Unleash your Inner Persona!
Developed by Atlus and produced by Sega – Persona 4 Golden is one of the most loved and classical JRPGS to come out over the past 10 years. A thrilling coming of age story that deals with the hardships of uprooting your life, dealing with relationships all while handling a hidden power from deep within. A direct port from the original PS2/PS Vita version previously listed with HD Graphics and containing both the English and Japanese audio – don’t let the older graphics fool you, this is truly a gem of a game.
Return to the streets of Inaba – a quiet rural town in japan known for it’s small community and sprawling teenage scene. You play as Yu Narukami, arriving at the train station to an unfamiliar scene and an interesting being within a Velvet Room. Coming from the city really puts the small town of Inaba in perspective. After being greeted by your Uncle Dojima and his daughter Nanako you begin your adventure integrating into High School, making new friends and trying to stay out of trouble. Behind the scenes however a mysterious mist lingers revealing true horrors that will throw you into another world filled with harrowing challenges, in a well-crafted story that deals with genuine teenage struggles of fitting in – relationships, sexuality, rejection and finding your place in the world.
Balancing the Real World:
Fitting in can be hard for anyone let alone a teenager uprooted from the big city and dropped into the quiet rural town of Inaba. Balancing school – friends as well as relationships and work is truly reflected within Persona 4 Golden. Thankfully, Yu makes fast friends with fellow classmates. Yosuke Hanamura, the typical clumsy best friend that while generally the target for many jokes shows himself to be a fast and loyal friend, although deep inside there are feelings that he can’t quite address yet. Chie Satonaka is an eccentric tomboy that loves Kung-fu and martial arts movies, always energetic and prone to outbursts of violence (generally directed at Yosuke) with a tough exterior that may or may not be masking her true feelings. Yosuke and Chie team up with Yu after several bizarre events occur discovering that something not of this world may be slowly branching it’s way out and effecting the real world itself.
How to Spend the Day:
Each day is divided up into multiple sections, spending time on an activity should it be work – school or simply hanging out with friends with use up a section of the day and move you onto the next, carefully planning out how you juggle the life of a teenager while investigating the cause of these bizarre events is one of the mainstay features in Persona. As with the real world – maintaining and improving our social links is how we progress in the world, for Yu however these social links mean a lot more. Making sure you keep up not only with this world but with the other too will be key to solving the mystery of the fog and catching the culprit behind these incidents.
Surviving the Other World:
Traveling into the world beyond the TV requires preparation, you won’t go far without coming equipped with the right weapons and armor for the job. Our new friend Teddie however, is here to guide Yu and company into the mysteries of this world. But first you’ll need something else to help combat the shadows of this dark world.
Release that Inner Persona! – One cannot hope to survive the world inside the TV without a little support behind you. Your friends may give you strength but without the power of a Persona you will soon be taken by the shadow within. Thankfully, you’re a unique anomaly to the system, a blank slate able to channel the power of multiple beings called Personas! An extension of your inner abilities that unlike your companions will be the key to uncovering the mysteries of the fog. Coming equipped with a variety of Personas for combat is key, an extremely extensive system that can take hours of work to build the perfect protection for you and your party.
Yu’s unique ability is based on his previously mentioned Social Links – managing your time between the real world and the world inside the TV can be quite harrowing but increasing each social link will increase the power of your future Persona.
Persona’s are based off the Arcana – The Tarot cards that are the main thematic element within the Persona series. Each Social link is tied to Major Arcana for example The Fool – which is linked to story progression, learning how each Persona is linked will result in stronger connections and higher results when using another key feature of Persona – Fusion! Returning to the Velvet room to speak with the beings inside Yu will come to understand that the ability of merging multiple Persona’s into one can increase your overall power – the list is extremely extensive and I spent hours at a time building and tweaking each of my Persona’s abilities to combat the Shadows, speaking of Shadows…
Shadows can take many forms within the other world but generally appear as Black or Red blobs and quickly glide across the floor towards our cast, should these Shadows strike before you will result in an Enemy Advantage giving them the chance to lash out at you before you take a turn. Likewise if you can sneak up on an unsuspecting Shadow you can turn the tables on them by getting a Player Advantage turn where you will be able to strike with force before the enemies are aware.
