While Persona 4 fans will dive right into story mode, there is a another way to experience Persona 4 Arena’s plot. Arcade mode covers the same events with before battle banter that explains who Labyrs is. Of course, arcade mode isn’t as detailed. You won’t see what any other Persona characters are thinking, but you’ll get the gist of what happened when Yu returned to Inaba. Arcade mode has separate storylines for each of the Persona 4 Arena fighters.
The catch is arcade mode has actual fights. You’ll need to figure out a few combos, learn to roll through attacks, and understand how to cancel moves to clear the eight bouts in arcade mode. Story mode, on the other hand, is mostly a pushover. Persona 4 Arena gives most character (Naoto being an exception) a powerful canned combo.
Yu’s canned combo.
By simply mashing the light button you can make Yu chain sword slashes, summon his persona for a lightning slide attack, and (providing you have enough SP) finish using Ziodyne. Elizabeth’s chain combo juggles an enemy with Maragidyne launches them with Magarudyne and finishes with a mid-air Maziodyne blast. Not too shabby, right? Using the same dial-a-combo is ineffective when you’re fighting a human, but against the story mode controlled computer enemies it seems like that’s enough.
Persona 4 Arena explains the basics with a five minute lesson mode, but it isn’t enough to teach a newcomer the ropes. That’s where challenge mode comes in. Arc System Works created 30 challenges to show how each of the characters in Persona 4 Arena works. You don’t need to complete all 30, but if you get through half of the challenges you’ll have a much better grasp on the game. The first 10 challenges are essentially a character specific tutorial that teach players special and super moves. Complete those and you’ll jump into combos.
I think I need a lot more practice before I can play online, especially if I want to use Elizabeth as my main character. The Velvet Room attendant from Persona 3 comes to Persona 4 Arena loaded with powerful magic spells and she *automatically* recovers SP. So, if you stay out of your opponent’s way you can fry ’em with a full screen fire blast and follow up with a tornado juggle. Elizabeth can also inflict fear status using her persona, which increases the damage she deals. The downside is Elizabeth has low life and she’s slow. If another player like Akihiko closes in on you, you’re in trouble. Elizabeth also has the ability to recover her HP after her awakening and her instant kill move is an awesome reference to a certain Persona 3 battle.