Just like Persona 5, Persona 5 Strikers hits you with a question when you start playing: what difficulty would you like?
There are three difficulties to choose from when you first start Persona 5 Strikers: Easy Normal and Hard. Depending on which one you choose, you might find yourself having a real tough time in combat.
On Easy, Persona 5 Strikers is at its most lenient on you, though it can still be challenging at times. You’ll absolutely breeze though normal combat encounters, especially if you manage to ambush most of the Shadows you come across. When it comes to bosses and the most powerful Shadows, however, you’ll have to exploit enemy weaknesses, make effective use of Phantom Dash attacks, and support the rest of your team. As such, Easy is a great difficulty for those who are new to action games or JRPGS, and also those who just want to enjoy the game’s story without combat being a brick wall at any point. You might be defeated a few times throughout the whole game, but it was because you were being reckless.
Normal difficulty is what most players should choose for their first playthrough. Enemies are a bit tougher, meaning that strategy has to be occasionally employed even outside of boss fights. On Normal, you have to have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each member of the Phantom Thieves and make good use of them. You’ll also have to develop strong Personas as you play through the game, and raise your Bond level so you can purchase stat-boosting bonuses and other helpful abilities. This is for those who want to experience the game as it was meant to be played without too much frustration.
Hard difficulty is not for the faint of heart. On Hard difficulty, enemies will punish you at every opportunity, meaning you need to have full mastery of the game’s systems in order to survive. You’ll need the best Personas to complete the game, and max out the skills of each and every one of the Phantom Thieves, which may require some grinding. Perhaps save Hard difficulty for a second playthrough unless you really want to challenge yourself from the outset.
The good news is that there are no achievements or trophies tied to the game’s difficulty. No story aspects are locked out, either. So, go with the difficulty you feel the most comfortable with. You can also change the difficulty at any time by going into the game’s system menu. If you start on Normal or Hard and find yourself struggling, for example, lower it to Easy before you get stressed out. And one final thing; completing Persona 5 Strikers grants you access to an additional difficulty level the next time you play. Merciless difficulty ups the ante from Hard, making it suitable for the masochists out there. Give it a go if you think you’re up for the task.