GAMES - Review
15:00 - 14th July 2013, by Matt Kamen

Persona 4 Arena

Gamers who lapped up the brilliantly deep world of Persona 4 Golden may find the idea of reformatting the diverse cast for a fighting game to be odd. And, if Persona 4 Arena were a mere one-on-one brawler, that would be true. Instead, developers Arc System Works and Atlus have crafted a beat-'em-up that's just as involving as its predecessor.

Two months after the end of Golden, Yu Narukami returns to the sleepy town of Inaba. Right on cue, he and his friends are sucked into another supernatural adventure through the Midnight Channel, into the world inside TVs. The lengthy story mode sees the tight-knit pals forced to fight one another for mysterious reasons, and it's here that the game channels the narrative strength of the first game so magnificently. Voice actors return, further establishing continuity.

Battles use simple strong / weak attacks, with each character able to strike unaided or with their summonable Persona. There's a steep learning curve though, with a complex system of blocks, breaks, counters, and gauges, making this a game you'll need to study to get the best from. The speedy, intricate combat and beautiful visuals make P4 Arena more than worth the time it takes to master though.

One of the toughest fighters we've played in a long time, but one that feels fair in rewarding practise and skill rather than button-hammering. The fidelity to the original Persona 4 is staggering, and fans will relish the chance to revisit these characters. A veritable encyclopaedia's worth of unlockable bonus content rounds out a fantastic package.
SCORE: 4/5
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