Although E3 was the first chance I had to get my hands on Persona 4: Arena, I decided to play as the new character, Shadow Labrys. She was different from the other characters due to the fact that Asterios, her giant metallic bull of a persona, was constantly onscreen.
While one might think that not having to summon a persona would make its attacks a little faster, there was a sizeable delay any time I tried to use Asterius. Use of the light persona attack (C) took a second to charge up before the bull used a lunging punch on the opponent, but it took away a lot of my opponent’s health (he was using Aigis) The heavy persona attack (D) simply acted as a way to block the always-onscreen creature from damage, since his continual presence left him open to damage. While I was still trying to wrap my head around the game itself, I started toying with ways to incorporate Asterius into combat.
Mashing light attack (A) for an auto-combo seems to be a good thing to do with any character when you don’t know how they work in Persona 4 Arena. Whenever I thought I would have a chance to connect with A, I would use QCF and one of the persona buttons to make Labrys’ persona charge and fire a screen-spanning laser. Connecting with A just after inputting the laser command would catch the opponent in the laser mid-combo. The laser ended with an explosion that launched my opponent into the air, but with my brief experience, I was never able to follow it up with anything interesting.
QCB+persona was an overhead smash that took a similarly long time to charge up. To get the most out of this, I tried to attack low as Asterius shook in preparation for his two-fisted smash. I found it to be the most useful while I was trying to keep my opponent in the corner, acting as a nice way to protect Shadow Labrys as she recovered from one of her special attack animations.
Much like everything else about Asterius, double QCF+Persona was a hard Super to get used to, but it looked incredibly cool. Asterius would simply punch the screen and whatever was directly in front of him. The overall effect of the punch was really cool, as it seemed to shatter part of the TV screen and caused a moment of static, but the range felt very limiting. Sure, I could simply mash A until the super connected automatically, but once again, I had a challenge connecting the attack outside of a corner.
Food for Thought:
I really like the fact that P4A’s bursts work more like the ones from Guilty Gear than the ones from BlazBlue. Being able to use a burst on a non-attacking opponent and gain full meter just feels good.