Persona 4 The Golden Animation - Episode 6 (Big Persona 4 Spoilers)

So, personally, I think the on-going Persona 4 Golden anime has been pretty poor so far. Revolving around a character I was indifferent towards and oftentimes frustrated by—Marie—a lot of the nuance of Persona 4 has been lost in the transition to this 12 episode series in order to mainly focus on all of the new content that the Vita game introduced.

[Again, spoiler warning for Persona 4]

I'm writing this, however, because the newest episode, episode 6, was amazing—especially compared to the previous episodes—and it's one I think anyone who is a fan of Persona 4 should definitely watch. Because P4GA assumes the viewer is familiar with the Persona 4 story in its entirety, it was able to produce this great episode featuring the culprit, Adachi, and give us more insight concerning his backstory, his psyche and the motivation behind his crimes.

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In the opening scene, Adachi is simply walking in the town at sunset. Juxtaposition—which is a technique this episode often uses—is used here to highlight him walking alone, overhearing others speaking to people they care about while expressing hopes for their future. Adachi soon stops, looks to the sky and sighs, suggesting a longing for something he desires or that he may have at some point: the feeling of belonging and having hopes, one aspect of his character that wasn't elaborated upon so much in the game.

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The episode then skips back to before the events of Persona 4 started, when Adachi first arrives in Inaba. Dude's depressed, shown by his despondent expressions while miserably waiting in traffic and the lighthearted moments outside that he observes. There's also the fact that the flashback scenes in this episode have a colder color composition compared to the ones in the present, which also lends to the mood.

He meets Dojima for the first time, and immediately comes to the conclusion that he's not someone he'll be able to get along with; he has no desire to work "in the field" like Dojima does. Dojima, however, immediately welcomes Adachi and says that he should consider Dojima's residence as his own home.

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Then begins the montage of happy detective work time where Adachi is walking around with Dojima (along with accompanying happy music), working on small crimes since Inaba has a low crime rate. This includes several moments of bonding with Dojima. Scenes like these would lead one to think that Adachi's life is looking up, and that maybe the small hick town he was depressed to be moved to isn't so bad after all, which was the case with Yosuke when he met new friends he could count on.

This isn't the case, though (obviously). Adachi rejects that sort of relationship with Dojima, whether out of fear, because of his apparent self-esteem issues or because of the fact that what he wants the most is to feel totally desired by someone else.

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He then discovers the Midnight Channel firsthand. Abandoning rationality, he gives in to the idea behind the rumors that the one he sees on the screen is his soulmate, wanting to believe so strongly that she would be one who desires him, discovering his powers in the process and enkindling his madness. Now he could have control of his own destiny, and not the world that he perceived was working against him. Immediately, the phone rings from Dojima calling him, snapping him out of his moment of lunacy as a reminder that there's someone who would be willing to be there for him, yet the phone call is but a nuisance to Adachi.

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Adachi is then shown "pounding the pavement", investigating by himself while Dojima has the day off. It's something he wasn't used to doing before, as he had an office job, but the scene in question, showing him wander around questioning the townsfolk, demonstrates that he is getting better at it, learning about the town and memorizing its locations. This is also the only moment he is seen consuming anything that isn't alcohol with the steak skewers (representing some shift towards normalcy that isn't an implied alcohol problem to drown his sorrows).

Much like the montage of Adachi getting along with Dojima, I believe this represents Adachi's "other side." The side of himself that proves he can get along with other people and better his future by adapting and learning. The side of himself that he either rejects or completely ignores—acting impulsively, but internally abhorring his actions—due to his anti-social nature.

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It's not a side of himself that he doesn't want to inhabit, though, as he calls up Dojima simply to have someone to casually talk to. When he gets cut off because Dojima is busy, this is the first evident sign of Adachi's inability to handle rejection in any form, perceiving Dojima hanging up so that he can focus on preparing for his Nephew's arrival as an attack against his value as a human being, or that he's been seen as inferior, just like when he was sent to the hick town that is Inaba.

