Game review: ‘Persona 4 Arena’ for PlayStation 3

George Treviranus, Editor in Chief

The popular ‘Persona’ franchise takes a fresh new approach in what is Persona 4 Arena (P4A) the side-scrolling-fighter. What it has in its story is really what makes this game worth playing, but the combat, style and depth bring the game down significantly.

Taking place after the murder mysteries of Persona 4, P4A takes players back to the small town of Inaba to solve another case. Yu Narukami, the protagonist, is visiting the town and his friends for old times’ sake. It is on the train that he has a bad dream concerning his fate and the fate of his friends. From this, Yu and gang jump back into The Midnight Channel, a virtual world within a television, to save the life of an unknown individual.

The story is in a tournament-style format to better complement the game’s dynamic. You play five or six rounds in the story before beating the final boss and moving on to play as any of the other 11 playable characters, from both Persona 3 and Persona 4. Because you can play the story with so many characters, it does retain some amount of detail for avid fans that could be relevant to a future title by the game’s developer, Atlus.

The game does feel rather old and boring after 30 minutes of playtime. Unless you’re a competitive gamer or fan of the series, this might not be worth your time. 2D side-scrolling fighters aren’t exactly “in” anymore, either.

The soundtrack is beautiful as usual, composed by Shoji Meguro; it’s the game’s shining glory.

Some other features include online play, both ranked and unranked, multiplayer, and a challenge/training mode for newbies.

P4A is a good game, but doesn’t bring enough to become immediately interesting compared to other fighters.