I’ve been playing quite a lot of Persona 4 lately. Hell of a game. Kind of funny that the best game I’ve played so far on Vita is a remake of a PS2 JRPG. I haven’t enjoyed many JRPGs after Final Fantasy X, but Persona 4 delivered.
First time I tried Persona series was about 4 years ago. I started with Persona 3 FES, but I gave up after moronic AI made the game unplayable. Sure, it adds to the challenge, but I am sure that that could be done through other ways. STOP CASTING MARIN KARIN ON THE BOSS, MITSURU! Yep, I am still quite hung up on that.
However, after seeing what the game had to offer, I came away wanting more. After all, it was giving me something most games didn’t. A solid RPG combined with a life sim.
In any case, I personally don’t play Persona games for the dungeon crawling. It can get quite tedious. So imagine my surprise when I actually started to enjoy it this time around. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I can play it on a go, giving myself one or two battles at the time. Also, changes made to the Shuffle Chance system are quite fun and can really help with the tedium of the battles.
But, what really shines in Persona 4, are the social links. You can make them with most characters who are of any importance to the plot, with some of them being unavoidable and some of them being unlockable. Each one of them was essentially a parable, teaching you some kind of a lesson. Except for the Mysterious Fox of course. All he ever wanted was money.
Personally, I came to Golden after playing the original Persona 4 a number of times. As such, I knew what to expect. However, this re-release differentiated itself by adding a number of narrative and mechanical changes. I can’t say that cared much for an addition of a new character, Marie. But there are definitely people who she will appeal to. What I appreciated more, is the addition of new scenes which allowed you to see your teammates bouncing off each other and cracking jokes. This for me was the best part of Persona 4. It was this sense of growing closer to people and learning more about them.
However, the overhaul of the mechanics in the game is not to be ignored. Many features have been changed to alleviate frustration, such as the Skill Inheritance for your Personas. Instead of reshuffling until you get the optimal result, you can simply choose the skills that you want. Adding a Fusion calculator of sorts was also a great idea, encouraging experimentation and allowing completionists to get there with more ease. Even small additions like adding a symbol next to the Personas you already have registered is very welcome.
There are also new features added on the side, such as art galleries, jukebox and a quiz challenge. While not being critical to the gameplay at all, these are very nice additions, allowing you to learn more about the design process that went into the characters (art gallery) and listen to the songs that will definitely stay in your head for a while (jukebox)
All in all, Persona 4 Golden is still a hell of a game, even after all these years. I bought my Vita for it. I regret nothing. Hell of a game