Persona 5 Tactica – Game Review

Persona 5 Tactica

(available on PlayStation 5, Xbox X and S, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Xbox Series X version and Nintendo Switch versions used for this review.)

Persona 5 Tactica is the newest spin-off from the very successful Persona 5. Not only am I a massive fan of Persona 5, but I love the whole Persona franchise, to such an extent that Persona 5 was my Game of the Year for 2017. If you listen to the Professionally Unprofessional Awards, I gave the spin-off/sequel Persona 5 Strikers my Game of the Year in 2021.

Now, Persona 5 Tactica comes at a very interesting time- there are rumours of Persona 6 floating around, but more significantly, it’s coming between releases. Not only has Persona now gone multi-platinum after being previously a mostly PlayStation-exclusive franchise, but since after the success of the Steam version of Persona 4 Golden, all platforms received Persona 3, 4, and 5, with GamePass deals, Xbox has now also taken up a marketing deal with Persona and as such they now own the marketing rights to the Persona 3 Remake, which will be coming out in February. The combination of the marketing deal plus the GamePass meant that I felt it was best for me to review the Xbox Series X version.

From what I gather, there’s not a massive difference between the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC versions, but the Switch version has a much lower framerate and is locked at 30FPS as opposed to the 60FPS of the other versions.

Persona 5 Tactica is being released now, in between all of those other Persona games and the upcoming Persona 3 means that this definitely has the feeling of a stop-gap title, and it almost looks like it was made with a handheld console in mind.

But this brings a new style of gameplay that Persona fans haven’t had a chance to experience with their favourite characters. Much like how all of the Persona games seem to have a dancing spin-off and the franchise has some fighting games too, in the case of this one unlike the last spin-off, Person 5 Strikers, Tactica is a strategy RPG. Similar in vain to the Ex-Con games of Final Fantasy Tactics or the recently released Triangle Strategy. Though, if there’s any game it reminded me of whilst playing, it was Mario Plus Rabbids. There were quite a few similarities between these two games, but I will say that positioning plays a bigger role in Tactica than it does in Mario.

You’ll be controlling three phantom thieves of your choice and you don’t have to have Joker in your party for once, and you’ll be given one of several kinds of missions, which usually want you to eliminate all of the enemies, get characters to a certain location, or survive a certain number of turns. If you’ve played games like this, there isn’t too much new here.

It’s also relatively short. I did most of the side quests and didn’t include the DLC (which was available for purchase on Day 1 and brings in the Persona 5 Royal characters), you’re looking at around 25 hours. However, the game is extremely cutscene-heavy, so that pads out a lot of the runtime.

In case you’re worried about spoilers for the original Persona 5 (I would say to get it on GamePass but it’s no longer on the service, but Persona 5 Royal is available on all platforms so I would recommend picking that one up), I will stress that I won’t spoil Persona 5 as much as possible. But I will say that I need to talk about it a little to explain this game. In terms of the timeline, this takes place just before the final cutscene of Persona 5, so it’s sort of a sequel but takes place before Persona 5 Strikers.


  • Tactical Combat

The combat in this game is what it would live or die on, and fortunately, it’s excellent turn-based combat. The thing I had to consider was how would you bring the Persona formula to a turn-based RPG, and it’s done relatively well. Because this is a tactical RPG similar to Mario Plus Rabbids, gins are more important than ever. In the other games, you would be using your Persona or melee weapons a lot more.

The melee attacks are still here, but you have to use your tactics quite well. You want to try and have cover, with a few exceptions, more of the enemies use range attacks and the cover will not only reduce damage, but it stops them from being able to get one extra hit. Which again, brings in Persona 5’s combat. In that game, you were looking for the different enemy’s weaknesses to get an extra hit in. With this one, you’re going to want to chain different extra turns- believe me, it’s needed to get through some of the side quests. This is also necessary to perform the All-Out Attack, which in this case is done by having the characters form a triangle, which then performs the character’s last action for the turn and gives a devastating amount of damage to any enemies that are engulfed in the triangle. You can move characters to create a better triangle and then move them again so they’re not in harm’s way, if they’re out in the open then the enemies can get an extra move on you as well.

I will stress that this time you’re less looking for the weakness of the elemental personas. Since the type of enemies, they’re going for in the combat, this time the personas are just used to deal large types of damage or lower enemies guards. It does kind of cheapen the personas a bit, but I still really liked it. This time Joker is stuck with our Sin as his Persona (i.e. the one he has in Smash Brothers) to make up for this, you can now use the Velvet Room to create personas by fusing like usual, but this comes with an added bonus. Those personas are now sub-personas, which add extra attacks and abilities to a character and each character can have one equipped. Personally, I liked this customisation and it felt like I was able to enhance the phantom thieves more than in the other games, and in different ways.

