Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is going to slay, but you already knew that. The Japanese arcade version has already been updated to version 1.10, and the updates sprinkled into the fast and frenetic fighter are also going to be accompanying each console port upon this summer's launch. Arcade distributor Nesica has delivered the details about Golden Arena Mode, which sounds super baller, shot caller.
Golden Arena Mode lets players choose their own fighter to fight all the way to the deepest floor of a dungeon to annihilate the boss that lies in wait. Peppered with RPG-like elements like in the original game, players can train their character as well as form Social Links with a partner chosen as their navigator. While you can acquire skills in this mode, you can't take them with you to other parts of the game.
Leveling up looks a lot like it does in Persona 4 itself. As you wipe the floor with enemies, you accumulate experience points and you're able to spend them how you like. At certain levels you'll unlock Special Skills that bolster move speed and combos. You can also pick them up by laying the smackdown on the bosses waiting on every fifth floor of a dungeon. You'll have to be diligent about collecting them all, because unlike the ridiculous number of Pokémon there are now, there are 100 in all.
I mentioned a "navigator" character as well. Think of this partner as your tag team bro to fight along with you as you go deeper into the dungeon. Form Social Links with them by fighting alongside them in battle, and let them help you kick some enemy tush. Acquiring Navigator characters, as Gematsu speculates, may well be an arcade-only feature, but we'll have to wait until the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions hit shelves.
But wait! There's more! Once you've whipped your opponents into submission during Golden Arena Mode, you can move onto the Ultimate Level Course: Heavenly Paradise, which promises the strongest opponents availale in the game.
Sounds like I'm going to need to get my preorder on, then play and fail miserably. I didn't get to try Persona 4 Arena, so my money's on this version.