Hear that? The faint murmur of a sax solo, the trundle of a cat-shaped bus, a rippling bassline. If I listen closely, I can't shake the feeling that my life's about to change again. Persona 5 Strikers isn't far off now, and I can't wait to reunite with my high school homies in this hack-and-slash follow up to 2017's endlessly stylish, turn-based JRPG Persona 5.
But as the prospect of fist-bumping my boy Ryuji and pruning some flowers with Haru draws near, something deep within me crashes to the surface once again. Persona 5 for PC! Where are you, huh? WHERE ARE Y-
Sorry for that outburst. I listened to Beneath the Mask -rain- from Persona 5's excellent soundtrack, and that helped soothe me. But seriously, a Persona 5 PC port seems like a necessary companion to Strikers. As much as it's wonderful that Strikers is coming to PC at all, the fact that I can't embark on the gang's first adventure through Steam - or Epic Games, or whatever your retailer of choice might be - just doesn't feel right.
Even Persona 4 Golden is on Steam now. Again, a massive thumbs up from me, but with Strikers on the way, it feels like a misstep not to have Persona 5 in the mix. Maybe I've put it too lightly here; perhaps it's more of a jean-splitting lunge considering how popular the game remains, and especially with the enhanced and expanded Persona 5 Royal hitting European shelves last year. It feels weird to skip from 4 right onto Strikers.
I suppose you could play Persona 5 Strikers without having played Persona 5. To me, though, it would be like gate crashing the Phantom Thieves' house party as a total stranger. Yes, they might be pissed enough to welcome you into their raucous, high-octane state of affairs, but in moments of quiet, when in-jokes and references bounce around the room, you'd feel subtly left out.
And trust me, though people will talk about the amazing visuals - from the high-concept psychological dungeons you adventure through, to things as simple as the menu screens - it's in these quiet moments where Persona 5 really shines. I'm someone who reserves tears for beautiful moments. Like, I don't know, all those joyous clips on social media where a man reunites years later with a lion he raised as a cub (still gets me).
All the other times I've sobbed have been thanks to Persona 5. When the dungeon-crawling stops, and the Phantom Thieves put their masks in their back pockets, you take time to hang with your pals. You learn of their fears and insecurities. You learn what drives them. You laugh over curry together, or sit quietly in each other's company for a bit. Take time to build these relationships and it'll make you stronger in battle.
One moment sticks out for me in particular, and that's when I shared a steaming bowl of ramen with Ryuji. Long story short: you've been there for each other since the very, very beginning. It's been a 90+ hour ride - you've seen some shit together. And he's finally feeling... good. Over the soft bounce of Sunset Bridge, he thanks you for staying with him till the bitter end. I still crumple into myself thinking about it.
The idea that anyone could miss out on these moments physically pains me.
It's a shame that right now the only options for experiencing Persona 5 Strikers at its most meaningful are either to fork out the cash for a PS4/5, or watch a 90 hour livestream while a YouTuber talks over said quiet moments. Of course, this is nothing new in the world of console exclusives, but with Persona 4 Golden making its way onto Steam, and now Strikers too... Persona 5 suddenly doesn't feel like an impossibility. If anything it feels essential.