Persona 5 Tactica Review: Another Triumph for the Phantom Thieves (PS5)

Persona owns yet another genre.

Persona 5 Tactica Review: Another Triumph for the Phantom Thieves (PS5)
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Persona 5 Tactica is an absolutely genius result of what is achievable when a developer ensures that its game is not just limited to or can only be enjoyed by a specific demographic of players. Instead, it is a gaming experience that is created to be an entertaining time for literally everyone, including Persona fans, tactical role-playing game enthusiasts, and those gamers who have never played a title from the franchise, the genre, or both.

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Just the animation in Persona 5 Tactica alone warmly invites players on yet another unforgettable journey with the wholesome Phantom Thieves of Hearts, who just keep on taking victory laps around completely different types of video games.

P-Studio brings the beloved gang back together in Persona 5 Tactica as Joker, Morgana, Ryuji, Ann, Yusuke, and others are roped into a highly memorable adventure whose plot may come off as simple and one-dimensional on the surface, but it is extremely charming and multilayered all the way through.

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Aside from the outstanding visual and aesthetic appeal that Persona 5 Tactica smoothly exudes, its fast-paced turn-based combat, easy-to-understand strategic dynamics, wonderful level design, amazing chemistry between the characters, and great performances all complement each other perfectly. There is obvious love and care put into this game, which is clearly reflected in the overall quality of a near-flawless title.

Persona 5 Tactica will be released for all major platforms on November 17, 2023.

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Persona 5 Tactica Puts Its Own Stylish Spin on Tactical RPGs

Persona 5 Tactica brings its own visual finesse to the tactical role-playing genre.
Persona 5 Tactica brings its own visual finesse to the tactical role-playing genre.

The standout aspect of Persona 5 Tactica is undeniably its stellar presentation and excellent animation, which consistently switch from one style to another, providing each scenario with its own level of importance and urgency. For example, for many majorly significant moments that are aiming for an emotional or epic, action-packed hit, the game switches to masterfully created cinematic cutscenes, which feel like they have been ripped straight out of a high-budget animated TV series.

For situations that are more casual and mainly revolve around general conversations, Persona 5 Tactica uses the OG style of character pop-ups and individually skippable dialogue, which completely works due to the outstanding voice performances given by the cast, even for relatively minor moments.

There is a reason why the main crew in Persona 5 Tactica is called the Phantom Thieves of Hearts because the game’s true heart and soul lie with its diverse roster of characters, with each member of the group having their own unique personality, leading to some amusing interactions full of hilarious banter.

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Both the voice cast and the characters seem to be having the times of their lives, which in turn results in the player having an absolute blast along with them as well as them starting to come across as real people with actual feelings.

Persona 5 Tactica somehow has the power to take the player by surprise when they do not even realize that at some point during their adventure with the Phantom Thieves, an automatic connection gets made and one starts to really care about these characters, and this is where the franchise’s signature social simulation elements start to come into the picture.

The wholesome character interactions in Persona 5 Tactica is where the game truly shines.
The wholesome character interactions in Persona 5 Tactica are where the game truly shines.

The main plot of Persona 5 Tactica starts off with the Phantom Thieves catching up at the iconic Cafe LeBlanc ahead of some members’ graduation from Shujin Academy, until they randomly get sent into an alternate realm set in Medieval European aesthetics, but things go sideways as soon as they arrive.

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Unfortunately, the kingdom is being ruled by an oppressive tyrant with a huge army called the Legionnaires, and just as the Phantom Thieves get attacked and surrounded by them, Persona 5 Tactica introduces a brand new character called Erina, who leads her own forces known as the Rebel Corps as they aim to overthrow the horrifying regime in an all-out revolution.

Erina rescues the Phantom Thieves, and both parties come to an agreement to help one another since it seems to be the only way to deal with the drastic situation at hand, as Persona 5 Tactica‘s story revolves around bringing freedom to the oppressed while also trying to figure out what exactly is going on in this place.

Persona 5 Tactica handles Erina's inclusion seamlessly, making it feel like she has been a part of the gang since forever.
Persona 5 Tactica handles Erina’s inclusion seamlessly, making it feel like she has been a part of the gang since forever.

