OK Persona 5 Strikers, I’m providing you with one likelihood to come back clear. Where is my girlfriend and what have you ever performed with her?
I’ll admit, Hifumi wasn’t on the forefront of my thoughts after I first returned to the world of turn-based Japanese roleplaying recreation Persona 5. I used to be extra wanting to catch up with my pals and fellow Phantom Thieves: Ann, Yusuke, Makoto, Futaba, Haru, Morgana — even Ryuji. Although solely six months had handed for them since we (*5*), I hadn’t correctly frolicked with our ragtag group in three years (barring one weird dancing fever dream). I used to be curious to see what they’d gotten as much as in my absence, and how our experiences collectively might need impacted them.
We had spent a complete 12 months supernaturally invading cruel adults’ minds, our mismatched gang of misunderstood teenagers actually preventing the darkish needs inside individuals and forcing them to repent. There is no approach that does not change the trajectory of your life ultimately.
Luckily, none of them appeared notably traumatised by the expertise. Reunited in Persona 5 Strikers, our gang of merry misfits have been now taking our present on the highway, driving throughout Japan to use unsolicited psychological recalibration to a brand new batch of unsuspecting targets — and dive into some new hack-and-slash gameplay.
Nonetheless, after the preliminary pleasure of our reunion died down, I started to marvel about my pals who didn’t moonlight as thoughts criminals. Café Leblanc’s curry king Sojiro was nonetheless round, permitting me to reclaim my makeshift bed room within the store’s attic. However I had no thought how my former instructor Kawakami was. Each Iwai’s airsoft store and Tae’s medical clinic have been closed.
And there was no signal of Hifumi, my lovely shogi queen.
I first met Hifumi Togo in a quiet Kanda church, a peaceable sanctuary she usually visited to apply shogi. She grew to become my teacher, educating me technique by the Japanese board recreation and unwittingly sharpening my fight abilities. Night after night I’d return, and night after night Hifumi taught me. Finally she grew to belief me, confiding her tough relationship with her mom and the pressures she felt as a high-profile shogi participant. I supported her, silently intervening to assist with her troubles. Our relationship grew nearer, extra intimate, slowly budding right into a fragile highschool romance.
Whereas many Persona 5 gamers’ hearts have been stolen by badass biker Makoto, beginning a romantic relationship with a fellow Phantom Thief felt an excessive amount of like courting a colleague to me. Our mission to beat the residing daylights out of the bodily manifestations of individuals’s corrupt psyches was too necessary to compromise. I needed to maintain my love life separate from my in all probability unlawful thoughts heists as a lot because it was potential to do so.
Shy, unusual Hifumi was largely disconnected from my world of supernatural percussive psychology, and she had by no means met my crafty alter ego Joker. Other than being the catalyst for a small facet journey, she had nothing to do with the Phantom Thieves. She additionally attended a wholly completely different faculty, so she’d by no means heard the rumours tarring me as a harmful delinquent (which have been completely false, by the best way).
All Hifumi noticed was my plain, unexciting, on a regular basis self, unassuming in a normal Shujin Academy uniform and heavy framed glasses. She selected me anyway.
Persona 5 Strikers follows a brand new plot, so you may technically play it with out having touched Persona 5. You’ll nonetheless have enjoyable in case you’re prepared to just accept and run with every premise because it arises irrespective of how outlandish, although it is going to in all probability be mildly complicated, like watching the Downton Abbey film with out having seen Downton Abbey. Being advised the Jails you’re exploring are just like Palaces means nothing in case you don’t know what a Palace is.
Those that have already performed Persona 5 may have a a lot simpler time understanding the sport, and they will take pleasure in getting again to the acquainted world and the characters they love. This being a direct narrative sequel, quite a lot of the relationships, terminology, and primary worldbuilding carry over, serving to you higher perceive the aim behind your battles. The introduction of the highway journey premise additionally retains the setting dynamic, so that you don’t get bored circling the identical neighbourhoods you’ve already totally explored.
Persona 5 Strikers is extra of a by-product of Persona 5 than a sequel by way of gameplay, with vital adjustments that additional assist revitalise the collection. Whereas I personally most well-liked Persona 5’s strategic turn-based fight, Striker’s swap to actual time hack-and-slash motion presents a refreshing new problem and sooner tempo. Luckily technique is nonetheless an necessary aspect of battles, with button-mashing solely capable of get you to date. Defeating stronger enemies is virtually not possible until you soar right into a menu and fireplace off magic assaults focused at your opponents’ weaknesses.
Even so, followers of the unique will discover Strikers feels barely much less sturdy in some areas than its predecessor, most notably in relation to friendships. As an alternative of cultivating particular person relationships with your pals, your bond is constructed with the group as a complete — a major change contemplating how centered Persona 5 had been on these connections. Should you have been hoping to deepen your relationship with your favorite character, you’ll possible be upset.
And in case you needed to debate future plans with your girlfriend, or even perhaps see her once more after half a 12 months aside? Nicely then, robust luck, Romeo.
We have been in LOVE.
I perceive Hifumi’s absence from Persona 5 Strikers on a sensible degree. There had been a number of completely different love pursuits in Persona 5, so it was easier for the builders to keep away from the subject somewhat than select one as canon. Gamers may assume their relationships continued offscreen, or that they’d damaged up within the intervening months — in the event that they turned their thoughts to like in any respect. Highschool romances usually don’t final, and six months might as nicely be perpetually in teenage time.
Even so, I don’t imagine for a second that my affected person, levelheaded Hifumi didn’t await me. Earlier than I left she advised me this wasn’t goodbye, and we’d even promised to go to one another.
“You gained’t be victorious in case you take your eyes off them,” she mentioned. “It is the identical in shogi and romance, sure?”
I spent over 200 hours in Persona 5, lots of them by Hifumi’s facet. Now it has all been wiped away, the board reset and my girlfriend gone. These quiet evenings spent sharing a shogi board, shy eyes flicking to one another after we thought ourselves unobserved. The peace of our shared isolation, the mutual understanding discovered within the sacred seclusion of the church. Our harmless, tentative affection witnessed solely by her, myself, and God (not the one we dethroned).
I’m not making an attempt to sunk-cost-fallacy this relationship, however we each invested an excessive amount of for our like to be ignored.
But, like an overprotective dad or mum educating their children to resent them, the world of Persona 5 Strikers stored Hifumi from me. I can solely assume this was to drive dwelling the unjust cruelty of this universe, which hates younger love and needs to make me personally undergo. The Venus of Shogi wasn’t even talked about earlier than I used to be shuffled off to the subsequent city, pulled away from my star and into one other Phantom Thieves journey.
It was undeniably thrilling to be again doing unlicensed newbie psychology. I’ll at all times treasure any time spent violating individuals’s minds and stylishly beating up their psyches with my pals. However like most issues, pushing individuals into psychological breakdowns is merely extra gratifying when sharing it with somebody you’re keen on.
Persona 5 Strikers launches exterior Japan Feb. 23 on Nintendo Swap, PlayStation 4, and PC.