Recently, I got a look at both the of the new characters in the new Persona 4 Arena—Yukari Takeba and Junpei Iori, both of whom were playable at a recent location test for the game in Tokyo.
When Yukari first entered the battle, I could have sworn I was looking at the original pink power ranger (complete with bow!) wearing a scarf before she took her helmet off and started fighting. She reminded me quite a bit of Hawkeye from Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, since she had a special that somersaulted her forward and arrows that caused various status effects (I’m pretty sure I saw her paralyze a Mitsuru player at one point).
However, more interesting to me was the fact that she could throw out wind projectiles and redirect her arrows towards the enemy by shooting them through the gusts of wind.
On top of that, she could shoot a three-arrow spread at her opponents and a very powerful arrow accompanied by a trail of light that, while slow, took out a significant chunk of her opponent’s health bar. Finally, one of her more interesting supers summoned a giant tornado in front of her that seemed to always overshoot her enemy. It wasn’t too hard for her to knock them back into it though, so I could see it being handy.
After checking Yukari out, I had a chance to try out Junpei. He’s become a baseball player since Persona 3, apparently, and he brings his baseball bat into battle with him. Quarter-circle forward and a physical attack was a tornado-like spin with his bat, while quarter-circle back and physical was somewhat impractical-seeming bunt. Quarter-circle forward and a Persona attack was a belly-flopping slide.
In addition to his baseball-themed attacks Junpei has a new meter of sorts. Well, not as much a meter as baseball diamond. Hit the opponent and bases will light up, bat in a run and the score in the center of the diamond increases. Whiff an attack with the baseball bat and you’ll get a strike or a ball. Three outs and you lose all of your men on base. As fun as this is in concept, I have absolutely no idea how it’s supposed to work. I didn’t notice any advantage to increasing this meter specifically, but I assume it increases your attack…
Fortunately, my confusion with the baseball diamond was somewhat softened by how cool some of Junpei’s attacks are. While one of his supers is just a homerun swing, the other two demand some precise timing. One has his Persona Trismegistus grab the opponent, then take them back around for Junpei to take a swing at. Time it right and it’ll deal heavy damage. Similarly, the other one has Trismegistus toss a fireball at the opponent from behind that can knock them into Junpei’s swing.
I also liked the fact that both Junpei and his Persona have a dive kick of sorts. While Junpei’s is more traditional (down and A in the air), the D button would summon Trismegistus to drop down on the opponent at an angle and bounce off of them a couple times before kicking them away. You can use this opportunity to get to the other side of the opponent and start wailing away with your bat.
Unfortunately, this only worked once for me. After losing my match as Junpei, I headed home.
Photograph courtesy 4Gamer.