Persona 4 Arena Aug 21, 2012 11:56:21 GMT -5
Post by solidbatman on Aug 21, 2012 11:56:21 GMT -5
Like anime style visuals? You will be right at home playing Persona 4 Arena. For story/dialogue sequences, the exact same character models used in Persona 4 are back. Yu (the protagonist in Persona 4) has had his expressions expanded on to account for the fact that he has a personality now. As for the Persona 3 characters, they look as I imagnined they would look a few years after Persona 3. Aigis is the only one not to age for the obvious reasons. Clothing for the Persona 3 characters is pretty silly though, but allows for a few jokes from other characters. As for the actual fighting part of the game, it looks fantastic. Drawn up by the folks at Arc System Works, the guys responsible for the popular BlazBlue series as well as Guilty Gear, the animated sprites in the fighting portions of the game are bright, vibrant and just a treat to look at. When fighting, there is a lot going on in the screen. Cut ins appear when using a special attack, elemental spells are flying all over the place, and the characters are doing the same. It was sometimes a bit overwhelming, but surprisingly, there were no frame rate drops of random freezes. The background for each stage is also drawn very well, but with moving parts in some of them, it only adds to the confusion at times when a lot is popping up on screen. One final complaint is the lack of variation in between backgrounds in the story mode. It gets very annoying to see the same background multiple times in a story arc, and more annoying having to see it multiple times in over 10 story arcs.
Lets start with the biggest part of voice acting. Yu Narukami speaks. Voiced by Johnney Yong Bosch of Code Geass fame (Lelouch if you were wondering), he is a dynamic character who is very protective of the ones he cares for. The voice acting for Yuu is perfectly done, and not at all outside what I imagined for his voice. Teddie also has a new voice actor, and he comes off surprisingly well. I had my reservations about the new voice from the trailers, but I can safely say, it works out nicely. Chie is our final character with a new voice actress, and is the worst of the bunch. While not bad, she simply comes across as a bit generic. As for the rest of the voice acting, it's top notch as nearly all Atlus titles are. The music is a solid mixture of tunes from Persona 3 and 4 along with some new pieces and arrangements. It certainly feels like Persona 3 and 4 when it comes to the music.
Fighting games are not my specialty. I never can learn the combo's, techniques, or even the terminology of the games. Instead, I smash random buttons like a lunatic hoping to land hits on my enemy. So I am not the person to talk about how this game play compared to other fighting games. That all being said, P4A is very easy to learn and play, at least in story mode. The battles in story mode are simply one round bouts that never last longer than a minute at the most. During a characters story, you may fight 5-8 battles, none of which are too difficult. Arc System Works included a very simple tutorial that introduces you to the major concepts of the game. 10 minutes of the tutorial had me more than prepared for the story mode. Arcade mode is tougher but challenge mode is where the true difficulty is. My complaint lies mainly with story mode. There is a lot of story, but no gameplay in it. For a Persona title, there is little to no choice and the story is a rather linear affair. Luckily, the story more than hold up to the added pressure of carrying this title.
Picking up a couple of months after Persona 4, Persona 4 Arena starts off with Yuu coming back to Inaba to visit his friends. Yuu and his friends had recently solved a serial murder case taking place in the town of Inaba by using their Personas and entering something called the TV world, where they would rescue people thrown in to the TV. Staying in the TV too long without a Personas protection means death. When the murders where taking place, a mysterious program would come on television at midnight on rainy evenings showing who the next victim would be. Yuu and his friends believe that they would get to celebrate Yuu returning and have a nice party with the entire Investigation Squad that they had formed during Persona 4, that is until the Midnight Channel suddenly shows all of them in a fighting tournament seemingly run by Teddie.
Get all that? Remember, this is a fighting game? Well it has the story of a fully fledged RPG. Persona 3 characters are tied in nicely and our new character, Labrys is luckily extremely interesting and fully fleshed out. The story is magnificently done and has huge implications for the future of the Persona franchise. And I mean huge implications.
Fun, exciting, challenging, deep, and yet simple. Persona 4 Arena is a well designed title that adds a lot to the Persona franchise. It never once felt like a cash in on the most popular entry in the series (Persona 4) and lays the foundations for an exciting future for the series. The reception among fighting game fans and pro's has been solid so far and as a Persona fan, I enjoyed this title immensely. Somehow, Atlus and Arc System Works created a genre switch and it works out almost perfectly.