Persona Nation's Noob Tutorial

This tutorial is mainly aimed at those who have no idea how to tackle an Arc System Works game. Advance players may benefit from this guide at the later stages.
I created this due to my fighting game experience being mainly Street Fighter, MVC and Tekken.
When i first played Persona 4 Arena i had no idea what i was doing and played it like a regular Capcom game. There was way to many mechanics to remember and it seemed as if everyone knew what they were doing apart from me. After searching the net from various sources I started to get the hang of it. In this tutorial I will outline the steps that I went through in order to become a fairly decent player. This guide is by no means perfect and will be consistently updated. There will also be a part 2 and 3 at a later date which will deal with some real advance tactics.

The main aim of this tutorial is for new players to develop a strong foundation which will allow them to further their knowledge and understanding not only in Persona 4 Arena but other fighting games as well.

Finally, before we get started one quick note. When learning this game you are going to make a ton of mistakes and mess up a lot. That is fine and part of the process of improving. Don't be to hard on yourself when this happens. Also the sections that say "PLAY" DO NOT SKIP THEM!! Spend an hr, 2hrs, a day, or even a week until you get the hang of it.

With all of that said let us continue.  :)



Persona 4 Arena compared to other fighting games has a very simple button layout. Some may say it is similar to King of Fighters. You have 4 main attack buttons (A,B,C,D). A and B are use to attack with your character, whiles C and D summon and attack with a Persona. The joystick/Dpad is used to move your character around. They can jump by pushing  up, crouch by holding down and move left and right.

If you press forward twice and hold it in this position the player will begin to dash forward. Likewise if you press back twice they will dash backwards. This can also be performed in the air.

push up to jump. Push up again whiles you are in the air and another jump will be performed. If you press down-up quickly a super jump will be initiated.


In the above picture we have a diagram of an Arcade stick. The layout however should be the same on a PS3 and Xbox 360 pad :D. 


To block an attack in Persona 4 Arena simply hold back on your joystick/dpad. There are 3 main types of blocking. The one just mentioned will stop high attacks and when an opponent jumps in on you. The second type of blocking is performed by holding down back on the joystick/dpad. This is use to defend against anyone who chooses to attack your feet. Finally, air blocking is performed by simply holding back whiles in the air.


I have to say when I first saw the UI for Persona 4 Arena i was lost completely.  There's so much going on at once compared to other fighters....or that's how it appears at first. :) Lets examine the following screenshot together.

From looking at the above picture we can see that there are 5 main components of the user interface.

LIFE(HP) = indicates how much health your character has. When it reaches zero they will lose. 

SP METER = which is at the bottom of the screen is implemented in the same way as most other fighting games out there. It is built up during a match and can be used to unleash enhanced super moves for your character. 

TIME = how long you have untill the round is over.

THE BURST GAUGE =  This is another important mechanic. However, this will be discussed in detail later. For the time being just be aware of it. 

PERSONA CARDS. These can be described as a sort of health gauge for your persona.......again more on this later. Do not worry about it for now.

The definitions i have given are extremely brief. Don't worry if you don't understand it right away. Just no that these are the key elements you will be paying attention to when in battle.  :)


Now that you have a basic understanding of the controls go to our character page here and choose the player you wish to train with. Select the moves/combo's title and watch the "Atlus video" to learn all the attacks that your character has. For the sake of this tutorial i will be using Chie Santonaka as an example.

Once you have watched your characters video go into training and practice their moves.


When you believe you are fairly decent at executing your characters moves in training, enter the challenge mode and select your fighter.This stage is extremely important. ONLY DO CHALLENGES 1-10, since that is all you've learnt so far. In case you get stuck refer back to your character's move video. Alternatively, go to our character selection screen and choose your player. You should see a Challenges/Trials title, select that and watch the video. Once again i will use Chie as an example.

