Persona 4 Golden is something I never thought I’d really love. While I did enjoy my time in P3P before, I still have a trauma to its repetitive battle system. When I started P4G, I was screaming (internally) “I love this. I love this! I LOVE THIIIIIIIIIIIS!!!” at every chance I get. I understand now why this game is popular.
The premise of the game is that the protagonist, Narukami Yu (name can be changed, I named my character Asahina Kyo ww), moves to Inaba where he would spend a year with his uncle and cousin. Along with his transfer, a series of bizarre murders take place in a once peaceful town of Inaba. Yu and his new-found friends are set to uncover the mystery behind all this with their new powers.
Student / Everyday Life
Yu has 5 skills that he needs to improve throughout the game. Different activities help him in maxing them. Some part-time jobs and social links can’t be activated if you haven’t reached a certain skill level. Choosing what activity you want to do while keeping an eye to your stats/social links is tough. The struggle is real. As usual, I turned to a max social links guide to help me get through the game so I wouldn’t spend too much time doing trivial things that will not help me in my future battles.
Atlus added a couple more activities to choose from. You can catch bugs and fish. Catching bugs helps you in exchanging stones and in fishing. Like catching bugs, fishing is optional and you can finish the game without ever experiencing it, unless you are doing a quest. It consumes time though so do it sparsely.
Riding a motorcycle is another thing you can do. You can choose to ride with any of your friends or alone. Riding with a friend allows them to learn or re-learn certain skills for their persona. Riding alone can get you to other places such as the beach where you could fish and to Okina City. Okina has different stores you may want to visit and one of these actually unlocks a trophy.
One of the improvements in the game is how the choices you make in a conversation causes an increase in the skill level or your social link. Other than increasing stats, it allows Yu to have a personality. For instance, choosing “Are you calling me an idiot?” when his homeroom teacher introduces him and indirectly calling him as that in front of the class results to an increase in Courage. That was one of my complaints before in P3P. The male MC says things that the other party wants to hear. That makes him sort of a pushover.
Rumor has it that when you look at your television screen at midnight on a rainy day, you’ll see the person you are destined to be with. Whether that rumor is true or not, it is for you to figure it out once you play the game.
The Midnight Channel is P4’s version of Tartarus. But instead of a school turning into a creepy tower, Yu can enter the world inside the TV. The TV world houses the different and distinct dungeons in the game. Each dungeon contains at least 10 floors with the main boss at the top. Mini-bosses can be found midway through the floors. There are two ways to return to the entrance, either you walk all the way down or use an item. I love the design of the dungeons. It’s not just a row of walls and tiles. There are various designs and atmosphere with each one of them.
Dungeon crawling is a lot easier this time. When you’re on a higher level, just hit auto mode and then sit back… unless the enemy has a null/repel/counter Physial or the battle won’t finish lol. I played both P3 and P4 on Easy level but I find P4 easier to grind for EXP. Even the lack of the solo exploration didn’t hinder in leveling up my team. It was harder to grind for money though. By the end of the game, I was poor with the constant Persona fusion, in contrast with the seemingly never ending 9 in my P3 play.
Hunting for rare hands are easier. There are no quests to pressure you and they don’t run away/disappear fast while going after them. They are a lot more evasive during fights however. Sometimes, you face 5 of them at the same time and then 4 would run away. It’s both frustrating and fun though.
Facing the Reaper is easier as well. You don’t need to run whenever you hear chains and grunts. You can actually make the Reaper appear when you want too. There are certain triggers to do that. Not because you hear the signs of him coming means you’ll really encounter him.
What keeps the battle system from being a mundane task is that you can never guess what will happen in a fight. Some fights are the usual ones. There are instances where the enemy still lives after an All-Out Attack, and if you happen to have the correct pair in your team, you’ll get a combined move. Rise helps out in fights too. Either during All-Out Attacks or providing extra defense etc during battles.
Okay so there are guides for maxing the social links as well as for fighting the bosses. But I never thought I’d encounter a guide for costumes. You can dress up your team however you want too. The clothes can be bought in Okina City or through gifts throughout the game. Some costumes are only available on certain dates so watch out for that if you’re aiming for complete costumes. Once you change clothes, talk to your teammates. Their conversations are amusing!
There’s an optional dungeon called Hollow Forest. This is only accessible when you have maximized the Aeon Social Link and on the way to the True Ending. Hollow Forest gives a new spin to the usual dungeons in the game. All your items and money will be gone temporarily. Your characters will be stripped off all the armors and weapons you accumulated throughout the game. You have to collect items as you go through the floors. But after your first battle, your SP will be halved which is like the worst thing that could happen to me, much worse than dying in a boss battle. To make things worse, most of the shadows in this dungeon are weak to elemental types. It’s like putting a food in front of you but you can’t eat it. Thank goodness my team was already strong enough to survive this dungeon. Hollow Forest is more annoying than difficult but this test me on how to use my resources really well and think of an alternative to my ever trusted SP skills.
Playing P4 makes me appreciate P3 a lot. They are the same yet different at the same time. As I’ve mentioned in my this post, both games are the polar opposites of one another. P3 is all about living life to the fullest so there’ll be no regrets in the end. Meanwhile, P4 hopes for a brighter future with your real self. But that makes them the same – living life with no regrets. While P3 takes on deeper philosophical views of life and death, P4 tackles most issues that people commonly encounter. Issues like sexuality and other internal struggles are discussed.
P4 is filled with colorful personalities that adds to the enjoyment of the game. Ultimately, my favorite’s got to be Adachi. Tohru Adachi is that novice detective who throws up at the sight of dead bodies… whom he killed. On the climax of the story, I felt bad for him for doing all the work for Yu’s family. He acts as an adult for once while also being a dependable cop. Only to find out that he isn’t being the good guy after all. He gets the kicks for trolling everyone and kills/maneuvers people for the lulz. He is the kind of villain you’d want to smack in the face but also can’t help but be in awe with his fucktardness. I think he has the issue I can mostly relate to. He is like any other promising young adult. He was bright as a student and ambitious as a cop. But then, he became bitter to the world that I couldn’t help but think how did life fuck him up? Or it’s just him, not being able to adjust to the life outside the four corners of the classroom and being caught up with his ideas? Adachi would probably be one of my favorite troll character of all time, threatening Komaeda in that position, if not for his rapist and stalker tendencies. He’s got low respect for women and have that gross face when he talked to his victims.
Persona 4 Golden is the best game I’ve played in recent memory. It has a good combination of plot, characters, and system. Now I can’t wait for Persona 5!