My opinions and hopes relating to P4A:C

Posted by FluxWaveZ (19308 posts) -
Poster detailing P4A:C's location test

Ever since we learned about the existence of a new Persona 4 Arena game about a month ago through a sudden, unexpected location test, we haven't heard anything about it and it's been hard for me to stop thinking about it as well. I made a blog post previously detailing what I would want in a theoretical P4A2, but now that we know that one actually exists and have information on it, I wanted to post my current opinions of Persona 4 Arena: Climax as well as what I hope will be in the final game.

Story

First point I'd like to address is the story. It was obviously an important element of the original Persona 4 Arena with its 15-20+ hour story mode and given the game's new characters complete with backstory in Junpei and Yukari, Shadow characters, new stages involving Tartarus and how it seems that all of the game content up until now has been in service of the narrative (which has been stated in interviews), I believe that P4A:C will directly follow P4A's story.

Linear Storytelling

Yukari, P4A:C newcomer

I'm of the opinion that the way Persona 4 Arena's story was conveyed was a mess. In concept, playing the story through each of the characters' perspective and noting how they approach each situation differently sounds like a good time, but the fact that the individual character chapters were not meant to mesh together to form a coherent, single plot was a problem. Instead, story contradictions are abound and, with the exception of a few distinct plot points, it's difficult to gauge what actually happened at the end of the game or which character's story we're supposed to be taking as "canon."

What I would prefer from P4A:C would be a Mortal Kombat 9 or Injustice style of storytelling where the story is conveyed in a linear fashion, but jumps to the perspective of different characters throughout it regardless. If the character chapter style is maintained, which I have a feeling it will, I do not want any confusion at the end of the story. Only two options would be acceptable: either the character chapters fully work together without contradicting the events that happen within them, or they contradict each other but there is a single chapter dedicated to telling the story of what "actually" happens.

The Story Itself

Shadow characters could play a part in the game's story

I'm not into writing my own fanfiction, so I won't. All that I'll say about Persona 4 Arena: Climax's story is that I want this to be the end, which would be true to the game's name (if Climax actually ends up being the title). I want every P4A cliffhanger to be answered such as: who the "Eerie Voice" is; who the "Malevolent Entity" is; who the mysterious girl the anti-Shadow weapons are based on is and so on.

I also want this to be the end of Persona 4's story. Funny enough, despite its title, P4A was more a story about Persona 3 than P4 itself and it almost seems that a similar trend might continue with P4A:C with the game's predominant color palette reverting to P3's blue from P4's yellow, with Tartarus apparently being a thing and with the new character additions.

Features

So far, in terms of new content, we've seen 2 new characters (Junpei and Yukari), at least 3 new stages (one at least involving Tartarus) and Shadow characters (13 of them, since Elizabeth and Shadow Labrys won't have one). In bullet points, this is what I would want in addition:

Yukari and Junpei fighting inside Tartarus
  • Total of at least 6 new characters from P4A. There are 2 so far and the previous loketest character select screen heavily suggests that there will be at least 2 more, making for a total of 4 new characters. I'd be fine with 4 and the Shadow characters should also count in a way, but I feel that 6 actual new characters would be great and not too unrealistic since there were 8 new characters added from BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger to Continuum Shift.
  • Special character intros. Because they're awesome.
  • Match-up specific themes. Because they're awesome.
  • A mode similar to BlazBlue's Abyss mode. I think it would be appropriate for a fighting game originating from an RPG series to have a single player mode resembling an RPG where characters earn experience, level up, gain abilities/upgrades, earn money, purchase items and face "boss" characters.
  • Better online lobby system. Persona 4 Arena's was fine, but there were some options in BlazBlue that were missing such as team battles within a lobby as well as some new additions in Chronophantasma such as an online training lobby which I would like to see added.
  • Better online ranking system. Perhaps the one in P4A functions better when there is a larger pool of players to play against online, but it wasn't a great system and I'd like to see it revised.
  • Other stuff: More selectable match music, more stages, special match-up dialogue and anything else that would make it feel like a complete package.

