Warriors games tend to have a reputation for painful repetition and boring gameplay; could the style and pizazz of the Persona 5 coat of paint be enough to make this game worth it?
On February 6th, Atlus released a Japanese-only demo for Persona 5 Scramble on the Switch and PlayStation 4.
At the time of this writing, it is unknown when (or if) Persona 5 Scramble will make it to western shores. Although I have yet to finish Persona 5 proper, I decided to try out both versions of this demo. After all, Warriors games tend to have a reputation for painful repetition and boring gameplay; could the style and pizazz of the Persona 5 coat of paint be enough to make this game worth it?
Right off the bat, you are hit with cutscene after cutscene, which is fairly typical for the modern Persona games. Without knowing Japanese myself, it was still clear that this was a direct sequel and not a mere side-story in this universe. You see all the characters you know and love from the original game right from the get-go, and their interactions between each other feel authentic and warm. Perhaps even nostalgic, in a way?
I was immediately bopping my head when the new version of “Last Surprise” started playing, though, and as long as that song is present, I’m good.
When you finally get to the gameplay, it is clear that the developers were trying their best to mirror the type of controls and mechanics you would see in the Palaces. You can hide from enemies by jumping from streetlamp to streetlamp and perform a special attack that lays waste to the group below, basically functioning as a sneak mechanic. When you are inside the building, you can go through vents and keep to the ceilings, emulating much of the sneaking around you do as the Phantom Thieves during Persona 5. It all feels familiar; yet, it is interesting how seamless it feels when you don’t have to transition to the standard battle screen during an encounter. Everything plays out in real-time, which is actually refreshing in a way even if I do prefer turn-based combat in most of my JRPGs.
The music and presentation is stylish as ever. Since this game was clearly designed to be primarily played on the PS4 (and didn’t have to take the PS3 into consideration, unlike the original game), all of the animations feel way more fluid than before. The remixes of the songs are definitely enjoyable, although I am not entirely sure if they would be as good on their own or if knowledge of the original song enhances the experience. I was immediately bopping my head when the new version of “Last Surprise” started playing, though, and as long as that song is present, I’m good.
As far from what I’ve gathered from the story, there are new characters for the Phantom Thieves to interact with, which was to be expected. One interesting tidbit I noticed was the debut of a new idol character. Recent Persona games are known for their idol characters, with the most notable being the group of bird-inspired idols from Persona 4: Dancing All Night.
If you have a Japanese PSN account or a Japanese Nintendo eShop account, I would definitely recommend downloading these demos and giving them a try. While the visuals are leaps and bounds better on the PS4, there is no denying how cool it is to be playing a Persona game on a Nintendo system. Besides, the demo is free and short, clocking in at just under an hour. What have you got to lose? Wake up, get up, and get out there and download this demo!