Fighting games are generally not my cup of tea, but back in 2014, I couldn’t resist grabbing a copy of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax. Partially to sate my hunger for the then yet-to-be released Persona 5 and partly due to a good impression left by older Arc System Works fighting games.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax‘s debut on current-gen consoles and PC is what you’d expect, a no-frills port of the definitive version of the Persona-themed fighter. Not having played the game in a few years, it was a nice change of pace seeing the pixelated sprite work of Ultimax, which thankfully still holds up despite getting spoiled with the titles such as Dragon Ball FighterZ and the newer Guilty Gear entries.
If you’ve never played Ultimax or perhaps only played the first entry into the series, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax features a rather well-realized and substantial campaign. The story mode manages to incorporate both the Persona 3 and 4 casts together while taking into account the events of Persona 4 Golden, the definitive iteration of the game and, of course, the events from the first Arena title.
“Persona 4 Arena Ultimax‘s debut on current-gen consoles and PC is what you’d expect, a no-frills port of the definitive version of the Persona-themed fighter.”
As far as spin-off games, particularly fighting games go, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax‘s story mode can be considered to be one of the better ones, especially if you’re a fan of the source material. If you’re just looking to jump into the game and play, the title features an arcade mode and local and online multiplayer to get you started without the worry of exposition overload. When it comes to the online experience, Ultimax stumbles a bit, with inconsistent performance across the board, with some rounds feeling almost as good as playing the game locally, while others suffer from lag and other forms of delay.
Prior to release, Atlus has stated that rollback netcode will be coming to the PlayStation 4 and PC versions of the game, sometime after launch, which hopefully will make things much more stable and playable. Unfortunately, this puts Persona 4 Arena Ultimax in a weird position for me. If I had the choice, I would suggest the Nintendo Switch version of the game for its sheer portability factor, however, due to it not receiving the planned update that will address online issues, the PC and PlayStation ports are likely going to be the ultimate version of Ultimax.