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Frequently Asked Questions

What is P4U2 and P4AU? What is 2.0 and 2.5?

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. 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 - Jack of all trades character, solid tools for every situation, strong at any level of play
  • Sho - Primarily a mix-up character, good offense and defense, plays like a traditional character as he does not use a Persona, literally only needs to know 1 combo to start playing.
  • Minazuki - Versatile rushdown and stagger pressure character, very easy yet very high damage potential, also has solid tools for most situations.
  • Adachi - Large button rushdown / harassment character, beginner combos are easy, plenty of abusable tools in both 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.

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? πŸ€“"

β€œ Good enough that you can get good and blow up anyone with any character. β€ž
~ as per GGACR FAQ, on the subject of "balance"


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 are able to cancel into supers from specials, 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, unless you are playing Shadow-type. Burst while guarding gives a Defensive Burst, Burst in neutral gives Gold Burst, and using Burst mid combo is just a combo extender.
  • Fatal Counter combos grant an extra 5F of untechable hitstun all throughout the combo instead of just 3F like 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.
  • There is no "pressured guard" mechanic like Barrier, and in turn there are no universal unblockables like Crush Trigger.
  • 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+8 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.)
  • Even with quarter circles and charge only, 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?

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 them forward and can beat certain option selects for a full combo, 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? πŸ”«πŸ€“πŸ’€"

β€œ Please play the game for yourself. β€ž
~ Sun Tzu

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

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.