Game Review: Persona 4 Golden

Updated: Feb 23

Another gem I got during this year’s Steam summer sale was Persona 4 Golden. This has been a game series I’ve been thinking about getting in to but I didn’t want to jump in to buy P5R (persona 5 Royal) as I would have wasted a lot of money for a game I ended up not liking. So when Atlas released P4G (Persona 4 Golden) for the PC earlier this year I got it to see if this is a series I could get into, and what I got was a very heartwarming experience that I loved throughout the game, but I did have some hiccups which I’ll go over in this review.

For the story, you play as nameless character, well in some of the spinoffs of Persona 4 they actually give the main character a name, Yu Narukami but in P4G you can name him whatever you want. As Yu you move to Inaba to live with your uncle and his daughter as your parents had to leave home for a bit because of work, on your way to Inaba you fall asleep and awake in a place referred to as the velvet room with a long nosed man and a female assistant, the long nosed man introduces himself as Igor, and informs you that there will be a great mystery in your near future that you must solve. The mystery is of a strange channel that only appears at midnight on rainy days, and it’s somehow linked to two murder cases, so it falls to you and your party to find the killer and save anyone thrown into the TV.


The story I really liked; it did a very good job at keeping my attention, The party members each had their own quirks, and the way they interacted with each other through the story I loved, and the fact you can learn more about them by hanging out throughout the in game year, made them even more endearing to me, I loved all of the party members, Yosuke Hanamura the wanna be cool guy that feels the most outgoing of the group, Chie Satonaka the tomboy who loves kung fu movies, Yukiko Amagi the hair to an that her family has run for generations, who is also known to laugh uncontrollably at some very unfunny jokes and puns, Teddie The comic relief, and the one trying to hit on every girl he sees, Kanji tatsumi who’s my favourite character because he’s the gung-ho character, Rise Kujikawa an Idol who took a break from showbiz, she is also the only character that wont fight as her role is to support the team by analysing the enemy and through her getting stronger buffing and restoring the party’s HP and magic meter and finally Naoto shirogane The great Prince detective your last party member, while having the biggest twist among them. I loved all of these characters and getting to know them by increasing something called a social link, I will go in to this more during the gameplay section of this review.


Persona 4 Golden dose also have multiple endings, I have only seen the new P4G ending as someone I know said it’s best to get this ending then before I begin writing this review, and I found this ending to be very heart warming, and I’m very glad that my friend assisted me in getting it as without his help I would not of been able to get this ending without a guide, as it expects you to remember very crucial details, that at the time seem of little importance, I don’t know how the game expects you to know how to do a set of specific, you also need to work on two specific S.links in order to this ending too.


In P4G you will spend most of your time running around town hanging out with different people, this will cause one of two things either it helps to progress a character’s social link shortened to S.link or to form a brand new S.link. P4G dose add two new S.links that need to reach a certain rank in order to get the new P4G ending. When I first started playing there were a fare few S.links I needed to work on, which felt overwhelming as the game only gives you about a year to max as many S.links as possible, but once I chose to ignore some of the side characters, I found that the S.links I was focusing on to be a lot easier for me to handle, and I feel that this might be a turn off for some people as it did feel like I was missing out on a lot of the game without doing all of them. One thing my friend who was giving me advice on the game said only focus on what I want to focus which like I already stated it really help make all the S.links I wanted to focus on much more manageable. Even with me ignoring some of the S.links I barely got all my party members to rank 10 which is the max rank for a S.link. Once you have reached Rnak 10 with a party member their persona evolves into a new form, these are the only personas to do this.


This is important as in persona 4 the main character has the unique ability to change his personas, you gain personas through one of two ways. You can either gain personas at the end of battles from called shuffle time which can give bonuses such as one state on the player’s equipped persona goes up, gain a persona, increase the money you get or EXP. In shuffle time the cards that appear is random as well as the chance of getting shuffle time, this chance can be increased by doing an all-out attack. The other way to get new personas is by taking the personas you already have and fusing them together in order to create brand new personas. These personas are split up in to different arcanas each based of a tarot cards, these tarot cards are linked to one of the S.links the higher the S.link is the more bounces EXP you get for making a persona of a specific arcana as well as being able to unlock the ability to create a whole new persona tied to that arcana once you have maxed that S.link.


