When Character five introduced in 2017, I fell into my new RPG obsession. I cherished just about the whole lot in regards to the adventure of the Phantom Thieves, however the characters and the tale are what caught with me lengthy once I wrapped up the more-than-100-hour adventure. So when Character five Royal was once introduced, I could not wait to leap again in and repeat the journey with new characters, places, and an extra tale arc on the finish. Then again, whilst I cherished Character five Royal (so much, in reality), it left me wishing for an all-new tale with the cherished forged of characters; I sought after to look how their friendships and lives advanced following the wild occasions of Character five. It will not be an RPG like the sport it serves as a sequel to, however Character five Strikers guarantees to offer me the brand new journey I have been yearning since I first stepped foot in Café Leblanc just about 4 years in the past.
Co-developed by means of Atlus and the studio in the back of the Dynasty Warriors franchise, Omega Pressure, Character five Strikers is rarely a right away successor to the Character five I fell in love with. Then again, when you move in anticipating it to be like what we noticed Omega Pressure do with Hyrule Warriors, the place it is simply nonstop motion and a continuing circulation of hack-and-slash battles, you might be in for a marvel. Over the process the primary a number of hours I performed, I felt much less like I used to be gambling some type of ordinary, dissonant spin-off motion sport and extra like I used to be gambling a sequel to Character five with action-based battle.
The similarities and variations between Character five and Character five Strikers are maximum aptly displayed in the course of the forged of characters and the best way you engage with them. Nearly all of my early hours have been spent in discussion with the Phantom Thieves. I cherished finding out extra about what they have got been as much as within the months because the finish of Character five. The passage of time was once in particular thrilling for characters like Makoto, who’s now in school and in a special position in her lifestyles. If you are into the way side of the name, just about all of the characters are wearing new appears as smartly.
Then again, whilst the characters and their voice actors go back from the unique Character five (sorry, Kasumi lovers), the social parts had been vastly scaled down from the mainline sequence. As a substitute of social hyperlinks, you’ll expand bonds with characters for your workforce. Similar to the dearly departed social hyperlinks, bonds open up new stat boosts and talents for characters. In contrast to Character five’s gadget, on the other hand, you do not earn issues towards upgrades via going to a ramen store, amusement park, or shrine with your folks, however fairly by means of defeating enemies. I am a bit disillusioned by means of the loss of social choices since that is this type of massive a part of what made me fall in love with those characters and the sequence as a complete within the first position, however this challenge was once by no means supposed to be a social simulation like the unique unencumber.
Whilst the unique characters have already got robust hyperlinks to each other, they welcome a brand new member to the Phantom Thieves’ ranks very early on within the tale. Sophia is a man-made intelligence personality that Joker and Cranium to find all over their first go back and forth again into the Metaverse. She joins the workforce, contributing narrative steerage on best of her abilities in fight. The use of her yo-yos, she will assault a variety, whilst her blaster we could her hit enemies from afar.
In Character five, the workforce infiltrates a Palace by means of finding a corrupt ruler, collecting knowledge on them, and the usage of an app on their telephone to make the shift into the Metaverse. That procedure stays the similar in Strikers; the workforce discovers that one thing ordinary is going on involving Alice Hiiragi, a manner stylist and idol who has evolved an oddly ardent following. Because it seems, the reputedly candy Alice has discovered some solution to seize the wishes of bizarre other people, turning them into obsessed lovers who will do the rest for her, together with one guy who drops to his knees and confesses his like to her in entrance of his personal fiancé. As soon as the Phantom Thieves determine this out and notice Alice’s true nature, they know they may be able to’t let it stand, so they start an investigation by means of speaking to and eavesdropping on lovers scattered all through Shibuya.
As soon as the workforce has sufficient knowledge, it is again to the Metaverse to infiltrate Alice’s dungeon, which turns the world surrounding Shibuya Crossing into a prison. The dungeon I performed, whilst shorter than a Character five Palace, performs out shockingly very similar to how they performed out within the unique mainline RPG; you traverse the world, ambushing Shadows as you move. The most important distinction in all the sport lies within the battle; fairly than the turn-based fare of Character five, battles play out nearer to the high-paced motion of the Warriors sequence. Whilst you’ll hack and slash for your middle’s content material, taking technique into consideration is an important. Now not most effective are you able to change between your lively birthday party the usage of the d-pad, however you’ll pause the motion to change Personas and use their skills. Capitalizing on enemy weaknesses can knock them down, opening the door for an impressive All-Out Assault. I used to be additionally stuck off guard by means of how the battles are spaced out. In response to my time with the Hyrule Warriors video games, I anticipated the battles to be extra consistent. As a substitute, the encounters extra serve to get a divorce the exploration.
Even if you end up now not within the dungeon itself, Shibuya and the encompassing spaces really feel like a go back house when you’ve already performed both model of Character five. Shibuya and Yongen-Jaya are laid out precisely as they’re in Character five, and seeing the crowd go back to Leblanc or their hideout within the accessway introduced a grin to my face. I do know the workforce will sooner or later transfer on from Shibuya and Tokyo as a complete all over the process the tale, however those callbacks to the Phantom Thieves’ flagship journey are amusing.
If my early hours are any indication, Character five Strikers serves as a compelling practice as much as certainly one of my favourite role-playing video games of all time. Now not most effective am I enticed by means of the speculation of wearing on with the lives of the quite a lot of contributors of the workforce, however I am intrigued by means of the instructions the tale goes. Character five Strikers launches on PlayStation four, Transfer, and PC on February 23. To look the preliminary announcement trailer of its Western localization, head right here.