The Persona franchise is huge — so huge, the truth is, that it may be troublesome to maintain up with. First, we now have the primary franchise and their expanded editions, like Persona 5 Royal. Then we now have the motion spin-offs, like Persona 5 Strikers and the rhythm recreation subseries, Dancing All Evening. However do you know there was a Road Fighter type combating recreation that got here out in 2013? Like I mentioned, it may be troublesome to maintain up with, however Persona 4 Area Ultimax is right here to present you a well timed reminder.
Atlus has a historical past of working with the perfect in relation to the spin-offs, every of which tends to be a strong standalone recreation whereas providing one thing distinctive and new for dyed within the wool followers like yours actually. Strikers, for instance, was executed in collaboration with Omega Power — the minds behind Dynasty Warriors, and their experience within the style actually shone via.
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On this case, Persona 4 Area Ultimax (and Persona 4 Area earlier than it) was created in collaboration with Arc System Works (ArcSys) — the minds behind Responsible Gear and BlazBlue, to call a couple of. As soon as once more, the collaborator’s pedigree is on show in full drive.
Weirdly, the world the place Ultimax falls down isn’t the fight — it’s the storytelling and the perplexing lack of fight. I do know that is baffling for a Persona recreation, so stick with me right here…
A fast recap of the story up to now: Persona 3 sees a gaggle college students within the city of Iwatodai who combat monsters that seem throughout the ‘Darkish Hour’ — a mysterious time after midnight that most individuals are fully unaware of. Persona 4 investigates a sequence of murders within the city of Inaba, the place one other bunch of scholars uncover the murders are dedicated in a dimension contained in the TV, referred to as the Midnight Channel.
These two video games occur in the identical world, and the characters uncover one another in Persona 4 Area in a combating match held inside the Midnight Channel — the protagonists of Persona 3 having gone to Inaba to trace considered one of their Anti-Shadow weapons that has gone AWOL. A match ensues and everybody turns into mates.
Persona 4 Area Ultimax takes place the very subsequent day, and takes the concept one step additional by asking what world-ending disaster would occur if the Midnight Channel and Darkish Hour collided? The Persona 3 protagonists are captured and crucified, and their new buddies are sucked again into the combat to save lots of them — however this time, there’s a twist: the baddies from Area and Persona 4 are each again…
To this point, so attention-grabbing, proper? Storytelling is all the time a robust level for the franchise, which is why it’s such a disgrace that the story right here is all graphic novel with the occasional cutscene.
As soon as each quarter-hour or so, you’ll be thrown right into a 1v1 combat to advance the story, which is a bit jarring. In the event you don’t need to combat, you possibly can (virtually) all the time simply put the sport on auto-fight mode and go away the controller on the desk. I say ‘virtually’ as a result of whereas this works for probably the most half, I attempted this with the final boss and watches as I received my ass categorically handed to me.
It’s a disgrace as a result of the story is genuinely attention-grabbing, and the truth that that the storytelling is break up between the Persona 4 protagonists, with every character narrating a special chapter as you play (properly, watch) the sport is a pleasant contact.
Exterior of the story, Ultimax is a strong combating recreation — it appears, feels and sounds nice, with the whole thing voiced by the unique voice actors. And if the concept of Teddie-ously clicking via the story (and its shameless bear-related puns) is offputting, you’ll be happy to know the arcade mode is obtainable from the beginning.
Every character feels properly balanced and distinctive, although I definitely carried out higher with some than others. There’s a tutorial mode if you wish to study the ropes, nevertheless it’s a kind of irritating 70-step tutorials which covers the very fundamentals of strolling for the primary 5 ranges.
Getting onto fight, it’s received every thing you’d count on: weak and robust assaults; weak and robust persona assaults; combos, throws and the kitchen sink. It’s mainly precisely what you’ll image if you happen to mentioned “Persona, however as a combating recreation”.
So what concerning the RPG side of the franchise, I hear you ask? There’s a tower assault mode the place you degree up a given character as you win. From right here, your character’s persona learns new talents and also you enhance their stats as you see match. This new launch even throws within the DLC from the unique Ultimax, telling the story from Adachi’s perspective.
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