"JRPG at its Best"
RPGs are at home on the portable consoles. Perhaps this is why the release of Persona 4 Golden, a port of the PS2 version of Persona 4 by developer Atlus, spiked Vita sales. Why would this game spike Vita sales alone? Because if you haven't yet played Persona 4 and you are a JRPG fan, then you are missing out.
Persona 4 Golden differs from its PS2 port in a few respects. Everything is brought to you in stunning HD, which looks great on the Vita screen. The charming graphics and colors, and the great anime design is bright and sharp. Those familiar with the story of Persona 4 won't see any changes with plot in this version, but you will see some new characters. There are also a few new areas / maps to explore, including some new night life and shopping experiences. While talking about the changes in this new version, I should mention that P4G takes advantage of the Vita's connectivity. There is the ability to connect online and summon other players to help you out during tough boss fights with the SOS feature, though I had some issues using this function to garner help when I needed it; however,I have heard others have had great success.
Persona 4, for those who haven't played it, mixes a high school sim with demon-fusion RPG fighting. It is a traditional turn-based combat type of game, but those elements of "real life" high school drama are what makes Persona 4 great. You go about your typical life as a high-schooler, but by being sucked into television sets you will enter new dungeons where you will progress the game and meet new characters. You will balance high school life and TV dungeon crawling to unravel the story and progress the game.
The combat system is invigorated by the use of Personas. These Personas use different skills, level up alongside your character and can be combined for special attacks. Overall, the turn-based combat is basic RPG fare, but it is neither slow nor quick. At least there is plenty of strategy to be used within each battle. A.I. will aid you to an extent, and it's necessary for your backup characters, but unlike in the RPG days or yore, you won't just keep hitting "fight-fight-fight", saving your magic for the last boss battle. Persona 4 Golden will actually force you to make some strategic choices. Even today, with the huge amount of RPGs that are released, that can be hard to find. Persona 4 Golden battles are all about balancing and finding the perfect strategy for the situation, but don't worry, Those who thought the A.I. system for FF XII system was convoluted will find that Persona 4 Golden's is a bit more streamlined.
Persona 4 Golden takes a while to get into. I think it took me about an hour before I was really into the game and churning through drama and dungeons. This was hard for me, since I have gotten out of JRPGs over the years, but once I got past the opening story and cutscenes, I was having a blast. Just be warned that if long intros are not your cup of tea, you will need patiente, but Persona 4 Golden will get rolling right along eventually.
So is it worth it to pick up Persona 4 Golden if you've already played it on the PS2? If you loved the game originally, then now is your chance to play it again with HD graphics, new content, and the portability to take it wherever you go. Those who want a good JRPG should pick it up straight away, because replaying it on the Vita has made me realize how great Persona 4 really is.
GameDynamo's Score for Persona 4 Golden (PS Vita)
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