Persona 4 Golden: 13 years of regret

1 : Anonymous2021/03/07 23:23 ID: m02e13

Persona was a series that always floated in the background for me. I read a review about P4 back in a playstation magazine where it sort of downplayed the game. It made it seem like it was this really scary experience and was just a little weird for my 13 year old Xbox gamer sensibilities (had a PS2 but had moved on to the 360 for Halo 3).

In 2018 my friend got P5R and watching him play I just didn't get it. He described it as a dating Sim meets Pokémon, and since I don't care for dating Sims I wrote the whole series off. He got me to watch a few episodes of the Persona 5 anime and I started to come around. After building my first PC at the start of the year I realized I had the perfect chance to at least give the series a shot.

I sincerely regret not picking this game up in 2008. I feel like I've wasted my time on every RPG since because this game is just amazing. It's not often that you play something that feels like the whole package. The characters are really well written and believable, the setting has this perfect atmosphere. It's like a Stephen King novel but set in rural Japan. It's music has been one of the worst ear worms of my life (I've been caught humming it in meetings!).

Persona and the SMT franchise as a whole is pretty intimidating because they are such big games. Normally I don't really touch anything over 30 hours unless I'm intimately familiar with the franchise, but if you haven't yet you really do owe it to yourself to play Persona 4 Golden. I'm not even past June and I already know I have another playthrough in my near future.

If you don't like JRPGs, this is a good jumping in point. The QOL features in this version of the game take off a lot of the edge to help make your playthrough easier.

In a lot of ways I'm reminded while playing this game of something a buddy of mine said. I was asking if the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time was a good starting point for the Zelda series. He told me that if I played OoT and didn't like it then I wouldn't like Zelda. It's just, in his opinion, that good. I feel the same way as I play P4G. To me it is currently the high water mark for JRPGs, and quickly video games as a whole.

2 : Anonymous2021/03/08 00:36 ID: gq5qg0n

I played P4G on the Vita and PlayStation TV and I absolutely loved it, I’ve played about 5 hours of the PC version and it seems like a really nice clean port.

P4G is an amazing game, although the hour count can make it seem pretty daunting at first by the end I never wanted to leave Inaba haha.

Unfortunately, Atlus haven’t made an updated version of Persona 3, but if you don’t mind the point and click nature of P3P then it’s also an excellent game and although I played it after Persona 4 I think i actually prefer it overall (Tartarus and all haha).

I’ve never been able to get into Persona 5 though, I enjoy it but Tokyo is a little too big for me, I much preferred the more Intimate feel of P3&P4 and I’ve yet to finish P5 🙁

ID: gq6459q

I’ve played about 5 hours of the PC version and it seems like a really nice clean port.

Other than the start menu, they totally killed it.

ID: gq75mku

I played them in the same order as you (even 2 after 3, wouldn't recommend), but just finally was able to play through 5 (didn't have a modern PS to play it) and once you get used to the city it isn't big at all, like every location might have a lot of markers but it's basically a straight line, same with the metro, most of the stations are a one time stop thing.
Although I also felt intimidated when I started it.

3 : Anonymous2021/03/08 03:10 ID: gq6748o

I played P5 first, then P4G as soon as it released on PC. My friend who suggested the series told me P4G was better, but I underestimated how much the game rocked my views on quality games. Finishing the game was such a bittersweet day...

ID: gq67a13

Thank God for new game plus 🙂

4 : Anonymous2021/03/08 00:29 ID: gq5pqgk

If you don't like JRPGs, this is a good jumping in point. The QOL features in this version of the game take off a lot of the edge to help make your playthrough easier.

I beg to differ on this one, except for maybe that fact that you can tweak the difficulty to trivialize combat if you hate it. I have enjoyed a lot of JRPGs, running as far back as FF5. I had to put down P4G recently because the combat and dungeons were so awful - precisely for the reasons a lot of people hate JRPGS: obnoxious random/hallway encounters.

The dungeons were the most tedious garbage I have ever encountered in a JRPG and the combat commits the sin of being involved enough to require you to pay attention in random encounters, but uninteresting and formulaic enough that they are completely mind-numbing. Either making mashing the Attack command like in FF VII an option so I barely notice random encounters, or make the combat system interesting enough that my brain isn't sliding out my ears from finding weaknesses using trial-by-error and then spamming them along with all-out-attacks for every fight other than bosses.

Also, good luck to anyone new to playing JRPGs having to keep track of and remember the differences between abilities with such transparent names as Rakujaja, Sukujaja and Tarukaja.

The story was a lot of fun. The social links are very cool. Pretty much everything between the dungeons has a lot going for it. But we're talking an ~80 hour epic with a whole bunch of tedious hallway fights, in endless monotonous dungeons, with overly long attack animations, and an opaque, convoluted, word-salad set of Personas/abilities. It is not an especially accessible entry point to the JRPG genre.

EDIT: Though I didn't get this far, the fact that you can end up with a bad ending and miss out on a bunch of gameplay by making the wrong dialogue choices is another aspect that does not make it especially beginner friendly.

EDIT2: OP indicates that the game warns you about the impending ending and provides an opportunity for a back-up save, so the above issue is much less of one.

ID: gq5qb1i

What jrpg had the best combat system in your opinion? I kinda liked p4 but it did get very tedious in the second half, but I imagine that's more due to lack of variety in the environment and enemies rather than some fatal flaw in the overall design. I also hated the fusion system and did it as little as possible, no idea how can anyone like having his build constantly soft reset...

