There is something to enjoy about Persona 5 Tactica while we wait for Persona 6
4 mins read

There is something to enjoy about Persona 5 Tactica while we wait for Persona 6

Finally, a 2023 tactical RPG that isn’t a disappointment.

I was pleasantly surprised by Persona 5 Tactics. I’ve been eagerly awaiting a good tactical RPG all year. Unfortunately, Fire Emblem Engage didn’t quite live up to its title and ended up feeling less deep than Three Houses. Yes, my friend, Engage did indeed come out this year. The Advance Wars reboots also didn’t capture my interest, leaving me a bit bored. While I didn’t expect Persona 5 Tactics to fill the void left by Marvel’s Midnight Suns (seriously, go play that game, please!), the first few hours with Persona 5 Tactics have been absolutely delightful.

Persona 5 Tactics is a tactics RPG that builds on your love for Persona 5 and its Phantom Thieves. If you’ve played Persona 5, Royal, or Strikers, you already know most of what to expect: personas, fusing personas, coffee, curry, a bunch of lovely characters, and a fantastic soundtrack. What’s new is the setting and the combat. Instead of the turn-based RPG battles of vanilla Persona 5 or the hack-and-slash 1 vs 100 fighting in Strikers, Tactica introduces a strategic approach with a flair and flavor that Persona 5 fans will find familiar.

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Combat in Tactica unfolds on a tile-based map, typical of tactical RPGs. Your units can move a set number of tiles, utilizing the map’s layout for cover or strategically using explosive barrels. Each unit carries a gun for knocking down enemies, earning an extra attack, and a melee weapon for disrupting enemies in cover. Personas, summonable monsters, return with abilities that support allies or debuff enemies.

What I found lacking in Advance Wars and Fire Emblem Engage was their somewhat mindless combat, relying on a simplistic “rock, paper, scissors” approach. Tactica, however, introduces Persona 5 mechanics adapted to the strategy RPG model, like “one more” attacks, Persona status ailments, and triple-threat attacks, requiring more strategic thinking. The game’s quest feature, with specific team compositions, map layouts, and turn limits, has become my favorite. Instead of typical story missions, quests offer short combat scenarios demanding careful planning to succeed.

One memorable quest involved facing high-health enemies behind impassable barriers, needing to be defeated in only two turns. Despite initial simplicity, repeated failures forced me to delve into my Persona 5 knowledge and the tutorial menu for optimal strategies. This kind of video game problem-solving, reminiscent of games like Viewfinder and Cocoon, adds depth to Tactica.

In Tactica, the Phantom Thieves find themselves in a new cognitive world, battling an oppressive bridezilla with a rebel army inspired by revolutionary France. The game’s chibi art style, eccentric villain design, and themes of revolution and resistance against oppression create an engaging atmosphere. Notably, Erina, the newest Phantom Thieves member, wields a spear that transforms into a banner reading, “Si vis pacem, te ipsum Vince,” translating to “If you want peace, overcome yourself.” Indeed, this game resonates with my preferences.

Persona 6

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I found Tactica reliance on the narratives from its predecessors refreshing. Unlike other spinoffs that often ignore the existing lore, Tactica seamlessly integrates its story with the established Persona 5 universe. I expected some part of the game to explain Phantom Thieves concepts to new characters, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a new character already familiar with the Phantom Thief world.

The acknowledgment of time passing and the characters evolving added depth to the narrative. The Phantom Thieves recognized the approaching graduation of Makoto and the inevitable return home for Joker. Even Futaba, though rehabilitated from her shut-in past, still struggled with social interactions. Tactica, like its predecessor Strikers, allows these characters to grow rather than keeping them in a static spinoff state.

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While Atlus focuses on remakes, re-releases, and genre reboots of Persona 5 instead of teasing Persona 6 might be frustrating for some, experiences like Persona 5 Tactica make the wait more bearable. The quality of the game and commitment to evolving the characters’ stories provide a satisfying and engaging experience for fans.

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