Persona 4 Arena is one of the biggest fighting games introduced to the Arcades/Consoles; having spot light attention at EVO with some of the greatest matches. With most competitive fighting games, there will always be a time where a new version of the game is introduced, which is were the new Persona 4 Arena Ultimax comes in.
P4A Ultimax introduces 9 new characters to the series (Yukari Takeba, Junpei Iori, Ken Amada and Koromaru from Persona 3 with Rise Kujikawa, Marie, Margaret and Tohru Adachi from Persona 4) and a original created character Sho Minazuki. Each of the new characters have their own special move set and story line which all links together. Each of the original voice actors from the game regrouped together to create another awesome story line for Persona fans which results in a well written and entertaining game. I personally was happy that they introduced the rest of the Persona cast into the game especially Marie who was recently introduced from Persona 4 Golden.
The story is split into 2 sections – Persona 3 and 4. Even though they are split, it kind of overlaps as it all is related to the TV world based from Persona 4. The player gets to chose how they want to progress with the story as it’s all selectable however which ever path the player takes, it all ends up to the end. The story takes place after the original Persona 4 Arena where it reveals who the culprit was for the chain of events. I won’t spoil it however people who are interested to know what happens should give the game a shot however the story is quite short in my opinion.
Developed by Arc System Works, the fighting control style is very similar to Blazblue and Guilty Gear and is not for the faint hearted. The game isn’t really button bashable so a newbie wouldn’t be able to just pick it up and expect an easy win. It will require the player to go through the tutorial to understand the controls however in the hands of an expert the game looks amazing. I’m personally no expert at the game however watching people play the game at professional level is satisfying to watch.
The move-set in the game follows very closely to the game series with each player able to control a specific Persona and person certain skills such as Magura or Tetrakarn but the most exciting moves are the special ones which consumes the meter bar. Each character has their own special move such as Rise’s True ♥ Story and in game quotes which refers to the original game which I like a lot as it makes it relate to the original series as much as possible.
In addition to the normal Persona characters, Atlus also released the Shadow form of the characters. These shadow forms lack certain powers such as awakening mode (defense buffs, new super and extended super bar), defense burst, Instant Kill; however to make up for this the Shadow form has an unlimited meter for a limited set of time, more HP and SP carries over each round if unused. The risks using this character form is high but well deserving if the player can master it. However not all characters have the shadow form such as Elizabeth, Marie, Margaret. (Personally think they are good enough in their current form)
For the competitive players, the online feature remains the same and still holds on it’s glory as lag free as long as you have a decent internet connection. A small new feature allows the player to customize their online Persona avatar which is a nice feature. The game still holds onto the glory and fame it deserves, giving the fans the satisfaction for both the story and game-play.