Preview: Persona 5 Tactica Doesn’t Skimp on the Strategy
Image via Atlus

Preview: Persona 5 Tactica Builds on Solid Strategies

I still can be wary about Persona and Shin Megami Tensei spin-offs. Persona 5 Tactica is a cover-focused, turn-based strategy game not unlike XCOM and Mario + Rabbids and, in my first hours with it on the Switch, I found the gameplay paired well with the series concepts.

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Persona 5 Tactica begins with a bit of mystery. The Phantom Thieves are gathering at LeBlanc after the events of the main game, socializing and escaping inclement weather. While there, they see news about Diet member Kasukabe disappearing. Not long after they do, something happens, causing weird imagery to appear at the door. The group ventures out, finding themselves transformed into their Phantom Thief attire when they do. It’s then that they also encounter a dreaded figure known as Marie and her minions, and eventually need to fall back alongside resistance member Erina to regroup and better prepare to retaliate. 

Persona 5 Tactica
Image via Atlus

Basically, from what I saw in my first missions, you want to get the Phantom Thieves into cover while also evicting opponents from their secure spaces in Persona 5 Tactica. Sometimes, you may even find spots that offer a degree of recovery while standing there. But for the most part, you want to position your party members behind “large” pieces of cover, rather than waist-high ones, to ensure a complete block from damage. At the same time, you want to use Persona skills like Morgana’s Zorro’s Garu or less risky melee attacks to knock enemies out of their safe spots. (In the case of a well-times and arranged physical attack, your unit will then occupy that foe’s former spot and immediately be in cover after the attack.) 

Aside from the aforementioned Persona skills and ability to use guns for ranged attacks, other sorts of Persona series staples exist. If you manage to knock down an enemy with the strength of an attack or defeat it, then that character gets to take action one more time. It’s incredibly handy and, even in the early missions I played, encouraged smart gameplay. The Triple Threat mechanic, which sees someone knocking down an enemy, then positioning two other allies in a triangle surrounding them to deal AOE damage to all foes within those lines, is also an “All Out Attack” sort of major assault that could easily deal significant damage and help clear out enemies. Not to mention I found it often helped with getting through the three Awards challenges that might involve getting through a stage in X number of turns. 

Image via Atlus
Image via Atlus

At times between these missions, players get a chance to retreat to Erina’s resistance’s headquarters. There, they can invest in the different character’s skill trees to unlock active and passive abilities, talk to the people there, visit the Velvet Room to manage Personas, buy new guns, and go through replays. I found it a handy break between major missions. Though I also did find it a relief to know that I could save at the start of a fight and there was an autosave option so progress never ended up being lost.

All of these early hours of Persona 5 Tactica left me feeling rather optimistic about the adventure. The gameplay seems solid enough, with some opportunities to strategically find a safe spot while also ensuring there was no security for opponents. I’m curious to see how it shapes up as I get further into it, replay some fights, and get more into fusions.

Persona 5 Tactica will appear on the Nintendo Switch, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and Windows PC via Steam on November 17, 2023. There will also be Repaint Your Heart DLC with Goro Akechi and Kasumi Yoshizawa released on launch day.

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Image of Jenni Lada
Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.