This leads to Yamano's murder. Motivated by the illusion that Yamano was his soulmate, he presumably spent the evening on guard detail intentionally being very nice and kind to her, with her most likely denying any of his blatant, romantic advances. So, Adachi confronts Yamano directly and demands to have an answer regarding the validity of her supposed affair, revealing his true colors in the process.

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She answers dismissively, which causes Adachi to snap. It's an act of betrayal, not only to her husband, but to him, as he believed her to be his soulmate, and she couldn't possibly want to lie to him, or even choose someone over him. Well, she does, and Adachi is once again left feeling inferior, unwanted, betrayed and replaced by someone better than who he is. This time, though, he has the power to control the outcome for himself instead of being left defeated, so he seizes the moment and does what he does, feeling no remorse afterwards.

This is followed by a scene where Adachi looks into the Dojima household at night, seeing the happy family that has gathered with him alone, in the rain. His sad expression quickly turns to hatred, as he recalls how Dojima was the person who "betrayed" him during the one time he tried to reach out to someone by his own volition, through the phone call that Dojima quickly dismissed.

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Murder #2. Adachi straight up spells out his internal turmoil when he aggresses Saki Konishi after being denied his advances, despite the fact that she "fools around" with Namatame: "Why is it that I'm not good enough?" Much like during the first moment where he shows his crazy, Dojima immediately tries to contact Adachi through the motif that is his cellphone, which Adachi ignores as he's busy with his other thing. The camera cuts back and forth from Adachi's expression to the ringing cellphone and, right before he pushes Saki into the TV, there's a small hint of regret in his eyes, as though Dojima trying to contact him was an indication of a life he could have had.

He listens to Dojima's message after the act: an invitation to have dinner with him that night. He laughs it off; obviously there's no going back. Even if he didn't kill Konishi and picked up the phone, he had already killed Yamano in his attempt to defend his ego or his worth as a person.

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Adachi subsequently reminisces about a grandmother who expresses a particular care for "Tohru-chan" and often comes up to him, as Adachi reminds her of her grandson of the same first name and looks. She brings stew to him so that he may take care of himself and, though he claims it's a bother, Yu perceives that he's actually happy about the attention she's giving him.

A few months later, the grandmother calls out to "Tohru-chan" and, Adachi, bracing himself thinking she's calling him, realizes that, this time, she's talking to her actual grandson, speaking of preparing stew for him instead of the now labeled "Mr. Detective." Another emotional betrayal, where Adachi's been replaced by someone more important than he is. "So it doesn't have to be me after all, huh?"

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Out of kindness after witnessing this, Yu prepares boxed food for Adachi and gives it to him, which Adachi reluctantly accepts. Yu invites him to have dinner, which Dojima and Nanako would appreciate. Yu gives boxed lunches to Adachi from leftovers they had from the supper. This leads to one of the most surprisingly effective scenes in the episode, where it skips back to the present and Adachi is staring into his fridge, full of the untouched boxed lunches and dinners that Yu had prepared for him.

He thinks back to moments of "happiness" such as gardening with Yu and Nanako or attending a concert, contrasted with moments of "despair" where he murdered Yamano and Konishi. Adachi then gathers the stacks of boxes of untouched food... and throws them all away, including a pot of stew he had received from the grandmother. He rejects these ideas of "happiness", rejects the "pity food" he was given by Yu and rejects Yu's notion of "helping each other out."

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The episode finishes with a great conclusion where Adachi gives further incite into his character by stating "What you do for someone else isn't always good for that person" and warns Yu about trusting others, which Yu denies. The episode finishes with quick sequences where Nanako is kidnapped, Dojima suffers an accident, Yu faces Kunino-sagiri to save Nanako and where Nanako dies. Adachi, to himself, denies all responsibility for this, blaming Yu for everything that happened, demonstrating how Adachi does not claim responsibility for his actions and chooses to blame it on something—or someone—else.

