At one point in the time, the fighting genre wasn’t very crowded. Either you loved Street Fighter, or you didn’t. There were a few other contenders, but there wasn’t a whole lot of choice. Today, it’s a completely different story. Not only are there great stand-alone fighters, but the crossovers and mashups are coming out of the wood work like crazy.  If you like fighting games, RPG’s and Anime, then Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, from Atlus, is going to be like a perfect dream to you. Fortunately, at its core, this is also a good fighting game and that is what is most important.

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax offers various gameplay modes. You can fight online, in an arcade mode, or follow the story mode. I will caution you that the story mode is more like a visual novel with a few battles thrown in here and there. It took me three chapters to actually get into a battle although I did appreciate the “auto read” mode that is available if you get tired of constantly pressing buttons to advance the story. There is some voice acting here, although it is a little strange that only some of the lines are read aloud while other lines are not. There’s likely a formula at work here, but I wasn’t sure what it was.

P4AU Screen (1)

In terms of fighting you will have a choice of many characters of course with special moves. The combos and special moves you can do are listed when you pause the game to look at the controls. Some will take time to master, but fortunately the game offers five different difficulty levels which mean that you can learn them to master them without feeling too frustrated. For me, this is key to a good fighting game and because of it this game offers something to both the beginner player and a veteran fighter.

The overall story is divided into two stores between the Persona 3 and Persona 4 cast. As the game is a follow-up to Persona 4 Arena, it takes place a week after the events from that game. It takes place in the real world, but the enemies have caused the fictional rural Japanese town of Inaba to be covered by a red fog. Eight new characters have been added to the roster and although this game does add more than the original Persona 4 Arena, it’s not leaps and bounds beyond it – just a nice progressive version of what you may have already experienced.

P4AU Screen (4)

We played the PlayStation 3 version of the game and although the game itself plays identically on both the 360 and PS3, if you have both systems you might want to grab the PlayStation 3 version as it exclusively offers an arcade lobby. It allows users to relive the exciting glory days of the arcade while searching for competitors. It’s not a huge deal but it’s just something a little different for PlayStation owners.

Overall, the fighting mechanics are solid in this game and you can enjoy it in both short bursts and in extended bouts. If you love the Persona world (or Anime in general) then this game is definitely going to strike a chord with you. It is well produced, polished and will give you hours and hours of entertainment. Fight!

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About the Author

Syd Bolton
Syd Bolton surrounds himself in thousands of classic video games as Canada’s top video game collector at the Personal Computer Museum in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. He plays all of the latest games on his 80" Sharp TV and provides the "Lost Treasures" segment during The OMG! Hour. Follow Syd on Twitter @sydbolton.