Persona 4 Arena

Game review by
Mark Raby, Common Sense Media
Persona 4 Arena Game Poster Image
Decent fantasy fighting game, but filled with swearing.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Persona 4 Arena wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

Positive Messages

This game is all about fighting, although it is mostly in the context of characters competing in a professional fighting tournament. There is an underlying storyline with a more nefarious plot and players are cast as the good guy trying to get rid of this evil force. However, the frequent profanity and malevolent dialogue spoken by all characters in this game lead to an overall message that isn't positive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players assume the role of the good guys in this game, but they act more as though they are motivated by self interest as opposed to the good of others. Even the protagonist characters use swear words from time to time, so although there is nothing grossly reprehensible about the main characters in this game, they also would not qualify as great role models.

Ease of Play

The gameplay style of this title is a bit different than most fighting games because instead of battling one-on-one against an opponent, players also fight with a mystical companion known as their "Persona." Opponents also have Personas, so it is more like a two-on-two battle. To be successful in this game, players need to develop strategies in which they attack both on their own and with their Persona, which sometimes requires the use of complex button combinations. Opponents get more difficult as the game progresses, to the point where players cannot simply win by haphazardly pressing buttons on their controller. Practice and strategy are essential, and players need to invest time and focus to understand the intricacies of these controls.


Violence is essentially the only element of gameplay in the entire game. This is a fighting game, so players go from battle to battle, with the only interruptions marked for story sequences and dialogue, over which the players have no control. The fighting is against other characters and their magical persona, and involves martial arts as well as weapons such as machine guns, axes, and magical bursts. The fighting is mitigated by characters who are extremely fantastical in nature, as are the various magic spells and over-the-top cartoon-like attacks. In addition, characters do not emit blood when attacked, and when opponents die they simply disappear and the game moves on. There is, however, one arena in which blood splatter is part of the background.


Some of the female characters strike suggestive poses from time to time, and the dialogue contains various references and innuendo to sexuality, with lines about dirty magazines, characters trying to "score" with one another, and use of the word "breasts."


Profanity is regularly heard throughout the dialogue, including the words "ass" and "s--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There is one character who smokes cigars.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Persona 4 Arena is a fighting game set in the surreal fantasy world of the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona video game franchise. Players battle a series of characters and monsters from the previous games in the series, along with their partner known as a "Persona." The battles contain various types of attacks, including punching and kicking, along with weapons like swords and guns and much more fantastical attacks, such as magic spells and colorful bursts. While no blood appears during the actual combat, one of the fighting stages contains blood spots in the background. The female characters sometimes pose in provocative positions, and there is dialogue that contains sophomoric sexual innuendo. In addition, one character is depicted smoking a cigar.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRachael Ward September 11, 2012

Persuing the truth and accepting yourself

This game is one of the best fighting games that I have seen in awhile. It is very rare to find a game of this genre that is easy to learn how to play and offer... Continue reading
Parent of a 3, 3, and 5-year-old Written byjonallypugliese1023 November 1, 2013

Persona 4 Arena

Wow I'm surprised this wasn't given another "Not For Kids" rating like Persona 4 Golden was which it shouldn't have been given. Pretty... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's it about?

PERSONA 4 ARENA lives up to the Persona franchise's history of long-winded and convoluted storylines. The story starts off simply enough, with a plot about a bunch of characters wanting to compete in an arena-style fighting competition. However, when a few of them end up disappearing, a more nefarious plot is unveiled. Players are called into action, now fighting for their friends' freedom instead of just a friendly sportsmanlike competition. Ambiguity of good versus evil comes into play when the mastermind behind the ordeal ends up controlling other characters' minds, leading to a series of twists and turns in the story where no one can be trusted.

Is it any good?

Persona 4 Arena is part of an extremely niche video game series. Anyone not intimately familiar with the previous installments of the role-playing game franchise will likely be overwhelmed by this title. On the flip side, those who are fans of the series will enjoy the vast selection of characters and creatures that are included in this game. While the storyline is intricate and goes down a lot of winding roads (just like other titles in this franchise), it doesn't really pull players in quite as much because the gameplay is focused solely on combat as opposed to exploration and puzzle-solving. Nevertheless, this game is designed to bring the Persona characters into another genre, and it does that very well. This fighting game isn't for everyone, but anyone who is already a fan of this series will be pleased with all that it has to offer.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the fantastical nature of the violence in this game. Do you feel the violent content is inappropriate? Does it have any connection to the real world?

  • What are your thoughts on the "good guys" in this game? Would you consider them to be role models? Why or why not?

  • How would you react if someone tried to sabotage your chances of winning a competition?

Game details

  • Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, decision-making
    Self-Direction: achieving goals, effort
  • Price: $59.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Atlus
  • Release date: August 7, 2012
  • Genre: Fighting
  • ESRB rating: T for Language, Mild Blood, Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco, Violence
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fast action

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