GAME NAME: Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
DEVELOPER(S): Arc System Works, Atlus
PLATFORM(S): Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PS3, Arcade
GENRE(S): Fighting, RPG, Arcade
RELEASE DATE(S): September 30, 2014
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is not your average fighting game. In fact, it’s one of the most in-depth fighting games that I’ve ever played. The characters and artwork are very clean, sharp and have great personality and style to them. This game is a follow-up to the role-playing game Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4. The title really feels like an RPG and fighting game blended together, which is very unique and fun.
The one thing about Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is even if you’re not that great at fighting games, you can still do well and have a good experience. This game is very unique but sticks close to its roots. It actually feels like it’s from the Persona 4 universe. Not only are the graphics amazing and have an awesome anime look, but the music is also very excellent. It lends an energizing vibe and keeps you fighting and having fun.
The main story mode benefits the most from being directly related to the original Persona 4 RPG. It picks off where the last game left off which was Arena. The cool thing is it makes for a great direct extension of the story in the original Persona 4. Arc System Works collaborated closely with Atlus to create a ton of story content using the same exact voice actors and all the animated elements from the original source material in the Persona world. The actual result of doing all this and combining all those efforts is you get an extremely well-written video game story and a lot of personality, all packed into one which is no small feat for a fighting game. Just look at Street fighter 4 for example, it doesn’t really have an in-depth story but the fighting mechanics are great. Imagine that game with awesome mechanics, blended together with a fun story and you get an excellent game.
Now, with those who are not familiar with the Persona world this game can be quite confusing when you jump in at first since there is a lot of different features. The game does do a good job at filling in back story from the original Persona 4 Arena game, so you at least know what happened prior and be caught up. I was a fan of the artwork and have seen the series around but I haven’t played all of their games in-depth from front to back. So, this game came with a little bit of a learning curve but ultimately I wound up enjoying it very much. One thing to note, is that if you’re strictly a fighting genre fan you will most likely not like this game. Let me give you a reason why. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax will test your patience and stretch it out. This game is more like watching a graphic novel with some fight sprinkled in. It kind of reminded me of the DC’s Injustice fighting game ib that way. The difference of DC Injustice and this game is that there was way more fighting in Injustice. It would be like watching a whole movie and then in certain scenes where there’s tension and conflict you jump into a fight scene. If you’re looking for a one-on-one immediately jump in fighting game, then this game definitely isn’t for you. However, if you’re one of those people who adore RPG’s and also enjoy fighting games Arc System Works does a great job of combining and meshing those two game genres together to create Persona 4 Arena Ultimax.
When it comes to the fighting mechanics it feels like the cast of characters included in this game are pretty balanced and controls are fairly easy. There are two different ways to play this game. You can either play the game in an advanced way or learn all the controls or you can play it the super easy way of mashing buttons since there are a ton of controls to memorize. I found that either play style worked although I’m a fan of memorizing controls and counters. I hear the last persona game wasn’t too balanced but this game felt right. What was also included is a new feature called shadow versions, the whole cast of characters hold their own shadows. The shadows can be used as an ability when you’re fighting, you can use it as a defensive burst and then trigger your super to do Ultimate damage. They have a really awesome tutorial at the beginning of the game that you can go through and learn all the different fighting techniques and also the new moves that have been included. It really didn’t take long for me to get used to the controls since they are fairly intuitive; I was able to jump right in. Another really cool feature is how fatal counters work. There are new moves that when you’re punished or hit will always result into a fatal no matter what move was used to make that happen. It makes you think little bit more strategically when selecting your combo moves because it opens you up to a fatal combo possibility.
There are a ton of excellent things to say about Persona 4 Arena Ultimax. The graphics are beautiful and have a hand-drawn quality and animation style to match. The music is also extremely energetic and keeps you in a good mood and has an excellent vibe. If you are a strict fighting fan you may not enjoy this game as it will test your patience through watching a bunch of story sequences. However, like I mention above if you are an RPG fan and you like fighting games you’ll absolutely love this game because it blends those two genres so very well. I highly recommend checking out Persona 4 Arena Ultimax it’s a great fighting RPG game.