ID: gq60470

For that last point the game does basically tell you flat out that you're going to be ending so you can make a back up save

ID: gq75wk6

Yeah, persona fusion can be very overwhelming and it was for me

5 : Anonymous2021/03/08 05:13 ID: gq6j1h7

I just bought Persona 5 Royal in February and finished it a few days ago. I wrote off anime games and stories as an adult for so long, all because I remember liking some cringy stuff as a kid. While deployed last year, I played through P4G on PC after I was broken up with. Literally that game was a godsend! It made me realize I had to change some stuff whenever I got home, and was just a blast in general. All that to say: if you loved P4G, then I highly recommend you try out P5R! Both are phenomenal games.

6 : Anonymous2021/03/08 02:28 ID: gq62i41

We need this re-released on PS4/PS5/Xbox.

ID: gq63rls


7 : Anonymous2021/03/08 00:59 ID: gq5sxdj

I’m playing through it now after trying Persona 5 via emulators for 10 hours or so.

I find it shockingly similar to P5 except the stylization obviously and the (lack of) dungeon design. Otherwise P5 clearly seems like a refinement of P4G and even has a lot of similar beats and character archetypes. I prefer a little bit how social links added perks in P5 but we’re in refinement territory here.

Otherwise I think P4G actually has the better soundtrack. I’m not really an anime person at all and there’s just some great tunes in here. Too early to say about story and characters.

ID: gq63u8v

Apart from prefering p4's soundtrack (wth, persona5's soundtrack was actually amazing), you're besically right. Persona 4 is just a little worse at everythint than 5, but still a very good game.

The only thing thats really a lot worse is the dungeons. Holy shit they were a slog, with the floor by floor mechanic. Compared to the story experience you get from 5, they just felt like they'd never end.

ID: gq6cug6

Persona 4 is just such a comfortable game for me. Persona 3 had a very jazzy and fun soundtrack and a very interesting but bleak story, Persona 5 is incredibly stylish and has a bombastic soundtrack with a very dramatic story, but Persona 4 just makes me feel so relaxed. It's probably my favorite of the three I've played.

ID: gq6nbis

I feel like P5 has a better soundtrack on technical and compositional merits, if you're listening to it as an album. However, I thought it just got too samey when playing the game for 100+ hours. In particular, it really over-relies on "Beneath the Mask" as its main theme. Those opening intervals were absolutely drilling into my head by around the 50 hour mark. P4's soundtrack is less refined, but the greater variety - especially in having several distinct songs as 'overworld' themes - meant that it never got old even on a full playthrough.

8 : Anonymous2021/03/08 07:09 ID: gq6rpwc

I started with Persona 3, then played all the newest main games that came out. (I have tried Persona 1 and 2 but 1 is very broken on PSVita)

Since I’m not really into rhythm games I’ve never played the dancing games and I tried the PQ games, but didn’t like those either.

I’ve always been into JRPGs but I never remembered what made me get into Persona series. I do like the series as a whole, but I can understand certain games only appealing to certain people. P4 is mystery oriented akin to Scooby Doo, while P5 or P3 are not.

Each of the games have themes to them. Persona 4’s is definitely relatable to a lot of people. For me Persona 5’s theme was relatable. Though I like them both equally. One of the things I disliked in P4 was The Reaper was stuck in a chest lol, it’s much better that he comes at you when you wait on a floor too long like in P3/P4

One thing I really like about the series is the Persona games are based on Jungian psychology.

For people looking to get into the series I definitely would say Persona 5/Royal should be the starting point because it’s a lot more modernized, however if your interested in the themes of P3 or P4, start with those. Persona series are good games.

And remember: Everyday’s great at your Junes!

9 : Anonymous2021/03/08 08:48 ID: gq6y1ho

I have been working on P4 since 2011 (played it on many friend's systems but never finished it).

I am now on the final dungeon (true ending). Everyone keeps asking why I didn't just get P4G. No. I am FINISHING THIS GAME. I was 60 hours into this playthrough when Golden was released on PC.

I have found the culprit and they must pay! I will not allow Inaba to be [removed because I can't spoiler tag apparently].

Glad to hear you are enjoying it! Something thats great about the Persona series is that the games aren't connected. So you can pick one up without having played the others.

10 : Anonymous2021/03/08 10:33 ID: gq747ss

I bought a PS Vita and only used it to play P4G. Still worth it.

11 : Anonymous2021/03/08 10:58 ID: gq75pdm

You're right about the music 100%

I didn't even know persona was over 80 hours, i barely check for those things

12 : Anonymous2021/03/08 01:50 ID: gq5yhta

This game was fun, I liked the system for doing things during the day, it felt like you were in a slice of life anime and that was super great. Also I liked how you got to pick who you're into and stuff that was nice. It got kinda grindy at some points, but honestly it's so fun fresh and funky that it's worth it I feel like.

I had to stop playing it bc the homophobia and transphobia got to be too much for me unfortunately.

ID: gq6096a

Homophobia and transphobia in Persona? Mind explaining where and how? Never heard about this before.

13 : Anonymous2021/03/08 05:23 ID: gq6juuc

"dating sim meets Pokemon" is a line I never thought I'd hear to describe Persona 5, but it sums it up perfectly.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x