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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between P4U2 and P4AU? What is 2.0 and 2.5?

Short Answer: They're the same game, just different naming between regions.

The series is known as "P4U" in Japan (Persona 4 - The Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena), with the sequel being "P4U2" (Persona 4 - The Ultimax Ultra Suplex Hold). The Western localized form is known as "P4A" (Persona 4 Arena) and "P4AU" (Persona 4 Arena Ultimax). Both mean the same thing, respectively.

Version 1.1 is console exclusive to PS3 and Xbox 360. Version 2.0 is exclusive to Japanese arcades on Nesica cabinets. The new 2.5 version is for PS4, PC, and Switch which is essentially 2.0 with all the console exclusive modes and DLC that wasn't included in the arcade 2.0 release.

Who should I play as a beginner?

Regardless of how new or experienced you are with fighting games, it is always best to play a character you think is cool. Learning a fighting game will be hard no matter what, so pick someone who will make the learning process enjoyable. Whether it’s because they’re your favorite from the RPG series, have a cool design, or you like their kit, you can’t go wrong. If you still aren’t sure who to pick, boot up the challenge mode and switch characters to get a feel for all of them.

Okay, but I find beginner characters to be good for me. Who's the easiest?

Generally, the community-recommended beginner characters include:

Narukami (All-Rounder)
Notable Traits:

  • He has everything

As our JRPG protagonist of the game, Narukami is an ace-of-all-trades character who has just about anything in his toolkit that you could want in a character and more with his all-rounder moveset. There is nothing that Narukami can't do, as he excels in every vital aspect of the game, and is strong is every style and level of play. His combo and pressure routing is very easy to start off with, and for those who are averse to complex or unique character mechanics, he does not have any for a newer player to worry about.

Sho (Rushdown/Mixup)
Notable Traits:

  • Low execution, easy hitconfirms and easy bake combos
  • Fast sword normals
  • Doesn't use Persona
  • Amazing reversals
  • Instant overheads and ambiguous crossups with meter

Sho is primarily a mix-up character, has a close-range focus with okay offense and great defense, doesn't worry about Persona system quirks as he does not use a Persona, and you literally only need to learn 1 combo to start playing.

Minazuki (Rushdown/All-Rounder)
Notable Traits:

  • Low execution
  • Insane damage output and potential
  • Lots of jump cancelling on block
  • Command grab that steals health or meter
  • Buttons and specials for every situation

Minazuki is a versatile rushdown and stagger pressure character that can fight effectively in many ranges and has solid tools for most situations. His main appeal is his absolutely insane damage output without requiring all that much effort or execution, and his basic pressure is just as simple too. Minazuki also does not sport any unique mechanics to worry about.

Adachi (Rushdown)
Notable Traits:

  • Silly, yet effective Persona attacks such as j.CP4AU Adachi jC.pngGuard:
    , 5CP4AU Adachi 5C.pngGuard:
    , j.2DP4AU Adachi 2D-2.pngGuard:
    Total 57
  • Great pressure via his special-to-special-or-button cancels, paired with his throw crushing command grabs
  • Numerous great SB specials and supers to choose from for many situations
  • DP is very slow, but hits overhead so it can be used as a mix-up that also gets high reward on hit

Adachi is a rushdown character that harasses opponents with his large Persona buttons, and compounds upon that with his buff / install supers that help him snowball in a round. His basic combos are relatively easy, and he has many easily abusable tools in neutral and pressure.

LordKnight's Ease of Use Tier List

If you are looking for other sources, there is also an ease-of-use tier list from LordKnight, a former Persona 4 Arena / Ultimax competitive player and FGC personality. Do note that his list is based on getting completely started with these characters, and is not necessarily about how they scale into general competency / higher level play.

Source / explanation: YouTube.

What's interesting about all the other characters?

