Persona 4: Arena Ultimax 2

Persona 4: Arena Ultimax 2 (P4U2) is a 2D air dasher fighter with all your favorite Persona 3 and Persona 4 characters. The Persona mechanic lets you summon deities to fight along with you. You can inflict RPG status effects like confusion or charm in battle. This game is accessible to newcomers while still being complex enough at the highest level to satisfy veterans. And like the main Persona games, this game oozes style everywhere.

Helpful Resources

The P4U2 wiki.

Notation

Attack Notation

A Weak Attack
B Strong Attack
C Persona Attack
D Persona Rush

Directional Notation

up-back up up-forward
back neutral forward
down-back down down-forward

Numpad Notation

7 8 9
4 5 6
1 2 3

High attacks are overhead attacks that must be stand blocked. Mid attacks are attacks that can be blocked with both stand block and crouch block.

Persona 4: Arena Ultimax 2 uses Modern frame data notation. If an attack has 7 frames of startup, it hits on the 7th frame.

Chip damage inflicts recoverable damage. Blue health recovers after not being in hitstun or blockstun for a certain amount of time.

Running can be canceled into attacking.

Roll is performed with A+B. Rolls are immediately projectile-invulnerable then strike-invulnerable on frame 3. The end of the Roll lacks any invulnerability and can be punished. Rolls can be thrown at any time.

A+B and any downward direction is a hop. Hop is airborne and goes over low attacks and throws. All your air attacks are available during a hop but they hit mid and not high. Normal attacks can be canceled into hop to continue pressure.

P4U2 has an auto combo system. By mashing 5A repeatedly, the game automatically performs a combo for you and ends it with a super attack. Auto combos are very easy to hit confirm but are never optimal as damage is scaled to make up for lack of difficulty. Most players do 5A or 5AA then convert into a "real" combo with B or C normal attacks.

5AA is not plus on block but it's a good tool for approaching and starting rushdown because both hits pull your opponent closer to you. Both hits can be canceled into a jump or hop to keep the pressure going. Dash into 5A is a great tool for approaching.

Blocking a couple frames before an attack connects is an Instant Block. It reduces blockstun by 2 frames. The character flashes white during it.

Note: Sho and Shadow Labrys are not Persona users

Summon your Persona by pressing the C and D buttons. C is Persona Attack and D is Persona Rush. Some of these attacks can cancel into other C or D attacks. When your Persona's attacks hit, you can cancel into a jump or dash for pressure.

The cards near your health bar act like your Persona's health bar. If you summon your Persona and they get hit, you lose a card. When you get hit or have your throw teched while your Persona is out, you lose a card. When your cards run out, your Persona is disabled for a certain amount of time. During that time the tools that are attached to your Persona like Bursting, DPing, and certain special/super attacks are disabled as well.

Hitting a Persona counts as a hit for canceling purposes. There are attacks that are special cancelable or jump cancelable on hit but not on block that work on Personas.

2A+B is the universal sweep. It's used for to end combos with a knockdown.

5A+B is the universal overhead All Out Attack. It has a lot of startup and recovery and is unsafe on block (if not One More! Canceled). When the character flashes white, they're in a guard point and will automatically block attacks. After All Out Attack hits, mash/hold A and B to pummel your opponent then press C to launch or D to blow them back.

B+D is the universal invincible Furious Action. For some characters it's an invincible DP. For other characters it's movement or a shield. Furious Action consumes recoverable health. Furious Action can be super canceled.

You can hold any direction and press B+D to perform a Furious Action. In most games, you have to press the forward direction to DP, preventing you from blocking. This game is different as you can hold 4 or 1 to block and press B+D when you would be locked in blockstun to get out of pressure.

Backdashes are invincible at the start.

Characters have double jumps and air dashes. Backwards air dash is invincible.

There is air blocking and it blocks both grounded and air attacks. You cannot air block during the pre-jump frames and the first few frames that you are airborne. Attacks are flagged to be air unblockable like 2B. When an air unblockable attack is successful, there is an exclamation mark.

