Saturday, 21 February 2015

Persona 4 Golden

Persona 4 Golden is easily one of the best games on the Vita and everyone should play it.

I don't really have many complaints about this game so this post is going to be mostly gush.  I have a couple of bad things to say but I fucking love this game and nearly everything about it.

Persona 4 Golden follows the adventures of a player named high school student as he moves to the small rural town of Inaba.  Upon his arrival, a strange string of murders starts to occur where bodies end up in telephone poles on foggy days.  From there, rumours of the "midnight channel" start to spread which is a TV show that you can only see at midnight on a rainy night when you stare into a switched off TV.  The characters have to unravel the mystery of the midnight channel and the world on the other side of the TV that they can enter thanks to the power of their "persona".  It is up to you and your team of buddies to stop the murders and catch the mastermind before it's too late.

There's more to it than that obviously but I'm trying to sum it up in one short paragraph and that's kind of hard to do.

Anyway, the story actually isn't all that great but it's told in an engaging way that keeps you interested anyway.  The game is also filled with a bunch of side stories known as "Social Links" where the struggles of the games varied cast are played out and you get to play your part in helping them overcome their problems.

It's the game play in Persona 4 where things really start to get good.  By day, you are a high school student who must study, make friends, do part time work and other things.  By night, you are the hero of Inaba, braving the TV world with your friends in order to prevent horrific murders.  The TV world is made up of a number of randomly generated dungeons that you must work your way to the end of by a certain date or get a game over. 

The battle system revolves around your characters Persona's.  Each character has 1 persona that grows slowly over the course of the game with the exception of the main character who can store up to 12 persona's for use in battle.  You get these persona's by winning fights and collecting them from cards that appear randomly at the end of fights.  You can also fuse persona's together to make new, stronger ones which inherit skills of the two base monsters so you can make some really powerful stuff if you know what you are doing.

I have a few complaints about the game but none of what I'm about to say really tarnishes the experience at all.  First, the pace of the game is a little bit all over the place.  When the story gets going and when you have a dungeon to explore things are really good but the action gets a bit low when the case goes dead for a while.  Between dungeons there is a lot to do but it's all a bit samey and becomes rather dull rather fast.  That said you do get to explore the social links during these times so it doesn't feel too drawn out but these quiet segments do last a bit too long.

The combat is a little stranger in Persona 4 where if your main character dies then it's game over even if you have remaining party members.  I didn't game over much but when I did it was because an enemy or boss got a lucky hit on my main guy.  This was annoying because I had characters with revival magic but the game decided that didn't matter and I had to start over.

My final complaint is regarding the dungeon exclusive to the Vita version, the Hollow Forest.  While it's a cool addition to the game, the challenge presented is complete bullshit.  All the enemies are easy as shit but the game drains a huge chunk of your mana after every fight.  If you're not a dribbling idiot it's still an easy dungeon to overcome but the challenge comes more from having one hand tied behind your back rather than actually tough enemies, which is a disappointment.

Anyway, Persona 4 is an amazing game and it's easily my favorite game on Vita thus far.  That's saying a lot considering that the Vita has 2 Hatsune Miku games as well, so think about that for a while.  Give it a go.

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