Some abilities have been removed, for example, I managed to use it to make an early-stage healer since I didn’t have too many of those at the start of the game. The game will also put you in several mission structures. You could end up doing two or three missions in a row before you go back to the cafe for a rest. But don’t worry, you can buy new guns and visit the Velvet Room to make new personas between missions and they also offer a save feature. This also helps if you play using Xbox since the Instant Replay feature means that you can pretty much stop the game at any time.

I did find the combat very, very satisfying. I particularly was impressed with how the ‘All Out’ attacks are handled, which offer another level of strategy. It’s not particularly difficult, and I think that they acknowledge that not many of Persona’s fanbase have played a lot of tactical RPGs, so I would consider this game to be a good gateway, especially since Atlas is publishing Vanillaware’s new tactical RPG next year.

In short, the combat is excellent, though not particularly challenging. The side quests are different altogether, they are challenging but I had my issues with them.

  • Story

It’s a Persona 5 story, of course it’s excellent. It takes place just before the final cutscene of Persona 5 Royal as far as I’m aware and has the gang hanging out at Cafe Leblanc before the events of the final cutscene take place. Only to have them transported to another world which is overrun by a monarch named Marie, and they also encounter a revolutionary girl named Eri, who begs the Phantom Thieves to help her revolutionary mercenaries overthrow Marie and bring peace to the kingdom.

The Phantom Thieves accept, but it appears that this version of the Metaverse is linked to a prisoner they released from Marie’s dungeon, who is a recently disappeared politician named Toshiro who seems to have some baggage from his past.

There’s not a lot new here. Toshiro’s arc here is very similar to that of Zenkichi from Persona 5 Strikers. There are many points where I didn’t find him as interesting a character as Zenkichi, and it definitely didn’t help that the voice actors playing both characters have very similar vocal tones. But if anything, it kind of breathes life into an interesting story.

I did feel like it was a bit heavily centred on Toshiro, as the Phantom Thieves feel like they’re just in for the ride this time. They do get their own moments, Futaba gets an excellent moment that calls back to her palace in Persona 5, and Haru also gets a moment that relates to her relationship with her father. But again, they both tie back to what’s going on with Toshiro at the time.

Eri is certainly a cool new addition to the cast, and I felt like she definitely brings something new to the Phantom Thieves, while she has a little more going on than Sophie did in Strikers, I felt like Sophie left a more lasting impression.

If you’ve been playing a lot of the Persona 5 games, there’s definitely a running formula here. In the first game, it was palaces. In the second game, it was jails. In Tactica’s case, it’s Kingdoms. Though, you do get less of them here compared to Royal and Strikers. Not necessarily a bad deal, I think that the game has a good length to tell the story and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. There’s no reason why this game should be as long as Royal or Persona 5.

While it definitely feels like the weakest of the three stories, it’s only the weakest of a really good bunch. I love these characters so the chance to have more time with them is good for me.

  • Soundtrack

It’s a Persona 5 soundtrack, of course it’s amazing. It doesn’t have a particular music genre to follow this time, with Royal taking inspiration from jazz and blues, and rock music playing more of a part in Strikers. This time seems to be a mix of the two. Unfortunately, unlike in Strikers, some of the iconic songs didn’t return, but the new ones are great.

Lyn Inaizumi provides the vocal performances once again, and she knocks it out of the park like usual. The opening song, Revolution in Your Heart is excellent, but I was particularly a fan of the song Truth or Dare. If you’re used to Persona 5, this soundtrack is pretty much everything that you would expect.


  • Art Style

The art style in the game is pretty good, but it’s not great in my opinion. There’s very little movement in the cutscenes, it’s kind of a lot of still images interacting with each other, done to give an effect of looking like manga panels. There are some elements of Persona 5 Q here, but that made more sense because it was more wacky crossovers of the continuities.

Unless you’re counting the Steamdeck and the Switch, Persona 5 Tactica is a home console release. I don’t think that the Persona Q art style really fits the darker themes that can turn up in Persona games. Even though I didn’t mention it in the story section, there is definitely some darker stuff in here. As a result, the art style feels a bit jarring.

