Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Review – PS5

Fighting games have produced some of the most adrenaline-filled moments in gaming history, but RPGs tend to be categorized as a ‘chill’ genre. So what happens when you throw these two completely different types of games together? Well, it depends on who you ask.

Persona 3 was one of the first I ever played in the franchise and it was a mind-blowing experience, to say the least (Watch the Persona 3 intro IYKYK). Persona 4 & 5 have solidified the franchise as not only great sellers but major improvements graphically and thematically. Monsters that have become staples of the game can be found in each title, but the stories and characters are unique much like in the Final Fantasy universe. This translates well to P4AU which allows you to choose from the start if you want a chill story-driven experience or if you want to hit the ground running and start punching opponents in the face.

As a Persona fan, I went straight for the story mode which is a continuation of the RPG with the same number. No worries though, there is a summary of the RPG story mode and even an anime adaptation out there if one would rather go that route. This is less interactive and some of the segments go on for quite a while so keep that in mind if you are in a time crunch. If you are unfamiliar with fighting games in general then I would recommend jumping into Challenge Mode where you can pick your character and immediately start learning their specials, supers, and bread and butter combos. I’m still surprised how many developers drop the ball on something so critical to the continued success of a fighting game, but that is not the case here.

No matter the fighting style, there is a character here for everyone, and on another level, each character has a dark version to choose from with their own moveset. This essentially doubles the twenty-two-character roster. There is a LOT to unpack here and that’s without mentioning that personas can be used in battle as well. The music is pitch-perfect starting with the song on the character select screen ‘Aria of the Soul’ which is one of my personal favorites. Even if you never played a Persona game in your life this game has its own vibe and it will almost certainly pull you in. There are some fun modes to explore as well like Golden Arena Mode, which is a survival mode where the player has one health bar but can acquire various buffs and abilities to push the odds in their favor. Realistically though most people will want to play online in ranked or player battles to see how well they fare against the competition.

I wish the game had not launched with delay-based netcode, but the good people at Arc System Works and Atlus have promised rollback netcode in the near future and that is VERY good news. This game is fun, but we all know when it comes to fighting games the launch is crucial to whether or not the game sinks or swims. I think P4AU deserves to be in the mix this year and I really hope that more people give it a chance. In order to drum up some hype for the game, I streamed it while and labbed some combos for my boy Akihiko Sanada who is a rushdown monster with lightning-quick punches. His Persona is Caesar and he has electricity attacks that fill the entire screen, at the cost of meter of course. Most chatters seemed to either already be familiar with the game, or at the very least were interested in seeing more of the game. At the time of this writing, the VOD is still available on my Twitch channel at Twitch.tv/L33t_City. Anime fighting games are some of the most frantic and fast-paced games to play, but if one gets a hold of the reins there is no rush quite like it. Persona 4 Arena Ultimate is available now so check it out!

Summary
As a Persona fan, I went straight for the story mode which is a continuation of the RPG with the same number. The music is pitch-perfect starting with the song on the character select screen 'Aria of the Soul' which is one of my personal favorites. There are some fun modes to explore as well like Golden Arena Mode, which is a survival mode where the player has one health bar but can acquire various buffs and abilities to push the odds in their favor. wish the game had not launched with delay-based netcode, but the good people at Arc System Works and Atlus have promised rollback netcode in the near future and that is VERY good news. I think P4AU deserves to be in the mix this year and I really hope that more people give it a chance.
Good
  • Fast fun and intense
  • Engaging story
Bad
  • No rollback netcode
  • Long story segments
8.8
Great
Gameplay - 8
Graphics - 9
Audio - 10
Replayability - 7
Controls - 10
Written by
Dragon Ball FighterZ, Tekken 7, Guilty Gear, and 3s are my main games. I also play music games and retro games/rpgs when not training for tournaments ^~^

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