On face value, Persona 5 Tactica‘s story definitely sounds generic and something that has been seen in other media countless times, but it is still super effective because of the stylistic way in which the game presents it. Combining multiple animation and cutscene styles with somewhat mature themes sprinkled throughout gives the plot more weight, and witnessing all the characters react to certain situations adds more lovable layers to it.

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Persona 5 Tactica understands just how repetitive it could have gotten if it kept throwing the same kinds of battle missions on the player, so instead, it always keeps things moving and fresh with significant changes to the level design while also introducing brand new types of objectives that can be carried out without much combat, for example, ensuring that all members of the party reach a certain point on the map before the enemies reach them.

After completing a series of missions, the characters return to Cafe LeBlanc, which acts as a hideout in Persona 5 Tactica, where there are multiple options available for the Phantom Thieves regarding how they want to spend their well-deserved break time. Aside from just sitting around and chilling with one another, players can prepare for the next mission by buying and equipping weapons, changing personas, or unlocking various abilities for each character in a skill tree.

Persona 5 Tactica also lets players fuse two or more different personas together to create stronger, more powerful ones with the help of Lavenza in the Velvet Room, which can be accessed from the hideout and provides plenty of ways for customization to approach missions with tactical variety.

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Persona 5 Tactica Makes Tactical Role-Playing Approachable

Persona 5 Tactica is the perfect gateway to the tactical role-playing genre.
Persona 5 Tactica is the perfect gateway to the tactical role-playing genre.

The approachability of the gameplay in Persona 5 Tactica is extremely impressive because it is straightforward and simple enough for newcomers to the tactical role-playing genre while simultaneously being layered and deep for strategy game veterans. The character movement is grid-based and the combat is turn-based, which may sound like a boring slow-burn but they are actually quite fast-paced and vibrant, never once getting monotonous.

Players can inflict damage on the enemies in Persona 5 Tactica by either shooting them with a weapon, hitting them with a punch or kick, or unleashing numerous personas onto them, meaning that each mission can be completed in a variety of exciting ways.

Persona 5 Tactica also encourages various play styles, so one does not always have to be on the offense during every turn, because sometimes just strategically changing a character’s position can prove to be beneficial later in the mission, even if attacking the enemy seems like the obvious thing to do. If a character just moves and does not attack during a turn, they get charged and acquire a special skill for the next turn, which also leads to the ability to do more damage.

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Moreover, the Triple Threat team attack is a very entertaining addition to Persona 5 Tactica‘s combat, and it is activated when all three members of the players’ party surround fallen enemies in a triangle, resulting in a super trio finisher.

Persona 5 Tactica: Final Thoughts

Persona 5 Tactica is a triumph on nearly all fronts.
Persona 5 Tactica is a triumph on nearly all fronts.

Persona 5 Tactica succeeds on various different fronts, from being the perfect gateway to the tactical role-playing genre or the Persona franchise for newcomers to putting a uniquely stylish spin on strategic games and making it a layered experience for strategy or series veterans. It moves fast and flows smoothly, all thanks to the top-tier, aesthetically stunning animation and exciting gameplay elements.

In addition, the way Persona 5 Tactica presents its relatively simple story is also applaudable, with masterful use of numerous types of cutscenes and naturally written dialogue.

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But the heart and soul of Persona 5 Tactica lie in its colorful roster of characters, each with their own varied personality that brings a certain charm to the game. Accompanied by wholesome performances, the gang genuinely starts to feel like a group of people the player has known since forever, especially after going through major life-threatening adventures together.

The Phantom Thieves of Hearts have yet another triumph on their hands because Persona 5 Tactica is one of the most fun and memorable video games of the year.

9/10

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Persona 5 Tactica was played on PlayStation 5 and reviewed on a code supplied by Indigo Pearl. As featured on OpenCritic.

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Written by Osama Farooq

Articles Published: 277

Extensively talking about everything pop culture is something Osama truly enjoys doing, so when it started to get a little annoying in person, he joined FandomWire and found a whole community to share his thoughts with. He consumes media in almost all forms, including linear story-based video games (The Last of Us), hip-hop/R&B music (The Weeknd), top-tier television (Better Call Saul), classic movies (Superbad), as well as reading books and watching anime.