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Do you need to play Persona 5 before Persona 5 Tactica?

And while you’re at it, what about Royal and Strikers?

Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Persona 5 Tactica is the latest non-JRPG spinoff in Atlus’ celebrated JRPG series. Tactica is a tactics game that takes place in the same world as Persona 5 and includes the original game’s core group of heroes: the Phantom Thieves. As a spinoff, it’s natural to wonder: Do you need to play Persona 5 before Persona 5 Tactica?

With the Persona series being so story-focused, it’s a good question. In this Persona 5 Tactica guide, we hope to answer just that question, and will break down whether or not you need to play Person 5 — plus Persona 5 Royal and Persona 5 Strikers — before playing Persona 5 Tactica.

When does Persona 5 Tactica take place in the Persona timeline?

Persona 5 Tactica takes place after the establishment of the Phantom Thieves, the crew that Joker (the main character) puts together to change the hearts of baddies all over Japan in the main game.

Based on the dialogue at the start of the game, Tactica takes place before the third year students (Makoto and Haru) graduate, which is before the main storyline of Persona 5 wraps up. So, think of Tactica as a big side quest that takes place before the end of Persona 5.

Do you need to play Persona 5 before Persona 5 Tactica?

Images of Ryuji, Ann, Joker, and Morgana in Persona 5 Images: Atlus

Yes, you should play (or have played) at least a few hours of Persona 5 before you play Tactica.

Because of where Tactica is set in the timeline, you’re going to be very confused If you didn’t play any Persona 5. The game’s opening assumes you already know who these characters are, what the “Metaverse” is, and why the cat (who isn’t actually a cat) is talking.

That said, you’ll really just be missing the context of the world and characters by skipping Persona 5 and diving right into Tactica. While the plot of Persona 5 Tactica involves the same characters, in the same world, it tells its own, contained story and you don’t need to understand the plot of Persona 5 to follow along.

If you love tactics games and are dying to check out Persona 5 Tactica, you’ll be totally fine to do so as long as you accept that you’ll probably be a little confused at the outset. Although, maybe this is just a great chance for you to go back and spend 100 hours in Persona 5, which is one of the best games of the last decade — even if you’re not usually a turn-based JRPG fan.

Do you need to play Persona 5 Royal before Persona 5 Tactica?

A look at the new character, Kasumi Yoshizawa, in Persona 5 Royal Image: Atlus

No, you don’t need to have played any of the Royal content in Persona 5 to understand Tactica.

Kasumi Yoshizawa, the new addition to the Phantom Thieves from Royal, is not part of your crew in Persona 5 Tactica.

So, even if you skipped the expansion for the original game, you’ll still have all the context you need to enjoy the story of Tactica.

Do you need to play Persona 5 Strikers before Persona 5 Tactica?

Joker and his cohorts from Persona 5 make their return in Persona 5 Strikers Image: Atlus/Omega Force/P Studio

No, you don’t need to have played any Strikers to understand Tactica.

Persona 5 Strikers is another Persona 5 spin off, and it replaces the classic turn-based combat with fast-paced, Musou game combat similar to the Dynasty Warriors franchise.

While Strikers relays a great Persona story — seriously, it’s essentially just a mini Persona game, but with slick action combat — the new characters and plot don’t carry over at all to Tactica. If you love Persona and love tactics but hate action games, you’re totally fine to jump into Tactica without touching Strikers.

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