TGS 2011: Persona 4: The Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena Hands-On Preview

We step into the "TV World" of the role-playing game and clash against old friends in Arc System Works' latest fighter.

Keeping an existing brand fresh without reverting to its standard genre is no small feat: you need to make sure that the genre switch makes a lick of sense. For the Final Fantasy series, having its main heroes and villains clashing against each other in high-flying one-on-one fighting seems logical. Atlus and Arc System Works are also taking that turn with the Shin Megami Tensei Persona spin-off, titled Persona 4: The Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena. The results seem astounding based on our recent playthrough of the title's debut at the 2011 Tokyo Game Show.

The game's story is set two months after the events of Persona 4. Teddy, one of the party members of the game, is promoting a fighting show called the P-1 Grand Prix and somehow goaded the main cast to go into "TV World" to find out what's really going on. If you've played titles like Guilty Gear and BlazBlue, you'll feel right at home with Persona 4: UMA. Characters can dash, air dash, and double-jump all over the screen to maneuver the battlefield. Combos are chained easily just like Arc System Works' past titles. And yes, the 2D graphics, backgrounds, and animations are crisp and pretty to look at.

Attacks are mapped onto four buttons: A and C are your punch and kick buttons, while B and D are your light and heavy Persona attacks, which are moves where a character's guardian angel of sorts shows up to land a damaging blow in the fighter's stead. Pressing A and B together unleashes an auto-combo chain for each character. Pressing A and C makes your character roll away, while pressing B and D does an emergency evade called R Action that makes you do an invincible side-step dodge at the cost of a sliver of your life.

Holding down on the joystick while pressing A and C together makes you pull off a short hop just like a King of Fighter's short jump. This not only dodges low attacks, but sets you up with any move since it's meant to give you a frame advantage. In true Guilty Gear and BlazBlue fashion, pressing A, C, and D makes you do a guard burst to break out of a combo or relentless assault at the cost of a burst gauge. You can do this only once, so spamming this move is not an option, which also means the tactic of burst-baiting still comes into play here.

From what we had gathered from the long lines and endless play sessions on all four cabinets at Arc System Works' booth, the main character of Persona 4 (now Yu Narukami instead of his past default manga name Souji Seta) is the popular choice among fighters. He has a beginner-friendly moveset (projectiles and fast uppercuts) thanks to his fighting style being a hybrid of Guilty Gear's Ky Kiske if he had a long-reaching stand a la JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.

This isn't to say that the rest of the cast are outshined by him; Yosuke Hanamura is a fast character with dive attacks, knife projectiles for short-term zoning, and a Persona with a delayed gas attack that can stun opponents temporarily. Yukiko Amagi can control space with her feather-armed Konohana Sakuya Persona and fan projectiles.

Chie Sakamoto also hits fast like Yosuke but doesn't have the range he possesses, while Kanji hits hard with his long-reaching electric attack coming out of his Persona while also surprising enemies with a super move grab. Aigis from Persona 3 is also in the game, but she isn't playable in this build. We suspect that she may be a zoning-heavy character as she has displayed attacks using her rocket fists and miniguns in her RPG appearance.

Persona 4: The Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena will be out in Japanese arcades in spring 2012. The PS3 and Xbox 360 versions will be out in summer 2012.

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Discussion

22 comments
Yomigaeru
Yomigaeru

I heard about this the other day while I was looking through the Megami Tensei Wiki. It seemed an odd genre change at first, but then I remembered Dissidia, and the fact that Arc System Works is on this one. If anyone can pull off a fun 2D fighter, then it's them. It's strange though...why go with the human cast? I don't mind them, but you've got literally hundreds of potential cast members in the form of Personas/Demons, yet they chose to instead go with the humans? Well, I suppose it makes sense, as the Persona series is more about the human characters than the demonic ones.

zoeyleft
zoeyleft

i wish i was pro... blazblue and guilty gear is so damn hard... i just wanna be pro at it and play hours everyday... but people beat me so easily... same with street fighter 2 :(

ratchet200
ratchet200

If they put Aigis in from P3, then you would think they'd add the rest of the cast. Hopefully they DO do that lol XD.

chyng85
chyng85

Wow, it's amazing~! I never thought it will be 2D fighting game for this awesome series~!

mat989
mat989

@thenerd64 I just thought the same when Catherine had its japanese release almost 6 months earlier T.T Regardless, Aksys is awesome at making balanced and fun fighting games, so I'll definitely buy this one (and please Atlus, let there be an option for the original japanese voices in the US release!)

thenerd64
thenerd64

hope we get 360 version, beccause my ps3 is out of memory. and I really wish the 360 was not region locked

SynthfreaK
SynthfreaK

Can't wait!!! I love Arc System Works fighting games and will own them all!!! Hope this sees a U.S. released but I'll buy a JP PS3 version if needed since PS3 isn't region locked. Well thanks for bringing more fighters Arc Systems Work and Atlus!!!

Talavaj
Talavaj

it's mayonaka, after the midnight tv (mayonaka tv) article title spellcheck not anymore?

HavQ-san
HavQ-san

@Black_Id_Jenova @GunBladeHero Come on, it's not all about the size of the roster, guys. BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger managed to be really deep with "only" 12 characters. SkullGirls will only have 8 at the start. And if it helps at all, they did say that they're considering original characters for the game, and that some character picks surprised the team. This heavily implies that there will be more characters than just the ten that the select screen slots would indicate. @Benleslie5, fighting games rarely have demos -- that's what arcades and other fighting games are for.:P Read previews, watch videos and so on, and if you like fighting games (especially 2D/Arc System Works' IPs), you should be safe with the purchase.

BillyColeman
BillyColeman

Black_Id_Jenova theres lots of time to add ppl lol this is just a peek not a full game its way to early to be saying I see not good sign in this game

Black_Id_Jenova
Black_Id_Jenova

Man.. I see not good sign in this game... They lack Fighters!!! They should use char from Persona 1, 2, 3 also don't you AGRREEEE??? URRYYY!!

Brokensaint058
Brokensaint058

@istuffedsunny A cash in that takes honest effort, development dedication, looks and great gameplay? I think not!

benleslie5
benleslie5

Hope they'll be a demo for it in the future

DarthMallrat
DarthMallrat

This game is like a wet dream come true.

BenderUnit22
BenderUnit22

Galactic Punt to victory. FInal fight takes place in the meat dimension.

istuffedsunny
istuffedsunny

I'm disappointed to see the Persona series resort to these cash-ins