Persona 4 Arena Is Beautiful but Accessible

BlazBlue creator Arc System Works joins forces with the storytellers from the Persona series for upcoming anime fighter Persona 4 Arena.

The frenzy of light and colour in one of Persona 4 Arena's battles might appear bafflingly complex to the uninitiated, but the onscreen action belies a mechanical simplicity that helps ease in new players. Arena builds on the successes of its spiritual predecessor, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, retaining the depth familiar to Arc System Works' fans while introducing an accessibility to players unfamiliar to the genre.

Persona 4 Arena's battles see you summoning personas using two of the attack buttons, with their precise behaviour depending on the summoner's motion and position. A persona can be damaged and even knocked out, effectively halving a character's abilities during the healing period. The four-button combat system has only strong and weak attacks, each for you and your persona, and features single button autocombos to ease novices into the mechanics. The "Burst" combo provides a get-out-of-jail-free card (if you have a full burst meter)--if you're getting hammered, you can knock your opponent away with a short stun and a little damage. The hardcore needn't despair though, as further combos and quarter-circle specials allow flowing chains of satisfaction, with the added interplay of simultaneous persona and character combat bringing a host of techniques to the table.

The game's fully voiced story mode kicks off two months after the events of 2008's Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 and treats long-term fans with some (appropriately aged) Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 characters as well. The studio promises a story enjoyable to new and old fans alike with characters from the 13-strong roster enjoying two hours of game time each, following the same events from different perspectives.

A Lesson mode is also included, a welcome feature in a notoriously inaccessible genre, developing on BlazBlue's Tutorial with smoother transitions between exercises. The mode provides lessons, from moving all the up way to runs of combos and the game's three types of guard. Arena's online Versus mode, with all 13 characters available from the off, utilises the same successful netcode as BlazBlue, promising a smooth experience at broadband speeds. If you're trying to move from intermediate to advanced level, you'll benefit from the "record a combo" feature, where you can teach the computer to attack with a specific move, allowing you to perfect a counter. Arena's Challenge mode, similar to Lesson mode, allows fluid transition to the next task with no bothersome loading screens to break up the flow of play.

Persona 4 Arena's character models were lovingly created by building real 3D models before converting them back into two dimensions to provide depth and realism. Pretty effects accompany attack animations, bringing style as well as substance to the sophisticated combat system.

With the recent resurgence of the 2D fighting genre, Arena has the potential to outdo its big brother, BlazBlue. Its aspirations to the competitive scene will be tested by its balance at a high level. Thankfully, its arcade manifestation in Japan has shown good promise over the last three months. Series fans can get excited about an as-yet unspecified Collectors Edition, and while the game is currently limited to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, other platform versions have not been ruled out (BlazBlue recently hit the PlayStation Vita). Persona 4 Arena has big ambitions: to tell a story that's equally enjoyable to newcomers and fans from the PlayStation era; to build a fighting mechanic that is both accessible and satisfying to the hardcore; to make a splash on the competitive scene. Find out if it succeeds in mid-September.

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Discussion

43 comments
hitechgraphs
hitechgraphs

Wayyy better that the ol' recycled crapcom fighting games from nowadays.

motorxd
motorxd

Arc, can we have a new guilty gear pleeeeeeeeeeeeease!

mitchd3
mitchd3

can't wait to get this i'm a huge atlus and persona fan

megakick
megakick

K, now do Soul*Eater  HD for XBOX 360 and PS3

Zaika
Zaika

Blazblue + Persona 4 = WIN!

LoganDaDestroya
LoganDaDestroya

That looks really cool, I find that woman who pops up annoying, but still, looks cool. I'll have to read up on the story of the first 3 :)

tmaclabi
tmaclabi

Persons 4 still manages to look good on side screen multiplayer fighting :D

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

Mitsuru and Chie look hot and ready to kick you ass.

cutdownb692003
cutdownb692003

I am super stoked for this game. im hopeing that we will get some more characters from persona 3 

im2cool123
im2cool123

This is being released for xbox? Please do not follow this example, ATLUS with the next Persona.

