Sunday, June 12, 2016

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax - Example of Late to the Party Being Bad



I was generally reluctant to rent this game.
  1. I already watched the ENTIRE story mode like 100+ times
  2. I'm not fond of playing Persona. Just watching it.
  3. This is one of the many games where I see constant complaints about how someone plays.

I rented it so I could wait on Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator (which I didn't get cause it was quickly rented out). So I figured to go ahead and waste time. Besides I could challenge myself to fight one of the toughest fighting game bosses ever that Maximillian won't fight. 

So Persona 4 Arena: Ultimax, thankfully the name was shortened. Cause the full name of the game is called Persona 4 Arena: Ultra Suplex Hold.  Not only does that sound weird. But no one on the game does this Ultra Suplex Hold (unless you download Margaret). 

Story Is Decent...

So the game's story takes place immediately after the first Persona 4: Arena. The P3 characters have been captured. Inaba experiences a Pseudo-Dark Hour.  The other remaining P3 characters show up. The culprits reveal themselves. Everyone fights for there lives to save the world. I guess if you want to relate to characters this game is for you since everyone has some sort of conflict to deal with. My favorite story has to be Adachi's. His character hasn't changed since Persona 4 and he doesn't let anyone push him around.  You mainly have a P3 and P4 side of the story. It doesn't really change much. You see things from there perspective. However depending on the side story you selected you basically make the other heroes suck. Also the Persona 4 side has the true ending. So what was the point of all of these different stories again when there's only 1 true ending?

My problem with this is that once again. Story mode has taken the trend of having long ass dialogue with not too many fights. While there's far more fights than Blazblue ChronoPhantasma's story mode. It's still a ton of dialogue. Each story is roughly about 7 hours long. I'm glad there's a skip text and auto-read option. 

The story mode end boss is rather lackluster as well. I mean I've seen some story mode only bosses. This guy is rather pathetic. I guess that's why there's no mode to fight him with all the characters. He is that bad. 

It's not that I don't like story modes in fighting games. I just hate it when Fighting game story modes don't let you play the character you want to play. And I hate it even more when they talk FOREVER! Was I playing an RPG or playing a fighting game? I don't know when it comes to these kind of fighting game story modes. What happened to the old formula?:
  1. 1 minute of witty banter
  2. Beat the crap out of each other
  3. Witty win quote
  4. Move to next stage


Controls Simple...maybe too simple

Well first I like to point out that I had difficulty adjusting. It's a 4 button game. You have light and heavy attacks. 2 for your character and 2 for your Persona which acts simallar to a Jojo's Bizzare Adventure STAND. You're Persona has its own attacks that you can chain in tandem with your own if you know how to do it. Your Persona also has its own life gauge which varies depending on the character you play. Part of me wants it to act more like Arcana Heart but that's in a league of its own. 

Back to the problem of adjusting. See when I read the command list the button layout is different from Blazblue. So my mind was thinking of Blazblue's ABCD layout I had setup instead of Persona's. I tried to change it adjust however it didn't work. Instead I would try to hit as shown on Persona's command list. So instead of B I was getting C. Yeah this took awhile.

As for the controls being Simple. Well up until this series of games. Arc System Works. heck majority of fighters had extra commands on normal attacks. Or really they had a 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D. (Forward + whatever). This game...doesn't have that. You have your standing, jumping, and crouching attacks for each button. 

This game a lot of people will say is mash friendly as well. I would agree except they're talking about something different. See if you tap buttons generally A and B you'll get extra follow up attacks. What a lot of people are referring to in terms of mash friendly is the Auto-Combo system. The Auto-Combo's which seems to be starting a trend in most ArcSys games allows you to do a legit combo by pressing 1 button. The cost is the amount of overall damage you do compared to doing the same combo manually. This doesn't bother me. Although I am a bit 50/50 on this. 

There's not a huge variety of moves you can do. This is good and bad. Good cause there's less moves a person or some random Pro that likes to write down frame data and all that for each move and then make a guide telling you what moves to use. It's bad cause of the same reason. In fact instead there's more of a chance you'll just see them say you shouldn't play *insert character here*. So its a total 50/50 for me. 

The other thing about the controls is that it doesn't make characters any easier or harder to use. There's still a lot of crap to memorize. I still can't play Mitsuru cause she's a charge character. The timing on when to combo moves is difficult at times too. 

Gameplay

Okay lets start off with the number of characters. There's 19 Characters. 3 DLC Characters, and then you have 15 Shadow Versions of certain characters. So that makes 37 characters. A lot of variety right?  Well there was...But this is a case of the game being old and everyone figuring things out. Of these 37 characters. You're really only going to see maybe 7 or 9 of these. Which in some people's eyes that's actually good compared to other games. But still there's a lot of characters you're just not going to play or see. 

Shadow Characters

So the characters you could say its the old version of characters except there's shadow versions of some of the newer cast. Basically they can't use Burst. instead they get Shadow Frenzy which lets them use One More Cancels, EX, and Super moves at much less cost for limited amount of time. They also use the old auto combo for most characters. It's interesting but the chances you'll see a Shadow character that isn't for trolling purposes are low. (and all cause they can't burst)

The DLC Characters being Adachi, Marie, and Margaret. I didn't bother downloading them. While they all look fun I'd probably only play Adachi.

