Persona 5 Tactica is a treat for old and new fans alike

Persona 5 Tactica looks to be one of the best strategy games this year, and allows you to revisit the Phantom Thieves of Hearts in a new story.

Persona 5 Tactica preview - the Phantom Thieves of Hearts all stood together

We Persona fans sure get treated well, huh? Less than a year ago Sega and Atlus released Persona 5, Persona 4, and Persona 3 for the next gen consoles as well as Nintendo Switch, and we still have Persona 3 Reload and Persona 5 Tactica to come as well, both of which are due for release within the next six months. Well, I managed to visit Sega’s booth at Gamescom this year to get a look at P5T and trust me when I say you’re in for a treat.

For starters, it’s always a pleasure to revisit Joker and the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. Just read our Persona 5 Strikers review and Persona 5 Switch review to see just how much we love this old gang. With that in mind, the fact we get a whole new game this time set concurrently with the events of the original P5 fills us with even more excitement. During my time with the game, I completed the tutorial and took part in mission six, so I can’t say too much about the story other than that the ragtag group is transported to an alternate world where a war rages on.

I don’t think I need to discuss the characters too much, nor can I, with the limited game time I had, but you can expect to see all of your favorite Persona 5 characters on display here, each with their own different combat styles. Yes, they also have their beloved personas – it wouldn’t be much of a Persona game without them.

As the name implies, P5T is a tactical RPG, and as such, it features a grid-based map when you’re in combat. The map has enemies and obstacles that serve as good cover to minimize the damage done to you. You get to take three characters into battle with you, and you need to wipe out all of the enemies to progress. The quicker you do this, the better your chances are of getting some good rewards. When a fight starts, the game challenges you to finish in so many turns.

Persona 5 Tactica preview - the battle grid and combat

In each turn, you can move your characters, be it to attack, get into position, or even skip your go if you think that’s better for your current strategy. Of course, there’s a little more to it than merely shooting at or hitting your enemies. Like you, they can hide behind cover, minimizing, if not fully depleting, the amount of damage you can do to them. To overcome this, if they’re within your range of movement, you can send one of your characters to hit them out of cover, leaving them vulnerable to your other party members. Plus, you automatically get another go if you knock them down in the next hit.

I absolutely love that dynamic in the fights because not only does it feel great when your plan and strategy come together, but it also forces you to try and think one step ahead as enemies can turn the tables on you and pull off the same maneuvers if you’re not careful. I have just 20 to 30 minutes of combat experience in P5T, and I can already see how much it has to offer.

As for the characters I have combat experience with, it’s Persona 5’s Joker (of course) and Persona 5’s Morgana (yay!). I can confirm that together, they’re a force to be reckoned with in Tactica, but I can’t wait to see how the likes of Persona 5’s Ann and Persona 5’s Futaba perform. From the nine-minute cutscene/intro to the game, it’s clear that the gang is as humorous as ever, so I simply can’t wait to unravel the story and get in on some great banter with them all.

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When it comes to the actual attacks you can do, it depends on the character you’re using. Some of our heroes can only attack while up close, while others can strike from a distance as well as be in the thick of it – it’s all a balancing, as is the case with any tactical game. The combat is simply excellent, and I’m sure the full release will only strengthen my opinion on the battles.

Unfortunately, I don’t have much to go on about how things are outside of battles as my time was limited to combat scenarios only. However, outside of combat you can get your hands on new personas for Joker and explore this new alternate dimension. We can’t help but wonder if romance might be on the cards, perhaps we can continue what we started in the first P5 game.

Graphically speaking, the game looks fantastic and is matched by a sublime performance on Xbox Series X. Unfortunately, I can’t say how the game runs on Switch because I only spent my time with the Xbox version of P5T. Come the full release of the game, there will be much more to tell you about, including how well Persona 5 Tactica runs on Nintendo’s console.

Persona 5 Tactica preview - Panther performing an attack

All in all, Persona 5 Tactica is shaping up to be one of the best games in 2023, and it looks to be a stellar entry in the Persona franchise. Though the story runs concurrently with P5, it’s clear that new fans are welcome here, along with the veterans. Honestly, if you like a good tactical game, that’s all you need to know to make sure you keep an eye on P5T in the run-up to its release.

If you happen to be new to the Persona 5 universe, you might want to get to know the Phantom Thieves of Hearts with our Persona 5 Makoto and Persona 5 Yusuke guides. Or, to see if other Persona games are worth your time, check out our Persona 4 Switch review and Persona 3 Switch review.