Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers has a demo on the Japanese eShop. So yes, you can play it right now on your Switch if you have a Japanese account. I played through the 45-minute demo and walked away super impressed by what Atlus, Koei Tecmo, and Omega Force have constructed. Persona 5 Scramble feels like a proper continuation of Persona 5 while also breathing new life into it with some brand new elements. If you were at all worried about Scramble being an easy cash grab, you can put those worries to rest.
First off, just like Persona 5, Scramble oozes with style. While hacking and slashing your way through hordes of Shadows, they explode in gorgeous fashion. Many of Persona 5’s assets are being reused in Scramble, which could be viewed as a negative. However, Persona 5’s presentation is so damn good that it’s hard to be upset. Using some of the same animations, environments, and sounds make it feel more like a real continuation and not a spin-off. Persona 5: Scramble seems like a necessity for Persona 5 fans to play if they want to know the full story of the ragtag group of students following the end of the original.
GameXplain made a video comparing the reused game assets in Persona 5 Scramble from Persona 5. It’s really interesting seeing the subtle changes Omega Force made to the environments. In many instances, Persona 5 Scramble looks even better than vanilla Persona 5.
Not your typical Musou
One thing that immediately stood out to me in the demo was the level design. I’m no Dynasty Warriors expert, but based on the demo, Persona 5 Scramble seems more linear than your typical Musou. I’m sure things will open up a bit more later in the game, but I was pleasantly surprised by how similar the levels felt to traditional Persona dungeons. And I’m sure that was no accident by the developer.
However, that’s not the only thing that deviates Persona 5 Scramble away from traditional Musou games. Throughout the game, you will traverse various cities of Japan talking to characters and triggering story moments, which, to my knowledge, is a new element to the Musou genre. As of right now, I’m not sure if side-activities like baseball, reading books, or seeing movies comes into play in Scramble. But either way, this portion of the game was a pleasant surprise to me. Some other features that made the jump from Persona 5 are the calendar system, all-out attacks, and Morgana constantly telling you to go to sleep. (Seriously, why isn’t this called Persona 5 2?) Best of all, everything is immediately familiar, so there’s no time wasted learning the ins and outs of it all.
There’s also more focus on platforming in Persona 5 Scramble compared to other Musou games. The demo didn’t offer a ton of platforming sections, but based on the gameplay trailers we’ve seen, there are sure to be more intricate sections where Joker and company can utilize their sick acrobatic skills.
Combat and story
The crux of Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers‘ combat is the ability to freeze time to a halt and choose from various Persona attacks. You base what special attacks you use on enemy weaknesses just like in Persona 5. It’s all really easy to grasp from the beginning (even in Japanese). However, in the demo, you’re constantly learning new mechanics and different types of play, so I’m sure things will get more complicated in post-demo sections (at least, I hope so). It’s also worth mentioning the demo featured a boss battle. It was pretty cool and I’m hoping they get bigger and better further in. Implementing Persona 5‘s turn-based combat into a Musou game is no easy task, but Omega Force figured it out.
Because the demo is in Japanese, it was hard to grasp the story while playing. Luckily, YouTuber juicedup14 translated the entire demo. More strange occurrences start happening around Tokyo and the Phantom Thieves are thrust into the madness. I won’t dive deeper than that into the story details because of spoilers, but it seems like a somewhat standard story setup.
If you were iffy on giving Persona 5 Scramble a shot because you’re not a fan of Musou games, I highly recommend giving the demo a shot. It’s the least Musou-feeling Musou game I’ve played so far. I’m fully convinced that Persona 5 Scramble is a true sequel to Persona 5. It almost goes without saying that you should definitely play Persona 5 before Persona 5 Scramble, as the characters, story, and world are all introduced in the original game. It will be hard to fully appreciate Scramble‘s offerings without playing the first game.
Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers currently has no international release plans announced. Hopefully, we may hear something in the near future. Do you plan on picking up Persona 5 Scramble? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page!