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Persona 5 online features give players a little help from their friends

Phantom thieves stick together

Persona 5 includes several online features, detailed in this this week’s issue of Famitsu, but don’t expect them to make the game an online multiplayer title all of a sudden. Instead, as a member of the Phantom Thieves Alliance, Persona 5’s optional networking system, players can step in to make battles and enemy encounters a little easier.

The Phantom Thieves Alliance is named after the titular group of heroes in Persona 5, and once players opt in, others can pitch in during battles and dungeon-crawling, along with the just as stressful school activities part of the game. A teammate who is knocked out can be taken hostage by an enemy during battle, and if the player fails to save them, someone they’re connected to online can step in. They can also prevent enemies from running away on the map so that a player can defeat them and continue on undetected.

As for the player’s day-to-day, online functionality takes the form of inspiration for those unsure of how to spend their downtime. What other Phantom Thieves are doing in-between battles is recorded for everyone to check, and questions asked during class now come with a percentage of players who chose each possible answer.

Anyone hoping to take part in turn-based battles against fellow Persona-using teens is out of luck, but these features sound like a gently first step toward online multiplayer for the single-player JRPG. Since the network connectivity is both optional and mostly asynchronous, whether these features require a PlayStation Plus subscription on PlayStation 4 is not yet clear.

Persona 5 won’t make it stateside until Feb. 14, 2017, but Japanese fans can check out the long-awaited PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 game on Sept. 15. We expect to learn much more about how the online mode — and the rest of the game — works once it launches over there.

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