This review was written with the assistance of Rachel Feeback.
Publisher: Atlus USA
Developer: Arc System Works/Atlus
What they say: Two months after the ending of the hit RPG Persona 4, a new threat has emerged in Persona 4 Arena!
During Golden Week, a new rumor begins spreading through town about a mysterious TV program, the P-1 Grand Prix. Visible if you look into a turned-off TV on a rainy night, this fighting tournament broadcasts high school friends fighting one another to the bitter end. When Yu Narukami and the others test this rumor, they see their friend Teddie announcing the beginning of the show: May the manliest of all men come on down! With that, the participants are shown, one by one… The Investigation Team is horrified to see their own faces introduced with twisted nicknames. The members of the Investigation Team decide to dive into the TV once again to solve the case! What is behind the mysterious TV show?
Jump into the next chapter of the story as Persona 4 enters a new genre in this 2D fighting game from the dream team of ATLUS and Arc System Works, made to be enjoyed by fighting game beginners and experts alike!
What I say: I don’t know whose idea it was to mix the RPG stylings of the Persona series with the masterful fighting kings of Arc System works but a combo like this is worthy of the legends that other great combos have achieved, such as the Reece Cup. This was such a simple yet brilliant idea, I can’t believe no one thought of combining fighting games and RPGs like this before.
Taking place soon after Persona 4, P4 Arena finds the Investigation Team once again dealing with The Midnight Channel. As they enter they discover a strange young woman and several cast members from Persona 3. It doesn’t take long for the fighting to break out.
The best thing about this game is the unbelievable story that is developed along with the fighting madness. It’s pretty damn obvious that this game sets up Persona 5 in a big way. As you play through the story mode with all the characters you see a MUCH larger story developing. And that story is unbelievable for a fighting game. The two casts mix well and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
But at the end of the day this is a fighting game and a marvelous one at that. The fighting system from Arc System Works is glorious. The system is structured so that there are auto combos for new folks on up to some pretty impressive stuff you can learn as you master the game. The game plays smooth as can be and it is a hell of a lot of fun. If you put the time in, this is really an excellent and deep fighter.
Perhaps even more impressive than all the above is the art style and the animation of the characters. The game simply looks gorgeous. It moves like an animated film and a damn fine one at that. The characters are wisely done in 2-D sprites mixed with super detailed 3-d backgrounds. This gives the game a nice fluid look that goes along nicely with the smooth as butter fighting.
This game is truly an interesting experiment and one I hope Atlus and Arc System Works tries again.
My Highest Possible Recommendation!!!
What Rachel says: I am a huge fan of fighting games and RPGs, and I grew up watching my sister and dad playing the Persona series. So when the fighting game came out, and the site received it for review, I was thrilled.
The story line is new, and it looks like that they are trying to set you up for the next game in the original series, Persona 5. They have a some of the characters from 3 and 4 along with a new one.
So pretty much the story line is that the main characters from the 4th and a few from the 3rd are forced to be in a tournament, and of course it is a fighting tournament. So you, the player at home, play as the characters to see what the different points of view of how the story comes together. So it really is like a RPG mixed with a fighting game.
Now, instead of the characters being 3-D like in something like Street Fighter IV, they are done in traditional 2-D sprites, as if they were done in anime form. I think it puts a nice twist to it, since a lot of Atlus’s RPGs have the hand drawn anime look when people are talking.
The graphics are are really good, along with the art style. While the characters were done in one form, that backgrounds (or stages since it is a fighting game) were in 3-D along with 2-D black silhouettes walking around. I thought it was a pretty neat, having the silhouettes walking around, showing the fake students and all.
Over all, I really enjoyed this game. I love playing it with other people, and by myself in story mode. It is really entertaining and fun to have tournaments with friends or family on the weekends.
You should check it out!
Persona 4 Arena is available on retail disc and as a digital download on Playstation Network. There is also a Xbox 360 version as well.