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.
The plot of Persona 4 Arena is centered around a group of high school students. After seeing a strange late-night broadcast, they travel to a fantastical world hidden within a television set where they experience hallucinations and are tricked into fighting each other for the amusement of a cartoon bear wearing a cape. Think this sounds bizarre? You're not alone. Thankfully, for those unfamiliar with the preexisting Persona lore, this game's narrative modes takes great pains to bring you up to speed.
Each member of the 13-character roster has his or her own story to tell, and they have a lot to say. The overarching tale is the mystery of the P-1 Grand Prix: a fighting tournament taking place within the television world. For those who really want to sink their teeth into this, there are branching story paths within certain characters' storylines. These paths can offer additional insight or lead to some strange alternate endings--which adds some extra replayability. Sadly, the presentation of this mode is not as interesting. It's mostly two character portraits talking back and forth in 15- to 20-minute text-filled blocks--a static (if not efficient) form that will quickly bore all but the most enthusiastic.
If you're looking for a slimmer single-player experience, Persona 4 Arena's Arcade mode is for you. This mode condenses each character's storyline into a few brief snippets before and after each fight, as well as a short ending. Playing through it reveals a few of the story mode's key plot points, but you can finish it in under an hour.
If you find yourself stuck in a fight, you can turn to the game's educational modes. The first, Lesson mode, introduces the fundamentals. This series of trials covers everything from movement to move canceling--albeit in a very basic way. These single-completion lessons do not match the quality of education offered by Skullgirls and only scratch the surface of fighting game theory.
The game's Challenge mode is more helpful once you reach the intermediate stage. This mode introduces the basic moves for the entire cast, as well as a long list of simple, and advanced, combos. It does a good job of providing some shorter, practical combos up front that help you understand how a certain fighter should be played. Once you feel comfortable, there are plenty of more advanced combos to learn, including a special expert challenge at the end--such as "Inflict more than 9000 damage at once!"--for you to puzzle out.
Online, Persona 4 Arena offers most of the amenities fighting fans have come to expect. The basics of player and ranked matches are in place, with all the standard ranking and filtering options. Player match options let you decide how players are rotated out (winner out, loser out) and how many matches a player can play in a row--that way one person can't dominate the entire session, if you so choose. Unfortunately, at the time of review we were unable to download replays from the dedicated replay leaderboard--unlike in the PS3 version where the replay leaderboard is functional. However, we could still download replays from other leaderboards provided the listing included the green camera icon. This is a severe handicap for replay functionally.
Online performance was inconsistent. Matches against opponents within the same region suffered frequent spikes in lag, while matches against overseas opponents stuttered to an almost unplayable crawl.
Persona 4 Arena is a fast-paced fighter that can be easily enjoyed even if you're not a Persona fan. With the auto-combo system, combat is initially accessible, but it quickly reveals its complexity as you explore the intricacies of each character's persona and individual traits. For those who are Persona fans first, and fighters second, the game's lengthy story mode will keep you intrigued, so long as you don't mind its dry presentation. It's an elegant game and a great entry point into the catalog of Arc System Works' fighters.
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: