Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is spinoff fighting game from the Persona Series. It was initially released for the PS3 and has now finally come to the PS4/PS5. For those not familiar with the game. Person 4 Arena Ultimax is the direct sequel to Persona 4 Arena.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is a fighting game that features characters from Persona 3 and Persona 4. With 22 playable characters there’s limitless possibilities for you to choose from. Most of the characters will also have a shadow form which have a different moveset from their normal counterparts. All of the characters will also have their Persona with them. They are also voice differently from the normal character. I have only played Persona 4 before so I’m mostly familiar with their characters. However, it was also nice to meet the characters from Persona 3. This made the game feel new and nostalgic at the same time.
There’s four options for you to choose from when you get to the menu. You can get to know about the story by going through Story mode. The Story Mode takes you through the story of Persona 4 Arena and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax via visual novel. It’s like this interactive comic book story. The story will be divided into chapters. Some of which will be just a visual novel with limited input from you. However, some chapters will lead into a versus battle that you have to win in order for the story to move forward. It definitely feels like a mix of the Persona game and a versus battle game. And there’s nothing more interesting than having to enjoy a good story with a challenging battle for supremacy.
If you want to brush up on your fighting skills you could always go to the practice area to test out a character that you would like to play as. You can even choose from going through a tutorial or testing what you have learned in the challenge mode. However, if you go through lesson mode, you won’t be able to choose which character to play as.
From what I can gather from the Practice mode, the buttons for fighting are easy to master and remember. The game also gives you the option to play the Battle mode on varying levels of difficulty. The Story mode even allows you to have the AI fight on your behalf if you just want to enjoy the story. Controls in this game are pretty standard for a fighting game. However, it leaves some of the buttons to not be fully utilized. You can customize the controls to your liking but you can’t map the controls to execute a special or abilities immediately. This would have been useful for beginners who just wants to see everything that the game can offer.
The battle option allows you to choose from four different categories. You could play the arcade mode that goes through 8 stages of battle. Lose and you lose your progress. The Score Attach mode lets you fight for the right to have the highest score. The Golden Arena mode is like a hardcore RPG versus mode because each fight earns you XP to level up your fighter. Every level you get some skill points that you can spend on stats and you also learn skills. The challenging part of the Golden Arena mode is that your character does not start with full HP on the succeeding battles, you would need to fight with the HP you had on your previous fight. The Versus Mode lets you fight against either a PC or someone locally.
The Network Category allows you to take the fight online. You can either go to the online lobby to challenge online players to a casual match. The lobby looks like an arcade store with arcade machines lined up for you to sit and fight other players on. You can also fight in a Ranked Match and go up through the ranks to find out who is the best among all the players in the world.
For the graphics, they have opted to go for the 2D drawn art. This is similar to the versions of the character that you see during a conversation. They didn’t go for the 3D art that Persona 4 had. But then again, the graphics and art of this game is what is to be expected from Persona and they are just done right.
Talking about the audio and music for this game, is pretty much very expected to be good. In fact, the background music even borrows from Persona 4 and Persona 3. It adds to the whole nostalgic factor of the game and how it really fits in this medium. Each music is handpicked to provide that hype atmosphere for each battle. I wouldn’t want to have the music any other way.
As this is already a port of an existing game, I don’t really expect for the roster of playable characters to grow. But with 22 characters and the possibility of the shadow variants. You really have a huge pool of characters to choose from to ensure maximum entertainment from the game. You even get to play as Rise here which you would normally wouldn’t be able to in the Persona 4.
Overall, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is a great game for fans of the Persona series. Newcomers alike who just want to have a different fighting game to play will also find that this game is good to have. I would recommend this game for fans of the series and fans of versus battle games in general.