In some ways, it felt that the original game was bare bones, with its lack of an "actual" Score Attack mode, with no taunt button or other really minor things that I think P4A:C would benefit from.

Game Mechanics

There are a bunch of significant changes to the game's mechanics that I want to give my opinions on, of which we've only seen a few videos and have had access to precise but incomplete impressions (which can be found here).

Shadow Characters

Shadow Mitsuru and Shadow Aigis

One of, if not the most significant additions in the game are Shadow characters. How they differ from normal characters:

  • Shadow characters are unable to Burst or enter Awakening mode.
  • They are able to initiate "Shadow Fury" by pressing A+B+D which allows unlimited use of SP meter based on a timer.
  • Shadow characters maintain their level of SP between rounds.
  • Shadow characters use the auto combos of the previous game and not the new ones given to their normal version's.
  • Possible attack property differences.

Shadow characters are obviously meant to be viable in terms of competitive play and offer players an alternative way to play their character of choice (or the primary way, if they choose).

In terms of design, Shadow characters are meant to be played more aggressively while normal characters are meant to be played more defensively. Shadow characters do not start matches with 100 SP as some had reported before, but the way they play evidently revolves around SP: They are meant to gain, accumulate and expend SP at the cost of not being able to Burst out of a damaging combo or benefiting from Awakening mode's defense boost.

Of course I love this addition, especially as someone who mained Shadow Labrys just because she was a Shadow. More options = good, in my mind, and this will hopefully mix up how people choose to play: whether they want SP benefits as a Shadow character or decide that a Burst and Awakening is more valuable.

Overall Damage Reduction

It's been noted that damage appears to be significantly reduced for all characters. I like this change, since it makes the result of a match less decisive when it becomes one-sided and makes characters with smaller amounts of HP such as Elizabeth, Shadow Labrys or Naoto less likely to die immediately because of high damaging combos and it also, in turn, makes Shadow characters more viable since they won't have to worry about not being able to Burst out of high damaging combos as much as before (though I'm sure Kanji or Akihiko Fatal Counter combos will still hurt a whole lot).

Skill Boost Supers

Presumably a SB version of Mitsuru's Bufudyne

Players having the option to now use powered up versions of their characters' supers for the extra cost of 25 SP is an interesting addition. At first, SB Supers entailing stuff like Chie's God Hand summoning 2 God Hands from the sky or Labrys' SB Weaver's Art: Breaking Wheel super summoning gears that cover the entire ground sounds a bit silly but, again, more options = good.

Giving players the option to either use a normal, 50 SP super right away for the damage or waiting for 25 SP more to use the Skill Boost version adds unpredictability and flexibility to the fights and, once again, makes Shadow characters more viable since they will most likely be able to exploit SB supers more often than normal version characters.

Persona Card Variation

Junpei has 4 Persona cards while Teddie has 5

One of the simplest yet best changes in terms of balance is the fact that each character now has a different number of Persona cards depending on how important their Persona is to how they play. Akihiko, who mainly uses his fists instead of depending on Caesar, only has 2 cards while Elizabeth and Shadow Labrys, who depend on their Personae to fight optimally, have 6 cards.

What's great about this change is that characters who have a higher number of Persona cards are not necessarily better off. The time it takes for the cards to restore does not change relative to how many Persona cards a character has when a Persona gets broken. This means that once Akihiko's Persona gets broken, Caesar will recover within moments while Elizabeth, when Thanatos gets broken, will have to wait a while for him to recover.

In a way, this can incentivize a character with a low number of Persona cards to use their Persona more recklessly while this can cause a character with a high number of Persona cards to be very careful so that their Persona does not get broken.

S Hold System

Not much to say about this one since there's little information about it, even though it seems like it's a relatively big deal. Charging special attacks to use a powered up or changed version of that attack sounds interesting and, even though it remains to be seen whether the time it takes to charge up will be worth it for how the special attack is changed, more options = good.

