Atlus let me touch Persona Q on the first day of E3 during a private meeting. That was a mistake on their part. The main problem is that I didn’t want to stop. The other problem is that they told me I couldn’t write about the version I played -- double tease. But getting my hands on Persona 4 Arena Ultimax for the first time made me feel a bit better about the situation.
I’m by no means a skilled fighting game player, but I am a massive Persona series fan, and even as a novice I really enjoyed its predecessor. This new version adds some of the Persona 3 cast, a new character, and shadow versions of all characters to the mix, not to mention new story lines (my favorite part) to experience.
Just as was the case with its predecessor, P4AU is a sight to behold thanks to the 2D masterminds at Arc System Works. If you’re like me and aren’t that great at fighters, you’ll still get a lot of mileage out of this game by seeing your favorite Persona characters animated in such a spectacular way. I love playing with the alternative color schemes, too. Fighting up against what we were calling Ganguro Rise was pretty great. Speaking of, if you haven’t heard, Rise Kujikawa graduates from announcer to playable character in P4AU.
Being a casual player, most of my time with the game was spent playing around with special moves and enjoying their accompanying animations. I got in a few good Yukiko vs. Rise matches. Approaching the game in this way, I didn’t mind dying at all, especially given that I got to see Rise’s Awakened super move, which is actually a rhythm mini-game.
From what I saw, I expect to get the same level of enjoyment from Persona 4 Arena Ultimate as I did its predecessor. I enjoyed playing with all of the characters, trying out their moves, exploring their respective stories, and taking on friends in casual matches. For me, this game is Persona enough to be enjoyable even if it is outside my wheelhouse. Of course, for the well-versed fighting game fan, there’s another level of enjoyment offered here on top of that.
I expect that fans of both types will be pleased this fall when Persona 4 Arena Ultimax releases for PS3 and Xbox 360 this fall.