Persona fans have come to know and love the series over the past two decades. Its signature combination of elemental weakness-focused JRPG combat and dungeon exploration makes Persona games satisfying for long-time genre fans while being engaging and approachable for newer JRPG players.
Enter Persona 5 Tactica, the latest series entry that promises to delight fans as it features another story featuring Joker and the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. This new entry is a unique title though as it features a cutesier art style and a new world that the Phantom Thieves have found themselves in.
Story and visuals aren’t the only ways the game is different. Tactica is also the first proper tactical-RPG entry in the long-running franchise, giving players a fresh way of enjoying the series.
Persona 5 Tactica isn’t your standard tactical RPG though. Instead, it innovates on the Persona formula by featuring tactical turn-based gameplay that incorporates the various mechanics that give Persona games their unique identity.
How Does Persona 5 Tactica’s Gameplay Work
The mainline Persona games have a specific structure to them. In these games, players alternate between spending time in school with Social Links, as well as facing off against foes in dungeons. For the combat parts, Persona games have an accessible yet deep JRPG turn-based gameplay system that should feel familiar to anyone who has played JRPGs before.
With Tactica, Atlus went for something different. As its title implies, Tactica is a tactical RPG. It’s also turn-based, but the core gameplay mechanics are wildly different.
In this game, players control a party of three characters that include members of the Phantom Thieves and Erina, the leader of the Rebel Corps. This game is also turn-based, but instead of attacking and cycling between party members, the turns here combine movement and combat.
This should be a familiar style for those who have played tactical RPGs before. For those who haven’t though, think of it as a board game where each turn allows you to move party members to specific locations where they can most effectively attack foes on the board. What’s more, by surrounding enemies, players can access a more powerful attack under the right conditions.
Placement is key in combat as characters have options of attacking in close quarters or in long-range. These different types of attacks have unique effects that must be thought of properly if you want the best results.
Along with this, knowing when to end your turn is key as well so you can get an advantage with the right decision. While you are playing, if you choose to pass a turn you can be left in a more advantageous position for your next turn. Plus, it’s also worth noting that each party member can take cover to lessen damage during the enemy’s turn.
That’s not all there is to consider in gameplay. The game’s levels also have unique designs, complete with various obstacles and other elements that will definitely add a wrinkle to your tactics, especially depending on the type of enemies that you’re facing.
All of these features add up to a gameplay experience that’s a major departure from the original Persona 5. But make no mistake, this is not an entirely different experience as it retains lots of signature Persona elements that are integrated quite naturally into the new tactical RPG style.
Persona 5 Tactica Still Features Lots of Familiar Elements
Even with how different the combat plays, long-time Persona fans should still feel right at home with Tactica. This is because the game features various skills courtesy of Personas.
In the game, party members can use their signature Personas for special skills. As with Persona 5, many of the Persona skills in Tactica have a specific element tied to them. These skills have all sorts effects, one of which is the ability to make enemies move to a different position which can add an interesting arsenal to you disposal.
When a character attacks an enemy out of cover, they’ll get “1 More” – a familiar and powerful mechanic. Also returning is the “All-Out Attack,” though this time as a “Triple Threat” attack. This can be done when the three party members surround enemy units in a triangle formation.
This is a nice twist to the tactical RPG formula as it smartly integrates elements from the mainline Persona entries, giving the game a fresh yet familiar feel.
Another familiar thing outside of combat is Persona fusion. We’re sure that many fans of the series have spent lots of time fusing Personas for the best combo. Thus, fans will be happy to know that Persona 5 Tactica features the Velvet Room once again to fuse Personas.
Persona 5 Tactica: Now Available on Consoles and PC
Even with all the things we talked about regarding Tactica’s gameplay, we’ve only just scratched the surface as this game’s tactical RPG combat system is deep and rewarding, all while featuring elements that make it a true Persona game. Thanks to this, this game is surely a must-play for any and every Persona 5 fan!
Persona 5 Tactica is available now on Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Switch, and PC.