Press A+C in the air to manually turn around. There are a couple uses for this. Your two air dashes are different. Your forward air dash travels farther, meaning you can turn around and forward dash away from your opponent to get away. Your back air dash is invincible, meaning you can turn around and approach with some invincibility.

Certain attacks gain extra properties on counter hit. These are called Fatal Counters and start new combos.

After a knockdown, press any attack button to quick recover. After getting hit out of the air, hold 4, 5, 6, or 8 to air recover. Your character is invincible when they're flashing white. You need to vary your timing on recovering in this game as the Persona system makes it very easy to chase recoveries.

Throws are performed with C+D and are teched with the same input. There is a whiff animation if unsuccessful. Regular grounded throws can be canceled into a super attack. Throws can be performed in the air as well. Throws have 5 frames of startup. The throw tech window is 16 frames. Characters are throw-invulnerable 6 frames after leaving blockstun and 8 frames after leaving Instant Block blockstun.

If you expect your opponent to tech your throw, you can hop over it and punish.

Throws are teched with any direction, including all jumping directions. There is Jump Back Option Select. Crouch block for a couple frames, jump back and throw tech, then go back to crouch blocking. The command is 1, 7C+D, 1. If your opponent throws you, you will tech their throw. If your opponent attacks you, you will be locked in blockstun and continue blocking. If your opponent doesn't hit you with an attack, you will jump backwards whiffing an air throw. If your opponent hops, you will air throw them. Jump Back Option Select loses to delayed attacks that hit it during the jump's pre-jump frames and it can be anti-aired.

Recording 1: Akihiko does a hop then throw
Recording 2: Akihiko does a hop then 2AA
Recording 3: Akihiko does a hop then another hop

Skill Boosts are enhanced versions of special attacks and cost 25 SP. Perform them with the special input and two attack buttons. SP Skill Attacks are your super attacks and cost 50 SP. They're usually performed with 236236 and an attack button. SB SP Skill Attacks are enhanced super attacks and cost 75 SP. They're performed with the SP Skill Attack motion and two attack buttons.

One More! Cancel is performed with A+B+C when an attack connects. It is a Roman Cancel that costs 50 SP.

Press 6A+C in blockstun to perform a Guard Cancel Roll. It costs 50 SP. It is invincible when the character flashes white. Use it for switching sides, going through multi-hitting attacks, and avoiding Persona attacks.

Guard Cancel Attack is this game's Alpha Counter. Press 6A+B in blockstun to perform it. It costs 50 SP, is invincible while the character flashes white, and can be One More! Canceled on hit.

A character enters Awakening when their health falls below 35% and they are in neutral. In Awakening, the maximum amount of meter is extended to 150 SP, 50 SP is automatically gained, defense is boosted, and the Awakening super attack is now available. Because characters only enter Awakening in neutral, players get their opponent's health bar as close to 36% as possible and hope they can kill with the next combo without triggering Awakening.

Awakening's health requirement also includes recoverable health, which means you can enter it by spamming Furious Action.

Shadow characters do not enter Awakening, instead they activate Shadow Frenzy by spending Burst and pressing A+B+C. The meter becomes a timer that depletes when used for special attacks and super attacks. During Shadow Frenzy, special or super attacks can be canceled into any other special or super attack. The only restriction being that you can't use the same attack more than once in the same combo. All normal attacks are now jump cancelable. Shadow Frenzy cannot be Bursted so it's very common for characters to die during Shadow Frenzy combos.

All your favorite RPG status effects from Persona 4 are here. Most effects go away when you hit your opponent. Poison drains your health bar. Confusion reverses forward and back inputs but you can block with either direction if you're crouching. Fear disables throw teching and makes all attacks on you Fatal Counters. Rage gives you a damage boost but disables blocking. Silence disables your Persona. Shock disables regular movement so you have to jump, hop, and Roll. Charm depletes SP. Freeze freezes. Debilitation puts you in negative penalty status where you take 50% more damage and need to keep advancing forward or you'll lose all your meter.

