Friday, March 1, 2013

Persona 4 Golden Review

Persona 4 Golden

Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Atlus
Genre: JRPG
Release Date:November 20, 2012
Reviewed On: March 1, 2013
Platforms: Playstation Vita
Reviewed by Dexter Jaekel

Now that you have bought yourself a Playstation Vita and played the limited selection of mainstream games, you must be asking yourself, "What's Next?" Well, my friends, the answer is here. Hand over your hard earned $40, start the game, and lose yourself in a new and colorful world. Persona 4 Golden has everything that you could want from a handheld system. And if you are a fan of JRPGs or anime, then you are in for a real treat.

You play as a Second Year High School student (A Junior in High School) who has transferred from the big city to a small town in the country called Inaba. You will be staying with your uncle for an entire year while your mother and father are away on business. Things are pretty average in the sleepy town of Inaba, until a horrific murder is discovered and few clues are left behind. It quickly turns from an isolated incident into a serial murder case as more bodies begin to show up. You discover that the people are dying from being thrown inside of TVs and into another world. You and your friends are the only ones who can save the hapless victims. From there, the rest is up to you as you live out almost every single day for the next year.

In the top right corner of the screen is the date, time of day, and current weather report. You will carefully spend your time going to class, forging friendships, working, fishing, fighting, eating, cooking, attending after school clubs, solving murders, and so much more. There is so much going on that you won't be able to fully experience everything in one play through (mine took me 76 hours). The end result is a truly satisfying gaming experience in the palm of your hand. The fact that there is so much going on in this game can be intimidating for most people, but the Vita's quick access to the game at any moment makes it easy to approach. I know for a fact that I would not have been able to finish this game if I had tried to play it on a console (maybe when I was a teenager with no life, no girlfriend, and no job). The Vita is the perfect portal into the world of Persona 4.

As I mentioned before, there is a lot to spend you time doing in Persona 4, but the heart of Persona 4's gameplay is dungeon crawling. Every time someone is kidnapped and thrown into the TV their inner most thoughts come out and create a multi-floored dungeon, each one personalized to the person's hidden desires. Everything you do in the real world helps you in the TV world. So when you decide to spend time with your friends in the real world, they get slightly stronger in the TV world. Other relationships with people who aren't on your team will still help you in the TV world too. These "Social Links" help you to create more powerful Personas. A Persona is like a monster that you summon to fight for you. There are hundreds of them and they are all very unique. But don't think of them like Pokemon and you "gotta catch 'em all." If you are wise and choose the right ones, you can just keep using the same one for a long time.

A Brilliant Boss Battle
When you aren't saving people you have the run of the town. The game is not open world at all, there are only a handful of locations that you can visit in the real world. However, since you will be visiting these locations all year around and in all different types of weather, they always feel fresh and exciting. Your choices on how to spend you time will effect the outcome of the game. It won't change the overall outcome of the game, but it will give you more of a "you get out of it what you put into it" kind of feel. The relationships that you cultivate will be satisfying and rewarding in the end. And let us not forget that there are about 4 different endings (5 including the new Vita exclusive ending). Three of the endings will cut the game short because you went down the wrong path in December, but, if you return to your most recent save file and try again, you will gain an extra 15 hours of gameplay and a very satisfying ending.

One of the best things about this game is the style. I've never played a JRPG with so much style. Everything is fast paced, bright, and colorful. The visuals while walking around and playing are nothing too exciting, but the long dialogue points are broken up with fun anime videos.

The sound is fantastic! The music is wonderfully delightful. A brilliant mix of upbeat songs with and without voices that never get old (which is important when you hear them for over 70 hours). The Voice Acting is top notch as well. The Vita version of Persona 4 delivers 1.5 times the voiced dialogue of the original PS2 version that released in 2008. If I had to guess, I would say that about 90% of the main story is fully voiced. This is an amazing feat considering the length of the game, and a very important part of the immersive experience (Ni No Kuni suffered greatly in my opinion because of the lack of voice acting). The one initial draw back to this game is that the main character is silent. You will make decisions for what he will say from time to time, but everything you say is described rather than spoken. At first I really hated this about the game, but by the end of it I really didn't care anymore. I don't know if the choice to leave the main character silent helped with the immersion or not, but I was definitely fully invested by the time the credits started rolling.

In the end, Persona 4 is about friendships and how they affect you. By the time I had finished the game, I was truly sad about the fact that I had to say goodbye to my friends. No game has ever made me feel such a deep connection with the main characters without having sequels and prequels (Example: Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy VII). This, ladies and gentlemen, is the game that you bought your Vita for. The best part is that you don't have to play the previous games to get the best Persona 4 experience (this is my first Persona Game, but I am definitely going to go back and play the others). The fact that you can't experience everything in a single 70 hour play through is staggering, and the only way to get the 5th ending is by playing through the game a second time. That's over 140 hours of playtime. You won't find a better way to spend your Vita money anywhere else. For that reason, I give Persona 4 Golden a perfect score!


Written by Dexter Jaekel
Editor-in-Chief of

Note the Time difference between my save file from getting the Bad Ending and getting the Best Ending

*All Images in this Article Were Captured Directly From The Game*


  1. I bought this game as I think Dexter might have mentioned it briefly on the podcast... I agree that this is a great game and ideally suited for the PS Vita; there are so many different ways to spend time in the game that it always feels fresh. I am forty hours in and still coming across new features. My only gripe is, sometimes I get the impression that my dialogue choices are being ignored for the sake of the story (i.e. I choose one line from the selection and the response from other characters is as if I had one of the other lines). This has happened quite often and really makes me wonder if my choices in the game do have any impact; did you ever get that feeling?

    1. Some of the dialogue is not as important and will only help you build relationships and won't change the course of the story. But towards the end, your choices will make a huge difference on what ending you will get