Wednesday, August 22, 2012

[Review] Persona 4 Arena

What do you get when you mix Arc System Works, the creators of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue, with a popular franchise from Atlus like Persona 4?  You get one awesome fighting game and a well written but lengthy story mode.

Set two months after the ending of Persona 4, our originally unnamed hero, Yu Narukami, returns to Inaba for a Golden Week break.  Upon his return, he and his friends discover that the Midnight Channel has returned.  This new broadcast is stranger than the ones they've seen before however, as Yu Narukami and his friends are all featured in what appears to be a fighting competition labeled the P-1 Grand Prix.  Yu and his friends all join up to reform their Investigation Team to solve this new mystery.

Persona 4 Arena comes with a handful of game modes typical of modern fighting games such as Arcade, Versus, Training, Network, Score Attack, and a Lesson Mode for beginners.
The story mode originally starts with four members of the cast, but will expand as you complete them, further unlock more characters stories.  You will be spending most of your time in story mode reading through dialogue with only a few fights in between.  It's definitely a more enjoyable and immersive experience if you have played the original game before so I recommend it if you haven't.

The gameplay in Persona 4 Arena is slightly different from other fighters.  There is an automatic combo mechanic which if you continue pressing the light attack button it will create a basic combo.
Whats also unique is in the fact that every one of the 13 playable character has their own Persona that is controlled independently.  Personas though should be sent out cautiously as they can be rendered unusable for a limited amount of time if they get hit too much, leaving you to fight at half strength.
Each character has a very unique play-style and no one plays like each other.

Online play features ranked games and custom lobbies that can hold up to 8 players.  Each match is recordable and replayable from the gallery.  A neat little feature is the ability to create you own title that is displayed by your online username by putting 3 different phrases together.

The game has a wonderful soundtrack and includes both Japanese and English audio dubs.  The game includes a lot of the soundtrack from Persona 4 with a few from Persona 3 as well, with a handful of new songs for the game.  One note though for fans of the original Persona 4 dub is the replacement of Chie Satonaka and Teddie's voice actors.  Though we will miss their original voices, the new actors still do a great job bringing them to life.

Since Persona 4 Arena is developed by Arc System Works, you can expect sharp, 2D HD character sprites similar to BlazBlue on a 3D background environment.  There's loads of well made animations, flashy moves and effects, and the color scheme of game fits well into Persona 4 with all the yellow menu screens and in-game HUD.

Persona 4 Arena is a wonderful package and a must buy for fighting game enthusiasts and for fans of the original Persona 4 who want a worthy sequel.

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