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VINE VOICEon 25 February 2013
As my past reviews have shown, I am absolutely potty for Persona, with Persona 3 and the PS2 original of Persona 4 easily being my fave games of the last console generation. You'd think there wouldn't be a lot you could do to improve on perfection with regard to Persona 4, but Atlus have somehow managed just that with Persona 4 Golden by taking the original, improving it in just about every way and adding in a ton of new content and bonus material that takes an amazing game and turns it into an essential one for newcomers and veterans of the PS2 version alike. This is an incredible release. There is no two ways about that... Though obviously as a vet myself, you'll forgive me if this review is more focused on what's new rather than going over game basics again.

The story is obviously mostly the same as the original, with you controlling a silent protagonist schoolboy (Whose name is apparently "officially" Yu Narukami if you've seen the anime series adaption. You can still call him whatever you like here though.) who is going to live with his uncle for a year in order to attend school in the small Japanese town of Inaba. Once there he becomes embroiled in a serial murder case connected to a hidden world of shadow monsters inside TV screens. You know, the usual. The story of this game is probably it's greatest strength as it is a very well written, charming tale with some of the finest character development ever seen in a game and a lot of genuinely funny dialogue coupled with an engrossing central mystery. A lot of work has clearly gone into ensuring the game's writing quality shines through in the english translation as well, so it's a relief that Atlus decided to go the extra mile once again on this front. In terms of new material added in for the Golden version's story, there are a LOT of new events added in and a lot of expanded character development scenes put in as well as a new character with an extensive new subplot centred on them that actually can prove pretty major to the overall story if you play it right and a number of additional animated sequences that expand the more lighthearted, comedic elements of the story. Additionally, there's even an extensive new ending that can be unlocked on top of the three or so that were in the original game that is just perfect. It's definitely a much longer game in story terms this time around, but it is no less charming or compulsive for it... quite the opposite in fact. However, I did note there were several new scenes (Some even using animated sequences) added in for no other reason than to show the female members of the cast in various states of undress, usually while sharing a bath together. Stay classy Japan.

Gameplay is largely unchanged, just expanded a bit, with the "social" elements of the game giving you a lot more options with regard to what you can do during your days in inaba (Including new areas to unlock and visit), but at the same time adding in a major element to this part of the game that was in Persona 3, but not Persona 4 on PS2... and that is the ability to actually go out at night and explore Inaba, which again offers new events, new options and further new scenes with other characters. There is quite a lot of new material here. The other part of the game, the TV world's dungeon crawling combat sequences, isn't quite as heavily changed and added to. The whole game has been rebalanced and there are lots of new Personas to collect and side quests to complete together with a much more user friendly fusion/customisation system and a new, secret dungeon that can be unlocked... but beyond this, there are no huge changes to the combat and dungeoning elements of the game... Unless you count the hilariously insane new costume system that allows you to change the character's appearance (eg. you can unlock the ability to dress your team as characters from Persona 3, which makes them act like the character they're dressed as during victory posing in battle.). The combat is as accessible and satisfying as always though. The game on the whole is still aces on the gameplay front across the board.

Visually, while the game is still using the same graphical assets as the PS2 version (Which weren't exactly the most impressive visuals on PS2 to be honest), the visuals have been given a pretty impressive new lick of paint that improves and cleans up details on the backgrounds and character models and adds in new little touches everywhere (New lighting effects, birds hopping along the ground that fly away when you approach, snowfall weather elements... there's a lot added in). It looks great here all told. The soundtrack of course is amazing as always, with it being largely unchanged from the PS2 version, but there are a number of new pieces of music here that are just as good as everything else on the soundtrack, most especially the new daytime theme song that plays during the snowy days. Though I have to admit I was not particularly fond of the ill fittingly cheery new opening theme song (The PS2 original opening is on here as well though thankfully). The voice acting is again superb on the whole, but there are a couple of characters whose voice actors have changed since the original (Namely Teddie and Chie), and I didn't really like the new voices as much, but they do an okay job I guess. It's still good on this score.

