Portable Perks: Persona 4 Golden
A few months back, I mentioned that I got myself a PS Vita, and as any new Vita owner, the first game on my beloved handheld machine is Persona 4 Golden. I blame Jed on making me really want to play the game because for a time, it’s all he talked about with us. And I can see why. P4G is really a treat to play, most especially with the portable nature of the Vita.
The first time I ran the game, I was greeted by a very upbeat, vibrant and catchy opening theme. If you watch a lot of anime, you should be familiar with this whole shtick, and if you’re not, then P4G is a perfect primer for anything and everything to Japanese culture. All the sights, sounds and locations in the game really do feel that you’re playing inside an anime, and as an anime fan myself, I found this a very interesting setting. Everything in the world is bright, vibrant and Japanese-y. All these little cultural hints could be found in the writing and the dialogue, so it’s best that you should read up on Japanese honorifics to understand why sometimes characters are called “San”, “Kun”, “Senpai”, “Chan” at the end of their names. I appreciated how Atlus handled the localization of P4G, and kept details such as the honorifics in to keep of the flow and authenticity of the dialog.
With all these awesome production values, there’s also an awesome game underneath it all. P4G in its core is a turn-based, JRPG style of a game. With some Pokemon-like elements to it since you get to collect different kinds of Persona cards and bring them out to battle, depending on the weakness of the enemy. I find the battle system very satisfying. Every enemy encounter I take always keeps me on my toes on what kind of strategy I should take. Exploiting the elemental weakness is something you always need to look out for, since you’re granted an extra turn if you do. Unlike other JRPGS that I played in the past, P4G doesn’t really require you to grind your characters up to a certain level. As long as you clear the shadows (the enemies in the game) for every floor in the dungeon, you should be good to go. I feel the game is very respectful of your time, since you can quickly fast travel back and forth the dungeons and to your safe area. And when you die (which occasionally happens to me!), you always have the option to either start from the beginning of the floor where you died or simply go back to the safe area, and rethink your approach.
Don’t be fooled by the number 4 that’s attached to the title of the game. It’s not required for you to have played the last 3 Persona games to fully understand. As mentioned on Episode 4 of our podcast, all Persona games are self-contained story-wise. Personally, this is my first time into the series and I have no trouble following the story or the characters in the game.
P4G is so worth your time. And it’s an awesome feeling being able to play a deep console-like game on your handheld anywhere you go. Just make sure if you’re out, to plug in some earphones as the music and dialog is always pleasing to the ears. Please do yourself a favor and do not miss out on that!
If you would like a more in-depth review of the game, I would like to point you to this post by Jun Shen as he talks about the game in more detail. And if that doesn't convince you, I found another very detailed review on 30lives.net.
Persona 4 Golden is currently on sale right now for $19.99 on the PSN store. It's a very good deal if you haven’t picked up this game yet for your Vita.