Persona 4 Golden review
For – PS Vita
Hours sunk in so far – 60+
What is it?
At heart it’s a good old-fashioned JRPG that Final Fantasy veterans circa FF3-FF7 will feel immediately at home with. However, rather than present you with a world to explore, Persona 4 differs by limiting the number of areas you’re able to venture.
But, rather than making you feel caged in, the few areas play host to Persona’s best quality which is its character development. Rarely have I cared about a roster of characters as much as the rag tag bunch of high school kids here; as each does his or her bit to bring a serial killer to justice.
Bringing everything together are the Personas – they being magical beings that you’re able to deploy in a fight. By forging closer relationships with the cast you can create ever more powerful Personas, so uniting the game’s social aspects with its dungeon crawling as you literally leap into a TV to clash swords in an alternative reality.
From the humour superbly threaded into its script to the way the frailties of its characters are maturely dealt with, this is a game written with both sensitivity and vivid imagination.
That same flair flows into the design of the monsters you’ll face as you explore the TV world, while the stages you fight through take their own cues from all kinds of sources (including The Legend of Zelda in one instance).
To have a game with plot and design at such high a standard is rare and it really needs to be experienced first hand. I’m going deliberately light on the specifics, but trust me: you need to play this game.
If you’re not already confused you will be, as Persona 4 is a game that takes a while to get your head around. While that’s no bad thing, the fact that the opening few hours are heavy on hand-holding tutorial might be enough to put some players off.
Persevere though and you’ll find the game soon opens up to give you full control over who you interact with and how you deploy your powers.
Quit or Continue?
It’s a game of never-ending continues. Persona 4 Golden effortlessly combines a richness of plot and character dialogue with a depth of combat that few other games – RPG or other – can hope to aspire to.
In short: it’s rather brilliant. Roll on Persona 5.