This is easily the definitive version of this game, and I'm sure I don't have to tell you that the definitive version of one of the best JRPGs of the last decade is a proposition you would be a fool to pass up. Not only does this release have everything the original PS2 game had, it has more EVERYTHING coming out it's ears... More story, more characters, more enemies, more Personas, more areas to explore, more stuff to do, more voice acting, more music... anything you can think of from Persona 4, it's here and then some. Add to this an extensive collection of bonus content about the game (Music concert videos, detailed concept/promotional art with full commentary, trailers for the entire Persona series from Japan, mini games... tons of it.) and you have here a rare release that I would honestly describe as utterly essential if you have even the most passing of interest in games of this type. Buy now.
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on 23 February 2013
I bought Persona 4: Golden on a whim after hearing lots of praise about the Persona series on the internet, and thought it would click well with my current taste in games - Japanese handheld games with RPG elements such as The World Ends With You, Radiant Historia, 999, Ghost Trick, etc. etc. The Persona series was completely unknown to me (although I had heard of Shin Megami Tensei, the parent franchise of the game), so it was a bit of a gamble, but I bought a Vita and imported P4:G from Canada so that I'd have lots of time to play it before my finals.

In a sentence, P4:G reawakened my childhood love of video games. It has been a long, long time since a game has been able to make me feel so immersed in its plot, characters and setting as P4:G has, despite being very Japanese and just a little bit alien. The Scooby Doo-meets-Serial Killer plot of game is strong and well-written, and getting to the core of the mystery of the game is a delightful whodunnit. The gameplay itself can be divided into two sections: a solid dungeon crawler that composes ~1/4 - 1/3 of the game and living the life of a secondary school student in Japan. It's this second section that contains the real appeal of the game - its complex and fascinating characters. I have never played a game, or possibly even enjoyed fiction, where I have felt such a deep empathy for the characters. As you develop trust and friendships with the characters, your 'Persona' in the dungeon crawler of the game becomes more powerful, incentivising you to become close friends to and learn about your buddies in the 'Investigation Team', as well as your peers and strangers in the weird town of Inaba. Helping the 'thuggish' Kanji realise that his talent for making stuffed animals is something to celebrate rather than be ashamed of; comforting your little cousin Nanako as her dad's work consumes the care and attention she deserves; and helping your best friend grieve and come to terms with Saki's death are some of the more conventional sub-plots, and are woven into a script that features plenty of events, banter and slapstick.

Other strengths of the game include fantastic English voice acting, a rarity in JRPGs (although the change in Chie's voice actress since the PS2 release is apparently controversial), and a soundtrack that includes some absolutely godly song. Admittedly, the game would have benefited from a slightly wider range of both battle and environment themes, simply due to the long playtime of the game (~70 hours at least). Likewise, whilst the dungeon environments change completely from one dungeon to another and remain interesting, the dungeon designs themselves could have been designed better and could have featured variation. However, neither of these was a dealbreaker for my enjoyment of the game.

TL;DR: Persona 4: Golden is a masterpiece. If you already own a Vita, you are wasting money if you have not bought it for your machine, given the drought of good games on that particular console. If you don't already have a Vita, you'll have to think harder about whether you think P4:G and a Vita is worth it and do some more research, but I personally have no regrets. One thing I can't do I am afraid is I can't speak for if the new content in the game since the PS2 release is worth it for people who have already, but I suspect current fans of the series will already have made up their minds on whether to buy P4:G or not.
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on 12 April 2013
I will start off by saying that I had not played a Persona game prior to this, I bought it purely on a whim....and I can't recommend this game enough!
It's a whole new experience and I haven't played anything like it before.

As a few others have said, it starts off fairly slow, but once you get a few hours in, that's it, you're hooked!

I have just completed that game, having put over 70 hours into it, and in that time there was not once where I was bored. In fact, once I was approaching the end I just wanted it to carry on, the main reason for that is due to the very in-depth character development.

It's character development is it's strongest feature in my opinion. Developing these bonds helps you develop your personas and that of your teams.
Its very rewarding, and you end up feeling that you really know these people, which is good because you feel for them and want to see them succeed.
The characters themselves are all very likable and each have their own personality.
I have not seen the use of characters used as strongly as in this game before, it's fantastically done, I can't exaggerate that enough!

The battle system, while it seems the usual turn-based system, is kept fresh with a few features, such as knocking the enemies down and team attacks, it adds a whole new strategy to the battles.

The story is fantastic, it keeps you guessing and adds loads of twists and turns, it kept me thinking even while I wasn't playing the game.
It is a lengthy game, as I said, I have put over 70 hours into it. But as well as solving the mystery and battling the enemies, you also have to live the busy life of a teenager.

It is at these points, that you have to go to school, get a job, develop your relationships with everyone as well as your own character.
All of it is rewarding and worth investing your time in it.

I wish I had been a Persona fan from when it started, but after playing this game (almost like living an alternate life rather than playing a game) I am now totally hooked. I'm just sad this experience had to end.

This is up there with my favourite games and I couldn't recommend it enough
Don't miss your opportunity to play this game!

Ps. Via the online feature added to this game, you can request help, in the form of health and other boosts in the dungeons.
If you need help my PSN is RavenGunner
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 February 2015
The Persona series never originally came out in the UK so my first foray into the series was with Persona 3 FES, a truly brilliant game.

Persona 4 Golden is better.

It's a role playing game but not in the traditional sense. You play the role of a new student who has transferred to a small town in the Japanese country side called Inaba to stay with your uncle. While there you get dragged into a local myth about "the midnight channel" on TV which turns out not only to be true but related to bizzare murders that have been happening around town thanks to another world full of monsters inside the TV while making friends and teammates on the way.

At least half of the game is based around these friendships called social links. Each of these unique friends have their own personal problems, romances and unique relationships with you which play out as you spend time with them. I found these stories thoroughly engrossing thanks to the variety of characters and their superb voice acting.

There is more to them than just having chats with unique characters though, the social links actually have a point in the gameplay too. As you investigate the TV world you and your teammates have to fight many battles using your Persona, a sub conscious powerful ally that manifests based on the owners personality. Each teammate has their own specific Persona except your main character who has the ability to use any Persona. This involves often a lot of experimentation in fusing different Personas together to form new ones whoose power is the result of your social links as each link represents a Persona type. The stronger your friendship bonds, the stronger your Persona.

The gameplay in the TV world is an improvement over the previous games with each dungeon being themed now adding a lot more variety to the dungeon crawling combat though it can still be a little repetitive. Combat is immensely fun though. It's a turn based system used in other Shin Megami Tensei games called the turn press system. Character attacks that take advantage of weaknesses, largely elemental, stun enemies giving you an extra attack. This can also be done on your party though so it's quite challenging.

Production wise Persona 4 Golden is largely a playstation 2 port so the visuals don't take full advantage of the playstation Vita though it does look good largely due to the excellent colour palette and crisp artwork and design. The music though (and afore mentioned voice acting) is amazing and constantly got stuck in my head, it was just so different, everything about Persona 4 stood out to me.

Final thoughts, I can't recommend this game enough really though I can see how it could be a required taste as the game starts off slow setting up the plot but I loved every moment of it which for an RPG that takes over 90 hours to get through should say something.

+ Social links are superb sub plot pieces.
+ Voice acting is perfect.
+ Combat is challenging.
+ Fantastic unique music.
+ Tons to do and see.
review image review image
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on 25 April 2014
If you are even remotely interested in JRPG games, then look no further than P4G. I'll admit, this is the first Persona title i have played as i never had a PS2 during that generation. I adore my JRPG's and i can safely say this is the best i've played yet, my previous favourite was Tales Of Vesperia but this eclipses even that!

I'm 168 hours into the game, i've completed it twice and i'm now starting the 3rd playthrough and to be honest i can't wait. If you like JRPG's and anime, then this is guarateed to amaze. If you aren't a fan of anime, then you may be after playing this game.

There is a fantastic music selection throughout the entire game. Even after hundreds of hours they never become tiresome. The best soundtrack for a videogame since GTA III. Cutesy J-Pop and awesome club beats meet for a real treat for the ears. You will be humming them in your sleep.

The game has the best story i've ever seen in a game, i've never been more into a game than i have with this. There's all kinds of ups and downs, it's hilarious one minute then heartbreaking the next. The voice acting is flawless, the voices chosen for the dub fit each character perfectly and it's never once cheesy or irritating.

Pros:

The loading times are almost non existent, literally 2 to 3 seconds and thats sparingly.
The HD graphics are lovely and vibrant on the Vita screen, the presentation is outstanding with nice clean colourful menus.
The dungeon's are varied and never get boring when grinding levels.
The Persona system is brilliant, and collecting them / fusing them will take ages.
Developing social links with people around town is fun and rewarding.
The voice acting is outstanding, some of the best dub work i've heard.

Cons:

There's barely anything wrong with the game, but if i was to nit pick, the only thing that has annoyed me is when the game skips a few days due to exams at school, so you miss out on a week of social link building and so on. The game is that addictive, you want to maximise every day you have.

