The demo itself limits you to the protagonist, but you can gain a couple of new Personas to shape your moveset ever so slightly in the first hour. Also, your teammates level-up around you, which teases you with the fact you can play as them in the full game.
Aesthetically the game looks identical to the original Persona 5, even on the Switch, with new flashy menu sequences and free-roaming sections. Seriously, I spent a substantial amount of time just gazing at the menus. They’re just so pretty.
You can alter the difficulty from the get-go, and there are also some limited graphics options, should you want the game to look just that slight bit better at the cost of a few extra frames. Take your pick. Given that I spend a lot of time with the Switch, so I’ll pick the frames any day.
The demo’s boss is relatively simple, but if you aren’t paying attention to it, your death could easily result. Luckily you won’t be forced to lose your progress and reload a save as you can simply restart the fight.
The Persona 5 scramble demo is only an hour-long, but it has me even more excited than before. I am desperate to get my hands on this game as soon as possible. The style and appeal of the original game shine in this collaboration between these two game makers, which makes the experience all the better.
For now, this will hold me over until Personal 5 Royal, but I definitely want more. The only remaining question is whether or not my favorite character Goro Akechi is going to show up. Or Kasumi, she’s undoubtedly garnered my attention in Persona 5 Royal.
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