Alabaster, my PlayStation Vita has taken over my life. No, no, no. Persona 4 Golden has taken over my life. Actually, wait, since Alabaster is the device that allows me to play P4G, then the Vita has taken over my life. But then playing P4G directed me to start watching the anime series . . . HRM. I digress.
I have come to discover that P4G really is an awesome game. I deeply regret not playing the PlayStation 2 incarnate in the past (yes, I own the game, but I never got around to playing it), despite the game getting so much rave reviews. I dedicated myself to get the true ending of the game on my first playthrough, and after a couple of weeks, I met my goal. Now I am on my second playthrough to try and nab the rest of the trophies I didn’t get and to max out all my social links. I decided to take a break (okay, truth be told, my Vita is charging at the moment) to write a spoiler-free review of P4G.
* The plot is really engaging, and the slow build-up to the climax over the year (in-game) was well done and well paced.
* The realism portrayed by the small town impressed me. I especially like how the teenagers acted like teenagers.
* All the twists and turns in the plot were quite unexpected.
* The characters and their interactions and their development — top notch stuff, Atlus!
* All the social links the main character has to build up on — lot of work, but this is where so many character development happens. So good.
* The battle was fast and intense. Gotta love exploiting the enemy’s weaknesses.
* The music and sound effects were great. In fact, unlike with Persona 3 Portable, I liked many of the songs upon the initial listening. P3P’s soundtrack took me a while to get used to.
* Teddie, Kanji, Naoto — I love them so much, especially since they add so much depth the plot, I think.
* The dungeons drove me crazy. I think 10-12 floors were too long. 8 would have been a good maximum.
* The new game plus does not carry the enemy’s stats over, so players have to guess or use guides to figure out their weaknesses again. Really makes no sense to not carry those over.
* The camera was wonky for me. I hated how it’d zoom in on things, which gets in the way of attacking shadows for the player advantage.
* Chie’s English voice — horrible, horrible, horrible. Hearing her voice makes me cringe.
* That bloody fishing game. I do not like.
Some reviews I read claim P4 to be one of the best RPGs ever made. For me, the best RPG will always be Chrono Trigger and Suikoden 2, but P4G definitely ranks up there as being a fantastic RPG that gives fantastic plot, characters, and battle system. Not to mention, the game is FUN. I have not had a game that made me laugh and have fun in a long while — not since Persona 3 Portable, it feels like. Sure, Hakuouki and Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward were great, too, but P4G is much more enjoyable.
On a similar note, Persona 4: The Animation is enjoyable, too. It’s obviously meant to be watched after playing or having some knowledge of the game. I can see people watching the anime without any knowledge will be lost. Still, though, it’s a good companion to the franchise.