So basically, it's worth buying a Vita for, i did and i'm so glad. This is already in my top 5 games of all time and that's with 26 years gaming experience. I might even buy the US copy as i hear it has a separate trophy list so i can redo the entire game again....
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on 12 April 2013
I was on the fence about getting this game, having never really heard of this game or played a game by Atlus, for £30 I was weary. The reason it got my attention was by looking up on Metacritic, where not only was it the highest rated Vita game, but on 94/100.

In the end I thought if they reckon its that good, I have to atleast give it a try. So bought it and now, im an avid Persona fan. I played it none stop, on my first play through without anywhere near 100% completion, I clocked up 90 hours!! just going through the story and doing the odd side quest I knew how to do. It was a bit slow to start off, taking close to 3 hours before I even had my first taste of combat. But after that the game just hooks you in and wont let go. After playing this game and enjoying it so much, I brought Persona 3, been buying Persona posters, I even have it as my wallpaper on my PC and tablet, I have been totally converted!

If you enjoy a good RPG, this one ranks among the best I have played. Just beware, it might take over your life.
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After the incredible experience I had with Persona 3 I was really looking forward to playing the 4th instalment but I was advised to play it on the Vita. The issue at the time being that I did not own a Vita and really wanted to get the PS2 version, however like a good boy I decided to wait.

And wait I did!

Persona 3 had a fantastic story, it was dark and humorous and the battle system was new and fresh however its main downfall was the repetitive dungeon, it was so boring that towards the end not even the battle system could stop me dodging enemies and running up and up flights of stairs. I should mention at this point that I played the PSP version.

Anyway jump forward a couple of years and I pick up a brand new Vita along with Persona 4. From what I heard from a close friend of mine and a forum I visit was that this game is worth owning a Vita for so when I had the funds I bought a Vita…………..Just for this game!
There are other benefits to owning a vita especially if you have PS+ but I’ll leave that for another review.

Persona 4, from the off the story really grips you, the game looks beautiful on the Vita’s OLED screen the music oh man the music sticks in your head but in a great way! The music is catchy and although it repeats it never seems to get boring!
Every character you meet is instantly likeable even if you don’t think you will ever warm to them at first and as this game spends so much time with character development you grow attached to them. As my friend told me once he finished the game, “it’s like losing an old friend” and that’s what happens when it’s all over, you feel so close to them that when it’s all over you feel an empty space where they used to be. This is the power of great story telling and character development and Atlas does it perfectly!

The battle system is more of the same if you have played Persona 3 Portable which is no real bad thing but the best thing that has been improved is the dungeons. No longer are you walking around endless corridors all looking bland and the same but different colours. Persona 4 takes place inside a TV world and each dungeon has its own original designed, music and humour, I didn’t mind level grinding in this game at all and never once wanted to rush any of the dungeons.

The story is the games strong point, it has darkness it has a ton of humour and it has twists and strong characters which all make up for a perfect game.

My first playthrough took around 80 hours and not once did I want to finish playing. Persona 4 was worth buying a Vita for
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on 6 September 2014
This is a must have for your vita console.

Story - 10/10

I wont go too much into detail as the story since I don't want to spoil anything.
You play as the hero (you get to name your character) who has just transferred into a small town called Inaba. You live with your Uncle and cousin and start attending school. You soon hear a rumor called "the midnight channel" and then murders begin to happen. You and your friends decide to investigate this further and it leads to some very interesting plot twists.
It's a very enjoyable story, can be a little over the top and heavy handed when talking about 'friendship' but thats one of the main focuses on the story.

Combat - 7/10

Very enjoyable classic RPG style battles where you have a squad of 4 and you take turns against the monster. It is fun to use different characters since they have their own strengths and weaknesses and you can make that work around your own play style.

Gameplay - 9/10

You are living the life of a high school student quite literally, you play out every day, from waking up to going to school. The aim of this is to build up your social links with your friends around school which will help you gain more power. Once school is finished you can go explore the midnight channel and this is where the game becomes more like a classic dungeon crawler. It's very fun and I enjoyed that aspect a lot.

Visuals and Music - 10/10

While you can tell this is an old game ported over, they did an amazing job with the graphics and it looks amazing, it's a very colorful game with interesting areas and themes to match. The sound is also a huge bonus as the songs they play never get old and I found them to be very enjoyable.

