The combat in Persona 5 Strikers probably doesn’t seem like it’d be complicated enough to warrant a guide for it. It’s just Dynasty Warriors with Persona characters, isn’t it? You just hit square and then triangle over and over while everything around you stands and dies without fighting back. Well, not this time. The game might have the general combat mechanics of a Dynasty Warriors game, but it’s just as much of a Dynasty Warriors game as it is a Persona one. If you just mash buttons, you will see your characters die. That’s not to say it’s a particularly difficult game, but I’m going to break down the game’s systems while dispensing some early advice.
Let’s start with the basic Dynasty Warriors stuff. Each of the game’s characters has default attacks and specials. Just like in the Dynasty Warriors games, you can have a full combo with default attacks, or you can hit the special button after each default button press that will result in a different, powerful attack. These are typically known as “charge attacks.” Using one default attack followed by a special will cause most characters to launch their enemies into the air. That attack can be called a C1. Each character in Persona 5 Strikers has at least three charge attacks, but many have five. Unlike many of the Dynasty Warriors games, there is no blocking and you can only dodge. There’s a skill that allows you to do an automatic counter if you dodge at the last second, too.
Come out to play
As Persona 5 Strikers is in the Musou mold, you are often going to be fighting an entire horde of foes. But the big difference is that you don’t want to use any character whenever. All characters and most enemies have a specific set of weaknesses. For instance, Ann and Yusuke are respectively fire and ice magic users. If they hit an enemy weak to their element, extra damage will be done alongside the opportunity for different kinds of follow-up attacks that I’ll detail in a bit. But the two of them are respectively weak to ice and fire. Therefore, if you’re fighting a bunch of enemies that use ice magic, you’ll want to make sure Ann doesn’t get hit by any Bufu attacks.
Y’all gon’ make me go all out
When you hit an enemy’s weakness, you’ll have the option to make use of one of the Press-Turn system’s famous attributes: One More. Here, that means you’ll press a button and hit the downed enemy again for extra damage. If you down them repeatedly or a bunch at once, you’ll often get the option for an All-Out Attack. This calls in your entire group and all enemies get pulled into a melee. It’s not only a good way to decimate a horde, but it deals a ton of damage to individual units as well. Of course, you can try to play Persona 5 Strikers like a Warriors game. But you’ll simply get more damage in by going after enemy weaknesses.
There are a few options for taking advantage of these. My favorite is using charge moves. Every character has a charge move that makes use of a weaker version of the strongest elemental skill they have. If you have Agilao and Agi, Ann will use Agilao along with her C3 attack. This will hit an enemy weakness and give you a One More or All-Out Attack. Ann is also one of the characters that can imbue her regular attacks with her element. Makoto can do the same with Nuclear. These attacks will do more damage than regular ones. It’s too bad not everyone has them.
Magic attacks aren’t tied to absolutely’ everyone’s C3s, though. Haru only has a four-hit default combo string and three charge attacks, so her C2 uses her elemental attack. It’s also one of the strongest charge moves in the game.
Your other option is to use your skills. At any time, you can pause the game and summon a Persona. While there are versions of skills that characters can use via normal actions, most can only be made of use through this menu. Magic attacks are stronger here, but they use up your SP, whereas charge attacks don’t. You’ll want to typically save this for healing, buffs, or afflictions. You can still do all the normal Persona stuff here, instilling an enemy with fear and then hit them with a magic attack for a technical. Additionally, you can lower an enemy’s attack or buff your team’s defenses. For harder fights, you’re going jump into the menu a lot.
No carbon copies
Every character has something unique about them in that regard. All characters have gun attacks, but Joker can use guns without burning up ammunition as long as they’re part of his special combos. He can also switch between all of his Personas on the fly. Ann and Makoto imbue themselves with their elements. Makoto can call forth her Persona Johanna and ride her, since she’s a motorcycle. Ryuji’s the bruiser of the group and can literally charge up his attacks for stronger hits, while his default special makes him resistant to flinching. Yusuke has a parry and can extend his sword slashes. With Haru, you can hold down the special button after using a charge move to extend it. Lastly, Morgana can turn into his car form from Mementos, and Sophia can extend the range of her attacks. There’s a lot to keep in mind.
One thing that’s annoying in Persona 5 Strikers is that you can’t switch characters while paused, so you’ll have to do it on the fly. Meaning that you can summon a Persona to freeze time, look at which character is mapped to which button, and then switch them. A portrait will also appear in the upper left-hand corner when characters want to use free attacks if you switch to them during the time limit. You can’t swap out characters once you’re in battle, but if your whole team dies you can swap members out via the menu before trying again.
One tip I’ll share is that, if one character is about to die, do not trust the AI to heal them. Switch to a character with a healing spell and immediately summon their Persona to stop time. That way, you lower the risk of your teammate taking a fatal hit before you can heal them.
Persona 5 Strikers tasks players with juggling all of the balls from the main series and knowing how everything works in tandem makes a big difference. Characters that aren’t in your party do gain a little bit of experience, but it’s not much. If you haven’t used them at all, they can end up more than ten levels behind. But you’ll want to change members out based on the weaknesses of the enemies you’re facing. There’s a lot to keep track of here but everything is easy to understand. Just don’t use up all of your SP — you’re going to need it. And use your Showtime attack when you’re in a pinch. It doesn’t fill up that quickly, but it can turn the tide.