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Way longer of a write-up than I thought it'd be going in, but I guess I just loved the episode that much. It pretty much justifies the entire existence of this seemingly redundant anime series for me, and I don't think they'll be able to top it in the remaining 6 episodes. A lot of what this episode covers was presented in the game, but expounded upon in an effective way here. It's really great to see that they didn't do a sloppy job with the subject matter, but actually pulled it off.


How do you choose a fighting game main?

Anytime a new fighting game that I'm interested in is about to be released, one of the most important questions I find myself faced with—and I'm sure I'm not alone in this—is who the character I'm going to main is.

Usually, after a fair amount of deliberation, I end up maining a character based on aesthetic alone and that character is typically a main antagonist. The first reason I do this is because, well, I like bad guys more than other characters and liking the character you play as is a good motivator to improve, in my opinion. However, a second reason I think I do this is because I get frustrated when I have to think about "which character fits my playstyle the most" and I just resign to what I'm familiar with.

The problem lies in the fact that I don't know what my "playstyle" is. Oftentimes, I'll try all of the characters in a game's roster and not really feel any character that I immediately feel good playing as, so I'll pick an antagonist I like and tell myself that I'll simply adapt to the primary playstyle of that character, which usually ends up being the case.

What are your methods of finding the character that is right for you?

Trying to figure out a way to easily determine my type of fighting game playstyle and how I could easily determine a character I could naturally adapt to instead of struggle to learn, I created this pseudopsychology based 100% accurate quiz based on rigorous study and scientifically obtained data based on eight different fighting game character playstyles I made up:


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All-around characters have the tools to deal with any situation they find themselves in, making them the most balanced kinds of fighters, though they might not excel in any one area.

Examples: Ryu, Ken (SF); Yu (P4A); Scorpion, Sub-Zero (MK); Terry Bogard (KoF)


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The goal of rushdown characters is to constantly be in the opponent's face, never give them any breathing room and to always be on the offense. They are weakest when when distanced from the opponent, but are scary when up close with high damage output and mix-ups.

Examples: Cammy, Fei Long (SF); Chie (P4A); Iori (KoF)


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Grapplers are typically big and very slow, oftentimes with more health than the average to make up for it. Their goal is to patiently approach the opponent in order to deal very high damaging attacks, primarily in the form of command throws.

Examples: Zangief, Hakan (SF); Cerebella (SG); Kanji (P4A); Tager (BB)


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Zoning characters typically have low health, but they make up for it with their ability to control space. They are strongest when distanced from their opponent and will attempt to keep them at bay with a variety of projectiles and traps.

Examples: Dhalsim (SF); Dormammu (MvC3); Yukiko (P4A)


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Tricky characters excel in high mobility, capitalizing on their movement to confuse opponents through feints, teleportation or attacking in multiple directions simultaneously. Usually use a mix of long-range and close-range attacks and they might have a random element to them.

Examples: Faust (GG); Arakune (BB); Teddie (P4A)


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Puppet characters are a special type of fighting game character which involve controlling two separate entities at once to overwhelm the opponent by attacking in multiple different angles simultaneously. These characters usually require more multitasking than other characters.

Examples: Carl (BB); Shadow Labrys (P4A); Eddie (GG)

Stance change

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Stance change characters are characters that involve changing stances or "modes" depending on the situation they find themselves in. These characters are usually execution heavy and require thinking ahead to determine when the best times to switch modes are in the heat of battle.

Examples: Aigis (P4A); Gen (SF); Amaterasu (MvC3)


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Turtle characters are characters that rely on their defense being stronger than the opponent's offense. Their game plan revolves around punishing opponent's mistakes, whether it's by running away with high mobility in order to frustrate the opponent, by countering the opponent's attacks or via other means.

Examples: Guile (SF), Venom (GG), S-Kill (Divekick)

Aside from "Tricky" (which I practically made up, though I personally think it's valid), all of them are recognized character playstyles, though they might not be categorized in the way I did and these descriptions are very general since there can be several sub-categories to certain playstyles.

Fighting game characters are generally designed to be optimally played in a specific way that fits the above playstyles, but each person still applies their own approach and personal style to their character of choice, meaning that the quiz isn't to determine how a player should play a fighting game, but which kind of character they might enjoy or find success playing as the most.

