phatmac's Persona 4 Arena (PlayStation 3) review

Return to the Midnight Channel!

The Investigation Team is back!

As someone that has never played an Arc System Works Co., Ltd. game I was worried that I may not enjoy P4A. The story which was developed by Atlus Co., Ltd. was incentive enough for me to give it a shot. The crazy dream team actually works. P4A is both a solid fighting game that Arc fans will enjoy and has enough story for Persona fans. The story picks up around 2 months after the true end of Persona 4. Yu Narukami(Charlie Tunoku) returns for Golden Week in order to meet with the previously named Investigation Team. Things don't work out that easily as the Investigation Team soon realizes that the Midnight Channel is back on the air. It shows the team fighting each other in the Pre 1 Grand Prix.

This gives the perfect reason for this game to be a fighting game or at least its a good reason. Usually cross over games like these usually avoid explaining why people would be fighting each other. P4A explains it well in the universe and it makes the concept interesting instead of just going with it. It's apparent that both companies take this seriously and aren't trying to alienate both Arc fans and Persona fans. There will definitely be a vast amount of arc fans that are ignorant to P4 and won't care about the story. This is a fine course of action as it is a great fighting game that is more accessible than previous arc games. There is a surprising amount of P4 systems in gameplay such as having status aliments like poison(when poisoned you gradually lose your health), silence(you can't use your Persona), and much more.

Fights are even more unique as you have access to your Persona which is your inner demon. Your Persona can fight alongside you and must be there in order to cast spells and bursts. You can break your opponents's Persona by hitting it 4 times which gives you a big upper hand against characters that rely on their Persona skills. P4A is a 4 button fighting game with low hits, strong hits, bursts, throws, and much more. One reason that it's accessible is that it has an auto-matic 1 button combo system which is essential for new players. It does less damage if you mash A and it also takes away a small amount of health. Pulling off the combos by themselves does more damage which will give experts an upper hand. P4A is still a complex game, but the package around it makes it hard to resist. Persona games are well known for their striking UI and this is evident in P4A. It has an incredibly rich UI system which uses colors brilliantly.

The soundtrack is an assorted mix of P4 and P3 music which brings back memories for sure. It has a few new songs which are great. Graphically it is an arc game as it is great to look at. The Persona characters are done well and they don't look like most characters in any game. My time online has been great and it also has a neat title system which lets you pick from a huge lists of names online. My current tag is "Rap Master Sensei" which has made me giggle in delight. I love Persona 4 and the story mode is enough for me to be excited about he future in Persona. My complaints are actually with story mode as its a visual novel. It has a bunch of unread text which is a shame. Also most stories are very similar in their beats as I could easily predict what would happen next due to each story having familiar events occur. I wish the story mode was better and more varied as I mostly skipped over text. There are still some great stories that Persona fans need to see. Elizabeth's story is one that is important for Persona 3 fans specifically. Persona 3 and 4 get justice and the characters interactions are also interesting to see for fans. Persona 4 Arena surprisingly delivers on the crazy mishmash of a JRPG series and a fighting game developer. Whether you're a Persona fan or not, P4A is a solid game all around.

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