Continuing with the review of the reissues for modern consoles of the Persona series, it is the turn of the fourth installment, Persona 4 Golden. Originally released in 2008, re-released in 2012 for PS Vita with the subtitle Golden and considered by many one of the best of the saga, depending on whether or not you have played Persona 5 Royal. It is the definitive version of the original game adding more content, quality of life improvements and updated for this generation consoles.
This was another game I had the chance to play a few years back, however I couldn’t get very far. Now, as I got my hands on it, I realized several things, like why it’s so acclaimed and why Persona 5 is what it is today. This is the remastered version that was released in 2020 for PC, and that Atlus it was owed to us console owners at the time.
a sinister channel
Persona 4 Golden, takes place in the fictional city of Inaba, a small Japanese town that, until now, lives a quiet life. We play a student who has just come to live with his uncle and his cousin due to mundane issues. However, the city is shrouded in mystery due to a series of strange murders that take place on rainy days.
We soon learn that there is a parallel dimension known as “The Midnight Channel”, where murdered people are thrown here through a television screen. As the protagonist, we must enter this strange area that is a reflection of our world, together with our friends to prevent more people from dying.
On this occasion, Atlus managed to tell us a plot attached to the premise of the series but placing us in a rural area instead of a big city as it was in Persona 3. Even so, it is an interesting story in which they touch mature, dark and philosophical themes, as usual in the games of the Shin Megami Tensei series. They tell us a contemporary story again, with nuances typical of the time the game was originally released.
As usual, part of the attraction has to do with the characters that we will meet. From the main characters, allies and even the secondary ones, we will delve into their particular stories and this is reflected not only in how they treat us, but also in the gameplay. In addition, doing certain things or not, implies being able to witness events that lead to different endings for the game. This makes Golden a very replayable title.
Being a social entity and a hero at the same time
Persona 4 Golden once again divides its gameplay into two aspects such as: an ordinary student life by day, and exploration of dungeons at night. In the first we must attend to daily duties such as attending classes, meeting friends, having love dates, working part-time, etc. We will have a huge number of activities in which we must know how to choose which one to do at specific times, since the game is divided into a calendar of one year.
Emphasis is again placed on social relationships (Social Links) with the other characters. This allows you to cultivate friendships that give us advantages at the gameplay level in dungeon battles, in addition to having new dialogue options. We are also allowed to develop attributes of our personality, which means being able to better deal with situations that come our way on a day-to-day basis.
The other side of the coin is the dungeons of the parallel world. We must go through some corridors that are generated randomly either to go up or down floors in order to clean the area of enemies and find treasures. We will do it in the company of our friends for when things get complicated and we have to fight.
As far as combat is concerned, it is basically a turn-based JRPG in which we will have several commandos to face the battles. In these battles we will use normal attacks and use of abilities thanks to our Personas. Each member of the party will have their own Persona and these will have different attributes between advantages and disadvantages. It is the game system known in Persona 5 but with other assets.
The use of abilities to exploit the weaknesses of both the enemies and us are maintained. The Press Turn (One More) mechanic returns in which if we critically hit or attack weaknesses, we will have an additional turn, but enemies can do this too. Another mechanic is the recruitment of People, to later merge them into more powerful ones through the Velvet Room in which our recurring friend Igor will welcome us.
Just like Persona 3 Portable, Golden brings new features that it inherited from the Vita version and new ones from this version of modern consoles. We start with improvements in graphics resolution, you can make Quick Saves, manage the other members of the group in battles, new Social Links, among others.
Inclusion of new difficulties that can be chosen at any time, the same as in P3P. Also a gallery mode in which we can see the videos that we have unlocked, a music player. It is a very complete edition.
A very person style
Persona 4 Golden, although it is an old base game, looks much better than its P3P counterpart. The models look more stylized, with 16:9 screen settings, 4K resolution and stable frame rate. However, time has returned to make certain seams noticeable, such as the quality of the animated scenes that are seen below and with some graphic noise. In addition, some textures show which generation this remaster comes from.
However, Atlus once again shows its mastery when it comes to working on the soundtrack. The cool songs of the pop, rock, electro, etc. genres are back. Some of the songs were reworked, but overall, they sound great. The game is dubbed into Japanese and English, highlighting the Japanese language, although Shakespeare’s is very good.
Persona 4 Golden it is without a doubt, what it was Persona 5 Royal when it was released, a very complete version of an already great game. It is clear that it was the step forward in what would be the saga from the fifth installment. Its captivating story, where each character is important, its school life simulation system and dungeon exploration are fail-safe. The added novelties bring the game closer to modern titles and make it widely enjoyable. Highly recommended for fans of the series and RPGs.
Note: This review was made on the PS5 version and the code was provided thanks to Atlus.