So after creating this 100% accurate quiz on FG character playstyles, I took things one step further by applying the completely logical process of the Hunter X Hunter Nen diagram to an individual's inherent fighting game character playstyle, which resulted in the following:

Fighting game playstyle chart (analyzing Rushdown)
Fighting game playstyle chart (analyzing Rushdown)

I created the above diagram on a whim and it means nothing. Basically applying HxH's Nen theory directly to fighting game playstyles, the concept is that one has the potential to be 100% efficient playing as a character of their inherent FG character playstyle (i.e. the one obtained in the quiz), 80% efficient with playstyles adjacent to one's primary one, and so on before finally having a max. potential of being 20% efficient with a playstyle opposite to their primary one.

Using Rushdown as one's primary playstyle in the above chart, the person has the potential to be 100% efficient with any rushdown based character, 80% with an All-around or Grappler character and 20% efficient with a Turtle character.

Oftentimes a character will actually belong to several playstyles (i.e. hybrids), so if a character would be a combination of Tricky and Turtle like Yosuke in Persona 4 Arena, a Rushdown character player's max. efficiency potential with Yosuke would be 40% (60% + 20% divided by 2).


The above is total hogwash; please don't take it seriously. But it was fun to come up with and it gave me certain things to think about as, honestly, determining which character to main in a fighting game can be fun initially when you get to try out all of the characters and see which one fits you best, but it can end up frustrating when you just can't commit to one character or another.


My opinions and hopes relating to P4A:C

Poster detailing P4A:C's location test
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.


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
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
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.


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
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
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
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
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
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
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.


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.

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What I would want in a Persona 4 Arena 2

After spending a countless amount of hours playing Persona 4 Arena, I can safely say that it's my favorite fighting game of all time. However, after recently getting the console version of BlazBlue: CSEX, there are many things from it that I would want to see added from it or adjusted in a sequel to P4A. Because of the Persona Team's focus on Persona 5 and Arc System Works' focus on BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma as well as story implications, a P4A sequel is less than likely, but I would still like to list what I would want to see in one.

Special Character Intros

The video above shows special character intros in BlazBlue that I would love to see implemented in P4A2. People tend to skip fighting game intros after a while, but a lack of diversity does not help things and I think special intros add a lot to the presentation and to a game's overall style. The Persona 4 cast would be perfect for this and It's really disappointing to me that the only one of these in P4A is the Akihiko vs. Akihiko mirror matchup where they simply fist bump each other.

Matchup Specific Themes

Similar to wanting special character intros for specific matchups, I also want to hear themes for different matchups. This is something BlazBlue has plenty of and I love it. I wasn't that impressed by Persona 4 Arena's soundtrack (the lack of Shoji Meguro might be why), but Daisuke Ishiwatari does a good job of evoking specific feelings through his BB music and the character themes are a good indication of this as they fit their respective matchups so well. There are none of these in P4A outside of mirror matchups (with Reach Out to the Truth playing for P4 characters and Mass Destruction for P3 characters), but I think this is something that could be easily envisioned for the cast, just like special character intros.

A mode similar to Abyss

BlazBlue has this offline, single player mode by the name of "Abyss." The player chooses a level of depth they want to fight through (kinda like Tartarus!), selects their character and customizes them with items bought from the item shop that boosts their attack power, defense, speed or Heat gauge. Items bought from this shop can also have other special properties. Players then proceed to fight through "floors" of enemies with their own items, gaining in-game money in the process to buy better items in order to defeat even tougher enemies.

Because of the RPG nature of this mode, I think it's pretty clear why something like this would suit P4A.

Taunts + Special Character Dialogue

I don't know why P4A doesn't have these in the first place. And no, idle animations do not count because fighting games typically have those in addition to manually activated taunts.

Also, characters in these games talk a lot when fighting, but I think it's a nice touch when what they say changes depending on who they fight. P4A has some of this with Chie saying "Everything's great at your Junes!" during her auto-combo against Yosuke or Mitsuru yelling "Akihiko!" during her strong attacks, but I want more!

