Persona 4 Arena Review: Perfect for novices and masters alike

Arc System Works have consistently released excellent fighting games, with Arcana Heart 3, BlazBlue and Guilty Gear being some of the finest alternative fighting games titles. It’s a trait they continue here with Persona 4 Arena. Not only is Persona 4 Arena a fascinating divergence for the excellent RPG series, it’s one heck of a fighting game too.

It would be tempting for Arc System Works to port the Persona world directly into a traditional—and unoriginal—fighting game, but this would be a disservice to the excellent work the team have produced with previous titles.  Instead, Arc System Works have produced an original and innovative title which is as stylishly sexy as it is thrillingly playable. 

Mitsuru is one of the most popular characters in Persona 4 Arena.

Persona 4 Arena Review: Gameplay

Though Persona 4 Arena features a complex gameplay system, novices will be able to learn the game comfortably thanks to excellent lesson  modes 

Persona 4 Arena is the best of fighting games and the best of the series RPG world. The RPG elements of status effects, awakenings and all-out attacks are introduced through a lesson mode which makes the complex system approachable. Players can practice against a training dummy or try the many combo trials of the challenge mode.

Persona 4 Arena Review: Graphics

Stylish, sexy and an absolute treat. Persona 4 Arena’s graphics are complete eye candy.  

This game looks absolutely stunning. The colours are wonderfully bright and cheerful. Everything is big and chunky, creating a powerful impact to the presentation. The character animation will remind fans of the BlazBlue series, and everything is brilliantly over the top and theatrical. Fantastic.

Persona 4 Arena Review: Story

An expansive story that puts other fighting game narratives to shame 

Persona 4 Arena, unlike the vast majority of fighting games, features an expansive story with reams of dialogue and narrative, which even includes dialogued choices and interconnected paths. The story is presented in a beautiful visual novel style format. It’s a treat for those who want to get into the story, but many will find it too lengthy.


Persona 4 Arena Review: The Modes

The arcade mode and score attack mode offered for the single player game of Persona 4 Arena are pretty much exactly what you would expect from a fighting game. Their adequate and enjoyable and can rival the single player of any other fighting game. Naturally, however, it’s the network play mode that will matter the most when all is said and done.

Network mode includes replays, eight-player spectator lobbies and other features. The PS3 version’s online mode is a success, but there are large question-marks over the 360 netcode. The issue is being worked on and will likely be resolved expediently.

Persona 4 Arena Review: Overall

One of the best fighting game of recent times, and one that beginners can approach comfortably thanks to great lesson modes. The visual tone will thrill, the gameplay is a pure joy, and everything come across as a joyful celebration of the excellent RPG series that spawned the game. Grab it today. You will love it.


9.2 out of 10

Paul Harrison

Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.

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