Naoto Shirogane

Naoto and Yukari

So this is an odd concern, but a concern nonetheless. If one goes through all of P4A:C's character related changes, the changes make sense. Certain elements of certain characters are getting appropriately nerfed or changed, but every single character has also gotten some awesome new abilities to work with. Every character with the exception of Naoto, that is.

Looking at Naoto's list of changes, she only has these new things going for her: second hit of her AAA is low (which is cool, but a pretty small buff), a new move called Venom Zapper which inflicts poison and Double Fangs can be used in the air.

The rest of what she's got are nerfs. Her SMP Loop is gone (which is a good thing, but it was one of the only things she really had going for her), reloading bullets takes longer and setting up traps has more recovery time.

Meanwhile, we've got characters like Kanji getting a new shoulder move that beats projectiles, his Cruel Attack being usable in the air, being able to command throw while he's Persona broken and his 5C causing paralysis. I'm not singling out Kanji as though these buffs are unreasonable, especially since every other character except for Naoto has received some cool stuff, but it shows that Naoto mainly got nerfs and I'm unsure what her playstyle will end up being.

Of course, all of this was from a single loketest lasting only a few days, so maybe people didn't experiment with her enough to find some cool new things about Naoto.

Other stuff

Junpei's Gold Burst

Quick burst of some changes and how I feel about them:

  • Longer Gold Burst recovery frames = good.
  • Universal Short Hop attack buff = good. Short hops were useless before outside of paralysis.
  • Attacks can be used after backdashing = interesting, but not sure.
  • Counter-style DP (like Chie's High Counter) punishes always being Fatal Counters = good.
  • Still being able to cancel a blocked DP into a super = not sure. Would have been against this a while back, but it makes for more options during a fight and it's something players need to think about.

Basically

I'm looking forward to this game. There are a bunch of stuff I'd like to see in Persona 4 Arena: Climax that weren't in the original game but, so far, the additions they've made make it seem like the game's on the right track to being a fantastic fighting game.

#1 Posted by IrrelevantJohn (1030 posts) -

How do you feel about the "hit" sound effect in climax? Sounds like metal.

#2 Posted by I_Stay_Puft (3038 posts) -

Great write up sir.

#3 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19308 posts) -

How do you feel about the "hit" sound effect in climax? Sounds like metal.

Watching videos, it's true that there's a more noticeable, almost metallic sound when a character blocks an opponent's normal attack, though I think hits sound like they did before. The videos where I can clearly hear the metallic blocking sound are with Junpei, Elizabeth and Yukiko (and there were varying blocking sounds when Yukiko was blocking Liz), so the sound can kind of be justified based on the weapons they're using.

I'll listen to the videos more intently, but it's hard to really determine when there's so much background noise going on.

#4 Posted by FLStyle (4582 posts) -

I'm looking forward to more Persona 3 and 4 story, especially if Persona 5 doesn't feature these characters.

#5 Posted by DocHaus (1315 posts) -

From what I've heard the new "Shadow" characters are similar to the "Moon" styles from Melty Blood in that they play differently yet are based around the same character. I'd love to see this explored in more detail, which we will probably get as the release date comes closer.

On the other hand, it may also suffer the fate of poverty that comes to all ~ANIME~ fightan games.

#6 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19308 posts) -

@dochaus said:

From what I've heard the new "Shadow" characters are similar to the "Moon" styles from Melty Blood in that they play differently yet are based around the same character. I'd love to see this explored in more detail, which we will probably get as the release date comes closer.

On the other hand, it may also suffer the fate of poverty that comes to all ~ANIME~ fightan games.

I've heard Shadow characters compared to that in that it offers a fundamentally different way of playing a same character. I'd like it if there are some actual move related differences between characters and we at least know that Naoto and Shadow Naoto have different bullet gauges. Though, without any move property differences, Shadow characters are still significantly different enough to be awesome and will give way to silly shenanigans like this:

By suffer the fate of of poverty, do you just mean a lack of people who play the game? If so, I think giving P4A's past performance in the competitive scene and how long the lines were for the first P4A:C loketest, it'll do just fine.

