Persona 5 Tactica looks set to turn Persona 5 fans into Tactical RPG fanatics
Some days it feels like there's a Persona spin-off for anything; and sometimes it's hard not to just see a game like Persona 5 Tactica as the next game in line. Rhythm games, Warriors games, DRPGs and more - Atlus is no stranger to making sure you'll experience everything you possibly can with the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. That's not to say the game is shaping up poorly; rather, stepping away from our first hands-on with the game we're excited to see what the full game can bring upon its release.
First things first - our demo session was only 15 minutes long, comprising of two stages, some cutscenes, and a boss that we unfortunately ran out of time before having the chance to tackle. What immediately sets the game apart from its contemporaries is how utterly the game wants to make the process of playing a Tactical RPG seamless for existing fans of Persona 5. Whenever a character's turn is up, simply move around their range of squares seamlessly, taking your time to setup the perfect location. Once you attack you'll be stuck in place, but otherwise you can use the bumpers to swap between your party members on a whim, too.
Downing an enemy offers your party the opportunity to execute a Triple Threat attack; surround the downed enemy with your party in a triangle formation, and execute with the character who downed the enemy. The enemy in question - as well as any other enemy within the triangle - will take significant damage. There are of course limits to the range of the triangle itself - stray too far apart from each of your party members, and you won't be allowed to execute the attack - but it's still a forgiving and novel method of letting players engage with enemies in a stage.
Characters that don't move during a turn can find themselves charged up; with different effects unique to each party member. Erina, for example, can Down enemies even while they're behind cover with her charged attack. Melee attacks for each character come with their own unique properties per character as well. Joker's attack will knock an enemy straight back in a line, while Morgana's will instead knock them into the air.
As for the story itself; well, it's only a small slice of the full game, so it's hard to say how that will hash out for the full release. What we can say is that interspersed through stages are VN-style segments where character portraits will talk amongst themselves to progress the story; though at the climax of our demo we managed to see an in-engine cutscene, complete with a charming little gag where Erina reacted to the fact that the Phantom Thieves - and particularly Joker - couldn't recognize a man they had discovered in a Jail cell.
It's too early to tell for sure how the full game will turn out, but our early impressions have done nothing to dampen our expectations for the game. Look forward to our full thoughts as we approach the game's November 17 release on PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One & Series X|S, PC and Nintendo Switch.