Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Review (Switch)

Welcome to Atlus, Switch fans, the company that Indeed doesn’t want you to play any of the core Persona games,

but does I want you to play their canonical sequels. Last year we got Persona 5 Strikers, a surprisingly great sequel to the original Warriors game. Persona 5. This year we are getting Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, *checks note* fighting game remasters. Which is a continuation of both Persona 3 as well as Persona 4. As odd as this project may seem. We’re happy to report that Persona 4 Arena Ultimax has proven itself to be a competent action game. On the Switch, we think both fans of the Persona brand and newcomers to fighting games will enjoy it.

First, let’s recap that everything is included here.

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax contains quite a lot of content, including stories from both the original P4A and P4AU. As well as all the DLC for those two games. This means that every additional fighter has been added. A staggering amount of cosmetic options for each of them. And an additional story mode. Behind the scenes, this also includes all “2.5” content from the exclusive Japanese arcade. The release of P4AU saw a lot of balance changes to improve the overall experience. In short, this is the most feature-packed version of the P4AU. And now it’s all within reach thanks to its portability.

In the story mode, P4AU mainly follows the members of the Investigation Team a few months after the events of Persona 4,

With the entire gang back together in Inaba for Golden Week. Luckily, the Midnight Channel is back at the same time and is now broadcasting the mysterious P-1 Grand Prix. Which appears to be hosted by their friend Teddy’s version. After several members of the team went missing, the remaining members decided to return to the TV world. To join the competition in hopes of finding their lost friends and finding out what was going on.

For a fighting game, the plot is felt here Great,

But he suffers from some absolutely icy speed School trips, and social events, there’s no content here to break the wordy monotony. The story is delivered to you exclusively through visual novel-style static screens where characters read their lines. Sometimes for 10-15 minutes at a time. Before you finally pick up a controller and fight the battle.

After the three minutes, it takes to complete the fight. You are thrown back into another long explanatory sequence, and the cycle repeats. That would be bad enough on its own, but the situation is made worse by the fact that there are multiple paths through the story. Each represents a different character’s point of view. This means that you often repeat the same ground over and over again. Only instead you are initiated into someone else’s thoughts for this scene.

All this to say that the lack of adequate gameplay elements in the story mode makes it a true test of endurance.

Rubbing “A” after half an hour of dialogue doesn’t make the quick fight at the end of this gauntlet exciting – it feels tedious. And while the plot itself eventually turns into something moderately interesting. It constantly drags on with completely useless scenes that just add to the runtime. The characters take the time to talk about what they’re talking about – they’ll spend a few minutes thinking about where they’re going to go before they actually get there. There’s probably five hours of the real story here, but it’ll take you thirty hours to get through it. All this nonsense might be a little more forgivable in an RPG context where you have a lot of things to do with it, but it just doesn’t work in a fighting game.

Luckily, the actual parts of the P4AU fighting game are excellent;

Arc System Works certainly didn’t disappoint, providing an accessible approach to 2D fighting games with a ridiculously high skill ceiling. There are 22 fighters to choose from here, made up of some newbies and cast members from Persona 3 and 4. Most of them also have a Shadow version that pushes that number even further, almost guaranteeing there’s a fighter for everyone. accessible playstyle. Whether you want to focus more on grabbing attacks or zoning out, everyone seems to fill their niche in the lineup and have their own feel.

A character’s move set typically includes a mixture of light and heavy attacks,

Throws, grapples, and special attacks, combine to create a dizzying array of ways to approach the battle. However, beginners don’t jump straight into the fire as there is a reasonably informative practice mode that teaches you the basics of control. If you still can’t figure out the intricacies of combo setup, there’s even an option to just press “Y” a few times to perform a modest combo that will at least make you Feel like you know what you’re doing. P4AU may not seem as accessible as, say, Super Smash Bros., but we felt it provided enough accessibility that even someone with no fighting game experience could get a little bit of enjoyment out of it.

And for those of you who are more experienced,

It seems that there are almost limitless possibilities for beating your opponent. Defense counters, character breakouts, reverse explosions, and many other whimsical-sounding techniques ensure there’s always something else you can do to better optimize your offensive or defensive moves. What’s nice about all this is that you know for sure that you can play P4AU for dozens of hours and still not feel like you’ve fully mastered all of its nuances. This isn’t to say that you won’t get the “full” experience if you can’t or don’t want to use all of these techniques, but there is almost endless potential to hone your craft here. If you’re the kind of player who enjoys pushing the limits of your dexterity, P4AU will prove to be more than worthy of your skills.

Those of you who want the gameplay to be more similar to the mainstream games

Will probably gravitate towards the Gold Mode, which is watered down with some RPG elements and even social links to the main gameplay. In Gold Mode, you level up characters individually, clearing hundreds of “floors” of the dungeon. Each floor will present you with a new fighter with slightly modified characteristics and abilities, and you will gain experience for each victory you win. Each level up, you can allocate stat points to boost things like your attack damage and explosion rate, and you’ll learn new active and passive skills that will give you a useful edge in the heat of battle. While Gold Mode doesn’t change much of the core idea of ​​2D fighting game gameplay, we appreciated this cool approach to making P4AU feel more like a single-player RPG. At the very least, Golden Mode seems like an appropriate answer to text-heavy mode; if you don’t want to deal with ridiculously long cutscenes, you can find more than enough single-player content here to keep you happy for quite some time.

During this review period, we weren’t able to try out the online features, but we think it’s worth discussing the Switch version here.

All other versions of this re-release will receive an update later this summer that will add a rollback network code, but the Switch version will not receive this feature due to technical reasons. For those of you not in the know, netcode rollback is essentially a term for a smoother and lag-free online experience and is by far the preferred method of online implementation among fighting game fans. . Locally, we didn’t notice a drop in performance at all, but that’s not a big deal for those who plan to spend most of their time-fighting player’s miles away. And while this lack of a rollback doesn’t necessarily mean that the Switch’s online version will be like playing chess by mail, there’s no escaping the fact that online performance simply won’t be on par with other platforms once the update is available.

In terms of appearance, the P4AU does not disappoint in the slightest.

Arc System Works has done an excellent job of translating Shigenori Soejima’s iconic character designs into impressively animated and fluid fighter sprites that retain all the personality and style of their RPG counterparts. We especially appreciated how bright some of the combo finishers can be, positively illuminating the screen with a stunning firework of pain. Meanwhile, each level has a lot going on in the background, and each one features some kind of richly detailed and distorted depiction of otherworldly places. It’s all backed up by an energetic soundtrack that combines fun remixes of favorite tracks from the mainstream games with new jazzy pop-rock songs that match the tone perfectly.

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax may not be the Persona game everyone has been clamoring for on the Switch, but we’re certainly not complaining. P4AU offers an accessible yet incredibly deep 2D combat system, a nifty RPG-lite mode that ensures single players have plenty to do, all presented in Arc System Works’ signature and colorful hand-drawn style. Even though the story mode is downright boring and there is no online rollback code in this version, we think P4AU on Switch is still absolutely worth your time, although if you’re going to be playing online you’ll probably want to explore the game on other platforms first. However, for handheld fans, we would recommend whether you are a fighting game enthusiast or just want to try the genre; this is definitely one of the best fighting games on Switch.

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