#7 Edited by Undeadpool (4913 posts) -

I was a big fan of the last Arena game and regret not sticking with it longer, so I'm hoping this brings a more even playing field back (I can only imagine what the online scene is currently like for the steep-learning-curved previous game) and I can jump back in.

Also THRILLED to have the story potentially resolved.

#8 Posted by MikeFightNight (1083 posts) -

Nice write up Flux, it's interesting to get your perspective on the changes we know so far. That section on Naoto has me worried, but then the follow up about Kanji has me excited. Lol. Stuff is still early so hopefully things shake out better for her in the long run.

#9 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19308 posts) -

Nice write up Flux, it's interesting to get your perspective on the changes we know so far. That section on Naoto has me worried, but then the follow up about Kanji has me excited. Lol. Stuff is still early so hopefully things shake out better for her in the long run.

Yeah, I hope more people try her out in the upcoming loketest and see if they were missing anything. I didn't even mention in that section that another of Naoto's nerfs is that the number of her bullets is limited ala Aigis now, so that's another thing going against her.

#10 Edited by IrrelevantJohn (1030 posts) -

@fluxwavez said:

Yeah, I hope more people try her out in the upcoming loketest and see if they were missing anything. I didn't even mention in that section that another of Naoto's nerfs is that the number of her bullets is limited ala Aigis now, so that's another thing going against her.

Some folks (TFP) in the GB_P4A room said that the bullet limit is only for Shadow Naoto?

#11 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19308 posts) -

@irrelevantjohn said:

@fluxwavez said:

Yeah, I hope more people try her out in the upcoming loketest and see if they were missing anything. I didn't even mention in that section that another of Naoto's nerfs is that the number of her bullets is limited ala Aigis now, so that's another thing going against her.

Some folks (TFP) in the GB_P4A room said that the bullet limit is only for Shadow Naoto?

No, Shadow Naoto has a different ammunition gauge. Normal Naoto has one that displays her remaining bullets (which is even shown in the most recent trailer), while Shadow Naoto has a bullet gauge that doesn't actually display bullets, but displays a meter.

The bullet gauge might not actually display how many she has left in total, but in her revolver itself, which could relate to the longer reloading times.

#12 Posted by Roxasthirteen (53 posts) -

I just wanna see Dojima as a character. I know he doesn't have a persona but man that would be so cool.

#13 Posted by _Zombie_ (1462 posts) -

I just wanna see Dojima as a character. I know he doesn't have a persona but man that would be so cool.

I remember reading that they wanted to include Dojima, originally, but had to cut him because of time constraints. They wanted to have him use Nanako as back-up or something.

It'd be cool to see him get put in after all.

#14 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19308 posts) -

@_zombie_ said:

@roxasthirteen said:

I just wanna see Dojima as a character. I know he doesn't have a persona but man that would be so cool.

I remember reading that they wanted to include Dojima, originally, but had to cut him because of time constraints. They wanted to have him use Nanako as back-up or something.

It'd be cool to see him get put in after all.

Yeah, Dojima was considered by ASW and looked down on by Atlus. Guess the idea wouldn't be as completely insane now that there are alternate dimension stuff going on.

#15 Posted by davidwitten22 (1708 posts) -

I have to agree, really hope they make some changes to how they present the story. I understand what they were going for, but trying to play through the story all at once became a grind because the first 4 or five fights for most of the characters all follow the same pattern, and the ending is the same (mostly) for everyone which makes parts of those chapters seem trivial.

In terms of new characters, I just want Koromaru. Koromaru means a Day 1 buy for me. I will switch from a Yukiko main to a Koromaru main.

#16 Posted by _Zombie_ (1462 posts) -

@fluxwavez: That's what I thought. He'd be an interesting choice, if nothing else.

#17 Posted by Superkenon (1394 posts) -

Does anyone else think both of the Labrys(es) should be relegated to a single slot, now that the Shadow-type selection exists?

Or would that be considered a slap in the face to Shadow Labrys players?

#18 Posted by Little_Socrates (5675 posts) -

I will say that I don't believe the P3/4 story will end here. I just hope we start getting other Persona stories, too.

Also, most of these seem like great requests.