Persona 4 Golden’s combat contains many levels as each Shadow falls into a different category of element, it will take a lot of practice and analysis to determine the weakness of each Shadow Persona but making sure you hit the correct weakness of the seven elements will trigger multiple effects that will be required to survive the later game content.
1 More! – Hitting a Shadow with its weakness will trigger an additional action from the character that caused the weakness, this can be used to either quickly dispatch a foe or setup for a powerful All-Out Attack that involves all the characters dealing massive amounts of damage to all enemies, with stronger social links and correct party composition you can even have additional attacks after an All-Out Attack called a Follow-Up Attack.
Why is this a good thing to learn? Well the world inside the TV is large and sprawling and forever growing in order to keep yourself in tip-top shape. You’ll want to make use of the Shuffle Time! System – A Shuffle Time can occur after combat at random but can also be triggered by clearing Shadows out with All-Out Attacks. A Shuffle Time expands upon the Tarot Aspect mentioned about, each card has a unique feature and number associated with it and making correct and clever use of this feature will keep you in combat longer and will generate multiple persona companions for later use. An example of this would be the Suit of Cups – this is a card that can appear that will refill you HP and SP based on the number added – however don’t be in a rush to select a new persona or that all important money card as 1 More! Also has a function here, choosing a negatively impacted card such as less EXP for the battle will grant you another card. Should you be able to collect all cards presented within the Shuffle you will trigger, and Shuffle Sweep Bonus will result in massive gains overall.
Yes, this is quite a lot to learn and keep track of. I found it quite daunting at first the level and sheer scope of the Persona System as well as the Combat in general. That being said, correctly deducing a Shadow’s weakness as well as crafting Persona’s that could not only nullify damage of a type but Repel it brought me a lot of joy. This is an Ideal combat system and the pace is set perfectly for the game.
Atlus once again hits it out of the park by returning one of the most classical well-loved JRPGS into the limelight. With the PC release of Persona 4 Golden a new generation of players will get to experience a true classic on the genre – Don’t let it’s graphical style deter you as this is a true masterpiece of a game with hours upon hours of content to discover. There’s a reason why this is one of the most beloved additions to the Persona series and so highly regarded by fans the story is expertly crafted with real world elements that will make you reflect on your own life and experience. The characters are well diverse, and each have their own unique ins and outs which really brings the experience together.
However, there are two points that I feel could have been addressed with the release to PC, the key point being an auto-save feature. Yes there are many save points located all over Inaba, but there are points of the game that drag on for an extended amount of time and with the inability to auto-save you could be stuck progressing longer than you intended too. The next point is going in without a plan will cause players to miss a lot of the content that truly adds to the games charm, yes this is intended to be played multiple times through but you could have been playing the game for over 300 hours and still not find the last few pieces of information for the perfect run as you are given no idea of when certain things occur during the day/night cycle and how they are limited in days/months. Miss them and it could take yet another playthrough to find them, the controls could have easily been tweaked as movement can be extremely clunky and frustrating at time – although this was originally designed for the hand-held PSP I could see some minor changes to make the experience more fluid for it’s PC release.
The above two points are really my only negative aspects of this wonderful port. The combat is extensive and in depth – the persona system has always been a great experience and spending hours finely crafting the ultimate persona setup is something I thoroughly enjoyed, this is a game that I will continue to enjoy even after several playthroughs, the many layers upon layers of story elements can be daunting at times but are at the same time one of the best elements of the game itself – Well that and Teddie’s un-”bear”-able puns There is so much more I would like to say about this classic of a game – but to do so would probably fill up a small booklet. My final point on this is if you’re a fan of JRPG’s or RPGs in general you really need to pick this game up, even for fans that own the original PS2 and PS Vita copies should get a copy of this game on PC just for the updated experience itself.
- Wonderful Story - In Depth world building
- Endless hours of Min-max building
- Excellent Characters
- There can be large chunks of time spent doing nothing.
- Multiple runs are required in order to see everything - one mistake can result in yet another run
- Lacks a quick-save function that is sorely needed