The rest of the characters. I'll tell you that I could only really use Elizabeth, Ken, and Teddie. The rest were just too hard for me to use.  

Gimmicky Play

I guess I should get used to this in fighting games now. You didn't really see this in older fighters but you're starting to see this a lot more today. Let's just say every character has there gimmick if you want to call it that. You could say it's there Persona but its more the character themselves. I would say the most gimmicky characters have to be Marie, Yukiko, Teddie, and Akihiko. They're all rather dependent on certain things. 

I guess my major complaint has to be how I can't certain moves unless its via auto-combo. Why can't I do those manually? 

Online Play (What Online?)

Yeah before I returned it to gamefly. I went to check the online scene. Since apparently I should be able to find at least 30 people in 1 lobby. Well that was wrong. I checked the lobby and found only 9 people playing (not counting myself). I checked ranked and found only 1 person. -_-

So needless to say I didn't bother with Online.

Score Attack

A rather extensive score attack but this also unfair. Score Attack should be against normal characters. Since you're trying to achieve a high score like you would do in arcade mode. But nope. That only applies to the first 2 difficulties. The other 3 difficulties contain boss version of characters meaning that they'll kill you instantly the first few times then you'll win. So on Safety difficulty (which is the easiest) it didn't take me that long. But on Risky (the highest difficulty) It took me 5 hours!

At least it lets you continue if you lose. But still this is Score Attack mode. Not "We Hate You, You Suck, Go to Hell and Stop Playing Our Game" mode. 

Golden Arena Mode

But if you still have a masochist in you that needs to be satiated. They made Golden Arena mode. This mode kinda acts like an RPG. You increase your stats over time you keep fighting. You gain abilities. And you keep fighting. The problem I have with this mode is the number of floors each course has. That's the number of fights you will be fighting. You don't get to skip any floors. Talk about endurance round. 

The only thankful thing about this mode is that if you die you can continue a few floors earlier from where you died. And you keep all the stuff you earned up to that point. But still that's too many fights. And you can't use your Instant Kill.


Sound and Music: It's a mixed bag in every way

I wanna talk about the music. Not only do the characters have there own themes. But they also took the liberty to throw in select songs from the Persona games as well. THAT'S A LOT OF SONGS! Too many songs. A lot of them don't even fit a fighting game. There's even DLC tracks. This wouldn't be a problem. Except one Online is dead. 2 The songs often times are chosen at random. So often times instead of hearing the character's theme I hear something different. There's just too many songs. And I can't set it to only play specific songs. Only if its in a VS match can I actually set the song to play. You know if this is to be a thing you could do like Smash Bros. and have a setting to play certain songs.  

I don't have any problem with the sound effects. They're all different and unique nothing annoying. 

While I don't necessarily have a huge problem with this a friend of mine did. And that's the voice acting. Not like the typical voice acting hate. I mean his complaint was that they talk Too much. I kinda agree with him on this. But it falls more on the announcer/commentator. They'll pop up on the corner of the screen talking about how good you're doing or how bad you're doing. They won't shut up. It's a good thing you can turn them off. They talk almost as much as a random commentary video on YouTube or a tournament match. And they're really no help. They point out the obvious. It's pretty annoying. 

DLC Yeah its getting its own section

So I took a look at the DLC. This game got too much DLC. So you got 3 DLC characters which honestly 1 of them should be unlockable. Then you got Music DLC. I already explained that one. Then there's glasses DLC...a cosmetic thing that you won't really notice unless you're playing at 720p or higher. Then you have announcer DLC. Then you have Online Avatar and Icon DLC.  And for those that didn't play the first Persona 4 Arena. You can buy DLC for the story mode to that as well. 

How much DLC do you need for a fighting game?!


Oh and this DLC bit got updated. First it was just the Glasses and the characters. Then they threw in a music pack. But then Persona Q came out and DLC involving that game (I guess to celebrate it) showed up. Honestly if you're gonna do DLC like this especially Persona Q DLC you should've just made Shin and Rei as playable characters for this game. Seriously this is too much DLC. If you happen to buy it all it runs you about an extra 100 bucks. Go figure.

Overall

Alright lets end this. I've been typing too long. So this game would probably be a lot more fun for me. If I got it around the initial release date. I don't hate this game. But I don't really like this game. I'm thankful that this game has things for you to do that isn't just the bare bones of a fighting game. But this game's lifespan was clearly dependent on the online play. Which at this point is a true ghost town. It doesn't help that there's no characters I can really get attached to in this game. I like some of there personalities. But that's it. The playstyles and rather deceptive simplistic gameplay turn me off. I feel like I can't get attached to playing characters I like due to being way too hard to use. I'm also bothered that you can't have Minato, Shinji, or some of the other characters as playable fighters.

If you can get the game for cheap then do so. But you'll have to find your own way through the DLC. My major turn off is the music. A lot of songs is nice but this is way too many and over half of them don't fit to me. A Persona fan will probably respond with it the game having the classic *insert song here* in the game. But seriously a lot of these songs don't fit a fighting game. 

It was worth a rental for me. And that's where it stays.