#19 Posted by SunBroZak (1026 posts) -

I'd like for this game to bring a close to the Arena story arc. Perhaps hinting towards the opening of Persona 5, which I'd like to feature a new cast.

I love the P3/P4 characters, I do, but we need to see new people.

#20 Edited by Mousse_gallon (173 posts) -

I'm really hoping for more P1/P2 characters and maybe Raidou Kuzunoha.

#21 Edited by Brendan (7694 posts) -

Wait, this is a real game? I thought it was an internet joke.

#22 Posted by _Zombie_ (1462 posts) -

I'm really hoping for more P1/P2 characters and maybe Raidou Kuzunoha.

Raidou's not happening. I can guarantee that. Even if he was by some long shot, there's no way it could be XIV.

#23 Edited by Random45 (1052 posts) -

@brendan said:

Wait, this is a real game? I thought it was an internet joke.

My thoughts exactly.

#24 Posted by Zeik (2230 posts) -

@_zombie_ said:

@mousse_gallon said:

I'm really hoping for more P1/P2 characters and maybe Raidou Kuzunoha.

Raidou's not happening. I can guarantee that. Even if he was by some long shot, there's no way it could be XIV.

Raidou can time travel. It's not impossible. Improbable, yes.

#25 Posted by _Zombie_ (1462 posts) -

@zeik said:

@_zombie_ said:

@mousse_gallon said:

I'm really hoping for more P1/P2 characters and maybe Raidou Kuzunoha.

Raidou's not happening. I can guarantee that. Even if he was by some long shot, there's no way it could be XIV.

Raidou can time travel. It's not impossible. Improbable, yes.

I thought it was a one-off that happened in Soulless Army?

Or not. I never did get to play SA yet.

#26 Edited by Zeik (2230 posts) -

@_zombie_: He's also in Soul Hackers due to time travel shenanigans.

#27 Posted by _Zombie_ (1462 posts) -
#28 Posted by Melanon (58 posts) -

Still hoping Adachi shows-up in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit.

#29 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19308 posts) -

Does anyone else think both of the Labrys(es) should be relegated to a single slot, now that the Shadow-type selection exists?

Or would that be considered a slap in the face to Shadow Labrys players?

There are three Labrys characters:

  • Normal Labrys
  • Shadow Normal Labrys
  • Shadow Labrys

Normal Labrys and Shadow Labrys are two extremely different characters, so it would make no sense to arbitrarily place them in the same character slot.

#30 Edited by Bloo561 (105 posts) -

@fluxwavez said

There are three Labrys characters:

  • Normal Labrys
  • Shadow Normal Labrys
  • Shadow Labrys

Wow time to Atlus to put a reasoning to that?

#31 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19308 posts) -

@bloo561 said:

@fluxwavez said

There are three Labrys characters:

  • Normal Labrys
  • Shadow Normal Labrys
  • Shadow Labrys

Wow time to Atlus to put a reasoning to that?

Persona 2 style Shadows and Persona 4 style Shadows.

#32 Posted by rmanthorp (3876 posts) -

SO READY - we still play p4a at our weeklies - I hope this hits consoles sooonnn.

Moderator
#33 Posted by Superkenon (1394 posts) -

@fluxwavez: Wouldn't exactly be "arbitrary" since one's the Shadow version of the other, and everyone else is doubling up on a slot with their Shadow counterpart, now. I actually prefer Shadow Labrys over Normal, but... organization, darn it! Elimination of redundancy! Let's clean that menu up!

My neurotic need for consistent tidiness aside, I get it. And if they put a "real" character like Shadow Labrys under the Shadow selection, it would raise all sorts of questions about the "legality" of the new Shadow characters. Which... hmm, I wonder how that'll shake out.

Normal Labrys, Shadow Normal Labrys, and Shadow Labrys, though? I'm not accepting this until there's a Shadow Shadow Labrys too!!

#34 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19308 posts) -

@superkenon: It still wouldn't work because, like I mentioned, Shadow Labrys is presumably not the same kind of Shadow counterpart that shares character slots with the other characters, which is why there's a Shadow Normal Labrys. I guess all three of them could share the same slot, but that would be more messy than not and Shadow Labrys deserves her own slot because of how different she is compared to Labrys.

And I don't think there's anything to question about Shadow characters being overpowered or anything, for the reasons I stated before. Something I failed to mention, too, is that the damage output of Shadow characters is reduced by 20% compared to their normal versions.

#35 Edited by Superkenon (1394 posts) -

@fluxwavez: Yeah, that idea came from before I knew about this "third" Labrys. No reason to triple-down. Now I just want Shadow Shadow Labrys so the symmetry can be completed, haha.

My immediate reaction to these new Shadow versions of everyone is, "oh, so they'll be like Guilty Gear's EX-version characters?" (Even though that's not really accurate.) Some people will argue whether they're broken or not, but they still tend to be banned from the tournament scene, just because they're "outside the metagame" or whatever.

#36 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19308 posts) -

@superkenon: I thought GG's EX characters were simply powered up versions of the original characters? It's already been said in interviews that Shadow characters have been intentionally designed to be balanced with the whole cast, specifically in that normal characters are designed around defense and Shadow characters are designed around offense.

With all of the setbacks of Shadow characters and the impressions of those who've played the game, banning Shadow characters would probably be akin to banning #2 Ultras in SSFIV.

#37 Edited by Superkenon (1394 posts) -

@fluxwavez: EX Characters in GG were kind of a crap shoot. They're not really "powered-up" so much as "remixed". Like, the way a lot of their moves and specials worked were entirely and fundamentally different from the normal versions. It's almost like they were experimenting with different styles while reusing assets. There were also Gold and Shadow versions of the characters, though. Those were definitely intentionally OP.

Anyway, it's cool to hear they're designing P4U's Shadows to fit in with the regular characters, balance and all. Choosing between two different "styles" is exciting. Whether the tournament scene accepts it or not (sounds like they should), I know I'm going to have a lot of fun with it. Sounds like it could be a goddamn nightmare fighting one of them, with their specials going off constantly, haha.

#38 Edited by IrrelevantJohn (1030 posts) -

@fluxwavez:

EX Characters in GG were kind of a crap shoot. They're not really "powered-up" so much as "remixed". Like, the way a lot of their moves and specials worked were entirely and fundamentally different from the normal versions. It's almost like they were experimenting with different styles while reusing assets.

Yeah "Remixed" is pretty much the best word to describe GG's EX characters. I noticed that they used some of the moves from older GG games.

#39 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19308 posts) -

@fluxwavez:

EX Characters in GG were kind of a crap shoot. They're not really "powered-up" so much as "remixed". Like, the way a lot of their moves and specials worked were entirely and fundamentally different from the normal versions. It's almost like they were experimenting with different styles while reusing assets. There were also Gold and Shadow versions of the characters, though.

Hm, interesting. And those were banned in competitive play? From what it seems, Shadow characters at least have a significant design focus behind them so I would hope that people don't just blindly ban them in competitive play because it offers an alternative means of play (unless they turn out to be broken, but it definitely doesn't seem that way so far).

#40 Posted by Superkenon (1394 posts) -

@fluxwavez: While none of the EX characters were blatantly overpowered, I'd be a little surprised if they were all completely balanced across the board. Probably more importantly, they started off as unlockables, so not everyone would have access to them unless they played a bunch of single player. That could've been a big part of it. Though most people seem to just gripe about how they mess with the "metagame."

But yeah, since the Shadow thing is being propped up as a big feature (with an emphasis on balance, at that) rather than a weird little "bonus," I'd wager it gets accepted by the competitive community. ONLY TIME WILL TELL.

Meanwhile, I'm getting pretty hyped. Despite how far away a console release probably is...!

#41 Posted by shoryusatsu999 (4 posts) -

@fluxwavez: The only reason EX characters are tourney-banned is that they weren't in the arcade versions, and thus the FGC thinks that they weren't "properly" balanced and are broken. I doubt this will happen with Shadow-type characters just because they were revealed in the arcade loketest.

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