Online ranking system that doesn't suck

The PSR and Grade system that P4A currently uses is not only confusing, but also does not work well, especially since there are not that many people playing Ranked Matches these days. It's something that I'd want to see improved.

So that's all I could think of that I would really want in a sequel other than the easy stuff like more characters, backgrounds and more announcers.


Persona 2: IS is fantastic. How does EP compare?

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Having now finished every Persona game with the exception of Eternal Punishment, I can say that they are all amazing experiences (except for SMT: Persona, which is okay), especially Innocent Sin.

Hitler, one of the main antagonists.
Hitler, one of the main antagonists.

The characters are some of the best in the series. My rank for the best characters across the Persona games now goes: P2 > P3 > P4 > P1. Maya, especially, is one of the greatest characters in the series and it's unfortunate she didn't even rank in the top characters in the Persona series from the Japanese fans. All of the major Persona 1 references in P2 were also nice to see, especially for someone who played the game before playing its sequel.

The presentation in general is well done. One of the main reasons I feel Persona 1 had the most unremarkable characters was because they all had static portraits and their models barely emoted. In P2, characters have tons of expressions portraits—even the unimportant ones—and they emote during scenes in a way that makes them come to life better than how they just stood around in P1. The music's awesome, as to be expected, but there's also so much of it in the remake so songs don't feel stale.

The only problems I have with IS are that the demon encounter rate and the contact system. The encounter rate is a bit too high and there aren't many options to reliably flee from battles, so walking a few steps between each battle in a dungeon can get quite tedious.

The Velvet Room's an actual room with its own set of characters.
The Velvet Room's an actual room with its own set of characters.

I like how they developed the contact system—the method to converse with demons and gain their cards to obtain new Personae—compared to P1 to be able to execute duo/trio contacts, which often gives entertaining results, albeit repetitive. What I don't like about it is that it's like another form of grinding, where you need to memorize what to say to certain demons to satisfy them and do it over and over again to get their cards. The card system is an interesting twist on the Velvet Room fusion system that is different from all of the other Persona games (where cards of the different Arcana are fused to obtain new Personae instead of demons/Personae themselves) and I think that the contact system is more interesting than the weird "Shuffle Time!" system that's in P3 and P4.

That said, the story is the best thing about the game for me and the ending is excellent. What I wonder is how well does Eternal Punishment compare for those who've played it? Does the story take place immediately after the ending of Innocent Sin? And making Maya Amano a silent protagonist sounds like the worst thing they could have done. I really hope they bring the PSP version over to North America at some point, because this experience feels rather incomplete without it.

This also makes makes me wish that P2 had at least a small presence in Persona 4 Arena.

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My thoughts on the PS All-Stars beta

(Public Beta)
(Public Beta)

After the rocky launch of the beta because of online issues that lasted a few short hours yesterday, I've played PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale for about 6-7 hours now. Usually, I'd be able to form a concrete opinion on something after that much time spent with it, but I'm still unsure about what I feel about this game.

It's easy for people to use the term "Sony Smash Bros." as a way to describe All-Stars, but if it were that simple I would be having a fantastic experience with it, which is not quite the case. Sure, the game's basically a 4-player brawler with a cast of PlayStation (and non-PlayStation) characters playing on stages with hazards, spawning items and such. However, the fundamental gameplay is quite different, and that's the focal point of my issues with All-Stars.

Fat Princess' level 3 Super which usually nets around 3-4 kills.
Fat Princess' level 3 Super which usually nets around 3-4 kills.

Having super attacks be the only method of truly killing an opponent is an interesting concept in theory but, for now, one I don't think I enjoy in practice. AP—the resource that fuels a player's super meter and allows them to perform one of their three super moves based on the the meter's level—is gained by attacking other players or by collecting AP orbs across the stage and is lost by being hit by certain stage hazards, throws and items.