Over all this game is a must have and urge you pick a copy for yourself on your vita.
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on 9 May 2014
Persona 4 Golden is a true blue JRPG; it's story driven, has an immense amount of player and NPC character development, has some truly bizarre elements and, of course, requires an amount of grinding in order to level up enough to beat some of the hard core bosses. I enjoyed playing (and replaying) P4G IMMENSELY! However, if you don't enjoy JRPGs, and aren't willing to invest a lot of time in the game, you probably are not going to be a fan.

PREMISE
The story follows a similar path to previous Persona games. You take control of an unvoiced character, a school boy (unlike Persona 3 Portable, you are limited to playing the male protagonist) sent to live with his aunty and uncle in Belai.... err, sorry, sent to live with his uncle and adorable little cousin in a backwater town in Japan, called Inaba.

Upon arrival in Inaba, weird things start to happen; there's a serial murderer to apprehend, classmates to save and shadow monsters to kill in a weird world hidden inside the TVs of Inaba. In keeping with previous Persona games there is a well crafted story running through the game, requiring you to spend time developing your character attributes and talking with the inhabitants of Inaba to develop friendships, level up and get access to items or additional quests and paths in the story.

There are plenty of beautifully drawn and animated cut scenes to progress the story, complete with funny dialogue and some great voice acting. The humour is quite immature and slightly slapstick - which I found hilarious. Some of the humour is quirky and very Japanese.

GAME MECHANICS
If you're familiar with the Persona series, you will be familiar with the game play mechanics. You level up by trawling through the TV world levels, killing shadows and opening chests to uncover items. You have to balance your free time between raising your character's attributes, earning money to buy items to help in the TV world and developing your relationships with NPCs. Neglect an area at your peril! You will find yourself grinding for XP and items in the TV world, to make future fights easier or complete quests given to you by Inaba inhabitants. You can unlock some awesome weapons this way, and also some quite frankly bizarrely inappropriate 'weapons', armour and costumes. Taken the time to talk to your team in the TV world after changing costumes, for some quite funny reactions.

Combat hasn't changed much, and there's a vast variety of opponents with their own weaknesses to keep you on your toes. As per previous Personas, working out good team member combinations, taking into account their weaknesses and strengths is essential.
Again, you collect and choose which 'Persona' cards to bring with you and equip. Fusing cards to make new Personas is still an important part, and mandatory if you want to max out all of your social relationships.

REPLAY VALUE
The variety of endings you get and choices you make when socialising with NPCs provide many, many more hours of replay entertainment. Thankfully, as with previous Personas, you can carry over many of your stats and unlocks from your previous run through, which eases the pressure on free time management.

ADDITIONAL GOLDEN CONTENT
Golden brings in a lot of new quests, story and characters on top of the original content in Persona 4, which provides even more hours of game play and a new ending to unlock. Thankfully, the endings are nowhere near as depressing as Person 3 (some scenes will still pluck at the ole heartstrings and maybe elicit a choked back sob) but they are very satisfying nonetheless. There are also additional trophies to be earned.

IN SUMMARY
A brilliant game, with a funny, engaging story, beautifully animation and hours of game play. It does justice to the excellent Persona series and is a must for anyone with even the slightest interest in JRPGs. I Love This Game!
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on 16 November 2013
I was a little sceptical buying this game as I rarely buy games that are over £20 (I'm cheap) but reviews and peoples feedback have made this game one i've been looking out for. I finally caved in after finding myself in need of an RPG to enjoy on the awesome Vita after playing games such as Dynasty Warriors Next, MGS, Street Fighter, LBP etc.

This game is very persuasive.. I don't have much time to game any more, 10 hour shifts and all throughout the week but I certainly found time for this game... In a week I clocked 35 hours, I don't know how I found the time but any free second would bring me back to the Vita knowing this game was loaded, great story with twists and the different scenarios you know from spending a couple of hours grinding in the TV to meeting everyday people at your new school and interacting with them to become even stronger (I really enjoy this feature, brings the game together).

I've not finished the game yet, I don't want too. I've heard second playthroughs can be totally different in terms of choices and dialogue but I don't think i'll play it a second time around, at least not yet. The game is very consuming and you know new gen is going to keep me busy with this backlog from this gen too.

Still i'm very proud to have played this game and the game was definitely worth the purchase, I'd pay £40 for this game. If you've not played it yet, I think you should. Roll on Persona 5. Oh yes this was my first play on the Persona franchise, I may back track to P3 soon :)
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