Persona 4 Arena is a fighting game based on the Persona series released on both the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360. It is a fast paced fighter where each character controls a person known as a Persona. This leads to interesting gameplay as you have to learn each character’s Persona.
Many fighters tend to have a small or limited storyline, though Persona 4 Arena has a brilliant story which links in to the Persona series very well. Persona 4 Arena‘s story takes place two months after the events which took place in Persona 4. The game takes place in both the town of Inaba and a mysterious TV world which the characters venture into. After the Midnight Channel has stopped showing, it is found that it has in fact has restarting broadcasting… but this time a fighting tournament named the “P-1 Grand Prix” hosted by a teddy in a cape (known as Teddie – a friend of the characters within Persona). Character’s which are seen throughout the story are; Yu Narukami, Yosuke Hanamura, Chie Satonaka, Yukiko Amagi, Kanji Tatsumi, Naoto Shirogane, Teddie, Aigis, Mitsuru Kirijo, Akihiko Sanada, Labrys, Shadow Labrys and Elizabeth. Each character has their own story mode. When reviewing the game I started playing as Chie Satonaka which has to be one of my favourite characters… maybe due to how quickly I was able to master her moves. As you approach the end of the story with your first character the plot is left opened but as you play through with the other characters you finally solve the puzzle of why the fights have been taking place inside the TV world and who was hosting the show.
The games story takes place as a mix of cutscenes and fights. Cutscenes range from full on anime sequences to two characters images static on screen with text boxes at the bottom. One problem I did have with the game is that it was heavily text based and that the developers didn’t decide to voice over all of the text. For Chie’s story especially I remember having to read for a good half an hour to forty five minutes before actually getting to the first fight. Whilst I can complain about having to read text for a bit longer than usual the games story is brilliantly written and captures the charm of the Persona series extremely well.
Persona 4 Arena features several game modes which are listed below;
- Lesson Mode
- Story Mode
- Arcade Mode
- Score Attack Mode
- Training Mode
- Challenge Mode
- Versus Mode
- Network Mode
- Gallery Mode
Lesson Mode allows players to learn combos and moves required to play the game successfully and is extremely useful if you are new to fighting games. For those who are already big with fighting games this mode is useful to brush up on a few of your moves but isn’t probably going to be touched much by you.
The Story Mode… you guessed it – allows you to play the games brilliantly written Story. Within this mode you follow the story mentioned above playing as your selected character out of the available characters.
Arcade Mode is similar to the story mode except players can carry out the fights taking place within the main story without having to go through the cutscenes and lengthy text sequences. This feature will be better for those non-Persona fans whom wish to enjoy the fighter as simply a fighter.
The Score Attack Mode, Training Mode and Challenge Mode are pretty self explanatory modes. Training Mode allows players to train against a bot (without set tasks like in Lesson Mode) and Challenge Mode sees players have to face various challenges.
Versus Mode and Network Mode are the two multiplayer modes featured on Persona 4 Arena. The Versus Mode is for local multiplayer whereas Network Mode is for online matches against players across the world. Network Mode work effectively with minimal lag during matches though most of the time there was no problems what so ever, as if you are playing with a player in the same room which made the Network Mode experience an enjoyable one.
Theater and Gallery Mode allow you to view unlockable images and cutscenes seen throughout the games story mode or unlocked in the various other modes.
Persona 4 Arena‘s gameplay is easy to learn for new comers whilst being deep enough for experienced players. Each character as you would expect plays out differently, though this game acts as if you are controlling two characters; your chosen character and his/her Persona. Characters deal the generic light and heavy (punch/kick) attacks whilst the Persona’s deal the most damage such as a blade spin attack which catches your opponent in a massive damage move. As you go through the story you will gain the chance to learn each character and you will realise that each character is extremely easy to pick up and start using. Obviously to fully master a character you will have to use them and get a good feel for them, though it is great to have a game where it is easy to pick up and play a new character without feeling as if everything has changed.
Visually Persona 4 Arena looks beautiful. Everything from the great looking arenas to the visuals used throughout the games cutscenes. Proper anime style cutscenes which are used feel like you are watching the Persona anime and look great in high definition.
To sum it up Persona 4 Arena is a brilliant fighter with deep combat but still easy to pick up for newcomers to the fighting genre. It contains a brilliant story that continues from the series which while heavily text based is still a pleasure to experience from start to finish. The game has a gorgeous looking visual style and has a great soundtrack. The beauty with Persona 4 Arena is that newcomers to the Persona series are still able to enjoy this game as just a fighter, whilst those who are big fans of the Persona series will heavily enjoy the story and attention to detail that the developers have put into the game. If you are looking for a great fighter or are a Persona 4 you owe it to yourself to pick up this game… if not to at least try out this game!
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.