REVIEW: Persona 4 Golden

Persona 4: Golden is a remake of 4-year-old Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, and it's a remake that's worth not just buying the new game but also buying the Playstation Vita.

The storytelling is just as good, if not better, than its original. It may have a cheesy message of bonds of friendship are true power, but it sticks to that message the whole way. With the addition of the Marie and Adachi social links, you learn more about the TV world, become close to the fumbling detective, and help the new mystery girl recover her memory. The same twists are present, but fans of the original still face a few new surprises, mainly having to do with Marie...

There are new animation cutscenes and new content, including trips to the beach (one as a large group, and you can choose to go there via scooter with other friends some days), a short cutscene of a hotsprings trip with Marie, and most importantly, a whole new dungeon, and a ski trip. The last two are related, making it my favorite addition to the game. You also get to play through January and February, whereas the original skipped straight to March. (Building snowmen with Nanako? You bet!)

There have been some rumors that you can only have one girlfriend in Persona 4: Golden. That's not entirely true. You can still become intimate with several girls at the same time. However, Valentine's Day forces you to spend your time with one girl. And the others will get sad and make you feel guilty. It's an awkward time all around.

After maxing out social links with your teammates, you can hang out with them again to have their Persona transform a second time, making it even stronger. Maxing out Rise's social link proves to be one of the most useful things about P4G, and she saved my butt several times. Rise can provide even better support through her social link, raising your stats, blocking enemy attacks, and reviving you.

Atlus didn't fix what wasn't broken. The music is relatively unchanged (other than a new opening) and the fighting system is the same. Other changes were minor, but very helpful! You can fastforward through dialogue (sticking with the TV motif) and when you die in battle, you can choose to retry from the beginning of the floor, meaning you'll only lose about 20 minutes of your time rather than an hour or two...or three...

You can dress up your teammates in costumes, which you get for free and can buy in Okina City. And when you talk to them, they'll comment on their and your costumes.

I can find no bad additions to Persona 4: Golden. Persona 4 was already a solid game, and the remake made it even better. Hell, the game is nearly perfect. It's enjoyable, the storytelling is fantastic, the characters are distinct and dynamic, and the visuals are eyecatching. For newcomers who haven't experienced Persona 4 before, just when you think you've figured out the killer, you'll get it turned around on your head once again. As long as you keep pursuing the truth and avoid distractions, you'll make it through.

I don't normally put numbers to reviews because I think the writing should stand by itself, but I'd give P4G a 9.5/10. This is a must-buy for RPG fans who own a Vita. (And if you don't own a Vita now, P4G is worth it.)

To read my review of the original Persona 4, click here. In this review, I decided to focus on what was different about P4 and P4G. For more background information on the game, check the review of P4.

Thank you so much, Atlus.