Here's a list describing all the other characters (WIP), and the general things about them that may make you interested in playing them or dissuade you from playing:
Aigis (Mode Change between Rushdown & Neutral)
Notable Traits

  • Execution-heavy
  • Insane mobility and mix-ups with Orgia. This character plays very fast when played optimally.
  • Relatively safe zoning and counter-zoning
  • Numerous near-unburstable combos
  • Looping safejumps
  • Dumbest air normal in the game in j.CP4Arena Aigis jC.pngGuard:

Aigis sprays the enemy with bullets to safely swap into Orgia Mode for extreme rushdown mobility and nigh-unblockable pressure.

Akihiko Sanada (Bruiser/Rushdown)
Notable Traits

  • Fluid moveset; special cancel chains that resemble a rekka series
  • Has command movement for dodging attacks
  • Doesn't rely on Persona
  • Rewards routing knowledge / precision with high damage, even meterless

Akihiko Sanada is a very close-range bruiser character who gets high damage reward for his risk. Has decent offensive options but struggles to get in to begin with and doesn't have exceptional mix-up either, but has unbelievably high damage potential if he lands a clean hit, even for Persona standards.

Chie Satonaka (Rushdown)
Notable Traits

  • Fast dash and airdash
  • Great frame data, pressure, looping safejumps or potential for projectile oki
  • Counter DP has very low recovery, can be whiffed without getting punished sometimes or to force Self-Awakening
  • Great damage with meter, sometimes can even TOD off trivial starters and as Shadow-type
  • Neutral skip super

Chie is a fast-moving rushdown character with a notable focus on huge damage conversions with meter. She has amazing frame data and cancel options to overwhelm the opponent on block alongside respectable strong mix-ups when she gets the chance. With meter, Chie uses her "Power Charge" super as a pause button and to buff herself to deal big damage mid combo / during her next combo. Her main downsides come from lacking strong ranged options and meter without damage, at times having to resort to reacting to the opponent's game to find an opening akin to Sho and Akihiko, and doing whatever she can to keep the pressure up at all costs.

Elizabeth (Midrange)
Notable Traits

  • Amazing mid-range, zoning, and anti-air game
  • Has potential access to so many status effects, including inflicting Negative Penalty
  • Insane meter economy and game:
    • Builds meter passively at all times, which gets stronger while in Awakening
    • Has a super that forces her into Self-AwakeningA technique in which a character purposefully lowers their own health to the Awakening threshold force themselves into Awakening state via their Furious Action, super cancels from specials, or perhaps both. while also converting her lost health into more meter
    • Extremely high damage potential with meter
  • Special moves become empowered when in Awakening as well
  • Horrid mobility and hands down worst defense in the game. Be prepared to block a lot if you aren't commanding the matchup, and if you somehow get Persona Broken, you're cooked.

Elizabeth is a highly-volatile mid-range character who excels in making the opponent explode off of just about anything due to her amazing meter economy, but also severely lacks conventional survivability and defense herself. She has great zoning potential, but she has to keep the opponent at arms length as much as she can else things can get very bad for her otherwise. She's not as conventionally mix-up heavy as other characters, but her unique Persona grab in 5D / j.DP4Arena Elizabeth 5D.pngGuard:
and air unblockable Persona attack in 214A/BP4Arena Elizabeth Mabufudyne.pngGuard:
Air Unblockable
Total 59
give her decently strong reset opportunities to make up for it.

It looks like there's two sets of the same characters in this game between Labrys and Sho Minazuki, how do I refer to each?

Shadow Labrys, the individual character that commands Asterius (the bull), is colloquially referred to as "Shabrys". Shadow-type Labrys, the playstyle variant of regular Labrys that still commands Ariadne is referred to as "S.Labrys" or sometimes just "S.Lab", in line with other Shadow-type characters (i.e. S.Yukari, S.Junpei).

The Persona-less version of Sho Minazuki is often referred to as just his first name, "Sho", while the version/personality of him that commands the Persona Tsukuyomi is referred to by the community as just the surname, "Minazuki".

Similar to how Sho / Minazuki are listed above, Labrys and Shabrys are two completely different characters. Labrys is a bruiser and snowball character, while Shabrys is rather a puppet character.