Burst

Burst is a defensive mechanic used primarily in hitstun or blockstun to get out of danger. In blockstun, it's used to escape pressure. In hitstun, it can be used as a combo breaker. It is usually the only defensive mechanic available in hitstun and for that reason it is the most valuable defensive mechanic. In most games, Burst is a separate resource that builds independently from the other resources. Burst meter builds with time and/or by taking damage and does not reset between rounds. If it's the first round and there is a 95% chance you'll lose the round, don't waste your Burst because you will wait a long time before you have access to it again.

Burst is very unsafe on block and whiff so you need to know when to Burst. It's better to Burst reactively than predicatively. You should Burst combos that do a lot of damage, corner carry, and/or end in okizeme. Don't Burst jump cancelable attacks, light attacks, combo extenders, or attacks with a lot of hitstun/hitstop.

In P4U2, press A+B+C in hitstun or blockstun to Blue Burst. It has 16 frames of startup and is very unsafe on block like in most games.

Let's look at baiting Bursts from the attacker's perspective. During a combo, the attacker can end their combo, hold back to block the Burst, then block punish it. It's like a reset. Every character can do this but you're giving up a guaranteed combo because you're scared of the Burst. Don't play scared. You're comboing your opponent and they should be scared of you, you shouldn't be scared of them.

The attacker can use attacks that send their opponent far away from them while still continuing the combo. Launchers, wall bounces, ground bounces, and ceiling bounces extend combos while creating enough distance to make Bursts whiff.

If the game has air blocking, the attacker can hit a jump cancelable attack in their combo, jump, then air block the Burst.

Attacks with a lot of hitstun or hitstop give the attacker enough time to react to a Burst and cancel their attack. In this example, the attacker cancels their attack with a Roman Cancel to return to neutral to block the Burst. You're not necessarily reacting to seeing a Burst; if you see your opponent's character do anything other than reeling in pain, you know they're Bursting.

Combos can be made Burst safe. An attack in the combo needs to have its startup, active, and recovery frames combined be less than the startup of the Burst. When you add up all the frames of Chie's 5A attack, it is less than 16 frames which is the startup of Blue Burst. She can whiff the entire attack and recover fast enough to block it. During 5A, all the attacker has to do is hold back and if the opponent Bursts, 5A whiffs and the Burst will be blocked.

Burst safe combos sacrifice damage for safety. These combos are not Burst safe throughout its entirety, just through parts of it. Let's say the attacker has a 10 hit combo that does a ton of damage. The first 5 hits do a little damage but from the 6th hit and on the damage really starts to increase. It'll take the defender a couple of seconds to recognize the combo they're in and they'll probably want to Burst before the 6th hit. It would make sense for the attacker to create a modified version of the combo that is Burst safe on the 4th and/or 5th hit.

Don't fight scared. If you are in a situation that forces your opponent to consider Bursting, then you have the advantage. If you do half a combo and they Burst, that's a victory for you because you still hurt them. If you do no damage and they Burst, that's still a victory for you because their Burst is gone and it will be a long time until they have it again.

In P4U2, a Burst in neutral is a Gold Burst. Gold Bursts are faster and +10 on block. On hit, they build full SP, recover Persona Gauge, and recover 25% Burst Gauge. Waking up is not considered being in hitstun or blockstun so wakeup Gold Burst is a safe wakeup reversal.

A Burst when your attack connects it is a One More! Burst. It's a Roman Cancel that uses Burst Gauge instead of SP meter. On hit, it launches your opponent high into the air for a juggle.

Safe Bursts can be used like an invincible DP. After your attack is blocked and your opponent has the frame advantage, you can Burst to beat their retaliation. The obvious drawback to this is you have to spend your Burst so this is a technique players use more often when they're winning instead of losing.