Persona 4 Golden Review – Return To The Midnight Channel
Persona 4 Golden is a critically acclaimed JRPG that was first published in 2012 for the PS Vita. It was an improved port of the PS2 version of the game, with an expanded story and quality-of-life improvements. For a long time, the game was only available on the PS Vita, until the PC version was released, which has been now followed by other consoles. This re-release just adds to the game’s status as one of the series’ greatest and one of the best JRPGs of all time.
In Persona 4 Golden, the player assumes the role of a high school student who transfers to a small town named Inaba for educational purposes. Throughout the course of the game, the player will encounter a wide array of characters, including friends, classmates, and locals. In other traditional JRPGs, the side characters might not be given as much importance but here, each of them is a key part of the story. They either have an effect on the narrative or can be bonded through social links. This greatly enhances the player’s experience, immersing them in the game world and making them feel like an integral part of the narrative
Persona 4 Golden set the tone for the franchise to follow, introducing a winning formula that would be embraced by fans. Its success paved the way for the popular Persona 5. Unlike its predecessor Persona 3 Portable, Golden has a more lighthearted and playful atmosphere, incorporating social elements like attending school and spending time with friends. The game strikes a balance between humor and darker elements, as it begins with a murder investigation that the protagonist’s uncle, a detective, is trying to solve. Though the game never takes itself too seriously, it doesn’t shy away from the darker elements of the story.
Persona 4 Golden presents a compelling and mysterious narrative, with each development leading to a deeper understanding of the game’s world. The game commences as a straightforward investigation into a series of inexplicable murders in a small town, but as the plot progresses, it becomes apparent that there are underlying layers of complexity. The story delves into profound themes such as self-discovery, societal norms, and the nature of reality, elevating it beyond the realm of a typical role-playing game and into a thought-provoking masterpiece.
As the story unfolds, the main characters are slowly revealed, each one more intriguing than the last. Yosuke Hanamura’s mischievous streak and Chie Satonaka’s lively energy are just a taste of the depth and complexity that these characters possess. What truly sets this game apart is the way it seamlessly blends gameplay and narrative to develop the personalities of these characters. As we spend more time with them, we see that they are all struggling with their issues, and it’s impossible not to become invested in their journeys.
The “social link” aspect of the series also returns, introducing a host of fascinating side characters that add even more depth to the world of the game. Though they may not play a direct role in the main story, these characters are still well worth getting to know thanks to the game’s top-notch localization.
Persona 4 Golden is a journey that will lure gamers with its enticing gameplay loop, keeping them engrossed for hours on end. The game expertly combines dungeon crawling with social simulation, immersing players in a universe of interesting locations while encouraging meaningful connections with friends and classmates.
The combat system in Persona 4 Golden, while adhering to the standard turn-based format commonly found in Japanese role-playing games, presents a unique twist through the utilization of Personas. These entities, which serve as avatars for the party members, possess elemental attributes that can be exploited to gain an advantage in battle. As such, a thorough understanding of the enemies’ weaknesses is crucial for achieving success in combat.
Technically speaking, this game may feel like a blast from the past. The graphics, while still impressive, have not aged as gracefully as one might hope. For those who have just completed Persona 5, the visuals may not seem as vibrant or polished. However, the game does represent a notable improvement over its PS Vita predecessor, with the switch to 4K resolution giving the visuals a much-needed boost and performance running at a smooth 60 FPS.
Regrettably, the game is limited to 60 FPS on PS4 and PS5 and players won’t be able to experience the higher performance that is available on Xbox Series or PC. It’s a shame that PlayStation consoles aren’t able to fully showcase the game’s capabilities. But the game still offers an excellent gaming experience.
Overall, Persona 4 Golden is an excellent RPG that fans of the genre should play. It is one of the finest entries in the series and one of the best JRPGs of all time, thanks to its endearing cast of characters, compelling plot, and engrossing gameplay.
Persona 4 Golden Game Information
- Price: $19.99
- Publisher: Sega
- Developer: Atlus
- Platform: PS4 (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher