After a few years of finding reasons not to jump in, I finally picked up a PlayStation VITA a few months ago and Within moments of posting a picture of my new toy a number of tweets appeared in my notifications, “Have you played Persona 4 yet?” was the underlying theme. So £15 later the little blue box arrives at my door and the unbelievably small cartridge goes into my Vita, 65 hours later and wow, can I start New Game+ now?
Persona 4 is a turned based RPG that mixes dungeon crawling, Monster collecting, Murder mystery and the life of a high school student, all wrapped in a very interesting modern rural Japanese setting.
In this setting of the sleepy rural town of Inaba, you play a high schooler who has transferred from the big city to live with your Uncle but quickly get embroiled in a series of murders all linked to the mysterious Midnight TV channel.
The game plot unfolds with the help of beautiful anime cut scenes, as well as the many (MANY) social interactions you have with your friends and other inhabitants of Inaba. The tasks you undertake are as varied as they come from getting a part time job or joining the Basketball team at your school, to helping a little girl finding her twin sister or dating one of the many girls in your investigation team! Crucially each of these tasks is as important as each other which really helps keep the game fresh and rewarding 60+ hours into it.
Each dungeon section has a different theme which, again, keeps the game fresh and makes the inevitable JRPG grinding far less tedious than similar games. I don't mean “ice world, fire world, etc” either, the dungeons are based on the inner feelings of each of the characters that they represent, each are interesting and unsettling in their own way. Everything oozes character too, each Persona has its own unique strengths and weaknesses much like the aforementioned Pokémon series and the combinations you can create feel completely singular to your save even though that isn't the case.
Now, I’m 4 paragraphs in and the surface is absolutely nowhere near being scratched and I haven’t mentioned a single aspect that annoys me, which really should tell you everything you need to know about Persona 4 Golden. It is a triumph of game design, a masterpiece and is alone worth the purchase of PS Vita (or the now £45 PlayStation TV).
Final Verdict: Persona 4 Golden is a modern take on the classic Final Fantasy formula that creates a masterful game that anyone with any affinity to Japanese Role Playing games simply must play and new players should give a look. It’s a huge time investment but rewards you for single every minute you spend in its world.
By Contributor Dave "@EofGizmo" Bellringer