Because the amount of AP gained varies depending on a character's attacks, I feel that this means players either use the same moves or combos that they know gain them the most AP over and over again or they recklessly mash any of the three attack buttons they can and hope for the best. Using the same move constantly for AP isn't too different from spamming a high damaging move in a traditional 2D fighting game, however because high/low mixups aren't an issue in All-Stars, the need to memorize several of them is not a necessity.

As for the mashing, well that seems like all too viable an option in this game, because stuff gets pretty hectic when four characters are in close proximity to each other and, unlike Smash Bros., people do not fly away when hit by moves in a combo, so they stay stuck in a same group and the more people you hit, the more AP you gain. Heck, sometimes it was even difficult to keep track of where I was, but thankfully that barely happens.

Sweet Tooth's level 3 Super which usually kills around 5-6 times, oftentimes causing an unrecoverable situation.
Sweet Tooth's level 3 Super which usually kills around 5-6 times, oftentimes causing an unrecoverable situation.

Another issue with the super meter system is that since the only way of gaining points is based around limited resources that are only gained after a certain period of time, the game can be immensely frustrating and things such as comebacks are nearly impossible in the three minute free-for-all mode that is the only accessible mode in the demo. If you miss a super or get knocked out of one you were about to perform, you lose the AP you had collected for it and having to gain all of it back again just to score a kill feels a bit more like a hassle than it should. A player's score is not indicated before a match ends in the beta mode, however knowing which player is in the lead is usually not a difficult thing to do and when there is little time left in a match and you find yourself left with practically no AP to pull off any supers while being behind in the scoreboard, you might as well just give up because there is literally nothing you could do to change the situation.

My view might change on the combat mechanics after I spend more time with the beta, but for now it's not impressing me too much. The issues I have with it could be different based on other modes such as 1v1 (which the game doesn't seem suited towards at all), stock mode or something, but all I have to judge All-Stars on right now is the 3-minute, FFA mode of the beta. I'll definitely be playing more of it before the beta expires on October 30th and I'll see if my opinions change.

*Note: I played the Vita version for a couple of hours. It's pretty much exactly the same as the PS3 version, so not much to say about it other than the scale is smaller so things are slightly more difficult to keep track of and that tapping the screen to grab an item doesn't seem intuitive.


Zero Escape: VLR Demo Impressions

So the demo for Virtue's Last Reward just came out today for the Vita and I finished it. There were two sections to it: the "Novel" section and the "Escape" section.

Playing the Novel section first and referring to my memory of 999, the first thing that I noticed was how nice the 3D models looked. The presentation overall is quite nice, with the environments and the music being appropriately atmospheric. The voice acting sounded great (especially Zero III's), however it was weird when characters were actually voiced and talking to Sigma (the main character) while he simply responded with typical abstract text sounds.

The menu system has a lot to it, but one thing I would have liked is if the text log wasn't buried in it and could be accessed simply with a single button press. I often like to look back on the log in text heavy games like this and having to tap the menu button and then having to tap the log is irritating compared to what most games do which is just pressing a button to have it appear.

The Novel sequence ended at a bit of a weird spot, so I was glad that the Escape sequence took place immediately after the first one. This sequence is basically just solving puzzles and exploring, which is what players should expect to do in this game just like in 999.

Flicking one's finger to control the camera is a real bad experience. It was imprecise and generally unresponsive, as I couldn't tell if camera control was too sensitive or not sensitive enough. Using the rear bumpers if one wants precise movement is definitely the way to go and, to an extent, the left analog stick can be a more precise alternative to touching objects on-screen (though the cursor is also a bit floaty). This makes me wonder if the game would control much better with the 3DS and its stylus.

Other than the technical stuff, the story's interesting. I like Zero III's personality compared to the original Zero, who only had his mysterious identity going for him and, without that, being generally forgettable. Also something I found interesting and, maybe it's just me, but Junpei in 999 was a pretty smart dude based on the dialogue he had with other characters while Sigma seems like an idiot (or maybe he's just uncultured) in comparison. Not having even heard of Schrödinger's cat is an example of this, with Phi (his female partner) even making a remark that it'd be hard to find someone who doesn't know what that is.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience. I'm looking forward to playing the full game later this month.


