Persona 4 Golden

Persona Fourever

Atlus does it yet again with Persona 4 Golden. One of the greatest RPGs on the PlayStation 2 - a system brimming with some of the best ever - somehow manages to arrive on Vita in even better shape than the original.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: January 7, 2013
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We’ve got a tradition here of deferring to a past review when a game gets a rerelease, and given how just perfect Sam Bishop’s review of Persona 4 is I’m not going to totally deviate from that. However, much like Persona 3 Portable, Atlus made a bevy of improvements to the original game when the ported it over to the Vita, and the resulting masterpiece Persona 4 Golden sets this new version apart from the original and makes it the definitive release.

The Persona offshoot of the Shin Megami Tensai series has long been declared as “The non-JRPG fans JRPG” for the way (at least in the recent entries) it uses the robust social/dating simulation aspect to augment the grindy combat that typifies the genre. There is also a strong argument that the stories are more compelling and a bit less “out there” than most you’ll find from our Nipponese friends. Yes, a story about high school students cavorting with demon’s from varying mythologies is somehow more grounded than pretty much anything in a Final Fantasy game. The series is also helped by both eschewing random encounters and by making said encounters much more streamlined and fast-paced.

Those of you who have played the original already and are wondering if there is enough here to make it worth your time to invest another, oh… 80 or so hours into the experience should take a look at some of the highlights from the new feature list and see what you think:

Updated Graphics – They’ve cleaned everything up and this looks like a game from this generation and not just an HD-ified version of a stock PS2 game.

New Personas and new S-Links – I don’t know how many Personas there are now, but I can tell you that they have mined pretty deep and come up with some I haven’t seen in ant version of the series so far. Your party members now get a third persona with so devastating powers if you spend enough time with them. The two new S-Links I will leave a surprise, but they are both interesting characters to get to know.

WiFi Features – If you are playing near your favorite WiFi hotspot you can activate two new features. The first is called Vox Populi and lets you see what the top 5 activities were for a given afternoon or evening, based on everyone who has played so far with the feature turned on. It’s kind of a built-in low-spoiler walkthrough for the game and can help remind you of what some of the possibilities are for any given day if you can’t remember. The other feature is the SOS system, a sort of passive support system whenever you enter a dungeon. By opting in you’ll get a bit of a HP/SP boost from everyone else who opted in during battles at (as far as I can tell) no cost to yourself. This can be a lifesaver since it is still just as difficult to recover SP in any single trip.
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