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Persona 4 Arena (PS3) Quick Review

Picked up Persona 4 Arena for the PS3 a few days ago. I've spent a little time with it and it's a great game. Atlus's Persona universe coupled with Arc System Works' grasp of fighting gameplay is a great combination. I only worry that this game will fall through the cracks, with TTT2 already due in a few weeks.

Quick run through of my thoughts on it:
  • The actual fighting game engine seems smoother than Blazblue, and the user interface is incredibly flashy. At times I find myself just admiring how good the UI is for this game.
  • Really simple for starters. All characters get a 'Mash weak punch' combo....basically you can just press one button, and get your character to do cool things that end with a super combo. Really nice, at least for me....I've never played the arcade version so this makes it feel worthwhile even if you just play it casually.
  • Story mode is done in Japanese 'Visual Novel' style. Will probably turn a lot of people off; it works for the niche 'anime' market but if you give it to a mainstream gamer they probably won't like it. I did enjoy it though. I'm glad they didn't go with the story style of Blazblue where everything is hinted at, or vague (like the TV show 'Lost'). This one is more straightforward.
  • When you figure out the moves and mechanics of the characters, the game becomes very hectic / fast. It reminds me of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 but (so far) none of the ridiculous inescapable tactics. Well, there was this one tactic from one of the characters, Kanji, that I couldn't escape originally. But over time (I think) i've figured out how to escape his throw mixup. So it doesn't get as completely crazy as MVC3, but it gets very close to it at times. 
Overall, this is a fun game. I like that the arcade mode has some semblance of exposition / "story". It still isn't superb in terms of storytelling, of course, but compare it to SFxT or other Capcom efforts and this seems golden in comparison. It also encouraged me to look for the Persona 4 animated series, which I'm also currently watching.(...it's quite funny! Great show so far, havent reached the end yet.)

So simply put, if you like fighting games, this is worth getting. If you like anime, this is worth investing some time indulging in, at least for the universe and characters which are great. If you're into Japanese styled artwork, this game has tons of it, and this game is worth owning just to admire the style and the art of it. If you're a mainstream gamer / COD4 kind of guy maybe this isn't your cup of tea. If you're waiting for TTT2, this will make the wait bearable. :) 

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