In the game an area called the Velvet room opens up and this is where you do all your persona fusing and buying skills cards you collect from the shuffle time along with a place to buy back any personas you have registered in the compendium. Luckily the Velvet room is accessible from both the TV world as well as next to the weapon shop.


Finally combat, well it’s your usual turn-based combat, attack with physical attacks or used physical skill or magic skills as well as support and healing skills. Don’t think that’s all though as I had to learn the hard way that buffs are actually very effective in this game and, can even make some of the later bosses a cake walk, but the true final boss from this version of Persona did almost kill me but since I had worked on my S.links I was able to beat the final boss first time. One big difference between persona and other JRPGs is that if the main character falls in battle then you lose the fight but if any other character falls then they can be revived, I barley had the main character die so I forgot this was a mechanic in the game, as once I started using buffs and got the party’s S.links high enough they got abilities that made the game mush easier, I feel that if I did not put so much time into my party’s S.links then I would have been in some trouble.


This new port allows the player to customise the difficulty of the game from the beginning, such as changing the amount of damage you receive and deal, how much EXP and money you get from fights and finally whether you restart the floor, restart the fight or load from your last save. I did use the more EXP at one pint as I did die and I didn’t want to waste my time grinding buck up to where I was before, I did also increase the amount of money I received which I did keep on for most of the game as I did go through my money very fast from buy already registered personas and buying some of the later equipment.


A staple of Persona games is that some of the cutscenes are “anime” so I get to talk about the animation in these, other than the mouth flaps on all the characters except Teddie who doesn’t get any during these cutscenes. When the characters are animated it really nice to watch and the best part of the visuals, as this is a game from the PS2 generation which was upgraded to P4G for the PSvita, so yes this is a PC port, but even for a port the game still looks really nice. I never had any problems with the visuals at all, and the game looks pretty good on max settings, I have heard some people have had stuttering on some of the anime cutscenes but I never had an issue with this. This game also has an opening animation which I could never bring myself to skip.


Now the music, oh boy the music is a real highlight of this game, I loved so many of the tracks, the battle theme for when you have the advantage is great, even the regular battle music is amazing, the eerie songs help add to each of their scenes, but we can’t forget the opening which I sat through it very single time, I would even have it play multiple times, because of how much I loved the music, I can’t over state the music. I really did enjoy every single track.


Overall I loved my time with P4G, the combat was enjoyable and challenging, the option to edit the difficulty to my liking from the get go was nice, it did help elevate a bit of the grind with both levels and money, trying to plan out my days to make sure I maxed out people’s S.links was very overwhelming and even with ignoring some of the side characters I only barely got all my teammates to rank 10 on their Social links, and trying to do all of them felt too overwhelming and made me feel like Persona was not a series for me, but I was able to solider on through and I ended up enjoying my time with the game as a whole, I did encounter a boss fight which did make me angry and I ended up hating on the game, but thanks to some advice from a friend, I was able to make it past the boss and I found the rest of the game easier thanks to their advice which is Buffs are really useful, as in most JRPGs you can get through the game without even needing any buffs at all. The characters I really like hanging out with and getting to know better through their S.links, and the way each of the characters interact with each other never felt unnatural to me. The story I enjoyed I loved each of the twist and turns throughout the story keeping me on my toes and even the story’s theme I could really get behind as well. The music is amazing and a real highlight of the game. I loved very second with the game even if I did rage at once boss I just needed to approach the boss fight with a different strategy and I was able to beat it, and I would recommend everyone goes and get it if possible it’s cheap on steam and is sell work it.


Have you played this game? Give us your rating out of five stars below!


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