Thursday, 20 December 2012

Persona 4:Arena

Gamespot Score:8.0 (Great)

My Score:8.8

(+)Pros: - Great story which is backed up by an excellent narrative, - Unique fighting mechanics that revolve around the use of personas, - Impressive 2D visuals and animations, - Steady net code when compared to other fighting games, - Score attack is love, - Characters all have very varying play styles.

(-)Cons: - Little amount of fighters when compared to some of the more well known fighting games, - Tutorial doesn't do a very good job when trying to introduce more advanced techniques.

Gameplay time:-

Its true that I'm no fighting game expert, but its also true that I'm quite a nut when it comes to fighting games. I'm also a huge fan of the "Persona" series. When you bring fighting games and the "Persona" series together, you get "Persona 4:Arena"....needless to say I went bat shit fanboy crazy when I got my hands on this game. Being a collaboration between Atlus (and my beloved "Persona" series) and Arc system works (the brilliant minds behind "Blazblue" and "Guilty Gear"), this is pretty much a dream come true. Being really well acclaimed by professional gaming websites all around the world, "Persona 4:Arena" is a fighting game to behold.

While it IS technically a fighting game, "Persona 4:Arena"'s story is not a spin-off to the original... but a direct sequel instead. It features characters from both "Persona 3" and "Persona 4", and expands on the story views of all the individual characters. The main hero is Narukami Yu, the same protagonist from "Persona 4". After being sent back to the city, he comes back to Inaba to celebrate his holidays with his friends. However upon his return, the midnight channel starts up again, and introduces a new program known as the "P-1 Grand Prix", with all his friends and himself starred in it. Now with his fire for investigation re-lit, he calls upon his old friends and reforms the investigation team to find out more about the "P-1 Grand Prix".

Indulge yourself in the beautiful 2D visuals.

As expected from a collaboration between Atlus and Arc system works, "Persona 4:Arena" is a fighting game with impressive fighting mechanics and a great story which is backed up by an excellent narrative. For a fighting game, you actually do care for the story, partially because its a sequel to "Persona 4", you have to care. Also partially because the story is actually interesting, and the narrative is great. Voice actors for both the English and Japanese side are great (though Labrys English voice takes awhile to get used to), and they breath life into the game's story mode. Each character has their own story of course, but they all link up to one great masterpiece overall. 

Some moments in the story are genuinely heartfelt and can be quite emotional. Labrys's story is an example. It was quite predictable, but still hit me pretty bad when it happened.  The story mode narrative and style is similar to that of "Blazblue", so fans will know what to expect. Needless to say the visuals are amazing as well. The fighting mechanics are however, quite different. Players will have to utilize four buttons, a light and heavy attack, followed by another light and heavy attack for the persona. Each character has a persona, and they must work with the persona to set up devastating combos, covers or even unblockable strings. Discovering different attack patterns while mixing in normal attacks together with persona attacks is always a joy.

Mother of supers!

Other core mechanics are similar to that of the "Blazblue"/"Guilty Gear" series, like sacrificing meter to cancel into other moves to either save your ass or extend combos. Bursts, sweeps and wall bounces are also present. More unique mechanics to this game are the fact that you can break your opponent's personas, or they can do the same to you, rendering 2 of your attack buttons useless. Discovering and fighting each opponent is always a pleasure, since the cast is so diverse. On the other hand,  some characters can be rather painful against certain matchups. Some of these take extreme countermeasures and precise movements....and the steady net code really helps in these situations.

Having a somewhat similar net code to "Blazblue", there is noticeably less lag when playing online when compared to other games like "Tekken 6" or "Marvel Vs Capcom 3". You can do plenty of stupid shit online like giving yourself a silly title or setting rivals to follow them around. If you're feeling confident about your skills, score attack mode is also another wonder you can marvel at. Like the "Blazblue" series, score attack is ridiculously challenging, with beefed up opponents played by an incredibly challenging AI, even pros will get their asses handed to them at least once (dat Chie, Mitsuru and Elizabeth).

Story mode anyone?

My gripe with a game like "Persona 4:Arena" is the discouraging amount of characters. I understand that there aren't many characters they can put into the game due to story reasons (Partially because we don't know what happened to the majority of the Persona 3 cast, and Minato's already dead), but I always take franchises like "DOA", "Tekken", "Street fighter" or "KOF" as staples. These games have easily 20-30 characters in their roster. The tutorial can also be menacing to newcomers. I'm fine since I played "Guilty Gear" and "Blazblue", newcomers will have trouble understanding the new terms because the game doesn't take a huge effort in making us remember how to properly use them.

"Persona 4:Arena"  is a dream come true. I wasn't really that hyped up when they first announced it, but as the release date drew closer and closer I eventually lost myself in the hype. I couldn't pick it up on day one but I managed to snag one when my nearby gaming outlet restocked after they sold out the first batch. It you like fighting games, get it. If you like "Persona", get it. If you hate one but like the other, F**KING GET IT. The story mode itself is already 30 hours plus if you're planning on a 100% play through (like me). The fighting mechanics itself are already unique on their own even if you intend to play it for the fighting and not the story. If you like both (like me), then there's really no room for doubt, is there?

Happy gaming!