Persona 4 Arena is the first fighting game in the Persona series. It features characters from Personas 3 and 4 along with a newcomer to the series, Labrys. Can they face the truth in the TV and make it out alive?
While I’m not the first person here at The Backlog to review Persona 4 Arena, I felt like sharing my thoughts and opinions on it still. Persona 4 Arena is a fighter that is set to take place a couple months after the events of Persona 4. Yu Narukami, the main protagonist, is coming back to Inaba for Golden Week to visit his friends there. The group is planning to all get together (well, except for Naoto who is busy with work) to welcome him back. What they don’t expect is that another mystery is about to begin, one that extends beyond just the quiet town of Inaba.
Within the TV lies a world of shadows. After the events of Persona 4, the group thought they everything was over. Well, it just so happens that a machine with a heart got thrown into the TV, bringing the whole world back to life with it. This is where the Persona 3 characters come in, though only a few of them.
At its core, Persona 4 Arena is a true fighter. It’s challenging, has a “it’s there” story mode (though honestly, it is far better than some other fighting game story modes), and you can face off against others online.
The story mode in Persona 4 Arena begins with the previously mentioned events and leads into a full-blown tournament within the TV version of Yasogami High. Each character has its own story mode with each varying in length. They are (extremely) cutscene heavy, especially the story for Labrys the newcomer, so prepare to do a lot of reading. While you’re doing that reading though you may notice some… issues. There are typos and grammar mistakes here and there, including a gem like “Feets, don’t fail me now!” and a “reciver.”
There is also a score attack mode which, if you aren’t already extremely good at fighters, is going to be near impossible. I tried it once and got pit against Yosuke. There was a bit of destruction as I think I managed to land all of one hit. If you want to go into the score attack mode be prepared for difficulty.
The same can be said with the challenge mode. Challenge mode definitely lives up to its name. The first 12 or so challenges on each character aren’t that hard but then they really start to get difficult. If you are hoping to go for that platinum trophy… good luck. Between challenge mode and score attack mode you will be spending a LOT of time perfecting EVERY character.
With the recent release of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, the online in Persona 4 Arena has become even more dead than it already was. While this is fantastic for those who want to just boost each other through ranked mode (like myself and fellow writer Augora did for a bit), it’s not so great for those who actually want to play online. Sure there is the new game out, but not all of us have the money to get it yet! Even before the release of Ultimax the online was still fairly dead, occasionally pitting me up against people who were CLEARLY much better than me (rank B versus me at rank F-). It definitely did feel like the matchmaking skills weren’t that great, but of course perhaps it was because the servers were fairly dead.
While it’s a shame that the online in Persona 4 Arena is all but dead at this point, there is still all the other modes available to you. Story mode in itself will take you a long time to complete between the length of the cutscenes and having to unlock everything, including Labrys’ story. Score attack and challenge modes will also truly test your skills, perhaps even forcing you to rethink how you do certain things (or want to swear at the controls for not accepting your inputs). Unfortunately, the game seemingly not accepting your input seems to happen more often that I’d like, but perhaps that is just me being bad at fighters.
Persona 4 Arena, despite the dead online at this point, is still a title I would recommend to fighting gamers and Persona fans. It is challenging but the length of the cutscenes may have you wanting to cry at times.
Persona 4 Arena Single Player Review Score
Mainly points against it for the cutscene lengths (in a fighter) and the typos.
Persona 4 Arena Multiplayer Review Score
Not only is it now dead, what little I was able to matchmake didn’t really seem like it was matchmaking the best. Perhaps that was still a product of it being dead but alas.