Game Guys review - Persona 4 Arena

2:22 PM, Aug 14, 2012   |    comments
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  • 'Persona 4 Arena' from Atlus and Arc System Works.
  • 'Persona 4 Arena' for PS3 and Xbox 360.
  • 'Persona 4 Arena' for PS3 and Xbox 360.
  • 'Persona 4 Arena' for PS3 and Xbox 360.
  • 'Persona 4 Arena' from Atlus and Arc System Works.

Atlus' RPG Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 was a hit when came out onto PlayStation 2 near the end of 2008.  Now, almost four years later, the title makes its PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 debut in the form of a hardcore fighting game.

Developed by ARC System Works (Guilty Gear) and published by Atlus, Persona 4 Arena takes the heroes of the role playing video game and pits them against each other in one-on-one matches.

The game offers players a good selection of play modes, including a well-flowing tutorial to take new players through the motions of how to play.  It's suggested that everybody -- including experienced fighting game players -- go through the tutorial because Persona 4 Arena is nothing like the Street Fighter clone it could easily have been.

True to SMT form Persona 4 Arena's story mode is one that not only has a plot to begin with, it actually focuses upon it.  Players should expect to filter through a lot of text, character conversations, and anime cut scenes between battles.  The 2D fighting action in story mode is quite intense and unprepared or unskilled players will have a tough go.  Upping the difficulty even further is the fact that, unlike in other play modes, bouts can be single-round affairs.  Lose just once, and it's game over.

Arcade mode is P4A's more traditional play mode, complete with three-round matches and a full character selection screen.  This is where players will really get to see just how good of a game this is with breaks in the action only occurring between bouts.  Fighting is fast paced, but doesn't allow for too much button mashing (save for the game's one-button combo).  ARC System Works really deserves kudos for how well designed this game is both gameplay-wise and technically, as there was no slowdown or frame-rate issues encountered -- even when the action gets hot and heavy.

Other modes offered by P4A include a well-defined challenge mode and capabilities for online play.

Visually, Persona 4 Arena looks brilliant and stays faithful to the RPG that spawned it.  The graphics and art are clean and well-done.  In a word, P4A appears visually perfect.  The game's audio follows suit with good voice work and a toe-tapping soundtrack that most should quite enjoy.

While it may fall by the wayside of mainstream gamers due to its niché RPG foundation, Persona 4 Arena is one of the better fighting titles released in 2012 thus far.  Furthermore, for fans of Atlus' Persona series, the inclusion of elements from not only Persona 4 but also Persona 3 should prove quite the treat.

Final Game Guys grade: A-

(Atlus provided a copy of this game for review.)


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