After being a beloved series in the RPG community for almost 15 years, Persona 5 finally launched the wider Persona franchise into the mainstream in 2017 thanks to its over-the-top, slick, and stylish presentation. Since then, developer Atlus has tastefully built off that success. We’ve received an updated version of Persona 5 with its Royal edition, Joker joined the fight in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and the Phantom Thieves starred in a variety of spinoffs that dipped into the action-RPG and rhythm game genres. Now, the Persona 5 crew is taking on the tactics genre in the fittingly titled Persona 5 Tactica.
While my PAX West demo of Persona 5 Tactica was brief and did not contain any story content, it still showed me how the strategy game is making itself approachable for casual players in a way that’s not so different from what Persona 5 did for RPGs so many years ago.
I love tactics games, but I’m admittedly not very good at them. I almost always enjoy a good challenge, but the genre tends to be heavy on complex management that can leave me overthinking every choice. Battles can be long and slow too, so if I end up losing, I feel like I lost a lot of time. That said, I love the strategy behind many tactics games, which usually lets me push past that friction.
If you’re like me, then Persona 5 Tactica is definitely an upcoming tactics title that you should put on your radar. It makes combat straightforward with a singular goal of unleashing a “Triple Threat.” Tactica is a cover-based tactics game where hiding behind walls will lower the chance of being hit. If an enemy is caught out in the open and hit with a weakness, they will give the other player a powerful resource called 1more if hit.
The Triple Threat loop calls back to Persona 5’s “all-out attack” system. In that game, constantly hitting each enemy with their weakness allows the party to unleash an absolute assault on them to deal massive damage. Atlus is implementing a similar mechanic to Tactica, in the form of Triple Threat. A Triple Threat can happen when three party members create a triangle formation around an enemy after obtaining enough 1mores. It plays out similarly to an all-out attack with a red splash screen and each party member dealing out damage.
Despite how little playing time I had with the game, Persona 5 Tactica was able to teach me quickly what steps were needed to achieve victory. The gameplay loop boils down to obtaining a 1more, positioning your team, and unleashing a Triple Threat. Rinse and repeat. For those who struggle with tactics games , this simplistic, yet powerful system allows Persona 5 Tactica to easily onboard new players while still making them feel like a master strategist.
Atlus continues to prove that it can nail just about any genre it tries its hand at, and Persona 5 Tactica could continue that trend. I can see it appealing to several different audiences, from Persona die-hards to fans of tactics games in general, or even strategy newcomers looking for an easy entry point. Persona fans will always be up for anything the series has to offer, but Tactica’s satisfying combat loop could successfully sneak attack newcomers and draw them to the series.
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