Gruesome monsters, highly detailed character sprites the latest fighter from developer Arc System Works and Atlus, Persona 4 arena brings life characters from highly applauded Persona 3 and 4 games, while using high definition 2D animated style fighters. Assisted by an original, hardcore fighting engine from one of the most respected 2D fighting game developers in the industry, Persona 4 Arena represents the biggest, most manifest expansion of the venerated series to date. It is the kind of fast-paced frantic combat title that every JRPG fan would definitely love to play.
The game allows you to use two combatants in battle which might lead you to believe that its a tag team fighter, well its not. Persona 4 Arena combines both single and tag team styles, entreating you to control two fighters in conformity. This includes your main character and his/her persona which are the title creatures of the game aiding you in battle. Although having few setbacks, its mechanics are easy to grasp as it is too friendly to fighting game newbie’s like for example each character has an auto-combo. That means just pressing the attack button will result in a impressive full on assault or a special attack if one has enough juice in their SP meter. Followed by this, the game has a highly detailed tutorial mode perfect for beginners to start smashing buttons and enjoy the 2D fighter.
The game although being simple to new comers has plenty of advanced tactics waiting to be castigated by seasoned fighting pros, hence the game should not be accused of lacking elaboration. There is a very sleek and smooth addition drawn straight from the game’s universe apart from regular attacks and special assault moves. Allowing every player to use their Persona, awful nightmare creatures that can called upon for devastating attacks. The game also implements many of the status conditions from the RPG series, with poisoned characters taking inconsiderable damage over time. There are also plenty of different features to master like: short hops, air dashing, and even hasty kills, which lets you bash your opponent within a cartoonist ball of dust and sound effects, before launching them into the air for further combo rendering them potentially dormant.
The strongest element of the game is its long story mode, offering a uniquely prosaic plotline for every character. You usually don’t play fighting games for the story but neither do you often get a fighting game based on a long running JRPG franchise based so heavily on its story. Although the story is full of cliche dialogue and blabbering about friendship and what not, fans of the Persona series will feel right at home. Voice acting is top notch, which is surprising to see from a Japanese game (I’m looking at your Resident Evil). The story mode however feels a lot like a visual novel, filling the screen with paragraphs at a time, although you can always skip it with a press of a button. For those who aren’t willing to endure the plot and pre-battle cutscenes which are often longer than the battle itself there’s always the Arcade Mode.. The Arcade Mode offers a thankfully abbreviated version of game’s events and lets you smash through the competition while still getting to experience some of Persona 4 Arena’s fantastic voice acting.
Overall, Persona 4 Arena is excellently presented with all inclusive story mode enclosed by the original creators of Persona 4. Consisting of plenty of modes and solid online experience, its one of the most entertaining fighting games this gen. Choosing between both English and Japanese voice acting allows you to play the game as you want. Graphics are perfect as razor sharp hand drawn sprites and animations meet an amazing array of effects in this 2D animated fighter. It blends many mechanics from the JRPG series into a highly paced fighter that anyone can enjoy. In short, whether you’re a diehard fan of 2D fighters or just a fighting game beginner who likes Persona, you really owe it to yourself to pick up this fantastic game.
TechDeville awards Persona 4 Arena 4/5 stars.