Final thoughts on Persona 5 Strikers

Today I thought I’d give some final thoughts on Persona 5 Strikers. I just finished it and have had some time to sit with it. I did a video giving my general thoughts on the game (see above), so this is going to be more about the end of the game and ultimately where I’m at with it having finished the story.

I have plenty of good and bad things to say about the game. Overall I loved it, but there are some issues to discuss.

As much as I enjoyed the game, I did feel like it started feeling a bit long in the tooth by the final leg of the game.

I had heard that you could get through the game in about 40 hours, but it took me closer to 60. And the last act felt like it dragged on a little long for my taste. I get it, these games are made to be long. Even at 60 hours this game is still easily half the length of Persona 5. But at some point the game just ends up being more of the same rather than bringing new interesting things to the table.

Strikers gets to a point where you know who the final boss is going to be, you know what you have to do, but instead of just running up to the final boss, doing the fight and getting to the end of the game, it still has you trudging through another section of the metaverse fighting pretty meaningless mini-boss battles for some reason. And at least two of those mini-boss fights I recall being frustratingly difficult and lengthy fights. In fact, I remember those being significantly more challenging than the actual final boss fight.

The mechanics of those fights where such that if you got hit by one attack, you’d inevitably be hit by a series of follow-up attacks. And if that didn’t knock out the character you were controlling, it would leave them with very little health. So it started to feel like I was spending as much, or more, time in the menu selecting healing items than I was in the actual battle itself. And that got very tedious and annoying.

It got to a point where I even considered just quitting on it, because those fights were really starting to drag on. As much as I had enjoyed the game up to that point, I was ready to wrap it up.

But I’m glad I stuck with it, because the closing of the game is very strong.

Again these are likeable characters and the game really hit me in the nostalgia bone for that time toward the end of college after having spent a significant amount of time with people, having traveled together and gone through significant life events together, coming to rely on each other and having formed bonds, to now have to say goodbye as everyone is going their separate ways.

Strikers was one last hurrah, one last adventure with your friends before returning to reality. And I’m a sucker for anything that can get me feeling nostalgic for that time.

Really the only character I didn’t care for was Futaba. Let’s face it, every game with a big cast like this has at least one character you don’t really like, so I can’t fault it too much. But Futaba was pretty poorly written.

She’s the youngest member of the Phantom Thieves, and she’s a shy, introverted person. She’s the hacker of the group. She knows her way around computers and technology. And that unfortunately means the writers wrote a bunch of “gamer-speak” lines for her. And not like real gamer lingo you might hear from people playing games online together, but really awful irritating fake-gamer lingo you hear in those awful, scripted gameplay presentations at E3, where “real gamers” chat as they play together.

Honestly, most of the characters in this game are written like perfect stereotypes of certain types of people, but most of the characters aren’t quite as egregious as Futaba.

But even with that in mind, I can’t help but enjoy the characters and the friendships that formed after having spent so much time with them through Persona 5 and now with Strikers as well.

So regardless of the fact that the finale of the game felt a bit overlong, the ending was worth it. The game really plays up and savors those final sentimental moments you get with the characters. And the credits not only has a great song, but plays scenes from throughout the game, making it that much more sentimental about the journey you’ve just gone through.  

And speaking of the music, I’m gonna call it, this game has the best soundtrack of 2021.

I know it’s still very early in the year and there’s still tons of games still on the way, but it’s just so good. I’m also aware that there are plenty of repeats from the Persona 5 soundtrack, but there’s also a ton of new tracks, and they’re all very, very good.

I can say confidently I’ll be returning to this soundtrack frequently for the rest of the year and beyond.

Let’s just say it’s going to be hard for another soundtrack to knock this one out my regular rotation.

Also, worth mentioning, if you’re the type of person that only buys a couple of game a year, and you look for games you can spend a lot of time, this is a great game for you. Because, as I mentioned in my previous video, it took me roughly 60 hours to get through the main story. But there were a good number of the requests I didn’t do. I did what felt like a lot of them, but there were still a lot of them I didn’t bother with.

Requests are little side missions your friends ask you to do. They can be something like one person wants you to buy a certain number of food items from a store, or they can be going into one of the jails and taking out a certain number of a specific type of enemy. They can even be going through a jail until you find a specific item.

These requests are worth doing, especially if you’re playing on a harder difficulty because you will not only end up grinding for level, taking out enemies as you work on them, but completing them can reward you with strong weapons or armor that you can’t buy in shops.

I did some of them, but for the most part, I really just wanted to keep advancing the story, so I didn’t do as many of them as I wish I had in retrospect. 

Each jail also has at least one really strong enemy to fight that you won’t be ready to take on until you’ve really levelled your characters up a ton. They’re basically end-game fights that will have you working on powering up your group before you stand a chance at winning. I didn’t even take the time to go back and take on those battles.

On top of that the game has new game plus, so if you enjoy the journey enough you can go through it all again, but with the benefit of having everything you’ve gained from your first play-through.

And for the players who really like getting into the nitty-gritty of building out characters and going for interesting builds, it’s possible in Strikers to build powerful and unique persona to use in fights by engaging with the options in the Velvet room. 

Suffice to say the game has a lot to offer even for the hardcore persona player and for players who want to be able to spend hundreds of hours with the games they buy.

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