Atlus, the studio renowned for the Persona series, Catherine, and Shin Megami Tensei, has consistently tackled mature themes and dark subjects with a unique boldness. Persona 5 Tactica, the latest addition to the Persona universe, not only maintains this identity but revels in it. The game, with its chibi-style art and anime-inspired situations, introduces more levity compared to Persona 5 Royal. However, beneath its playful exterior, Persona 5 Tactica remains true to its roots, delivering powerful messages and exploring complex themes with a focus on courage, morality, hope, and idealism.
Plot and Setting:
Set after the events of Persona 5 Royal, Persona 5 Tactica follows the Phantom Thieves as they navigate a new adventure in familiar yet uncharted territory. The game kicks off at Le Blanc’s, where Joker and his friends discuss future plans. However, their peaceful moments are disrupted when they find themselves pulled back into the Metaverse, a cognitive realm explored in Persona 5. The mystery unfolds as they discover changes in the Metaverse and embark on a quest to unravel its secrets.
The narrative introduces two new characters, Erina and Toshiro, who play integral roles in the overarching story. Act One, spanning the initial 25 hours, presents a heartfelt and compelling story arc, establishing an intense connection between players and the characters. Tactica seamlessly weaves a personal story into a larger narrative about growth, maturity, and the complexities of life. The idealism portrayed in the game offers a comforting escape, especially given the challenges of the real world in 2023.
Persona 5 Tactica introduces grid-based tactical combat, a departure from the traditional turn-based system. The Metaverse is divided into kingdoms ruled by tyrannical leaders, setting the stage for strategic battles. The game allows for customizable combat experiences, encouraging players to strategically position characters, exploit weaknesses, and unleash powerful attacks. The addition of two new characters, Erina and Toshiro, enhances the overall dynamics of the Phantom Thieves.
The ability for every character to dual-wield Personas brings a fresh and exciting element to combat. Each character’s signature Persona is complemented by a secondary choice, offering greater flexibility and making every character feel viable. The tactical elements of combat, including Triple Attacks and critical hits, provide a mentally stimulating experience for players. The game rewards experimentation with different party formations and Persona combinations.
Character Development and Interactions:
Persona 5 Tactica delves deeper into the personalities of existing characters, making them more endearing through visual novel-style interactions. Side quests and conversations offer lighthearted moments, showcasing the camaraderie among party members. The older cast’s interactions with Erina and Toshiro highlight the impact of their past adventures, making them more empathetic and assured of their life’s mission.
The inclusion of a rest system, strengthening characters who sit out of combat, adds depth to party management. The game’s windows into the characters’ lives and relationships encourage players to explore different party compositions, enhancing the overall strategic aspect of the game.
Visuals and Art Style:
Persona 5 Tactica adopts a chibi-like art style, deviating from the sleek anime aesthetic of the original game. The boldness of the visuals, characterized by small, rounded characters and vibrant expressions, contributes to the game’s identity. The art style, even during intense cutscenes, adds vibrancy, energy, and playfulness. While there are occasional performance issues, the overall visual experience is captivating.
Persona 5 Tactica, despite being a spin-off, stands as a triumph within the Persona universe. From its well-conceived story and engaging combat mechanics to its robust systems and expansive options, Tactica feels like a main attraction rather than a mere spin-off. The game’s ambition is evident, occasionally resulting in a drawn-out narrative and performance issues. However, these minor drawbacks are overshadowed by the game’s exceptional storytelling, character development, and tactical gameplay.
In conclusion, Persona 5 Tactica delivers a beautiful message with a clear voice. It celebrates the spirit and resolve of the Persona 5 universe while exploring new conversations and ideals. Whether you’re a seasoned Persona fan or a newcomer, Tactica offers a compelling and memorable experience that adds depth to the Phantom Thieves saga.