The Persona franchise of RPGs is known for some crazy twists, incredibly likable characters and a rich story. The twists and turns of each game as players unlock various story bits and new powers are incredible. The core gameplay loop of exploring emotional dungeons and dealing with the trauma and insecurity of the characters is always handled in a really compelling way.
If you’re a JRPG fan and you have never played the Persona games, you’re missing out. Now since there are so many mainline and off-shoot games, a lot of players feel intimidated, not knowing what to play first. It’s actually really simple though. The games often have tie-ins and references to previous characters or plots in them, but you can get by not having played most of the earlier games.
If you really want to enjoy the franchise as a whole, it’s really recommended that you play at least one specific earlier game first. Persona 4 Golden is the optimal version of the 4th mainline game; having included all the cut content and added storylines in one version. You can of course take a shortcut by watching recap videos of the older games. There are some quite good recaps made by fans on YouTube.
But things are a bit different with Persona 5. Persona 5 is a standalone game. It requires no knowledge of the series to play it. And since it’s not a sequel to any other game, it’s pretty easy to jump in and see if you like it. But it’s a weird game, I’m not going to lie. Also if you’re going to play P5, go for Persona 5 Royale, it’s the same treatment that Persona 4 Golden got, but for the new game.
And now we come to the actual point of this post, Persona 5 Strikers. Persona 5 Strikers is a direct sequel to Persona 5. The new Koei Tecmo game is finally coming west next month, and players want to know if they need to be prepared. So what’s the deal?
The fact that this is a sequel means you need to have some prior knowledge of events to really understand what’s happening here. It’s actually a very similar situation to Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. That’s a Switch game made by a new team that tied into the story of Breath of the Wild and explained tons of events from that game. And now this P5 sequel is doing it for the JRPG.
Do You Need to Play Persona 5 Before Persona 5 Strikers?
Yes. The short answer is that yes, you should play Persona 5 first. It’s an incredible game that can be enjoyed by any JRPG fan looking for drama. If you’re into heavier storylines than typical “save the damsel, then the world” JRPG nonsense, this might be the game for you. It’s a game you could easily sink 100 hours into if you tried.
Persona 5 Strikers being a Switch title makes it a bit awkward though, as Persona 5 Royale is only on the PS4. So if you don’t own a PS4, you’re kind of out of luck. But as I said, you can jump past putting dozens of hours into the story of Joker and his heisting pals. The fans around the game have done a really good job of summarizing the game on YouTube. Check out one of the best summaries down below.
So why would you do this? Mostly because the new Switch game brings in tons of story elements and character arcs from the main game. That means it’s much harder to understand the story of the new game. Even major aspects of Persona 5’s world such as the Metaverse, Shadows, and Palaces get a place, so you might want to be familiar with those to know what’s happening.
But it’s OK if you don’t want to go into the game having done any prep either. If you just want to enjoy the gameplay for what it is, you’re entitled to that.