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This month’s Bitmob Writing Challenge on game controls is due by Sunday, September 30. You can read the rules here, and now I'm going to share an example piece focusing on Persona 4 Arena. Those who have grown partial to this feature over the years might want to contribute to this particular one — let’s just say, for me at least, we’ve reached the final save point.

Persona 4 Arena

While I complained about Persona 4 Arena’s long-winded Story Mode in the past, my feelings for the game are very positive. I was a little burned by Arc System Works’s BlazBlue series, which felt like a lesser copycat of the company's previous franchise Guilty Gear, but this brawler based on the popular role-playing game is a nice balance between the developer's unique style and new ideas.

What an overworded first paragraph. Weren’t you the person who told others to work more on their intros last month?

Wait, who are you?

Then again, you've never listened to your own advice.

Oh, I know where this is going. This is the bit in the Persona series where characters meets their Shadow — everything they don't like about themselves — and the doppelgangers rile them up to gain more power and kill them. I won’t fall for this.

Shows what you know. I only wanted to know what you thought of the controls for the game.


Really? The controls are great and probably the simplest a 2D fighting game can get without turning it into Super Smash Bros. You have four buttons. Two of them are your standard light and heavy attacks. The other two summon a character’s Persona, a familiar that performs unique techniques. They're great for maintaining pressure on the opponent, but if they get hit too many times, you’ll lose the ability to do those attacks, some special moves, and a burst technique that lets you escape combos.

Whoa buddy — you’re babbling on again. The only combo the majority of the people playing this are going to do is pressing the light attack a bunch of times in a row.

The auto-combo? That’s actually a very smart idea. Hitting that button repeatedly performs a canned attack series that ends with a super combo. The combos that advance players will use are more rewarding, but this gives newcomers an basic entry point.

Even the special moves themselves are easier to do than in other games. Every technique is either a quarter-circle or charge motion with no complicated inputs in sight. Each character also has an “R Action” that functions as a Shoryuken, or counter, and only takes two buttons to do. Because the basic setup is so accessible, it removes the need for “simple” controls that dumb down the game for beginners.

Look at Seth Killian, Jr. over here. I’m sure everyone will think you’re smart while you pray you don’t embarrass yourself on a tournament online stream again. Look at these controls:

Persona 4 Arena Controls

Arc System Works games were always for the people who need 90 mechanics and five special meters to enjoy themselves, and all of this flies over the head of everyone else. Do you think the average player will use the Air Turn to do cross-ups?

“Cross-up” is jargon. Non-fighting game fans won’t understand that.

They can Google it. That’s not mentioning the different RPG status effects like paralysis and confusion that screw up your inputs. You were clueless when you first started playing this.

Whatever. What’s the fun of a game where everything is obvious? I do agree that the button layout feels cramped at first, but you can always map these functions to other places on the controller. When I had to use a PlayStation 3 pad in a tournament, I was able to play fine with practice even though I prefer an arcade stick.

The same event where you didn’t win a match, and you complained on Facebook about how doing that messed you up? Plus, you were using that easy-mode broad, Mitsuru, too.

Hey! I would have used her even if she weren't the best character in the game.

Of course, because all you play are female characters. And you have the nerve to complain about swimsuit costumes and objectification? Hypocrite.




Why don't you admit that the game still has a high barrier of entry, coward? I won't judge you. After all, I am you.

No! You're not — ha! You almost got me.

Drat. My super form was really creepy, too.

I do agree that while Persona 4 Arena's controls are intuitive for beginners, it’s still an Arc System Works game. Street Fighter has more buttons and difficult motions, but you can do well just by understanding the moves you have and learning basic combos. In P4A you have a different one for every situation: The ground combo, the anti-air combo, the counter-hit combo, and so on. Certain things like having to mash out all the hits of an All-Out Attack perfectly to get the most rewarding punishments are also annoying. Overall, however, I believe this is a great title to get into both ASW games and fighters in general.

OK, OK. I’m kind of a prick, too.