M3o5nster
M3o5nster

Looking forward to it... I hope it does well, the online community will be a big part of the replay value.

jdkram
jdkram

I hope this intern is permanently employed in a well paid job by Gamespot.

Leir_Bag
Leir_Bag

I hope they bring it to portables. Blazblue looks awesome on my Vita, and so would this.

THEgodDELUSION1
THEgodDELUSION1

this is gonna be awesome.. especially since im knee deep in persona 3.. got it on the psn and old graphics aside, its incredible. best rpg ive played in quite some time. although the relationship sim aspects are a lil too japanese for my taste.. 

nunchuk28
nunchuk28

Admitedly, I got Blazblue CS Extend to see if I like the mechanics of Ark Systems fighters, I love P4 but fighters were never really my cup of tea, after playing a good bunch of hours of BB....I'm even more hyped than before for this game!

TookieMix
TookieMix

Can't wait to get this game, BEARSONA!!!!!

Kirra87
Kirra87

sounds great, but i wonder what this "unspecified collector's edition" contains, they can't really add too many extra characters or DLC, since it would unbalance the fighting mechanics and based on the fact that each character has "2 hours of story". hmm... thoughts?

KingDavid5150
KingDavid5150

I've been watching this since it  1st released details... I hate rpgs but i love fighting games especially blazblue.. i hope they have a limited edition

dustingallnight
dustingallnight

"Find out if it succeeds in mid-September."Uh, what? Game comes out on August 7th.

benleslie5
benleslie5

Why must Persona 4 Arena have to be released on the same date as Tales of Graces f (PS3) going to be stuck buying both games or the one

wolfgang12193
wolfgang12193

I can't wait for this I love persona. I for one think it's one of the best RPG's and then you have the people of Blaze Blue making it a fighter, can't go wrong imo.

Fiscaldeal
Fiscaldeal

This may be the first 2D fighter I ever buy.

cjimrun
cjimrun

Easy purchase. BlazBlue is the best fighter out there imo. I just wish it got the respect it deserves. I love Street Fighter and MvC but they both lack the in-depth training and story, as well as pure variety of game modes BB offers.

megakick
megakick

 @motorxd

 They lost the rights to the IP. BlazBlue is the new Guilty Gear.

Falru
Falru

 @LoganDaDestroya I only like the announcers cuz it's a tradition of the RPG games (you'd always have one character you acts as a utility "spouts obvious information" during battles i.e. "It's weak to fire!")

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

 @im2cool123 I love PS3. But why is this a problem? The more fans the better. Atlus has released Catherine on the 360 too. I expect persona there as well. The real question you should be asking is where is Persona 5 Atlus?

ScarTail
ScarTail

 @Leir_Bag I think I've heard something about this coming to the Vita?

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

 @ChaosPharaoh Maybe then again. Aks Systems never released their other versions of BlazBlue on PC. Only Calamity Trigger.

M3o5nster
M3o5nster

 @Kirra87 Probably a soundtrack and "Making of" video... maybe a statue or some other physical item. Maybe costumes too.

solidus2_1
solidus2_1

 @benleslie5

 Uhm Tales Of Grace f is already out came back out in march, I know because I own a copy......

wolfgang12193
wolfgang12193

 @cjimrun

 You realize it's probally because it's a japanese game. Which is a shame that that would be the problem.

Fiscaldeal
Fiscaldeal

 @phatsanta I've never cared about the subject matter enough to jump head first into the genre. Shallow reasoning, but it's the truth.

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

 @wolfgang12193 Wow. Sorry but go somewhere else. Street Fighter is a Japanese games, and you donot even know that. Wow, either get a new hobby or do some research.

wolfgang12193
wolfgang12193

 @TheTrueMagusX1

 I know that very well. I just didn't think before opening my nouth calm down. I should have siad something like capcom is more known to people than Arc. My apologies.