A Hands-On Primer To Persona 4 Arena’s Cast Of Characters

By Spencer . August 6, 2012 . 8:10pm

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Persona 4 Arena may have less characters than other fighting games, but Arc System Works made each one of ‘em feel unique. I started playing Persona 4 Arena with Yu Narukami, the once silent protagonist from Persona 4. He’s like the "Ryu" of the group complete with a horizontal fireball (OK, it’s an electric blast), a rising sword slash (that has one unblockable frame), and a straight forward projectile blast. Yu has some differences like a sliding attack to close distance and diving sword attack that hops over low enemy attacks. Yu, I think, is the base character for Persona 4 Arena so he’s the easiest to learn, but doesn’t excel in any particular area.

 

Chie is a beatdown character, which fits her kung fu fanatic personality. She’s pretty easy to learn too since her attacks easily link into one another. In the middle of most combos, you can use Rampage, an QCF + A or B attack that makes Chie do a double kick, and link that to Skull Cracker by repeating the same motion. You can also buff Chie by using Power Charge (QCF, QCF + A or B) to increase the amount of damage she does. The downside is Chie doesn’t have any projectiles until she triggers an awakening (meaning you lost a lot of life) and even then her super has limited range.

 

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Yosuke is the fastest character in the game and is kind of like a ninja. Many of his attacks involve flipping in mid-air to continue a combo. You can also counter attacks with a dodge move (B + D) to set up a counter attack and can send opponents into panic status with Tentarafoo. Maybe the best way to describe him is a trickster? Yosuke can get another speed burst by using Sukukaja, a super move, after his awakening. Yosuke is good at launching his opponents too and can keep combos going ending with a spinning tornado super attack, Garudyne.

 

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Yukiko specializes in throwing her fan, one of the attack buttons is just for fan throwing! Her other close range attacks don’t have much range so Yukiko is dependant on her persona to assault the opponent with Agi fireballs. Yukiko can also charge up fire attacks using Fire Boost or Fire Amp, but you need space to use these skills. If you find space to charge up (maybe after using a burst) you can really hurt an opponent with Maragidyne, a fire spell that takes up a large portion of the screen. Basically, if the other player isn’t already blocking you’ll probably hurt them. It’s possible to make this spell unblockable too using QCB + D.

 

Teddie is a wacky character with decent range and a Bearscrew attack that you can easily in link into or you can end a combo with Puppeteddie, which can inflict fear on an enemy. You can also use Puppeteddie to debilitate an opponent with rage. This status attack prevents an enemy from blocking so you can bombard the player with Tomahawk missiles. Teddie can also knock his opponent with a stack of TVs, which you can later use to warp out of danger. Teddie’s persona has two functions rushing the enemy or throwing an item. Items have different effects like freezing an enemy or rolling over them with an oil drum. Teddie can also restore HP (with a side effect or rage), but the problem is you have to keep cycling through items to get to one you want. That leaves your persona vulnerable to a persona break.

 

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Kanji is the game’s grappler. While he’s slow, Kanji can counter attacks and paralyze the other player using B+D. A paralyzed opponent can still move by dodging (double tap a direction), but it feels like most newcomers are just confused by this leaving them open for a combo. Kanji can to move and slowing down an enemy makes it easy to catch another player. I’m not usually a grappling player, but online someone trapped me into a combo by throwing my character against the wall followed by catching them and throwing them again. Ouch.

 

Naoto has two extra stats you have to pay attention to. While she has a gun, Naoto only has a few bullets. After using a skill like snipe you have to use a frame of animation to reload. Fights with Naoto also add a skull counter underneath your persona meter. Naoto can whittle this number away by using some special attacks. If the skull meter is zero you can instantly kill an enemy with Hamaon (a ground trap) or Mudoon (an anti-air trap). Naoto can also trap the other player by using her person to rush while switching into her gun stance.

 

Aigis also has bullets, but she starts with a set amount each round and cannot reload. If you run out of bullets you won’t be able to use Aigis’ gattling gun or a regular attack that spams the screen with a projectile spread. While Aigis sounds like a long range fighter she can switch into a beatdown character when you trigger Orgia Mode. This supercharges Aigis close range attacks for a few seconds. You can also use Aigis’ persona as a shield since Athena specalizes in counterattacking. I’d say Aigis is the most flexible character in the group.

 

Being a boxer, Akihiko is a beatdown character. I don’t really have a good hang on Akihiko, but it feels like using his weaving move to stay close to the opponent is key. His persona, Caesar, acts like a magnet and pulls characters closer to you. Kill Rush (QCF + A or B) seems to be the start of most of his combos. From there you can do another special move like a corkscrew punch for extra damage or cancel straight into a Ken style super uppercut.

 

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Mitsuru is a fast character with a decent amount of range using her rapier. Her furious attack (B+D) has a crazy amount of range – forward, backwards, up, and down. While most of the Persona 4 Arena characters have rolling controls, Mitsuru has charge commands. Mitsuru can knock opponents backwards after a sword thrust rush or trap her opponent with slow flying Bufula projectiles. Making ice traps uses a lot of SP, but you can steal the other players using one of her persona attacks. Artemesia can also extend Mitsuru’s range with whip attacks.

 

Elizabeth uses tarot cards to attack so most of her attacks have very little range. She’s slow too, so you have to use B to throw cards and draw another player near. Once caught in a combo you can extend the damage using one of her many magic spells. Elizabeth can fire an electric blast that reaches the end of the screen, close distance by riding a tornado or fry an enemy with two pillars of blue fire. Don’t worry about running out of SP, Elizabeth regenerates super meter automatically. One of the combos the game teaches you is how to catch a launched character from Maragidyne then you can follow up with even more spell combos. Elizabeth’s instant death supers are really tough to use since they take a few seconds to activate and Elizabeth can’t get hit (even while blocking) during that time. If you’re risky, you can use Mind Charge to trigger an awakening when a fight begins. Yeah, this burns through your health, but you can restore life using Diarahan. It’s possible to end a combo with Diarahan too widening the gap between Elizabeth and the other player. Since Elizabeth has short range you have to use Thanatos to rush the other player and use her persona to inflict fear, which ups the damage she deals. Elizabeth, in my opinion, has the coolest instant kill too.

 

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Labrys has the unique ability of getting a damage boost if you keep putting pressure on the other player. Labrys can close damage by harpooning her opponent with a rocket punch. Her persona, Ariadne, gives Labrys a wealth of projectile attacks. She can create a string of energy swords and bombard the other player with arrows. Labrys can also make a blade appear out of the ground and pull in an opponent like Akihiko.

 

Shadow Labrys has the same basic attacks as Labrys. The difference is Shadow Labrys’ persona Asterios is always on screen. You can make him slam an enemy with heavy punches or charge up for a fire blast. Asterios can also swallow an enemy whole and move their position. I think Shadow Labrys’ specialty is taking up so much of the screen with her gigantic persona.


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  • IshimaruKaito

    ill main chie, practice with yu, and yosuke, and practice a little more with elizabeth (hey it doesnt hurt to have an insta killer to rely on lol)

  • LustEnvy

    The game looks amazing. Too bad I gave up on fighting games after SF4. 

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      Lol, you are missing a lot there.^_^Not all fighting games is close to SF there. You should try KoF series there. A lot number of character to choose with each different sets of skills there.^_^

      • LustEnvy

         You misunderstand me. I was a HUGE fighting game nut back in the day, and I was damn good. I love KOF. My fave fighting game is Capcom vs SNK2.

        I fell out of love with fighting games after they went online. All I saw was the same miserable characters getting chosen over and over again, for their OP-ness, and extra cheese. There is no diversity online when playing these games. It’s all ‘Hey, let’s always pick the best characters, every single match”.

        It’s not like I couldn’t win. You get used to the same BS tactics every single day, by every damn player.

        That left me with playing offline, which around here is dreadfully boring, not to mention I didn’t have much competition.

        I swore off fighting games, and haven’t looked back.

        • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

          Hmm… online ehh? I myself still plays fighting game damn lot with my cousins and my friends offline there lol considering my internet is so bad here.

          I understand that some of the fighting game there ended up being very boring when you always fight the same type of character there lol just like how SF series, most player main Ryu, Ken, Sagat, or Akuma there where the moveset is more or less the same there or on BB there almost everyone play as Ragna, Jin or Noel there.

          Well, if thats the main problem there, i think you should just go to arcade and play there lol like me here. Everytime i went to Arcade, i always find myself meeting with a new player using a different kind of char there or same char but using different kinds of combo.^_^ And damn it is really addictive there and bad for my wallet there lol.^_^

          • LustEnvy

             Arcades are absolutely dead here.

          • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

            Ohh.T_T Thats sad there. Well no wonder you don’t feel like playing fighting genre there.

            Well hope that you will be able to regain your energy for fighting game in future there.^_^ Who knows the future games, they are able to take your attention there.^_^

        • Mike Pureka

           Then maybe you’d enjoy a game without any ‘miserable characters’. ;)

          Seriously.  I don’t even know who the “do the least amount of work possible” crowd will pick in this one.

    • http://www.unit03.net blackraen

      Definitely recommend checking this one out.  Arc Systems does a bang up job with their mechanics and design, and the flow is classic arcade.

      Also because this is based on an RPG game and thus the main audience may not be particularly huge fans of fighting games, they’ve done a few nice things to make this approachable to non-fighting game folks too.

      If nothing else, if you’re a Persona fan, last I heard there was something on the order of 20 – 40 hours of additional story in this game as well (available through story boards with some matches in-between).

      If there was a fighting game to come back and check out, this would be it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3ITUZUKPZYUV2VUCVXUW3DVO6Y AJ

    Whoa.  An actual in-depth review of each character??

    You may wonder why I said something like that.  Most reviews don’t even go into half as much detail as you do.  Good job and thanks!

  • thaKingRocka

    I played a few hours of P3 earlier just to start getting familiar with the characters. I’ve beaten 4, but I had never played 3 until tonight. I’m swinging by the shop to pick up my copy for PS3 early tomorrow morning.

  • Code

    One of the better reads across all the sites doing coverage I’ve seen >ww<~!

  • Fulvio84

    very good review!!

  • Wake

    I’ve been playing this non-stop. I just can’t put this game down. Every fighting game should be required to have a Challenge Mode. It really teaches you how to play the game.

  • scratchbach

    Seriously, at first I just wanted to play Teddie, but seeing coverage around the internet of the game makes me want to play like, half the cast. 

    This will be a daunting challenge.

  • Tee Niitris

    Even though I didn’t follow it too much, I knew it would turn out good. But I can’t play this until next week. :(

  • XiaomuArisu

    Damn,is it me or do the sprites look even better then BB?

    • http://twitter.com/roneryotaku Phantom Lich

      they do trust me, they really do.

  • Tales_of_Master

    Yup, I think I’ll just pick up the game for the X360 instead of waiting for the EU release -_- Damn you Atlus….But a 13 character in this day and age is pretty underwhelming. Couldn’t they’ve added a few characters from P3 ? And maybe 1 or 2 from P1 and P2. You know that a 20-22 roster looks way better than 13.

    • XiaomuArisu

       13 arcanas maybe?XD
      And never forget 13 unique characters are better then 22 copys.

  • http://twitter.com/roneryotaku Phantom Lich

    currently maining elizabeth since i was most comfortable with her, she has the lowest health among the characters and she is kinda reliant on thanatos so you gotta be careful not to get a persona break, her combos can hurt a lot and imo are the easiest to learn although getting close and starting combos may be the main problem with using her since she is weak in a close range fight.
    right now i am trying to learn chie since her rampage links into most moves and continue your combo.
    i’m currently having problems with mitsuru and akihiko, any tips for me?

  • OatMatadoQuatro

    Not only the gameplay is pretty good, but the storyline is well executed. The game could easily appeal to gamers who never played a Persona game.

    • Fidelis

      The main reason I can’t get this is because I’m too lazy to even finish P3, let alone play through P4.

  • darkfox1

    Yo man the games soundtrack is so amazing like I was stuck on the menu for like a good 20 minutes because of all the P3/P4 songs… so good. Don’t even get me started on the opening and song and the title screen trailer…. Oh man..

  • IshimaruKaito

    on my way to pick it up NOW!! :D

  • Mike Pureka

    So many typoes in this. x.x

  • JazzWithAttitude

    Already playing :D
    Akihiko is amazing,Elizabeth unbalanced
    you need to play all Story to play the end of the game
    i finished the Yu arc and in the last boss appears the damn To be Continued

    • XiaomuArisu

       So do you know if we can unlock glasses,colors and voices or are they dlc?

      • JazzWithAttitude

        i cant find the glasses i think its dlc =/

        • XiaomuArisu

           So sad…but thanks for answering!

      • https://twitter.com/Panda_castro Panda

        Voices can be unlocked in the game. Glasses are dlc. The colors add 8 more palettes, 2 of which can only be used offline. If you bought the glasses along with the extra colors you gain more colors for the glasses. 

  • Robert Brady

    I don’t know why I even debated getting this.  Never played a fighter before, but it has a story coming from Atlus, and namely, Persona 4.  Reviews have been positive too (yes…even American ones).

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