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A perfect game in an already perfect series
on 11 May 2013
Let me start with a simple statement; I'm a fan of JRPGs, and have never tried to play a fighting game seriously before. While I did enjoy my time with one of Ark System Works' older titles, Blazblue: Calamity Trigger, my number one reason for buying this game is because I'm absolutely in love with the Persona series. Both Persona 3 and 4 rank among my favorite games, and I bought Persona 4 Arena hoping that it would serve as a neat little continuation of Persona 4's story. What I got was completely different.
As someone who bought the game primarily for its story, I can say with certainty that Persona 4 Arena's plot does not disappoint. Rather than serve as a small continuation of Persona 4, Arena's plot utilizes the well-established casts of both Persona 3 and 4 to tell an all new story filled with mystery, twists, and even some heart-wrenching moments. The story on display here is very, very good.
There's definitely more to a fighting game than its story, however, and the game absolutely shines in the gameplay department as well. Being a tad more simplistic than other serious fighting games like Blazblue, Street Fighter, and Tekken, Persona 4 Arena is both more accessible to newcomers than those games, and just as because of its unique game mechanics. While new players will be able to get by using the simple auto-combo the game has, playing online (which plays beautifully, by the way) will force you to learn timing, combos, and how to play mind games using your Persona and character-specific moves. It's an absolute blast to play.
I've been playing the game for hours on end, and still haven't even tried some of the modes yet; even for $60, this game is well worth the price. There's a ton of content that'll keep you occupied for at least 30 hours, and for a fighting game, that's damn impressive.
Arena really is as good as a fighting game can be, in my eyes. A well-sized, balanced list of characters, a stellar story, fantastic gameplay, and an awesome soundtrack all culminate to make an experience you don't want to miss.