(thanks to VesperArcade for creating the following video)

(NOTE: Some of the challenge videos that we have linked to begin at trial 11. If this is the case for your character simply use the ATLUS move video)


Now that you have learned your characters moves and gone through the first 10 challenges simply play the game. Forget all the complex system mechanics for now. Go into arcade mode, story, online etc and get a good feel for the game.When your ready to advance continue to stage 2. :)



Now that you have a very basic understanding of how the game plays we can dive deeper and learn some of the system mechanics. This is probably the most intimidating area when it comes to an Arc System Works game. The key is not to try and remember it all at once. Remember one or two at most. When they begin to feel natural and don't require much thought go back and learn some more.

The next tutorial video will go through a brief recap of what we learnt in stage 1. It will then move forward to a few key fundamentals. We will learn about "Persona Breaks", Throwing, Auto combo's, Furious Attacks, Burst Attacks, All Out Attacks and Awakenings. .

Complex huh? Don't worry we're only  learning a few of these at a time. Lets start with the very basic mechanics:

Persona Break.
As the video demonstrated when your opponent uses their persona and it or the player takes a hit, it will cause one of their cards to fade out. Knock out all of their cards and a Persona break will be initiated. Your opponent will be unable to use their Persona for a short period of time.

This is pretty much the same as any other fighting games. By pressing the C and D together you will throw your opponent even when they are blocking. This can also be performed in the air.

As a good introduction to combo's, Arc System Works has included a mechanic which allows you to perform a fairly decent combo with minimum effort. Simply tap A repeatedly. If you have enough SP meter a special will be initiated towards the end.

I STRONGLY recommend using the Auto combo feature for all your combo's from here on. Do this until you learn how your attacks can be strung together.


Now that we have gotten our head around these 3 mechanics, go into training mode, Arcade, Versus, Online and try them out. As always, only when these become second nature may you progress on to the next stage to learn the rest.  :)


Well, hopefully by now the last 3 mechanics are a piece of cake. If they are not i strongly RECOMMEND you learn them first to get the most out of this guide and of the game. I say this because things are about to get much more complicated in the next 2 stages.  :)

Well then, let us briefly go over the remaining 4 mechanics from previous tutorial video.

Furious Attack 
This ability can be described as a counter. If your opponent is rushing you down with attacks you may want to consider using this as a form of escape.This is executed by pressing the B and D buttons at the same time. Your attack will go through theirs and in most cases knock them away from you. The downfall is that some of your life will be sacrificed in the process. This however will be refilled over time. Another downfall is that if you miss time this counter and your opponent doesn't attack you, your left wide open to be punished.

Burst allow's you to repel your opponent away from you. As mentioned in the video it is referred to as a last resort. This is because the burst gauge takes a very long time to recover. I personally recommend using it when you are caught in a long damaging combo. A burst attack is executed by pressing the A, C and D buttons together.

All Out Attack
This is another universal mechanic that the entire cast possess. It is a instant overhead and can lead to some flashy damaging combo's. This is executed by pressing the A and B buttons together. If it hits and you keep mashing these two buttons, more damage will be inflicted. To finish this attack off press the C or D button. The C button will launch them into the sky for an air combo. The D button will knock them away.

Awakening State
When your health falls to 35% you will enter the awakening mode. This grants you more SP meter and some extra special abilities. (see your characters moves video for more information on these unique attacks)


Once again go ahead and practice what you have learnt before continuing. I won't lie learning all of these mechanics was definitely no walk in the park. After a while however, you will start to get the hang of it.The reason I recommend everyone master a few mechanics at a time is because if you will overload yourself with to much information, you will become frustrated and lose interest very quickly. This happen to me when i first started out.   :)


Now that we have the basic mechanics out of the way, i think its time you learn some combo's as this will be your main form of offence. To begin with go to our character page and choose your player. Now select move/combo on the following page. There are a number of different combo videos for you to watch. I recommend copying only the ones that look practical and are easiest to pull off. Some of these videos have very long and flashy combo's, however, they could never be used in an actual match. To demonstrate this step i will use a Chie video once again.   :)

OK. So if we briefly examine the above video by BrawlersupTv we can see that the first 2 combo's don't look to bad. There not to easy nor to hard. Therefore if i was a noob (which i still i am) i would put most of my focus on them first. If you notice after these initial combo's they become quite extreme. Don't worry about that. Just focus on the ones you can do rather then the ones you can't. As always once you have learned these and your up for something more challenging, return to learn some more.

My other bit of advice is to go back into Challenge/Trial mode and do missions 11-15 only. These focus on some basic practical combo's and will surely help you progress further.


Finally, play a load of matches and just have fun. All of this in depth stuff will click into place once you have a ton of in game experience. :)


Well, if you've made it this far, well done. Progress through this stage and the next only once you have a solid understanding of the previous steps. The good news is by now you should be able to learn most other fighting games with ease. Most of the previous lessons can be applied to other titles. ;)

Well then, lets go deeper once again with some more "system mechanics. First, lets take a look at Atlus's second tutorial.

Not to bad right? Funny thing is I reckon these "Advance Techniques" are easier to learn than then the previous video.  :)

Lets quickly go through some of them. 

When you get knocked away by your opponent hold down any of your attack or Persona buttons to quickly recover. This should be one of your top priority's when in battle. 

Throw Escape
Throws can be evaded by simply imputing the throw command (C and D together). Use this when someone attempts to grab you. In some cases you can use your furious attack. This however will cost some life.

Evasive Action
This is a technique that the King of Fighters is known for. Press the A and C buttons together to dodge a projectile or an attack. This can be used as a way of getting in on your opponent by slipping through their offence  Also, if your in a corner and someone is trying to rush you, it can be used as a form of escape.


You no the drill. Play around in the various modes until these become second nature. Then return for return for the final set of mechanics.  :)

Hop And Sweep
The hop is also a key feature in the King of Fighters. This move can be achieved by pressing A and C together whiles holding down on the Joystick/Dpad. I normally use this to mix my offence up and apply some unorthodox pressure. Next the sweep, by holding down and pressing A and B together you will knock your opponents off their feet. Use this at the end of combo's so that you have the advantage when your opponent tries and gets back up. 

One More Cancel
This is used to cancel your move animation. It is most effective to extend combo's or to save your self when your left open. This can be executed by pressing the A,B, and C buttons together.

Status Ailments Effects
Certain attacks in the game deal Ailment effects. This is character dependant. Your game will be completely off balance. There are however a few ways to adapt.

Poison =  This temporarily drains your health.Usually I  keep my distance and then instantly switch to attacking to throw them off guard.
Panic  = This temporarily reverses your controls. I haven't really been to affected by this to much. My advice is to imagine yourself on the other side. Alternatively, use multiple super jumps to kill the time.
Rage  = This temporarily  disables your ability to block. You do however become a bit stronger. Depending on the situation you can either rush in for an attack(if you have a lot of health) or stay back to play it safe (if you have low health)
Shock = This temporarily disables your movement. You'll experience a lot of this when facing Kanji. My advice is to stay calm. If your character has a good anti air USE IT. The opponent is almost certain to jump at you when your in this state. Another good tactic is to use the evasive roll and hop mechanic to move around.
Charm = This drains some of your SP meter.If you are relying on the meter to win the match, id recommend using the meter as soon as you get affected by this Ailment. 
Ice = Some opponents have attacks that can leave you frozen (Mitsuru). If this happens quickly press back forward back forward to break free.

NOTE: everything depends on the situation. The above tips are not guaranteed to work 100% of the time. 

If you've manage to get your head around all of those mechanics to a fair extent then move on to the next stage. 


Thankfully. the difficult stages are finished. The remaining 2 are much more relaxed and straight forward. 

Now that you have a basic understanding of how most things work, its time for a refresher course. On the main menu of the game choose lesson mode. This will simply go over all the attacks/mechanics that we have learnt so far. It will also show a few more such as how to switch positions whiles in the air, SP enhanced moves, penalties, Guard cancels and super cancels. Hopefully you should be able to do most of them. For those who prefer a visual demonstration, i have included a walkthrough  which has been uploaded by BloodBurger. Check it out below.

