Persona 4 Golden is a must have for any JRPG fan. It has a great story along with challenging game play. Golden is a re-release and re-vamp of the original Persona 4 for the PlayStation 2, which came out in 2008. Golden has a couple of new features that weren’t on the original such as new events, costumes and a new character. You definitely won’t get bored of this game and there’s plenty to do.
Game Play and Plot:
The game is a mixture of an archetypal role-playing video game with a simulation game. Like I mentioned previously, the game will take you a while to complete – you’re looking at least 50 – 60 hours with the main story line and side quests. Don’t worry if you get stuck on what to do next though – Persona 4 Golden features a SOS system, where the player can ask for help from the online community at anytime.
The story is set in Inaba, a rural town that is stagnant until the protagonist arrives. A murder takes place within the first week – a body is found hanging from a television antenna on top of a roof. The cause of the death is unknown and there are no real suspects. The protagonist and his friends hear about The Midnight Channel. The Midnight Channel is said only come on if you stare into a switched off TV at midnight, on a rainy night. So, the protagonist finds himself being able to enter the TV [yes, I said enter the TV] which leads to the TV World.
What is the TV World? Several characters are kidnapped and thrown inside by the mystery killer, where they end up in the TV World. The TV World randomly generates dungeons based off of each character’s inner thoughts and feelings. Each dungeon has a set number of floors, which in turn leads to the said character being rescued. Within these dungeons, the player must defeat Shadows by using Personas. Typically, each character has one Persona, but the protagonist can use multiple Personas of any Major Arcana. This grants the player many different abilities to use against the Shadows. Each enemy has a different weakness, so the player has to choose carefully what spell or ability to use, which adds an element of strategy to the game. There is another element to the game play – Persona Fusion. The player can fuse multiple Personas together to create new ones. This can get tricky if you’re after a certain Persona – you can only fuse certain Personas together to get the right outcome. It’s all down the trial and error.
There is another important element: social links. Social links are interactions and friendships made with other characters, which help the player create new Personas [who help the protagonist in battle.] Each character represents one of the Major Arcana. If you don’t know what the Major Arcana is, it is a suit of twenty-two cards in a standard Tarot Card deck. The protagonist really represents The Fool, who goes on his journey, meeting and experiencing things from the others. Personas represent the true self of each character and can only be obtained by facing their inner demons, so to speak.
The game takes place over the course of a year. The protagonist is a high-school student, so you can expect to deal with things like love, friendship and exams. However, the protagonist has quite a few days free, so the player can decide how to spend their time [which needs to be thought about carefully.] Outside of school, there are so many things to think about and do. It can get a little overwhelming – but it’s still incredibly fun.
Like previous games in the Persona series, the storyline has surprising and emotional twists and turns. There are some points in the game where you really have to think about which choice to make – because the wrong one could change the course of the ‘true’ storyline. [And you don’t want to get the bad ending because it ends the game completely, and you will not get to play through the full year like you are supposed to!]
The graphics in Persona 4 Golden aren’t bad at all. The characters and backgrounds are a lot sharper and the colours are more vivid compared to the original – and the HD display just heightens that. The game’s charm and strong points lie elsewhere because this game isn’t particularly strong graphically – but it still looks wonderful. There are also the occasional anime cutscenes [which help convey the mood of a particular scene over to the audience better.]
The characters of Persona 4 Golden are definitely one of the game’s strong points. This game is very character driven. All of the characters are individual and memorable. Unlike most games, the protagonists in the Persona series have no name and leave the player to choose whatever name they wish. The protagonist is also a silent protagonist. The player will typically have three options of dialogue they wish to choose for the protagonist’s answer to a situation or question he may face. He isn’t boring by any means though, don’t worry.
Like I mentioned before, each character must face their true self and each social link brings forth different events. There are 10 in total for each character, but there are optional encounters as well if you want to spend more time with your favourite character [and you’ve already maxed out that social link.] There are very entertaining group events such as a fireworks festival, beach trip and school trips – which are guaranteed to make you laugh and smile.
Persona 4 Golden has one of the best soundtracks. Quite a few of the songs will be played on a regular basis, but you won’t get bored of them. There’s a nice mixture of instrumental and vocal tracks – a little like Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2’s soundtracks. From the moment you start the game and hear the opening theme ‘Shadow World’, you will immediately like what you hear. Each of the vocal tracks are catchy and memorable [and you might even find yourself singing along to some of them!] The soundtrack fits the game very well – capturing each element of the game perfectly, heightening the game’s emotional atmosphere and its charisma.
As for the voice acting, it’s nothing short of brilliant. Each voice fits each character very well and every line is delivered perfectly. There are a lot of funny moments in Persona 4 Golden and the voice acting just adds to the enjoyment of the moment.
Persona 4 Golden is fantastic game that everyone should play. It is very fun, addictive and will always keep you on your toes!