Persona soundtracks are undefeated.
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The demo for Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers hit the Switch's Japanese Eshop and PSN recently and I was able play through it with a few easy steps. I absolutely appreciate how it captures the style and spirit of the RPG in action form--it's also exciting as hell to continue the story of the Phantom Thieves since this is as close to a sequel as you could get.
But the thing that's still stuck in my head is that remix to the battle theme "Last Surprise" that hits during certain fights in P5 Scramble, because damn, it is a certified banger.
Persona 5's lavish style was complemented by its eclectic jazz-fusion soundtrack, and "Last Surprise" was emblematic of that. It kicks off with dramatic strings, transitions to the groovy vocals of singer Lyn Inaizumi, and goes into the iconic (and over-meme'd) hook with "YOU NEVER SEE IT COMIIIIIIIIIIN'!" After 100+ battles with the song playing, it naturally gets shuffled as background sound. It still stands as an incredible song that shows Atlus Sound Team's creativity and talents, but what if I told you the Persona 5 Scramble remix was just as good, if not better? Stick with me here and listen to it real quick:
In the opening seconds, the remix hits you with a more direct melodic-hardcore tone--the new rhythm guitar melody complements that familiar main riff. The two guitar tracks harmonize with each other just right, and as a result, creates a better balance since the song relies a bit less on the riff itself. Also, Lyn's vocal note she holds before the beat picks up thrusts you right into the new fast tempo; and the heavier percussion flawlessly supports the bold new sound. Even though the remix leans more into punk-metal, it doesn't ditch all of the original's elements as you can still catch the orchestral strings in the hook while Lyn's soulful vocals layer onto the heavy instrumentation effortlessly (and the second verse comes with a funky rhythm guitar).
It's so different from the original, yet it evokes the same attitude Persona 5 embodies and fits the new action RPG mold. But I think the remix also reminds me of when I would go to punk shows and throw down in moshpits, so when I hear it, I daydream of throwing down at a Persona Super Live concert.
Maybe hearing a new, fresh version of a top-tier battle theme has me hyped in the moment, but I'll entertain the idea that the "Last Surprise" remix might be the better version. Then again, why pit two great songs against each other? After all, they both slap in their own unique ways. Honestly, I'm just happy to have more music from the Atlus Sound Team. There are a bunch of new songs in Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers which you'll start to hear more of when it launches in Japan on February 20. Even Persona 5 Royal has some new tracks, and you can catch up on everything new in P5R ahead of its March 31 release date in the West.