Persona 4 Arena Review
Persona 4 Arena is the latest fighter from developer Arc System Works and matches their high standard of quality while also being accessible for newcomers.
- Fighting mechanics balance accessibility and complexity
- Gorgeous visuals and animations
- Extensive narrative modes.
- Inconsistent online play
- Dry narrative presentation
- Bare-bones tutorial mode
- Problems with replay downloading.
Fighting games generally center around two combatants squaring off one-on-one or in a tag-team format. Persona 4 Arena combines these styles, requiring you to control two fighters in harmony: your character and his or her persona, an imaginative creature that fights at your side. The mechanics are easy to grasp--while maintaining a level of complexity in keeping with Arc System Works' pedigree--and support a fully featured game with few setbacks.
As with any fighting game, the quality of the combat mechanics is paramount. The game's basics will be familiar to anyone acquainted with Arc System Works' previous fighters, such as the BlazBlue and Guilty Gear series. Each round, two characters duke it out on a 2D plane using a combination of physical attacks and the abilities of their persona.
One of the most interesting features in this game is the personas: the unique-looking warriors who fight alongside your avatar. At first glance, these secondary combatants may remind you of the "stands" from the 1998 fighter JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. While this is an apt comparison, there are some key differences.
In JoJo's, most stands were toggled on or off, while in Persona 4 Arena, the personas are always active and ready to assist. Generally, a persona's attacks are situational tools--such as an anti-air grapple or projectile. The avatars handle the general-purpose, quick-hitting combos and are complemented by their personas. A few characters, such as Yukiko and Elizabeth, rely more on their personas to do the heavy lifting. Finding a balance between physical- and persona-based attacks, and using both of your fighters in harmony, is an interesting puzzle that's constantly changing depending on whom you're fighting. Plus, the personas' creative designs and outrageous attacks add spectacle to the fight.
Similar to JoJo's stands, personas can be "broken" in combat if they take too many hits. The four cards below your health represent the persona's vitality. Each time a persona is attacked, you lose a card. Lose them all, and you must wait for a brief cooldown to expire before you can call your persona again.
Most cast members also have a unique fighting mechanic. For example, Labrys' massive axe increases in power as she fights, while Aigis has an ammo counter that depletes after certain attacks. Effectively managing these individual traits helps each fighter feel distinct from the rest.
The bulk of the remaining fighting mechanics are managed with a single energy meter. The most important one to master is One More Cancel, which lets you instantly reset your fighter's animation to extend combos or quickly block if you miss a big attack. This technique costs some meter, but its numerous applications add flexibility to the combat system with one simple execution.
For newcomers, Persona 4 Arena is very accessible, thanks in part to the auto-combo system. Similar to the boost combos in Capcom's Street Fighter X Tekken, auto-combos are a series of easily connecting hits that automatically cancel into a special move, and then into a super move (if you have the meter), simply by tapping one button. This combo is simple to execute, but is hardly the most damaging combo in any character's arsenal. More experienced fighters will find success using their own custom combos.
This is exactly my kind of game, and the online being wonky on PS3 as well as the poor 360 Dpad is a bummer though.
Well, two weeks ago, I would not have cared for this game at all. Now, that I have seen the anime Persona 4: the animation, I just wonder how could I possibly survive without playing this game
The online has been patched for the 360 and it's smooth sailing now. So this needs a second-look at the very least on the review.
I give this game a 0.0 for the simple fact that they want to charge me almost 500 points just to change the color of my outfit. Not a new outfit just colors. Or I can get glasses for my chars for another 500 points. Sorry but I already called capcom for trying to rip me off and these guys are doing just as bad.
@stan_boyd I know that sucks but at least is just optional things, colors and accessories is not something that affects gameplay 12 characters and gems
So this is great on PS3 with an 8 rating, and good on the xbox with a 7 rating, nice going gamespot, this shows how unreliable your ratings and reviews has gotten, bye.
@mo_77 reading the review before commenting might help a little
@Fooljeff Multiple games have gotten different scores on different systems, some games run better on one system over the other. Fallout 3 for example was even buggier on the PS3 version than it was for the 360 version.
Glad to see a quality product come out of this, and while I do appreciate the quirky concept, I personally am to burned out on fighting games to really care. It would be great if Atlus would work on a REAL Persona or SMT game for the current consoles. All these rehashes on handhelds is getting ridiculous as well.
lol The 360 version of this game got decked for performence while Skyrim and Mass Effect 3 scored the same for both even though the PS3 version was barely playable.
@Legend002 It's an anime fighting game that isn't Street Fighter or MvC. What did you expect...good job gamespot.
Unfortunately the -1 for the online is entirely justified. Atlus has said they already completed the patch and are just testing it before release, but the fact remains that 360s online is completely broken at present. It is literally a dis-functional mess. I'm playing with a friend I've played thousands and thousands of games of BlazBlue with (he's in CA, I'm in UT) and the game runs at like 1/15th the actual speed. It sometimes randomly fixes itself and runs near normal speed but once a round ends it goes back to shittiness.
As for the actual game, it's definitely a really good fighter that could be enormous fun if (when?) the online worked.
I have no problem with GS's 1 point deduction. ASW may have promised a patch but GS has to review what's in front of them and can't rely on what ASW might or might not patch.
It's like me telling my history professor than my paper will be better if he lets me "patch" it later with additional research.
....Screw it, I don't mind that they dropped a point for the 360 version. This game rocks regardless, plus, we will all have our own opinions about it once we play it anyway.
I think the reviewer is being far too generous with his grade.
This game sucks badly , i' ve bought but i'll return to Gamestop as soon as possible, if you want a real good 2d fighting game stick with Marvel VS Capcom or Street Fighter.
First time I've heard of a difference between the 360 and PS3 version. I wonder if it is an isolated thing with the online or everyone is experiencing it to varying degrees
- Player Reviews: 4
- Game Universe:
- Persona 4 Arena (PS3, X360),
- Persona 5 (PS3),
- Shin Megami Tensei: Persona (PSP),
- Persona 4 Golden (VITA),
- Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 - Innocent Sin (PSP),
- Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES (PS2),
- Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (PS2),
- Persona 2: Eternal Punishment (PS, PSP),
- Persona 2: Innocent Sin (PS),
- Persona (PS)
- Number of Players: