The story of Persona 4 Golden
Persona 4 Golden takes place in Inaba. Inaba is a small town where a rumor has taken hold. It tells of a channel that appears on televisions during rainy nights. Dubbed the Midnight Channel, it quickly becomes clear that there is a connection between this strange rumor and the murders taking place in town. You employ the help of several of your new classmates and with your Personas, you resolve to save the victims and bring the killer to justice.
Controlling powerful entities in RPGs is not a new concept. Persona 4 has expanded upon it and polished it to a mirror shine. Battles are fought primarily with the Personas you’ve obtained and there is one for every occasion. The collecting, which you will do with a fever usually reserved for Pokemon or malaria, is not the most compelling part of obtaining these Personas. No, it’s the fusing. Fusing has been made even more accessible in Golden by allowing you some measure of control over what abilities your Personas inherit.
With a ton of possibilities and accidents waiting to happen, you can easily go through the entire game without ever owning the same Persona twice. You quickly become attached however, and finding a seemingly perfect balance of abilities is immensely satisfying. That is, until you fuse a handful of them together and alright NOW you have a perfect balance. Oh wait no I need a healer. Well if I fuse these three together then I can fuse this one and…oh…
Along your journey you’ll meet and form friendships with the residents of Inaba. Balancing a social life with being humanity’s last hope is essential for your success. Each Social Link you nurture allows you to fuse more powerful forms of Personas. Connections with your party members is particularly helpful, as becoming closer to them unlocks helpful abilities in battle such as withstanding a mortal blow or even sacrificing themselves when one would be dealt to you.
You have a finite amount of time however, and you’ll never be able to become close with everyone. It is easy to get sucked into all the different storylines happening at once, but you’ll find your favorites and see them through. Persona is taken day by day, with a limited amount of things happening in any given day. I found myself staying up until the early hours of the morning with promises of just one more day, just one more week. I’ll go to bed once I level up a Social Link just one more time.
Persona 4 Golden Combat
While combat can become repetitive, especially after being in the same dungeon for hours, fusing and experimenting with new Personas helps keep things fresh. In the previous installment, it was easy to become discouraged by your progress in the giant tower that served as the single dungeon in the game. Persona 4 helps prevent dungeon fatigue by introducing a new dungeon for every new kidnapped resident of Inaba. These dungeons are a representation of the victim’s subconscious. Whether it is a strip club or a Zelda inspired dungeon, you never spend too much time in one place.
Persona 4 is so much more vibrant than previous installations of the series in terms of color scheme and tone. While its story is still dark, true to the series, it maintains an energy that keeps you moving and optimistic. The music throughout is infectious. While the J-Pop inspired score may turn many off at first, it helps set the tone of the story and worms its way into your heart.
With Golden, comes not only graphical improvement but also several hours of new content. New events, new areas to explore, as well as new Personas give every sort of Persona player new things to try. I’ll avoid revealing the most entertaining parts as discovering them are a large part of the appeal for returning players.
Two new Social Links have been added, including newcomer Marie, a resident of the mysterious Velvet Room. Her Social Link echoes of Elizabeth from Persona 3, without all the irritating fetch quests. Marie’s storyline is a worthwhile addition and the dungeon that accompanies her was one of the most challenging and satisfying.
Making use of the Vitas capabilities, Golden introduces two new features. Vox Populi allows you to poll other players for what they chose to do during a particular day. SOS allows you to provide and call for help during battle by way of a small amount of HP/SP regen. Neither of these things is revolutionary or particularly compelling. After trying them out a few times I turned my wireless connection off and promptly forgot about them. It would have been nice to see the game taking better advantage of the Vitas online but I do not begrudge the features for existing. They neither add nor detract from the experience.
The final word on Persona 4 Golden
Persona 4 Golden is an absolute buy. For fans of the original PlayStation 2 version the changes and improvements are enough for another trip to Inaba. For those unfamiliar with the series, Persona 4 highlights all that is great about JRPGS. This game has a great story, engaging characters, challenging and fun gameplay. Even after you’ve played over 60 hours and have finished your investigation, there is still new game plus to surprise and challenge you. If you have a Vita chances are you haven’t done a whole lot with it yet. Play one the best games on the system. Every day’s great at your Junes.