Hey, remember how completely hyped I was about playing Persona 4 Arena? Well, it was all worth it. Every last second of waiting was worth it. Atlas and Arc Systemworks have gotten together behind the takoyaki stand and made a beautiful, beautiful baby.
I finally got my sweaty little Persona-obsessed hands on it the day before my wedding thanks to RJ, who made me swear I wouldn’t open it until after the wedding. This was difficult because even through the box I could see that the instruction booklet was big enough to beat rats to death. This was going to be epic.
The night of my wedding, I played it with my new husband and my ex-husband for about three hours of button-mashing mayhem because we didn’t have time for things like “instructions” and “learning modes” and we just wanted to beat the hell out of each other. This was fun. Once I was in post-wedding mode, I went into some training and discovered that yes, there are combinations that lend a method to the mayhem. This was even more fun.
In spite of everyone saying that Kanji – my favorite guy from Persona 4 and your basic brawler character in P4A – is hard to play with, I took it upon myself to try him out and apparently have learned how to play with him pretty well. All you’ve gotta do is get in there and start hitting things, and it builds from there, but getting in there is sometimes harder than anything. Also, he’s slow and his Persona hits fewer times, but I’ve managed some spectacular wins with him against a moderately difficult computer opponent and even an instant kill twice.
The Story Mode is super-fun too. You have to work through the threads of everyone’s story before you can gather them up into the full epic, and sometimes they’re a little repetitive with the main characters, but I enjoyed reading it all. It’s a lot like a visual novel (which is just what it sounds like: lots of story on screen with some voice acting and music) with some fighting thrown in to make it even more interesting. Even though they’re reduced to one round battles between story chunks, I found myself looking forward to them just as much as the story in a very JRPG fashion.
Persona 4 Arena is just an all-around fun game for Persona-obsessives like me who also like to beat the crap out of things sometimes. If you’re into that sort of thing (I AM SO INTO THIS SORT OF THING), there’s also a $5 DLC pack that lets you wear glasses from the P4 original game. Mister E thinks I am out of my mind for wanting this:
Me: And for $5, you can get glasses for everyone to wear while they fight!
Mister E: Really. That’s the $5 DLC?
Mister E: You know what the $5 DLC is for Skyrim? You can build a freaking house. To live in. With servants.
Mister E: Oh, right. I forgot. Glasses fetish.
You can read a much more in-depth review at Player Attack, which I also wrote because I’m awesome like that. So is P4A. You should play it. Or play Persona 4, then play it. Whichever floats your boat, really. But go read my review! Like I said: awesome.