The still images had the issue of having the characters in Phantom Thief attire have their masks not covering their faces, and that often seemed to defeat the purposes of the masks. I know that’s a trivial point, but it bugged me slightly in the cutscenes. That being said, the gameplay had everything move and look great. It’s not pushing anything in these systems., but I can confirm that after doing the tutorial missions in the Switch and Xbox versions, I really did value playing it in 60FPS on Xbox and the difference was very noticeable. I would recommend the Switch version to be played only if it’s the only console you’ve got.

It’s still pretty good, The new characters look very good, but I wonder how they’d look in the original Persona 5, and I don’t think that will be answered unless we get Persona 5 arena or if another spin-off includes them in that style.

  • Skill and Weapon Management

The weapon management in this game is a bit weird. Despite the fact you get melee attacks, you’re not buying and equipping new melee weapons. You’re not even levelling up your characters, you’re levelling up the Phantom Thieves as a whole, and this restricts the kind of Personas you can create. You can’t create any Personas that are a level higher than your party.

On one hand, that does mean you don’t have to worry about how you swap characters in and out since they all level up together. But in my opinion, it kind of trivialises the character selection in a few ways. But that’s not my biggest issue. My biggest issue is that because there isn’t enough side content there isn’t enough opportunity to grind the characters up. It’s pretty much impossible to fill out the skill tree that each character gets. You get a certain amount of experience points that powers up the skill tree, with each character including Futaba getting one. You want to take back a skill to enhance another one, and you can freely select and unselect from the skill tree which makes it very customisable. But your enjoyment of this will boil down to whether or not you find skill trees enjoyable.

The gun management is fine, I don’t mind doing it. But I don’t like the fact that I can’t sell my old guns- the shop only lets me buy new ones. Since the Phantom Thieves aren’t stealing stuff this time around, there aren’t any treasures to sell- so it’s really hard to make enough money to afford all of the necessary upgrades for all of the characters. Not every side quest has a huge amount of monetary reward, either.


  • Enemy Variety

I’ve always quite liked the enemy variety in Persona games, as they make you think every battle through in terms of party composition and how to take advantage of characters’ strengths and enemy weaknesses. There’s not as much of that this time, the enemy variety had to be a bit diluted. There are certainly a good number of enemies, but there aren’t as many as I would like. I think you could boil down the game to about four to six enemies… This is mainly because they want to make more range combat enemies to fit in with the new gameplay style, but I think it also cheapens the combat slightly.

Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the fact that Persona weaknesses are no longer a thing. I would have accepted a different coloured version of the enemy to indicate a weakness to Persona types, but that’s not here. For example, Blue enemies could be weak to Fire attacks or Yellow enemies weak to nuclear attacks.

That being said, one of the strengths of this variety comes from the boss fights, which is where most of the best tactical combat is done. Strategy is required here.

  • Side Content

If there’s something I praised Persona 5 Royal and Strikers for, it is the side content. I think that Strikers did a pretty good job of keeping up the interaction with the rest of the party, but this one… Man, they really tried. You don’t get anywhere near the amount of side content you did in Strikers. They unlock really slowly; you only get about two or three at a time. The rewards are decent for them, but you won’t get as much experience for them as you would in other games.

As for the social links, well, they’re gone entirely. The replacement for the conversations isn’t great. For one thing, they’re nowhere near as interesting as anything that happened in the other games, and there’s only one that I really remembered, where you get to pick a party member for a scenario and no matter which one you pick, it’s incredibly funny.


Persona 5 Tactica has been lauded by a few people as being the best Persona 5 spin-off or at least better than Strikers. I don’t fall into that category. Persona 5 Strikers felt like it was getting that Persona 5: 2 that wasn’t possible but was pulled off amazingly. Tactica feels like the spin-off I was expecting. Nice story and good gameplay, and the early portions of the game were great, but it doesn’t quite reach the heights of the previous entries. That being said, it was a really good tactical RPG in terms of combat. Even though I complained about the enemy variety, it’s not a dealbreaker. The game made me consider my turns a lot more than a game like Mario Plus Rabbids did.

I think as far as tactical RPGs go, if you like them, you might want to check this game out. But you really do need to have played at least Persona 5 Royal to play this one, especially if you want to purchase the DLC.

I think that it’s a really good game, but I think it doesn’t quite reach the heights of calling it a great game.


Director of Axia ASD Ltd.
Self-proclaimed Nerd Consultant
and Head of Axia’s Film Society.

