EVO 2012: Persona 4 Arena Hands-On Preview

By Spencer Pressly on July 21, 2012, 10:28AM EDT

Atlus surprised many fans of the Persona series and the fighting game community last year by announcing a Persona 4 fighting game. The game is being developed by Arc System Works, who worked on the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series, and will try to carry over Atlus' charm. This has been marked as a recipe for success, but let's see how it's actually turning out in.

As a fan of both Atlus and Arc System Works, I was as giddy as a school girl when I found out I would be able to play the American version of Persona 4 Arena at Evolution 2012. Atlus had a great little set up with multiple TVs and custom PS3 P4A fight sticks that Mad Catz had made for people to play. Each station was set on versus with all 13 characters along with every stage and song in the full game.

The game has a fairly simple control setup using A, B, C, and D. A/B is used to attack as your character and C/D are used to summon your Persona out to attack. While the controls are simple the game has many deep mechanics and moves to learn. Also if you are a fan of things looking good, but don't know much about fighting games you can just keep pressing "A". By mashing "A" your character will do different combos depending on the set up. This is actually kind of nice to people who just want to set up a combo on their own and finish it up by seeing what auto-combo you get.

Each character is extremely unique, which makes picking your favorite character much easier if you play certain character types. Throughout much of our play session, Yosuke was our character of choice. He plays as a very fast and crazy character, who can even teleport. Some characters most fans have been using are Yu, Elizabeth, and Aigis. Still It was nice to see how each person played with different characters.

Persona 4 Arena has really taken a lot of features from the RPG side of the game and adapted them quite well. The addition of Status effects like Poison, Fear, Charm, etc. add an extra bit of strategy to the gameplay since these effects only come out with certain moves. Also the addition of evasion and all out rush attacks keep the game from feeling like BlazBlue with Persona characters.

To any Persona or RPG fans out there who aren't too sure about if you will enjoy a Persona fighting game, don't worry. The game has confirmed to have a story mode that will last about 30 to 40 hours. Not only that, but this game is the most expensive voice recording Atlus has ever done. That is even including the newest game Persona 4 Golden which has even more voices acting than the original game.

If you are a fan of Persona or even fighting games be sure to leave a comment below saying what you think about Persona 4 Arena. Also If you have any questions about the game or even how the game works that I didn't cover here feel free to leave them below. I will be sure to get to as many of them as possible.

I hope everyone enjoys the game as much as I did when it comes out August 7th on PS3 and 360.

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