Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is the follow-up to the 2012 first instalment simply titled Persona 4 Arena. Ultimax continues the story from the first game while adding 3 highly anticipated characters from Persona 3 and a new face Sho Minazuki. Not to mention the game also has 3 DLC characters, two of which were free when the game first was released. Most of the characters each have a shadow form that spices up the gameplay.
At its core the gameplay is mostly the same but there are a few major changes to take note of. New auto/dial combos have been added for each of the returning characters and a specific amount of Persona cards for each character has been changed. For instance, Yukiko now has 5 cards, 1 more than the amount that all character had before. On the other hand Akihiko, a character who is not known to use his Persona very often only has two cards. To make this change worthwhile when a Persona Break does occur, Persona Break time is now equivalent to the amount of Persona Cards that character owns. For example using the character previously mentioned, Akihiko would only be in Persona Break mode for a small amount of time while Yukiko would have to wait much longer than usual.
Each character now as enhanced super moves called Skill Boost Skill Attacks. They allow a character to perform a more powerful SP Skill Attack by using up 75 of their available SP instead of using 50 SP like before.
Shadow type characters are new to the sequel and each of the characters minus, Elizabeth, Margaret, Shadow Labrys with Asterius, the two versions of Sho Minazuki, Tohru Adachi, and Marie have one. These alternate forms are more geared towards the offense as they are able to build up more SP as they attack and their gained SP is carried over between rounds. These Shadow-type characters are able to utilize the character’s original auto/dial combo from the first game and can use Awakening SP Skills unleashing it with 100 SP. They each also have altered stats compared to their normal forms, as they have 2000 additional HP and deal 20% less damage.
Shadow Frenzy is a new mode that gives all Shadow type characters unlimited SP for a small amount of time. It is activated the same way you would activate the Burst command while the character has 100 SP. Because of this, they lose all major defensive techniques including Bursts and Awakenings.
Story mode isn’t any different from it was in the first game, read a few screens a watch the characters talk to each other but now instead of having to complete everyones story mode across all characters there is now a Persona 4 and after a Persona 3 specific story that makes things a whole lot easier. Adachi also gets his own story that is available when you purchase his character DLC. While Persona 4’s story is alright Persona 3’s has a lot more funny moments to witness. If you don’t wish to fight at all during this mode you can turn on the new auto mode that has the computer play for you.
In the new mode Golden Arena Mode players can choose their favourite character and enter a dungeon crawler like mode with four different difficulty levels. Each character has their own stats that you can customise when leveling up RPG style. Much like in the Persona games you have skills that are learned when leveling up. To support your character there is a social link character that also levels up as you fight and gains skills. Defeating computer player after computer player while not recovering all of your HP in the next match, you’ll use your skills to give yourself an advantage or even help the opponent at the same time.
The new lobby mode that players who are familiar with Blazblue Chrono Phantasm’s will find that it has been carried over. In this mode you are unable to view the matches going so up to 32 people can be in one room and play each other without having to wait for a match to finish. Players run around as a desired avatar and communicate with one another. There are plenty of rooms and even a designated place for beginners to practice.
It’s the perfect game for those who are itching for one last great fighter to come out of the last gen. Even so people will be going back to Ultimax for years to come to enjoy its fun and engaging gameplay.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Review (PS3)
Overall Persona 4 Arena Ultimax has the same expectations from the 2012 version with some much-needed changes including a simplified story mode.