If you are curious about the differences between Sho and Minazuki, here is a simple video detailing them:

How Balanced Is This Game?

Persona is generally considered to be balanced enough that you can get good enough to blow up anyone with any character. There are basically no unplayed characters in this game due to character strength being relatively high, regardless of weaknesses some may have.

Some players have also released some more recent Tier Lists for the game since the rollback update for the re-release has come out, if you are curious as to where the characters you want to play may stand in relative strength.

Why is Ranked dead? And how else do I get online matches?

Short Answer: Players are playing on player rooms and public lobbies.

Instead of playing Ranked, a large majority of the community chooses to play on Player Rooms or Public Lobbies (if on PS4), with many of these rooms and matches optionally arranged through the Community Discord. The proper usage of these platforms solves most, if not all of the problems that most players have with the Ranked mode. Most importantly, it allows players to play versus others at many varieties of skill level including their own, fairly quickly and uninterrupted, for however long they may want to play.

The conclusion you may be coming to is that P4U2 may just be a Discord game. The answer is yes, it may be, and it's for your own good.

Why is the input interpreter so sensitive?

Short Answer: The default deadzone sensitivity is high, and can be changed in the settings.

If you've been trying out training mode, you may have been encountering issues with input sensitivity. This is probably true if you've been playing on PS4 or Xbox pad. It's not your controller- it's this game's deadzone sensitivity. The deadzone for input registration on analog sticks starts significantly lower in P4AU than most other fighting games. You can adjust this under Options > System Options > Dead Zone to set it closer to how other games have it. Most longtime veterans recommend you set the dead zone sensitivity around 40-50 for the best experience on pad.


How different is this game from Blazblue?

Since this game was directed by Toshimichi Mori of BlazBlue fame, it bears a lot of design similarities to BlazBlue, but there are still some parts that are not exactly the same:

  • There are far less command normals in Persona compared to BBCF. For example, there is no universal 6A/6B/6C/3C on every character.
  • There are more universal options, such as Evasive Action (A+C, effectively a dodge roll similar to KOF), Air Turn (j.A+C, exactly as it sounds), Hop (2A+C, dodges lows and throws), and Furious Action (B+D, universal reversal move on every character). Evasive Actions can also be used as a guard cancel option.
  • Many characters have an alternative "Shadow-type" that can be picked, that changes how many system mechanics work for the character. Not all characters have this option available, though.
  • When a character returns to neutral at <35% of their health, they enter an Awakening state where they gain a defense buff, a higher SP gauge (meter) max and +50 free SP to fill it, and access to one or more new supers. Note that this is not available for Shadow-types.
  • You cannot double jump after a super jump, but you can still air dash after a super jump.
  • You can cancel specials into supers, at the cost of converting some health into another form called "Blue Health" that can be recovered over time.
  • Not every character can combo off of their throw anywhere on screen, and for some, not even meterless. Some characters require the corner, while others require meter to be spent on a super cancel. Some characters require both.
  • When some characters' throws land as a Counter Hit or Fatal Counter, it may add some properties to the throw such as getting the CH damage bonus, more hitstun, or higher launches. This can allow better knockdown advantage, or even combos in some situations where they otherwise wouldn't.
  • You cannot throw an opponent that is in hitstun or blockstun ("Purple Throw") unless they are in a spin state, it will simply whiff.
  • As you would expect, you also cannot cancel A normals into throws on connect.
  • There is no Throw Reject Miss.
  • There is no universal install like Overdrive for normal-type characters, unless you are playing Shadow-type.
  • Burst while guarding gives a Defensive Burst, Burst in neutral gives Gold Burst which fills your meter like in Guilty Gear, and you can also use Burst mid combo to extend combo.
  • Fatal Counter grants an extra 5F of untechable hitstun instead of 3F in BlazBlue, making them more lenient and potent.
  • Instant Kill moves are possible when you are 1 round from winning and have 100 meter, no opponent health threshold must be met. However almost all of them are non-comboable, so their usage is very limited.
  • There is no "pressured guard" mechanic like Barrier, and in turn there are no universal unblockables.
  • Chip damage and using your Furious Action can also turn some existing health into "Blue Health", which can be recovered over time as long as you are not blocking, but is lost if you are hit.
  • Unlike most ASW games in general, almost every move is blockable in the air. In exchange, you cannot block strikes on your first 5 frames of being airborne, and every character has at least 1 dedicated air-unblockable move. Projectiles can still be blocked on airborne frame 1, however.
  • You cannot backdash for 1F after blocking something low, meaning you can only reversal backdash from crouch blocking a string if there's a 2F gap or larger (one for the lockout, and one for actually initiating the backdash). Stand blocking is unaffected by any backdash restrictions.
  • Air backdashes have start-up invincibility on frames 1-5, similar to a grounded backdash. In some situations, IABD instead of just fuzzy jump is a viable option.
  • If you have an attack-type Furious Action, it cannot be cancelled with One More Cancel on connect, only directly into supers.
  • There are no wake-up rolls or Blazblue-exclusive "quick tech" on wake-up; there's only the standard fully invincible emergency tech, delay tech, and no-tech.
  • Throw invulnerability on wake-up is half as much compared to BlazBlue (3F throw invuln as opposed to 6F). Out of hitstun or blockstun is almost identical to BlazBlue.
  • You are locked out of backdashing for 4 frames on wake-up. If some okizeme setups are done right, you will always have to take the meaty.

