Now Reading
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Switch Review – A Comprehensive Fighting Game From Top To Bottom But…

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Switch Review – A Comprehensive Fighting Game From Top To Bottom But…

Arc System Works are the current kings of the fighting game scene. However, before the likes of Dragon Ball FighterZ and Guilty Gear Strive, the company worked together with Atlus to create a Persona themed fighting game.

Now, almost ten years on, is Persona 4 Arena Ultimax still worth picking up today, or has it aged terribly?

Still one of the best fighting experiences

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Switch
Image via Atlus

First off, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is an excellent fighting game through and through. Each of the characters in the game’s over 20-person roster has their own unique mechanics, combos, and moves to discover. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax can hit anyone’s playstyle because of the varied cast of characters.

If you’re a beginner, Yu provides an easy-to-understand moveset that can be utilized. He’s pretty much the Ryu of the game. Meanwhile, you have more complicated characters like Yukari and Yukiko that utilize the bow and arrow and a fan that creates flames. It also helps newcomers with an auto-combo, letting them get into the action easier than other fighters in the market.

On the other hand, if you’re a pro-fighting game player, there is some depth in there too. The challenge mode in the title’s training menu lets you check out a wide breadth of combos that you can implement into your gameplay decisions. The ability to use Personas who provide assist attacks to your character also gives Persona 4 Arena Ultimax a uniqueness in the fighting game realm.

The fighting is energetic, entertaining, and overall exhilarating to pull off, even for a beginner at fighting games. For those who need to brush up on their skills, the training mode explaining every mechanic and control input is exceptionally helpful. It is a great entry point for anyone who wants to check out a 2D fighter for the first time.

A small nitpick I have with Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is the slight input delay on the Switch version. I use a PowerA wireless controller with the hybrid system, and at slight points, I feel like there’s too much of a delay in the reaction time. It could certainly be the controller or my skills, but it’s just slightly too slow to read an input for such a fast game at points.

So much content!

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Rollback Netcode
Image via Atlus

Unlike most fighting games, Persona 4 Arena: Ultimax is filled with all manner of modes. There is an Arcade mode that guides you through eight fun battles with some dialogue scenes spruced here and there. In addition, there’s the Golden Arena Mode, which is more of an RPG take on the fighting game genre with skills and stats to account for.

This package also comes with plenty of single-player content with the story mode. Included comes the story of both Persona 4 Arena and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, which take around 20 hours to complete altogether. It also provides the hour-long DLC installment starring Adachi. The script is written well, but it does occasionally go into the weeds of explaining a scene’s location or someone’s feelings, which can make it feel like a drag at points. I was intrigued by the narrative, but it doesn’t live up to Persona 3 and Persona 4 Golden‘s plot lines.

The visual novel segment of the story mode feels overly long as well. Every 20 or so minutes, you’ll be placed in a battle but that comes with many lines of text in between. The introduction of each story chapter takes way too long to get into the action as well. The writing is great, but it sometimes feels like Arc System Works forgot this was supposed to be a fighting game rather than a visual novel. I wish that the battles came faster in the story mode and lasted longer than one round.

Thankfully, most of the writing is voiced by some excellent actors like Johnny Yong Bosch as Yu and Erin Fitzgerald as Chie, who make it far more interesting to experience the story.

Playing a 2D fighter is rare nowadays as even SNK has transitioned to the 3D formula successfully over the past few years with The King of Fighters XV and Samurai Shodown. Evidently, it’s pleasant to see Persona 4 Arena: Ultimax embrace this art form.

The characters animate excellently and fit their personalities to a tee. Most of the special moves also look impressive, despite them looking aged slightly. The character models themselves look like they need an upgrade. They’re fine, but compared to games like Guilty Gear Strive and even the indie darling Them’s Fightin’ Herds, they don’t hold a candle. You can tell this is a ten-year-old game.

Additionally, the cutscenes haven’t been remastered at all. They look grainy and seriously standard definition. The animation behind them may have been lost since Persona 4 Arena Ultimax‘s original release, which is a shame because they look quite delightful.

The musical selection of Persona 4 Arena: Ultimax is absolutely welcome. The best tracks from Persona 3 and Persona 4‘s past are here, including “Mass Destruction,” “Reach Out To The Truth,” and “When The Moon’s Reaching Out Stars.” I particularly love both versions of “Light the Fire Up in the Night,” which were present in the 3DS entry Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth. This is a love letter to fans of Persona‘s music.

See Also
kiwee master case sling bag

A poor online experience

Image via Atlus

You may want to play Persona 4 Arena Ultimax on a different platform, however, if you’re dedicated to the online experience. The Switch version will specifically be trapped with the archaic delay-based netcode system, while the PS4 and PC versions will support rollback netcode.

I had trouble even connecting to the online menu at points as it kept failing to download an in-game update; according to the game, it keeps “[failing] in the initialization of the network.”

When I finally did get the online mode up and running, I kept failing to connect to other players in the Ranked Mode. Don’t waste your time playing Persona 4 Arena: Ultimax on Switch if you want to check out this game competitively. The online community also seems dead on arrival on the Nintendo Switch too and without crossplay, there will be little hope.

After all of the struggle, I finally found a match, but then it went to black. And it stayed black for a minute until it disconnected. After 10 to 15 minutes of trying, I gave up, which will be what most people will likely experience.

Overall, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is an impressive package. With a wide slew of single-player content and excellent tutorials, this is a 2D fighter that’s both approachable and entertaining for beginners and veterans of the genre alike.

A review code was provided by the publisher.

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Switch Review provided by Nintendo Link
Review also found on OpenCritic
Publisher: Atlus
Release Date: March 17, 2022
Price: $29.99, £24.99
Game Size: 14.8GB

All characters in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

A great fighting game, period.

Has a well written story.

One of the best tutorial modes in any game of its genre.


The online mode is very poor and will have no rollback netcode.

The visual novel segments can feel too long in the tooth.

What's Your Reaction?
Beep Borp
Game Over
In Love
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Scroll To Top