Persona 5's iconic battle theme "Last Surprise" is remixed in Persona 5 Strikers and it might be better than the original?
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on February 10, 2020 after I first got my hands on the Japanese demo for Persona 5 Scramble (or Persona 5 Strikers here in the West). Almost a year later, I've now been able to spend some time with the western version of the game. I have updated this article to reinforce the fact that, yes, I once again can't stop listening to its remix of "Last Surprise."
The demo for Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers hit the Switch's Japanese Eshop and PSN recently (see editor's note above) 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 original 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. And lucky us, this very version of the song was performed live for The Game Awards 2020, which you can watch below (you're welcome).
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 launched in Japan on February 20 last year, and, well, Persona 5 Strikers, which hits North America and Europe on February 23 this year for PS4, Switch, and PC. I've been able to play the opening five hours of the game and have an in-depth preview of Persona 5 Strikers--you can also watch our detailed discussion on our experience with the game.