Persona 4 Golden Review: This Game is Golden
I am a huge fan of JRPGs. Many of them have great stories, interesting characters, and great combat. But every once in a while, a certain JRPG comes along that really catches my eye, one that I feel really does stand out from the rest. Persona 4 Golden is definitely one of those titles. As port of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 (which I will admit I never played), the game features a lot of extra content and a graphics boost. With a great cast, awesome story, and a ton of content, Persona 4 Golden really shines through the rest. The game lives up to its name, and is definitely a must play.
In Persona 4 Golden, players take control of the new kid in town.
Having just moved from the big city into the countryside, you don't get much time to adjust when people begin to get murdered. He soon finds a connection between the murders and an urban legend called the "Midnight Channel", and sets out to figure out what is going on. The story is great; there a lot of twist and turns, and the story always continues at a great pace. Players will not sit still, and will always be moving forward.
Another great thing about the story is that it does not always take itself too seriously. There are some great breathing points, and these points really help to develop the personalities of all the characters. There are some hilarious scenes, and they help show different sides of the characters. It is nice to take a break from the intensity, and be able to really get to like the characters in the game.
It benefits to be social
Persona 4 Golden not only has a great story, it also has a great cast. Most of the characters are likable, and all have central conflicts that they are going through. You are able to form relationships with many of the characters, called "Social Links." As you spend time with characters and get to know them better, you level up the Social Link. Leveling up the Social Link helps the character in battle, and gives them new abilities. Players are also able to become involved with many of the female characters, leading to some interesting cut scenes.
Persona 4 Golden also introduces a couple new Social Links, as well as an entirely new character: Marie. Marie is easily intertwined into the story, and I liked her as a character. As a Social Link, getting to know Marie will benefit the player well, and help them later on. It is good to get to know all the characters, and see the benefits of being social.
Much to see, much to do
When you first load up Persona 4 Golden, you will notice how gorgeous this game is. The game really shines on the PS Vita's OLED screen, and has some real eye candy. The town of Inaba has an atmosphere of its own, and looks really nice. The settings that the game takes helps to set the mood of many of the scenes, and it all looks great. The atmosphere always sets the mood, from bright and sunny to dark and ominous. Inaba looks great, and is vibrant and colorful. Overall, this is a beautiful game, and is great to look at.
When it comes to Inaba, there is a lot to do. There are many places to visit, and much to see. As you explore, you will run into NPCs who will give you side quests, helping to make sure you always have something to do. There are a lot of spots to see, and travel is fast and easy. At night you can sneak out to some of these locales, which change at night and offer new stuff to see and do. At a certain point in the game, players unlock the scooter, which gives even more areas to visit. Inaba has more to see than one can do in a single play through, helping encourage players to tackle a new game +.
Personas and combat
Along with side missions and different settings to unlock, players are able to unlock the namesake of the game: Personas. Personas are the summons that characters are able to use in battle, borrowing their power to get through dungeons. You are able to fuse Personas, creating new summons with new powers. Personas can carry on abilities, making sure that players use the right materials. As you progress through Social Links, certain types of Personas gain boosts in experience, and some of them unlock through these links. Fusing stands as one of the focuses of the game, and helps to bring in strategy in battle.
Battle takes place in randomly generated dungeons, which all carry a certain theme. Battles in Persona 4 Golden are turned based, and have a sort of rock-paper-scissors element to them. There are different elemental types to attacks, and using the correct element on an enemy can stun them. This brings in strategy, as you have to know which attacks to use and which characters you want to take into battle. Certain pairs of characters are also able to team up and do combo attacks. Battle is quite intense, and players must adjust their strategies for any hope of victory against tougher enemies and bosses. Overall, combat is satisfying, and it requires mare thought to it than just crashing through dungeons recklessly.
Persona 4 Golden has more than just dungeon crawling. There is plenty of extra content to see during playthroughs. There are several different endings, and choices you make will impact which ending you will see. There is also a lot of extra content to check out by watching your tv in-game, or through the main menu. This content includes bonus artwork, live performances of the game's soundtrack, and videos. Players unlock much of this by progressing through the game, and cannot unlocked through a single play through. This is one of the many things that helps encourage more than one play through, as there is a lot to see and do in this game.
All in all, Persona 4 Golden is a really solid game.
There is no such thing as a perfect game, but this game does come close. With a beautiful setting, awesome story and characters, and great combat and dungeon exploring, Persona 4 Golden is one of the best games that I have played. If you own a Vita, this is a game that you cannot miss. It is definitely one of the best games to come from this generation.