Persona 4 Arena is a continuation off of the events of Persona 4 for the PS2. Though hold back your breathe because its not another RPG styled game, rather it now incorporates a fighting system for it. So is such a thing at all worth a pick up or chance or is it something you can do without? Some might be divided and some accepting of it but its up to you whether or not you truly think this game will be worth your own time in playing.
The story follows all of the main characters from Persona 4 as well as some characters returning from Persona 3 in this story. It takes place sometime after the events of the Persona 4 game and Narukama Yu, the official name given to the Persona 4 nameless protagonist is returning to Inaba. Everybody awaits their return to a peaceful Inaba ever since the original incident of the T.V world ceased to exist, the killer as well caught and peace was restored. Things aren’t right with the Persona 3 cast either as during a shipment of a highly classified weapon went wrong and Mitsuru and Aigis are now in persuit of it which soon leads them to the small town of Inaba. Akihiko gets called along as well as our old heroes are back in the heat of things, this time no longer venturing the tall tower of Tartarus, but the depths of the T.V world.
In terms of getting started you can choose any of the main characters from Persona 4. Yu, Yukiko, Chie, Teddie, Kanji, Naoto, and Yosuke to play as. Though some are only unlocked after completed another characters story. There are also the Persona 3 characters that make their appearance again years after the events of Persona 3. These characters include Akihiko, Mitsuru, Aigis, and Elizabeth. You will also be able to play as Labrys down the road when she is unlocked, whom is an important figure in the story. However one thing to be noted is that even if you go through a characters story you don’t fully complete it. Once Labry’s story is completed then you can fully pass a characters story getting the actual ending. Though for the most part most stories follow up the same way, besides the character you are playing as introduction the things leading up to the end is not that much different. All characters encounter eachother and fight eachother, then encounter general Teddie at one point and attempt to save Labrys or protect her from unleashing her shadow self. Then all characters will end up facing their shadows until reaching their own endings which is usually different. Though Labrys is the only one whom does not directly follow through with these events.
The gameplay is what you would expect from you average fighting game. String together long combos and attacks and beat up the opposing opponent, though this time with the help of Persona’s. The Personas can be uses to make your attacks even more deadlier as they do such things like cast bufu skills and freeze your opponent, or even confusion and fiddle with the your movements. This adds a little something to fighting being able to hit your enemies with the elements and aliments from the Persona series that can go in either your, or their favor if they manage to hit you with such attacks. There are also instant kill attacks which require a combo sequence and a certain amount of power stirred up before executing with each character being able to summon their own final attacks to obliterate their enemy.
During your time off of the battles is mainly reading through text though. More so it plays like your average visual novel but everyone has their own respective voice actors of course and character portraits. An interesting thing though added is the chance to make choices as the story progresses, this can actually end your character story quickly, or keep it moving forward and closer to the truth. The game after each battle and before each battle will ask you if you want to save though re loading before the choice is not a problem. Though re stating what I said in the first paragraph even if you go through a characters story until Labry’s story is completed you can’t fully complete each story or so the aftermath of what happens for each.
Besides all that there is a recording feature as well in the game and multiplayer. The recording feature can be used at any time and let you record your matched as well in multiplayer and arcade mode. There is also your average training mode where you can go up against the CPU and practice your characters moves and attempt and getting better at the game. Its a interesting feature regarding the recording feature nonetheless, especially if you are in to cooking up gameplays.
The music in the game uses tacks from the Persona 3 and Persona 4 series. This is a interesting touch as you have two series that focused on two different genres of music combined into one game. It feels nice re hearing some of the old Persona 3 tracks while on the menu screen of Persona 4 Arena and in battles, and the same goes for the Persona 4 tracks. Though it is not bringing anything really new to the playing field, it will bring you back to some of your favorite tracks regardless of which games music it is.
Graphic wise is pretty good, from the sprite models and the visuals that appear on screen it makes for a good seen. Plus the backround that is filled with shadows and other things related to the T.V world are nice too. Not only this but if there is something that has taken a leap it is the animation scenes in the game that appear every now and then. They are pretty well done and are a definite positive in the game. The portraits for each character are nice as well, and seeing how different the Persona 3 characters are is interesting as too. So overall graphically and visually the game hits well.
Perosna 4 Arena can be a satisfying game for both the average person who loves fighting game, and Persona fan. Though some will be disappointed that Arena is not a RPG sequel from Persona 4, if they can accept it being a fighting game they will find enjoyment out of it. Though a fighting game lover might be confused about what everyone talks about as there is a lot of talking about the events of Persona 4 and some of Persona 3, the characters explain some things, so things won’t be bad in terms of understanding things. The story can be a bit of a rehash and having to play through some of the other characters again can be a little tedious, though seeing the investigation team set out on another adventure and the shadow operatives, Mitsuru’s newly formed group, and see them clash together can make for a interesting ride nonetheless. It also feels good to hear some of your favorite soundtracks again from the previous games bringing back some nostalgia. All in all Persona 4 Arena can be a good experience for anyone.