And now Elliot’s review

As mentioned in my Persona 5 Strikers review, Persona 5 is my favourite game of all time. But that being said, like a lot of other fans of the franchise, I’m also wanting Atlus to move on from that game. As much as I love this cast of characters, this story, and all the other elements that makes this game so great, I am still wishing for something new from Atlus, most notably Persona 6. We are getting signs of them moving on with Persona 3 Reload coming out next year, though it doesn’t seem like they’re done with this game yet, as we’ve now got the third (well technically fourth but no one remembers that dancing game) game in this mini-series, Persona 5 Tactica, released on 17th November 2023 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox Series X/S/One, and Steam. 


The events of this game takes place around the end of Persona 5’s story. The Phantom Thieves are all chilling in Leblanc, discussing their upcoming graduation ceremony and talking about how Joker will be returning home in a couple of months. Out of nowhere a mysterious gear appears in front of the cafe’s entrance, and the Phantom Thieves are transported into a wonderland-like world. The land is ruled over by the tyrant Marie who has forced the world’s citizens to work tirelessly, preparing the perfect wedding for her. After fighting off her soldiers, the Phantom Thieves ultimately lose, with Marie capturing and mind controlling all except for Joker and Morgana. Just as all hope is about to be lost, they are saved by Erina, leader of the resistance who defies Marie’s tyrannical rule and plans to have her overthrown. Now aided by her, and a politician who stumbled into this world, currently missing in the real world, Toshiro Kusakabe, it’s up to Joker to save his friends, take down Marie and find a way back home. 

The story of this game is very solid, the Phantom Thieves are much less of a focus on this game with most of it focusing on Toshiro (which makes sense as they had most of their character development in the last game), but it still kept me interested and overall enjoying it all the way through. It will be a bit difficult for newcomers to play however, as the game will reference events that happened in the main game, explaining basically nothing outside of the bare essentials, so it’s probably best to at the very least know the basics before giving this game a try. 


The first thing you’ll notice is the shift in art style compared to the other Persona 5 games. Instead, this game has the same art style as the Persona Q games, it being a lot more cartoony with the characters being chibi versions of themselves. Personally, I’m kind of mixed on this choice, it works for the kind of game that it’s going for, especially with the Wonderland setting that it’s based in, and the enemies designs are really creative and look great, but my main criticism with this is the character models. The characters look lifeless, like most of their personality has been stripped from them, granted that’s not the case with all the characters, as Morgana and Futaba are still brimming with character, but then there’s Joker, who’s gone from the cocky and charismatic protagonist in the previous games to just looking like he’s bored the entire time. 

I played the game on the Switch, and it was pretty obvious that it wasn’t performing the best, the game did lag a fair bit, while docked it was mostly just in the loading screens so it didn’t affect gameplay, but in handheld the frame rate was much choppier at times, it is far from unplayable and tactics games don’t require amazing frame rate, but it is much smoother on other consoles if you’d prefer that. 

All the voice actors of the Phantom Thieves return and are, of course, just as fantastic as they always have been, all the newer voice actors are just as great as well, I especially have to give credit to the actors who played the antagonists for making their characters especially detestable. 

Music this time is a bit different compared to the other games, they’re a lot more mellow and not nearly as upbeat as before, not that that’s a bad thing though as the songs are still very enjoyable, though they are a bit more forgettable than the other games soundtracks. Lyn Inaizumi returns for the vocal tracks, and her voice is just as great as always. 


Persona 5 Tactica is a grid-based tactical RPG, strangely enough most reminiscent of Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope. Movement is a lot more ‘free-roamy’ than other tactics games, while there is a grid and you do have to end your turn on a tile, you’re not confined to the grid when moving, meaning that you can move across the board however you wish. How far you can move depends entirely on who you’re controlling, there are characters like Morgana and Yusuke who can travel a large distance across the board, meanwhile characters like Haru and Ann aren’t able to go very far. 

Rounds consist of you doing a turn followed by the legionnaires taking one, this continues until one side’s forces are depleted. You can move as much as you want with each character as long as it’s within the range of your character’s movement, though once you perform an action with that character, their turn ends where they stand. 

You have three main attacks, Guns, Melee and Personas, though the game is more focused around ranged attacks. Guns are probably the attacks you’ll be doing the most, and each works differently depending on which character you play as. Some characters like Joker and Makoto for example, can only shoot one enemy at a time and only do one shot, meanwhile others, like Ryuji and Erina, are able to shoot multiple enemies that are in range at once. There’s not really much to say about the Guns, you just shoot at any enemies that are in range, pretty self-explanatory. Melee attacks on the other hand, all work the exact same no matter who you’re controlling. Melee attacks require you to get right up to an enemy in order to strike. Once done, they will go flying to a different tile and you’ll move into the tile the enemy previously occupied. 

