Persona 4 Arena Ultimax (Switch) Review

Welcome to Atlus, Switch fans, company really doesn’t want you to play any of the main Persona games, but do want you to play their canon sequel. Last year, we had Persona 5 Strikers, a surprisingly great Warrior-style follow-up to Persona 5. This year, we get Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, a *checks notes* remaster of a fighting game that serves as a sequel to both Persona 3 and Persona 4. As oddly positioned as this project might feel, we’re pleased to announce that Persona 4 Arena Ultimax proves itself is a capable fighter on Switch, one that we think will appeal to both fans of the Persona franchise and newcomers to fighting games.

First of all, let’s recap all that is included here. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax has quite a bit of content, including the stories of both the original P4A and P4AU along with all the DLC from those two games. This means all the extra fighters, a huge amount of cosmetic options for each of them, and an extra story mode have all been included. At the back, this also includes all the ‘2.5’ content from the exclusive Japanese video game P4AU release, integrating a host of balance changes for a better overall sensory experience. In short, it is the most feature-rich version of P4AU and all in favor of 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 gang heading back to Inaba for Golden Week. Conveniently, the Midnight Channel is back at the same time and is currently broadcasting a mysterious P-1 Grand Prix seemingly hosted by a version of their friend Teddie. After a few of the team members go missing, the remaining members choose to return to the TV world to participate in the contest in hopes of finding their lost friends and dig deep into what’s going on. happening.

For a fighting game, the story here feels good, but it suffers from some icy tempos. While the rich story of a typical Persona game is regularly drowned out by dungeon runs, school trips, and social outings, there’s no such thing as content to break the monotony. verbose here. The story is delivered exclusively to you via visual novel-style static displays, where the characters read their lines, sometimes for 10-15 minutes at a time, before you finally pick up the controller. Control up and fight in a battle.

After three minutes for the fight to end, you’ll return to another lengthy series of puzzles and the cycle repeats. This is bad enough on its own, but things are exacerbated by the fact that there are multiple routes throughout the story, with each taking on a different character’s perspective. This means that you often reread the same point, instead, only you will know what other people thought of the scene.

All of this to say that the lack of adequate gameplay elements in the story mode makes it a true test of one’s stamina. Cutting the A in half an hour of dialogue doesn’t make the quick battle at the end of that gauntlet feel enjoyable—it feels tiresome. And while the plot itself eventually evolves into something quite interesting, it’s always dragged down by completely useless scenes that just take up runtime. The characters will take their sweet time talking about whatever they’re talking about – they’ll spend a few minutes thinking about where they’re going before they actually get there. There may be five hours of actual plot here, but it will cost you thirty hours to get over it. All of that might be a little easier to forgive in the context of an RPG where you have a lot to do around it, but it simply doesn’t work in a fighting game.

Fortunately, P4AU’s actual fighting game parts are excellent; Arc System Works certainly didn’t disappoint in delivering an accessible 2D battle with a ridiculously high skill ceiling. There are 22 fighters to choose from here, including some newcomers and cast members of both Persona 3 and 4. Most of them also have a version of ‘Shadow’ available that has that number even available. higher, all but ensure that there is a fighter for every playstyle available. Whether you want to focus more on grappling or zoning attacks, it seems like everyone fills a niche in the lineup and has their own distinct feel.

A character’s move set typically combines a combination of light and heavy attacks, throws, grabs, and special attacks, plus to create a dizzying array of battle approaches. However, beginners shouldn’t be thrown right into the fire as there is an informative practice mode that teaches you the basics of how to steer. If you still can’t grasp the finer points of setting up combos, there’s even the option to simply combine ‘Y’ repeatedly to create a modest combo that will at least make you feel Like you know what you’re doing. P4AU may not feel as accessible as Super Smash Bros., but we feel that it offers enough accessibility that even those with no fighting game experience may find it enjoyable. with it.

