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Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Review – Sho me what you got!
Right from the opening cut scene, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is stimulating. The catchy tunes from the numbered games blares in the background as graphically stylized animations of the fighters shoot across the screen. P4AU is a fast paced fighting game with a good story that kept me fully engaged through to the end.
Any fans of Persona will feel right at home with this game. Your favorite characters are perfectly recreated, with full voice work from the same actors as the previous titles. As a direct sequel, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is superior to its predecessor, Persona 4 Arena. A host of new characters have been added, such as everyone’s favorite pop star Rise, and seeing a complete Persona cast is definitely thrilling. For more information on the new features that have been added to Ultimax, check out our detailed impressions article.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax picks up right where Persona 4 Arena left off. You don’t need to have played the first game, or any of the Persona games for that matter, to enjoy this title, but it would certainly help. My recommendation for players going into this game blind is to read up on the previous titles on Wikipedia before jumping in, although the game does offer a brief summary of P4A at the beginning of its story mode. In fact, players interested in caching up in P4A’s story in full have the option to play through the game’s story in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax. A dlc titled “P4A Story” is available for download for $10, and allows the play through of its story in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax. I thought this was a nice addition, and lets you experience Persona 4 arena for a discounted price.
Atlus has always been a video game company which is dedicated to fan service, and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is the ultimate example of that. All of your favorite Persona 3 and Persona 4 characters are present in the game, and are available to battle and duke it out in the arena. Rise vs Misuru, Chie vs Akihiko, who would win? Persona 4 arena Ultimax answers that question. The meeting and interactions of the characters from both games felt organic, and I especially loved getting them to fight against each other.
The bread and butter of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is its story mode. The story, while not as impressive as the ones found in Persona 3 or 4, is remarkable enough to pull you through the story missions. If you have played Persona 4 Arena, this mode should feel familiar to you, as you work your way through the story as different characters. Long cut scenes make up the meat of the mode which is interspersed with battles, so if you are playing the game solely to experience the story, rest assured you can do so without significant interruption.
In fact, a cool feature in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is the ability to have the CPU complete all of the battles in story mode for you. I thought this was a commendable feature, and a nice addition to Atlus, who, knowing the Persona fan base is mostly RPG players, have the ability for them to enjoy the story without having to struggle with a fighting game.
Story mode should take you roughly ten hours to complete, and without much incentive for replay once you are done you will probably find yourself moving on to other modes.
For those who are playing Ultimax mainly for the fighting, Atlus has taken care of you as well. Ultimax is packed full of modes to test your skills. My favorite of these had to be the newest addition; “Golden Arena Mode”. In this mode, players choose a character to fight as, and through defeating other fighters, gains experience; leveling up and progressing through dungeons. It was an entertaining mode, as I found myself consistently returning to it in between story mode missions. It channels more of the classic Persona game play, as you build social links between characters and grind your way to the end of a dungeon.
An extremely thorough training mode is available for fighting game newcomers, starting from how to walk and transitioning into the basics of stringing combos together. When you feel confident enough in your abilities, the training mode and challenge mode are available to test out your skills.
Speaking of combat, the fighting system in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is tons of fun. The use of persona’s in battle adds another dimension to your typical fighting game, and I had a lot of fun summoning and using my spells against other players. The combat is mainly combo based, so learning how and when to string attacks together is crucial for success. While the core gameplay remains similar to that of its predecessor, there was no need to reinvent the wheel, as the fighting mechanics are still solid and fun.
With the sheer amount of characters available, the game takes time to get stale. You can spend hours trying out each one, and translating each fighter into other modes such as Arcade and Network. In fact, the sheer amount of options in the game is one of its stronger aspects, and should guarantee enough content to justify the $60 price tag.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Persona 4 Arena Utimax. With a solid fighting system wrapped in a beautifully presented package, Ultimax ensures you will appreciate your time with your praised Persona 3 and 4 characters. Any fans of the original RPG games, Persona 4 Arena or fighting games in general, should check out this title.
A review copy of this game was generously provided by Atlus.