I waited two hours to play one match of the new Persona 4 Arena sequel during this weekend’s location test at Hey in Akihabara. These are just my uneducated impressions of what I saw and played during that time. For information about some of the new systems, see our previous piece on the game. Also, note that everything in the game that once said “P-1 Grand Prix” now says “P-1 Climax”.
As I was waiting in line to play, one of the first things that stood out to me about the new Persona 4 Arena was the visual tonal shift from the original Persona 4 Arena. There’s a much seedier feel to things, the yellows and reds from P4A’s palette replaced with a sickly blue-green. Certain backgrounds had green ooze scattered around. The UI looked as though it was smashed into a CRT, with the round’s time limit floating in a void behind what appeared to be cracked glass. The character portraits also sat atop cracks.
I never played Persona 4 Arena’s story mode (for fear of spoilers for Persona 4 and Persona 3, both of which I swear I will finish someday), but the overall tone of this new Persona 4 Arena seemed very different. It almost seemed closer to the general atmosphere of Persona 3 than Persona 4. I can’t help but wonder if the game’s story is going to take a grim tone, especially with the playable Shadows-type characters…
Even health bars seem to be a little bit less flamboyant than before. When a character was knocked into an awakening state, instead of their health bar turning orange, it simply remained yellow, but gained a faint orange glow around it. Maybe Awakening is being given a bit less attention this time around because Shadow characters don’t have access to it.
While I was waiting, I also saw a number of characters doing things that I didn’t remember them being able to do. Yosuke had a new aerial special that had him cut a massive V through the air (and his enemy) and a new super where he and his persona Jiraiya tossed a bunch of kunai at their opponent. Mitsuru could freeze the ground in front of her (and the opponent, if they were within range).
Meanwhile, Labrys could draw enemies toward her like she was Iron Tager from Blazblue in the air, hold them in place with a new slow projectile, and even had a new super that summoned gears up from the ground in front of her. I hardly recognized her with all of those new abilities!
Later this week, we’ll have impressions of Junpei in the new Persona 4 Arena.
Note: Photograph courtesy Inside Games.