Persona 4 Golden Review


Have you heard the legend of the Midnight Channel?

In the gaming world, Playstation’s handheld console, the Vita is constantly criticized for offering nothing to play. These people are the unlucky ones missing out on one of the best experiences in gaming.

Persona 4 Golden is a high-definition port of the game Persona 4 that came out in 2008 at the end of the Playstaton 2’s lifecycle.

Persona 4 Golden begins with the main character moving to the country town of Inaba for a year while their parents work overseas. Soon after the main character arrives, he learns of the urban legend of the Midnight Channel, a program only viewable at midnight while it’s raining that shows a person’s soul mate.

Around the same time, mysterious murders start to shake up the small town that somehow relate to the Midnight Channel and the main character’s ability to go into another world though TV sets.

The game is split between exploring the TV world to save lives, and the social life of the main character.

The biggest strength of the game is balancing both of these kinds of gameplay.

The TV world is an extremely dangerous place filled with Shadows, the manifestation of dark thoughts from people. This is where the Persona element comes in. When people thrown into the TV accept their Shadows, they change into a Persona, a source of power drawn from the “mask” that they wear in real life.

Battles are similar to Pokemon. They are turn-based and require the player to exploit enemies weaknesses by using different kinds of magic. Every time you hit an enemy with an attack they are susceptible to, that character gains another turn and can continue on for an entire battle. The same goes for the enemy as well, they can quickly wipe you most of a  party of characters if not taken seriously. While challenging, the combat never borders on unfair or too hard.

The social aspect has you working jobs, completing quests, and forming Social Links with certain characters in order to create new Personas and to make your party stronger.

Unlike other Persona games, Persona 4 Golden holds your hand for a few hours before setting you loose in the world. Even then, not everything is available to do at the start. This removes the sudden shock of being thrown into the world and allows the player to slowly learn how to best use their limited time.

The writing is absolutely fantastic. The story has many twists and turns that make sense within the story and are constantly engaging. There are parts that are genuinely funny, and parts that will push players to the point of crying.

Another strength is the writing of the characters. They are different and have their own issues they deal with, whether it is the fear of rejection from people, or helping a living bear costume to figure out where he came from. Being able to help them through their troubles makes the player emotionally invested and wanting to constantly help them.

While mostly consisting of Japanese pop music, the soundtrack is fantastic. After a few hours, players will find it hard not to hum along with the upbeat music.

Persona 4 Golden also contains more scenes from the original game, as well as more Personas, an additional Social Link, a new dungeon, and a lot more features too numerous to list.

Persona 4 Golden is not just a game, it’s an immersive experience that will stick with players even after they’ve solved the mystery of the Midnight Channel. The game alone is more than worth buying a Playstion Vita.