I heard that this game has pseudo-beginner mechanics like autocombos, one-button DPs... How do they affect the game?

In a nutshell, yes; as a licensed fighting game based off of a completely different genre, and thus having a completely different player demographic to take into consideration, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax does indeed have a good number of simplified / pseudo-beginner mechanics and design, such as:

  • Yes, autocombos.
  • Universal reversals with an easy input (button combination), in the form of Furious Action (B+D).
  • No motion inputs any more difficult than a quarter circle or charge motion.
  • Slightly widened input buffer (speculated 5F, as opposed to the typical 3F).

Now, are these mechanics "intrusive" or just plain "bad"? No, not at all. The game's integration of such mechanics is actually very intuitive, and very interactive at any level of play. For example:

  • Autocombos are only on the A button, and are only triggered if you press 5A again on hit or block, but not whiff. You can also stop them coming out altogether with 4A. There are a plethora of gameplay applications for autocombos in P4AU that make it viable and justifiably better than every other autocombo implementation in any other fighting game, if you take a look at it on the Offense page.
  • No attack-type ("DP") Furious Action is any faster than 10 frames, and many have disadvantageous recovery states (i.e. CH / Fatal Recovery state, crouching landing recovery, or perhaps both). This, paired with other game mechanics makes them incredibly easy and rewarding to safe-jump or bait, even in some mix-up situations as opposed to very fast reversals in other gamesGGAC Sol 623S.pngGuard:
    29+10 after landing
    • Note that not everyone has a "traditional" attack-type Furious Action either. Some of them function as counter moves, or also have other unique weaknesses (i.e. Margaret's Furious Action being a techable throw.)
  • There are no motion inputs in this game more complicated than quarter circles (236/214), charge moves ([4]6, [2]8), and "down down" (22) for specials, and then double quarter circles (236236/214214) for supers. Even with only these inputs, there is still plenty of high-execution potential in this game if you want it.
    • Ditto for widened input buffer.

What's the difference between Normal and Shadow-type characters?

If you missed the "Shadow Type" summary link on the main page, you can read up on the differences between the two types here.

I also heard Shadow-types are "broken", does that mean that I shouldn't bother with the Normal-type character?

Short Answer: Many shadow-types are great, but normal-types are fine too.

