Persona 5 Tactica

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Persona 5 Tactica review
Camrin Santchi


Raise the Flag

Return of the Phantom Thieves

The Persona series has a history of changing up the formula when it comes to spin-off games, from the fighting game/visual novel of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, to the hack and slash of Persona 5 Strikers. With the newest return to the Phantom Thieves of Hearts from Persona 5, however, these familiar faces are striking new territory with the tactical and strategy RPG Persona 5 Tactica.

Taking place after most of the events of the base game, but before the main character Joker leaves his friends to return home (A staple of the modern Persona game), the group begin to ponder the looming departure of their fearless leader before strange occurrences undergo the usually peaceful hideout that is Leblanc. With time frozen, the group leave through a strange door only to find themselves in their Phantom Thief attire in a strange new world.

No Escape

This new variant of the Metaverse that the Phantom Thieves find themselves in, is called a Kingdom and at first seems functionally incredibly similar to the Palaces from Persona 5 and the Jails from Persona 5 Strikers - with one important caveat: the Phantom Thieves are unable to leave. This seems incredibly peculiar at first, access to the Metaverse especially for the Phantom Thieves has been something they were always able to control- letting them leave to regroup, rest, or otherwise come up with a new plan to tackle the situation they find themselves in.

After being separated from the majority of his team and introduced to a mysterious young woman named Erina, Joker and Mona are brought to a safe haven called the Rebel Hideout - which itself is identical to Leblanc, the coffee shop Joker lived above during his stint in Tokyo over the course of Persona 5. This area is so safe the Phantom Thieves lose their Thief Outfits within it, causing confusion and wonder from the group as they regather and try to find a way to leave this Kingdom and return home. They do offer their services to Erina, helping her overthrow the leader of the Kingdom and restore peace to the land.

Gameplay in Persona 5 Tactica is turn based, making it more like the original game than the musou style of Persona 5 Strikers. But rather than your typical party oriented JRPG, Tactica is fittingly a strategy RPG, where players manoeuvre the Phantom Thieves on a set battlefield, finding cover and taking out enemies while limiting how at risk they place themselves against turnabout. In a very player friendly move, gamers are able to restart battles and even play through them again at any time from the safety of the Rebel Hideout, this way they can play back missions in order to complete the special goals such as limited turn count, or other parameters. These replays can even make use of characters that you didn't originally have with you at the time, making it so you can use your current team of choice even when replaying older missions.

Art Shift, Theme Anchor

Something that may cause gamers some pause for Persona 5 Tactica if the gameplay shift doesn't, would be the drastic art style change. Persona 5 Strikers played very differently from the original, but the art style was consistent, while Tactica takes a drastically different approach with an almost Chibi-like, cartoonish art style. This isn't the first time this has happened with the Persona series, the Persona Q games on the Nintendo 3DS that were made in the style of the Etrian Odyssey series use an art style different from the norm. However, those at least had the justification of being exclusive to a portable handheld, while Tactica is on all modern consoles.

Another sticking point, for those who have played Persona 5 as well as Strikers, might very well be the cautious expansion of the Phantom Thieves. Kingdoms in Tactica seem to function very similarly to the Jails and Palaces of Strikers and Persona 5, but more than that gamers will find heavy similarities between the first main villains of each game - themes of royalty and lust being paramount between Kamoshida, Alice, and now Marie. This could make Tactica feel incredibly repetitive to the themes of the Persona 5 subseries as a whole, and only really provide more of the same from a story perspective. Not to say that’s a bad thing, of course, but it doesn't provide anything the player hasn't already seen from the series.

This is less of a mark on Tactica itself, but one personal grievance this reviewer has is the lack of expansion from the Phantom Thieves into the greater Persona universe. The Phantom Thieves have had three spin-off games now in Q2, Strikers, and Tactica, but the only time they've crossed over with previous Persona wielders (The Shadow Operatives from 3 and the Investigation Team from 4) is Q2. This is despite several events in their main game as well as spin-offs (Strikers most egregiously) affecting Japan as a whole, which should more than garner interest from previous characters. But instead, they are relegated to the occasional minor reference in easily missable locations and events. It allows the Phantom Thieves more screen time and focus, yes, but it also has the effect of making anything Persona 5 feel more enclosed compared to the Persona 4 games, which did reference and even show older versions of some of the characters from Persona 3.

Revolution In Your Heart

In all Persona 5 Tactica is more of a good thing. While the art style shift may cause some hesitancy, the game is built as a great introduction to its playstyle and has plenty of player friendly design implementations that make it welcoming even to those who only want to experience seeing the Phantom Thieves in action again even if the gameplay style isn’t one that they usually play. If you're a fan of the Phantom Thieves, or a fan of strategy RPGs, this revolution themed game is one to keep an eye on!

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fun score


Solid intro to the SRPG subgenre, excellent player friendly design


Art style Shift, Repetitive Theming