And for the more experienced of you, it seems like there are almost limitless options for beating your opponents. Guard Counters, Persona Breaks, Reversals Bursts, and many other fancy sounding techniques ensure that there’s always more you can do to better optimize your offensive or defensive actions. The great thing about all of this is that you know for a fact that you can play P4AU for dozens of hours and still not feel like you’ve fully understood all of its nuances. That’s not to say you won’t get the ‘full’ experience if you can’t or won’t take advantage of all of these techniques, but there’s almost endless potential to hone your mastery here. If you’re the type of player who likes to push the limits of your ingenuity, P4AU will prove to be more than worthy of your skills.

Those of you who want to experience gameplay similar to the main games will likely be intrigued by the Gold Mode, which sprinkles some RPG elements and even social links to the gameplay. basic combat. In Gold Mode, you level up each character by clearing hundreds of ‘floors’ of a dungeon. Each tier will introduce you to a new warrior with their own slightly modified stats and abilities, and you’ll gain experience for each victory you manage. At each level up, you can distribute stat points to power things like your attack damage and Burst gauge, and you’ll learn new active and passive skills that bring useful advantage for you in battle. While Gold Mode doesn’t shake the core idea of ​​2D combat gameplay, we appreciate this interesting approach to making P4AU a little more like a single-player RPG. If nothing else, Gold Mode looks like a fitting answer to the multi-text story mode; If you don’t want to deal with ridiculously long cutscenes there, you can find plenty of single-player content that’s enough to keep you entertained for quite a while here.

During this review period, we didn’t get to try out the features online, but we think the Switch version should be discussed here specifically. All other versions of this re-release will receive an update later this summer that will add the recovery netcode, but the Switch version won’t receive that feature for technical reasons. For those of you who don’t like it, recovery netcode is basically a term for a smoother and lag-free online experience and is by far the fan’s preferred online implementation method. fighting game. Every millisecond counted in a game relies heavily on perfect timing around your button presses because this and the fact that the Switch version won’t get this important feature means that players want to focus on climbing the online rankings would be best served choosing P4AU over other platforms, if possible. Locally, we didn’t notice any performance drop, but this doesn’t make much sense for those who plan to spend most of their time fighting players far away from them. miles. And while this lack of recovery doesn’t necessarily mean that the Switch version’s online will be the same as mail-in chess, there’s no escaping the fact that online performance simply won’t be on par with other games. other platforms when an update is available.

As for its presentation, the P4AU does not disappoint at all. Arc System Works has done an excellent job of transforming Shigenori Soejima’s iconic character designs into impressively animated and versatile combat characters that retain all the personality and style of RPG rivals. their. We especially appreciated how some of the people who ended up combining were able to get the glitz, actively lighting up the screen in a monstrous fireworks display. Meanwhile, each level has a lot going on in the background, with each level depicting some varied and detailed visuals of otherworldly locales. All of this is backed up by a high-energy soundtrack that mixes in some fun remixes of favorite songs from the mainstream games with some fun new pop-rock hits that match perfectly. with tunes. Also, many of you will be pleased to know that P4AU has Japanese and English bilingual audio, and that both cast members deliver powerful, eye-catching performances, despite the repetition. Replaying some lines can be a bit annoying during longer sessions.


Persona 4 Arena Ultimax may not be everyone’s favorite Persona game on Switch, but we’re certainly not complaining. P4AU offers an accessible yet deeply immersive 2D combat system, a neat RPG-lite mode that ensures solo players will have plenty to do and all of this rendered in artistic style. Outstanding and characteristic hand-drawn art of Arc System Works. While the story mode is complete and there’s no recovery netcode in this release, we think P4AU on Switch is still totally worth your time, though if you’re playing online you can will want to investigate the game on other platforms first. However, for fans of mobile devices, we have advice whether you are a fighting game enthusiast or you just want to try the genre; this is definitely one of the better fighting games on Switch. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax (Switch) Review

Fry Electronics Team

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