At a higher levels of play, there are many Shadow-type characters that are often strictly better than their normal counterparts. A lot of them can potentially overclock a character's gameplan and gimmicks to a degree that is clearly unmatchable by most Normal-types, but this does not mean that Normal-type characters aren't to be played. There are various reasons why you may want to play a Normal-type over a Shadow-type. For example:

  • Some characters' Normal-type auto-combos may be more favorable than the Shadow-type's.
    • Example: Naoto's Normal-type 5AA is an additional low that moves her forward, is jump-cancellable on block, and can beat certain option selects for a full combo as it is her best non-Fatal starter period, a privilege that some other characters do not have.
  • Your character or playstyle may be naturally too meter-hungry to save up SP for damaging Shadow Frenzy combos.
    • Example: Kanji needs to spend meter to get threatening damage on normal hit & access his best non-super reversal option, SB grab.
  • Your character just may not get a good enough or worthwhile reward off of burning their Burst and all their meter at once on Frenzy combos, and OMB is more suitable.
    • Example: Normal-type Narukami can already easily clear 4400+ damage from a One More Burst mid-combo alone, without having to spend the rest of his valuable SP at that same time like he would have to with Shadow Frenzy.

Here is probably the quickest summary of what makes a Shadow-type or Normal-type preferable, as briefly detailed by long time general AFG player and former competitive P4A/U player, LordKnight:

"Basically, the standout shadow chars are super flexible with meter for cashing out. If a char doesn't have this, then you should consider normal version for them."

What he is saying is combining the principles of the second and third listed points; the best Shadow-type characters are able to conserve lots of meter without compromising their gameplay, and can make big enough returns on the investment once they get the opportunity. Your character may or may not be able to do that efficiently, and if not, it may be a good idea to stick with Normal-type instead.

But Is Shadow Naoto Broken?

Short Answer: augh

With the Persona system, isn't every character a puppet character in this game? And doesn't that mean it's complicated to use?

Short Answer: No.

While some puppet characters do exist in Persona, and others may rely on attacking in tandem with their Persona, a large majority of characters do not necessarily rely on tandem capabilities. Most of them may have only 1 or 2 moves that allow them set up their Persona for attacks in conjunction with the user, with only a few more being involved in their main gameplan on top of that, or some of them don't have that capability at all.

The Persona mechanic is also not complicated at all. The game is laid out with 4 buttons, 2 normal buttons and 2 Persona normal buttons, but more often than not the movesets are rather designed as 3 commonly used normal attacks in A / B / C, and then the D button serves as a kind of pseudo-special move with the Persona. This is relatively similar to other anime fighting games, obviously the most reminiscent being BlazBlue.

Why does my Persona attack from different positions sometimes?

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax prides itself on a mechanic involving Personas that's commonly referred to as "Persona Displacement", and it's exactly as it sounds. In simple terms:

  1. Certain Persona normals or special moves may "displace" a Persona
  2. When a Persona is displaced, any other Persona normals / specials used in quick succession will be performed from the Persona's displaced position, instead of from the user's position
  3. This can continue until the user lets the Persona disappear, or they run out of chain options

This is an interesting mechanic because for many characters, this can potentially open up new pressure and combo routes, and options in neutral. Here are some examples:

  • Narukami can send out Izanagi with 5D, then Evasive Action through the opponent (A+C), and then perform 5D~D with Izanagi on the other side of the opponent, sandwiching them. He can then continue pressure with Izanagi's other chain options from 5D~D (5C, 2C, Zio) while the opponent is still sandwiched between the two. if 5D~D hit the opponent, this would set up for a sandwich combo that can do more damage than his normal midscreen combo.
  • In Adachi's "Tennis" combo routes, he sends out Magatsu-Izanagi into the air, and then uses j.C from Magatsu-Izanagi's new displaced position in the air to send the opponent back down towards him for an incredibly sick combo extension.
  • Adachi can also displace Magatsu-Izanagi to the opponent's position in neutral with 2D, and then follow up with a 5C afterward to catch them off guard!

A large majority of characters can make use of Persona Displacement, and you should experiment with it to figure out how your character and their Persona can interact with and benefit from this mechanic.