Persona’s work, for the most part, the same as they always do. Each character’s Persona has a list of skills, which require MP to perform, most of them are attacks though there are also some buffs and healing skills. The area that the skills cover varies quite a bit, you’ll get some skills that cover very few or even just one tile, meanwhile others will cover a significant portion of the area and will increase the chances of you hitting multiple enemies at once. The main difference with the Persona in this game is that enemies don’t have specific weaknesses anymore, meaning that there isn’t as much of an advantage using certain elements against certain enemies. To make up for this, instead skills add a certain status ailment and certain effects depending on their element, for example, sweep (wind) attacks will launch an enemy away from you as if you performed a melee attack, Vortex (nuclear) attacks will pull enemies closer together and Despair (Darkness) attacks will steal enemies movement and add it to your own. I really like this change; it works far better than any kind of strengths vs weakness system would and fits the style of game well. 

Persona’s also work differently in how you collect different ones. In this game Joker’s wildcard powers work somewhat differently, now you can’t recruit enemies and make them become your allies, nor can you equip multiple Persona’s at once, Joker’s instead only able to use Arsene as his Persona for the entirety of the game. That being said, you are still able to gather Persona’s and equip them, this time however you can only equip one at a time and you’ll only receive one or two new skills/abilities from them. To make up for this, it’s not just Joker who has access to these powers, now everyone in the Phantom Thieves are able to equip and swap between different Persona’s, giving them access to new moves that they wouldn’t otherwise. You obtain new Persona by finishing Missions and can fuse them together to create new ones within the Velvet Room. 

The main strategy of any battle is to try and get your opponent out of cover and make them vulnerable. If a legionnaire is behind cover, then your attack won’t be as powerful, meanwhile if you shoot an enemy when they are vulnerable they will be knocked down and that character will gain an additional turn with their movement resetting as if you started your turn on their current tile; be careful though, as enemies can just as easily knock you down and get an extra turn if you’re not behind cover or an enemy knock you out of cover. The enemies becoming vulnerable is entirely dependent on the enemies type, the basic gunmen, for example, either need to be attack with a Melee or Persona attack or can just be shot at with a gun if they’re not already behind cover, meanwhile others will require different methods, like shooting them from behind or having to hit them twice, again it depends entirely on the enemy’s type. 

The reason why this is important is because of the Triple Threat, which is this game’s version of the ‘All-Out’ Attack. If one of the Phantom Thieves knocks down an enemy and gets their extra turn, you’ll notice a blue line connecting your allies together forming a triangle, if you get any enemies that have been knocked down within those lines you’ll be able to perform a Triple Threat against all enemies within that triangle, either dealing very heavy damage or outright killing a number of them. Once again, really like this mechanic, it makes you think more about your allies positioning, and makes you wonder if you should look for cover for your opponent’s turn or take the risk and hit more enemies. 

Most missions will have a series of bonus objectives for you to complete. One of these is always to just clear the mission, one most of the time involves you finishing the mission in a certain number of turns, and the final often requires you to finish it without losing a single ally. Completing these will increase the reward you receive at the end of the level. Completing each mission will reward you with experience points for the entire party – not just individual characters – some money and often a number of Personas. 

Side Content

The only real bit of side content are the quests, these are mini missions that you’ll unlock after a string of main Missions. These will often have certain characters that are locked into your party for that mission, and will have you complete an objective like you would in regular missions, most of the time in a limited number of turns. These never have any bonus objectives for you to complete, just the main objective. I do like these as they often get you playing the game in ways you wouldn’t think of without the turn limitations and will get you playing as characters that you maybe haven’t used very often. 

Unfortunately, that’s about it for side content, you do get optional conversations that have the Phantom Thieves chatting and will have some character development but that’s about it. Nothing reminiscent of Confidants, you don’t have to collect things for the rest of your allies, basically nothing else. This is a real shame as the Persona series is very well known for its massive amount of side content that even Persona 5 Strikers had, so this game having very little is quite the disappointment. 


Out of all the Persona 5 games (again, we don’t count the dancing game), this is definitely the weakest. Mostly due to the lack of side content, character models and the gameplay model, while being fun, not being quite as engaging as the others. That being said though, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t really enjoy this game. The gameplay is simple yet unique compared to other tactics games and does a great job converting Persona like gameplay to yet another new style. If you’re a fan of tactical games or are a big fan of Persona 5 like me, then I definitely recommend this to you. For one last send off to the Phantom Thieves, you could certainly do worse. 


Elliot Chapman
Anime Amigo and Nerd Consultant

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The Next Axia29th May 2024
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