Bad endings are the worst

I am so disappointed right now. Only after having spent about 12 hours into SMT: Persona did I find out there were multiple endings. Only now, after obtaining the bad ending after having spent 22 hours and 36 minutes playing the game did I find out that the one scene that decides the ending took place several hours ago in my playthrough and that, to experience the proper ending, I'd have to play through the whole thing again.

Now this could be my fault. This is a Persona game and an older RPG, so maybe I should have guessed that this would occur and taken the necessary precautions. Maybe I should have guessed that the one determining scene was much more significant than I had thought when going through it (funny thing is, I had reloaded my game after that scene to see if different dialogue options would have changed the outcome but it didn't so I just moved on). None of that changes the fact that this frustrates me so much.

I believe the true ending path adds about 6-8 hours of additional playtime, so this isn't something insignificant, either.

I do like alternate endings when I feel that they're executed properly. Taking significant decisions you made throughout the game and adjusting what happens in the end accordingly. What I don't like is endings that result from dialogue and decisions that are so arbitrary that one doesn't even realize they're doing something that could affect the ending in a major way unless they knew something like it was going to happen beforehand. This also happens in Persona 4 and I guarantee that most people who obtained the true ending did so via a guide and when the correct path is extremely important to the game's overall narrative, I believe that that's bad game design.

Guess I'm going to have to be careful when I start Persona 2: Innocent Sin.



This was my record a few days ago:

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Nine losses in a row. I don't always win or anything crazy, but I also don't get loss streaks like that. Each match, I wondered what I was doing wrong and yet I never went to watch replays because I just wanted to get into another match and win it... And then I didn't and lost just as bad as the last time. "gg"s at the end of each of these but even though I never rage, there were times where I just felt like "BM"ing my opponent like made, especially the few times I lost to cheesing. Then today:

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An 11 win streak. I'm not even sure what changed. Maybe I was more tired in those past few days than I was today? I don't know, but I do know it messes with my mind when I'm just consistently losing and then, suddenly, winning match after match. And it makes it all the more painful when this good fortune will come to an end and I eventually find myself "gg"ing before my opponent and leaving the game.

And such are some of my woes with laddering. What are your experiences? Do you frequently experience cheesing players or bm? Are you the first person to state "gl hf" in a match or are you one to ignore it when an opponent states it themselves? When going against a Random opponent or a Zerg, I'm often suspicious when someone throws out "glhf" real early because I'm always expecting cheese, with the common greeting as a guise for what they're doing.

Are you intimidated when you ladder? I know a lot of people avoid 1v1 because they say it's stressful, but I've never found that to be the case and, if anything, I find teams to be more stressful because if I mess up, I'm letting down a team and not just myself. 

How do you react when someone is bad mannered? Do you reply with snarky comments? Do you ignore them? Are you the one who's usually bad mannered? When I encounter bm, I just smile and reply with the snarkiest of comments I can, hopefully enraging my opponent even further. It's fun.

Basically, I want us to share our impressions with laddering. 

Bonus bm images:  
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Not much talk about this, huh.

At least on Giant Bomb. It's weird. I know this is essentially a re-release of a game that originally came out earlier this year, but I didn't figure there would be only one new thread about it upon its release, and not a major one at that. Do people care that little about it? 
It seems that those I'm seeing online are relatively proficient at the game. Because of this, I'd assume that most of those who bought UMvC3 today had bought MvC3 earlier on and had probably played online quite a bit, like me. And I don't know what I was expecting, but this is more UMvC3. I feel kind of disappointed by that. This may be because I suck with Phoenix Wright, or because most people I've played online choose a same character in their team (like Vergil), or because I feel forced to play with my old MvC3 team to be decent... or because I realize that I'd need to be much more dedicated to this game to win consistently online. That said, I felt compelled to play "just one more match" over and over again earlier on, so maybe I don't dislike the game as much as I might think.

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