Once again I have ventured into the cold hard world of making friends in order to defeat evil monsters. In order for my friends and I to be successful this time we must do much more than just grind levels; we have to bond. Persona 4: The Golden is a revised and upgraded version of the popular PS2 RPG Shin Megami Tensei Persona 4. This time the game is on Sony’s new handheld the PS Vita. Average playtime for this game is around 70+ hours and this version includes even more content than the original.
First off, the game presents itself as a mix of genres much like Persona 3. Half of the game takes place in a visual novel/dating sim-esque town of Inaba in which your interactions and choices affect your character as a person as well as how others see you. (And if they will die for you if the time comes) The other half of this game takes place in dungeons. I won’t spoil much, but you will – contrary to Persona 3 – probably be spending more time making efficient use of your free time, than training in the dungeons this time around. Grinding is much less of an issue in this game compared to Persona 3. This title puts you in control of a transfer student who discovers a mysterious plot in which people are being murdered after they appear on TV. You must venture inside the world on the other side of the screen to prevent your friends and others from dying horrible deaths and in the process help them face themselves to gain supernatural powers. Main characters include an excitable dude, a tomboy, an introverted daughter of an inn owner, a tough biker, a teenage idol, a young detective, an unbearably interesting bear, and new to this game: an amnesiac girl. If that sounds confusing, just remember that the previous game in the series had characters shooting themselves in the head to summon their demonic buddies. This game uses the much safer method of crushing cards. Persona fusion is still here and in tact from previous versions and is the main way to gain power in the game. The name of the game in Persona is truly time management. If you want to get 100% of the social links you will probably need a guide. My advice is just to relax your first playthrough then try for 100% on second during newgame+ in which your social stats carry over.
New content comes in the form of an epilogue that takes place after the events of PS2 version. New social links with Marie, Adachi and Dojima/Nanako are available. Also included are rebalanced characters, more exploration options, the ability to use motorbikes to travel and also beat the stuffing out of shadows using cavalry attacks in which a person not currently in your party rides their motorcycle into the enemies. You can have a garden, go fishing, visit skiing locations and even play dress up via new accessories that change how you look. Also in the game are some minor changes to events that will keep you interested even if you have already played the game on PS2. More holidays and other minor fun things are also in this expanded version. Battles are difficult as always and bosses even more so. This game provides a great challenge especially on its harder difficulties. It also offers lower difficulties for the more casual gamer, but still expect to get smacked around by bosses a couple of times before you get the hang of how the battle system works if this is your first entry into this series or game.
Visuals are much better than PS2 version and the game still boasts very nice music. The battle music has changed for this revised edition, however, when you get a successful back attack on a shadow the old battle tune from the PS2 will play which is a nice touch. Voices are good, but Chie and Teddie’s voice actors have changed from the PS2 version. Teddie sound almost exactly the same, but Chie… is quite a bit different. Not bad but may annoy some fans replaying the game.
This version also features an online component in which you can ask people for help or give help to those struggling in dungeons via healing. Additionally, you can see what the most common choices per day were when you click the icon in the corner of the screen during visual novel portion of the game.
Overall, if you like JRPGs that provide you hours and hours of entertainment you will enjoy this title immensely. If you like visual novels you may also enjoy building relationships with the characters in the game and even possibly dating them if you feel like it. (You can date almost all of the characters at once if you try hard enough, but can only choose one character for Valentine’s Day.) If you are not a fan of any of the above just steer clear of this game.
- Fun and challenging JRPG gameplay
- Hours and hours of content and a ton of bonus content for those replaying.
- Music and visuals are very nice.
- Some minor voice changes
- JRPG: some may find dungeon portion repetitive. (However bosses take real strategy)