The escapades of the Phantom Thieves stole gamer hearts around the globe when the dating sim-JRPG hybrid Persona 5 launched in 2017. The upcoming Dynasty Warriors-esque sequel, Persona 5 Scramble, releases later this month, but for anyone skeptical of such a genre shift, Nintendo released a demo.
Except, for fans in North America, there's a pretty significant catch.
Persona 5 Scramble, due out February 20 in Japan, continues the story right where the first title left off: summer vacation.
The jarring hack-and-slash style of the new game is reminiscent of Dynasty Warriors because it's more or less a crossover between the two developers gameplay-wise — and it's definitely not Persona 6. While the game retains a few light JRPG elements, it makes for a drastically different gaming experience. Luckily, in advance of release date, the Japanese Nintendo Switch eShop launched a Scramble demo Wednesday so that anyone can test it out before committing to the full price tag. There don't appear to be any plans for a North America version of the full game anytime soon, but for any American fans of the franchise, there's still a convoluted way to access both the demo and the full game upon release.
Because the Nintendo Switch isn't region-locked like most video game consoles, you don’t actually need to be in Japan to play it; The Persona 5 Scramble demo is accessible through your non-Japanese Nintendo Switch with just a few easy steps, which we’ve detailed below. You can also repurpose this method to access any Nintendo eShop in the world! So when the full game arrives in Japan in a few weeks, you can purchase it using the same method below.
How to access the Japanese Nintendo eShop
- Head to Nintendo’s account-making website.
- Fill in most information as asked. When you reach the “Country” option, select Japan as your place of origin. Also, if you don’t have an email to spare, use a temporary email generator like this one. Alternatively, if you're on Gmail just add use the + symbol to create an alias of your regular email account (email+X@gmail.com). Nintendo will send a verification email to the address provided, which is required for accessing the account, so make sure you can receive that email.
- With your account established, head back to your Nintendo Switch. Go to your System Settings, as denoted by the cog icon on the main menu.
- Once there, go to the “users” tab and create a new user. I’d recommend labeling this with something to denote the country. Perhaps using your original user name with a “JP” suffix to remember it’s a Japanese account.
- With your new user profile created, your Switch will prompt you to link a Nintendo Online account. Say yes and enter the log-in information you created during Step 1.
- You’ve gotten past the big parts! Your Nintendo Switch now believes you’re a Japanese citizen, hanging out in your favorite Shinjuku cafe! Now it’s time to get the demo! Return to your main menu and select the Nintendo eShop icon that looks like an orange handbag.
- Once you click on it, you’ll face a few menus — just click every box and then hit the corresponding button.
- Your last task will be to re-enter the password and email you created in Step 1.
- Now you’re in the eShop! You can download any game you’d like in Japanese, but we’re here for the Persona 5 Scramble demo! On the left, you’ll see an option that says “New” in English. Below it, in Japanese, is the eShop’s "Coming Soon" section. Click on that.
- Look around for a Persona 5 Scramble icon, which should look similar to the picture below.
- Once you’ve found it, click on that icon. On the right side of the page, you’ll be presented with two options. Choose the second.
- Viola! The demo is now downloading to your Nintendo Switch! You can play it once it’s done!
One question still stands — how do you play this game? The control listings are in Japanese, so you might be a bit lost. We’ve got you covered on this front as well.
How to play the Persona 5 Scramble Japanese demo
- Movement: You’ll move using the left analog stick. Holding ZR in conjunction with movement will initiate a sprint. Tapping ZR while moving will let you evade incoming attacks.
- Camera: Use the right analog stick to move your camera. Clicking R3 will allow you to lock onto a single foe.
- Jump: Click the B button to jump.
- Changing Characters: Use your D-Pad to change playable characters to somebody else currently in your party.
- Attacking: Use the Y button for normal attacks and the X button for special moves. The two buttons may also be used in conjunction to create combos. Characters may also attack with firearms by holding L, then pressing R to fire. There's also a special "Showtime" move, accessed by filling a gauge then pressing X+A.
- Persona Summoning: Press R alone to summon a Persona. You may then use that Persona’s skills by pressing the A button.
- Third Eye: Decode what enemies are weak to by holding L2. Like in Persona 5, effective moves will have a "WEAK" label in all red caps.
Now you're ready to go assist the Phantom Thieves in combat!
Persona 5 Scramble launches in Japan on February 20.