Did you learn those last few mechanics that i left out?If you got through lesson mode then i assume so. :)

Fun stuff. Hopefully by now everything is starting to make a bit more sense. From here on just play play play. Anything your not to sure about go back through this tutorial and read it over. Watch the videos i have included repeatedly if you have to.

You should now have a basic understanding of how Persona 4 Arena works. However, the next stage will expand your knowledge a little further and dive into a few advance ways that these mechanics can be used. If you don't feel like doing this then that's fine. Simply skip to the resources and closing comments section at the bottom of the page. It will provide you with a list of links for you to check out. (CHECK THIS OUT REGARDLESS. THERE IS SOME GOLDEN INFORMATION HERE)


First of all, well done for completing the previous lessons. This final stage won't be in to much detail. It will however show you some ways in which your game can be elevated to the next level. :)

Watch Tournament Footage And Study How The Characters Are Used.

This is such an important part of improving. Persona 4 Arena has become extremely popular and tournaments are being held on a regular basis. Visit our tournament coverage page here and watch any of the videos that has been posted by various youtubers around the world. Find someone who uses your character extremely well and learn how to incorporate their gameplay into yours.

Here is an example of one of the tournaments. This was posted by the level up series and contains an insane amount of persona action. Visit and SUBSCRIBE to their channel for more.

Go Through As Many Challenges/Trials As You Can

Try doing some more challenges. If you remember we only went up to challenge 15 in our tutorial. Go through as much as you can. 

I don't think challenge mode benefits you to much but everyone is different. 

Watch The Cross Counter X ATLUS Tutorial

Although this covers most of the stuff we have discussed here. It really goes into a lot more detail on each mechanic and how it can be applied during a match. Definitely check this out. It contains some very useful information. 

This is just a sample of what they have uploaded. Check out their channel for more.

Finally.....PLAY AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. You only improve with time. :)


Well that's chapter 1 of the tutorial finished. This is the first tutorial i have ever done so i have no idea how useful you will find it. My main aim was to retrace the steps I took to get half decent at this game and try to describe the process so that others that are still noobs can replicate it. Hopefully all of this information helps you build a strong solid foundation for Persona 4 Arena and other fighting games in general. If this has helped even one newbie out there and converts them into a fighting game fan then I will consider this tutorial a success. :)

Be sure to check out all of the youtube channels which i have linked to. Those guys really upload some quality content and I am sure they would appreciate your support.

Also check our channel out here. Subscribe if you liked the tutorial. I would love to have some Persona fans following us as it would most definitely motivate us to upload more content.  :)

Well done everyone. I plan on uploading chapter 2 of this tutorial very soon. This time going over some really advanced concepts such as frame data, spacing, meta games, tactics, etc. Be sure to look out for that.


Noob Online Lobby

If your still finding it difficult or wish to improve with others that on the same level. Sign up to the Persona Nation Online Lobby. Every so often we will host an open lobby where new players can meet up and learn together. Definitely take advantage of this. We might do an advance lobby down the road aswell. :)

Online Forums ETC

Check out various forums to expand your knowledge and gain a better understanding of the game. The most useful ones i have found our as follows.




Atlus Forum

Youtube Noob Adventures.

Online adventures are priceless, especially if the person doing them is a complete noob. This allows you to learn from their mistakes and gain extra insight when playing. Check our Youtube Adventures page here for some awesome videos which Maximilian has uploaded.

Watch Tournaments Online

Although our tournament coverage page consists of a few videos. Check and subscribe to the uploaders channels as they are sure to host more content in the near future.

Aram Jabbari (Atlus PR And Sales Manager)

This guy has really done a lot to promote Persona 4 Arena. Visit him on his twitter and give him a thank you. He deserves it. :)

Contact Us.

If you really are stuck and none of the above options worked, contact us directly and we'll see what we can do to help.

Thanks again everybody and look forward to part 2 of this tutorial in the near future.....   :)

Take care.


duck said...

thanks a ton dude. Im gonna pick this up asap

Su said...

thank you so much dude. Im glad its helping :)

AvatarRoku said...

TOTALLY helpful. time to put in some work

Su said...

@AvatarRoku, thanks a ton man let me no how it goes :)

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