Persona 5 Tactica Review

Dan Webb

Crossover and spin-off games in the Persona universe are as expected these days as their 1.5 updated edition counterparts are, such as Persona 4 Golden and Persona 5 Royal. In fact, Atlus’ track record in terms of spin-offs and their quality is perhaps the best in the industry. Whether you're talking about Persona Q, Persona 5 Strikers, Persona 4 Arena, or the series’ excellent rhythm games, Atlus perfectly bottles a brand-new Persona experience in a genre that it almost has no right to be dabbling in. Persona 5 Tactica is another in a long line of fantastically handcrafted and unique experiences for Persona fans to lose a few days in. And in this particular case, XCOM fans, too.

To put it simply, Persona 5 Tactica is an anime XCOM. XCOM, for the uninitiated, being an isometric top down turn-based strategy game. Think of it like chess, where you face-off against an AI operated squadron, with your own team of pawns, each boasting their strengths and weaknesses.

Persona 5 Tactica differs ever so slightly from its genre-defining inspiration in many respects, however. For one, you're allowed to freely move your character before you lock-in a move - think of it like moving a piece in chess, but not taking your hand off the piece. Secondly, while XCOM has a tendency to make you miss a 99% chance-to-hit shot, P5T does away with nonsense. If the game says you'll do 100 damage, you're doing 100 damage. 

Both of those changes make the game not only more accessible to newcomers, but make it less frustrating for veterans of the XCOM series. Where the game is perhaps lacking when compared to XCOM, however, is in its depth.

If you're looking for a proper anime-style XCOM experience, Persona 5 Tactica might not quite reach those lofty heights. While the aforementioned tweaks do make the game a much more consistent and well-rounded experience, Atlus’ spin-off doesn't have enough depth to rival Firaxis’ franchise. Once you've worked out Persona 5 Tactica, you'll feel like Kasparov playing Mickey Mouse at chess. And that won't take long.

To be fair, P Studio does a fine job in introducing new elements and keeping the gameplay fresh from start to finish, but it perhaps lacks the depth that would keep a proper strategy nut on their toes. What it does so excellently, though, is to introduce elements from the main games, like All-Out Attacks and One More follow-ups, to present a fresh take on a sub-genre that is perhaps lacking innovation at times.

What Persona 5 Tactica does nail, however, is everything else. Its art-style is gorgeous and typically Persona-inspired, while the music is phenomenal as usual, as is the reintroduction of the original cast from the main game. The story and the exchanges between all the characters are all classic Persona fare, too, and the writing is on-point. 

The only real criticism you could aim at Persona 5 Tactica is that its doesn't really have much to add canon-wise, which is usually pretty sharp in this kinds of game. Persona 5 Tactica seemingly takes place after the events of Persona 5 but has no real impact on anything and offers no insight into the future of the Phantom Thieves. So much so that you could skip this game and still be up-to-date on Persona’s story, which is a disappointment.

In the grand scheme of things, though, Persona 5 Tactica is genuinely a very good video game, bringing Persona to life in an XCOM-style world. The combat is great, albeit a little shallow; and while the story doesn't really mean a lot when all is said and done, it’s still a thoroughly enjoyable romp that will keep you hooked, just to see how it all pans out. 

Persona 5 Tactica, then, is a fresh and interesting Persona spin-off, with a fantastic soundtrack, an enjoyable story arc and a perfectly satisfying way to spend 40-hours. If you love Persona, you'll love this. If you love XCOM, you might even like this, too.

Persona 5 Tactica

Persona 5 Tactica is a wonderful take on isometric turn-based tactical games like XCOM, that is good enough to satiate Persona fans, and maybe even win over a few XCOM fans at the same time.

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A brand-new arrangement of Persona-esque tracks, with the original (and brilliant) cast reprising their roles. You can’t really fault Persona here. P5T maintains the usual high standards that the franchise is known for.


While Persona 5 Tactica’s visuals are very stylised, they're still pretty damn great. They're nowhere near Persona 5 Royal's levels, but not a lot of games are, to be fair.


There are things that P5T does better than XCOM, in truth, but when compared to the daddy of the sub-genre, it could be deemed as being a touch shallow.


A really tight and incredibly enjoyable 40-hour romp, where P Studio constantly mixes things up and never lets things get stale.


Persona 5 Tactica’s list is pretty decent, albeit a little simplistic. It would definitely be even better without the Persona Compendium achievement being tied to New Game Plus.

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