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Persona 4-Review.


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#1 The 13th Kenpachi

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 04:49 PM

Two things before I start my review.

 

1.I haven't beaten the game yet-I'm 61 hours in with only the final two dungeons remaining. This game typically takes 70 hours to complete and completionists can spend up to 130 hours doing every single possible thing in the game. Persona 4 is extremely dense in terms of content.

 

2.I'm making this review very friendly, when I spoil key plot details and twists I'll use the tag.

 

The reason I decided to review this game now is because I'm up to my eyeballs in other games I have to play, and I know for a fact I'll have to grind for about 6-8 hrs+ for the final two dungeons. I keep procrastinating when I will finish the game, and by the time I do I'll have probably forgotten most of what I want to say here. So why not do it now? I know enough about the last few hours anyway.

 

 

Without further ado, welcome to my review and discussion on Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4.

 

Persona 4 is actually the fifth entry to the widely popular Persona series, a sub series of the SMT franchise. Modern Persona games tend to revolve around high school students facing the supernatural and having to harness the power of their real self (their Persona) to combat Shadows, harmful creatures. The games are split into two sections-social life aspects (dating, forming friendships, earning money) and dungeon crawling. Persona has always utilised the traditional turn based battle system as far as I am aware (FF10, Pokemon). 

 

In Persona 4, you (literally, Yu) , the main character have moved to the rural town of Inaba from Tokyo. You are staying with your 'uncle' Dojima and his daughter Nanako. Everything is normal, you attend school like any normal teenager, make friends and explore the town. Eventually, murders begin, bodies are popping up on antennas weeks after you arrive to Inaba. You decide to investigate these murders with your two school friends-Yosuke and Chie, this simple plot of 'find the bad guy' slowly morphs into a grand adventure of friendship and reaching out to the truth. 

 

In terms of it's story, It's difficult to review such a long and well thought out story, but I'll do my best. My main motivation for playing this game was simple, find out who the killer is. From the first 3-4 hours, the game already gave me a reason to take interest in it. The game's story teases the player very frequently; sometimes you'll see cut scenes that display the killer's silhouette. These felt very eerie and gave me a reason to keep playing. This mystery is handled extremely well, the plot twists and it turns often, the player is fooled several times and by the time you discover the killer's real identity the game is almost over. This is brilliant storytelling in my opinion because the writers know the reason you are playing the game. They know you'll leave once you find out who the killer is, so why not drag the mystery out?

 

Persona 4 is a mysterious game, there are tons and tons of questions you'll have after the first 10 hours. Little by little these are answered and resolved, giving you satisfaction. The player isn't completely left in the dark, but the player hasn't figured it all out yet.

 

Cut-scenes in Persona 4 are phenomenal, whether they thicken the plot or just add insight into one of your many friends' personalities. The highlight of them has to be the English voice acting, which is arguably some of the best voice acting I've ever heard in a video-game. Every actor fits their role perfectly and breathes life into every scene. Cut scenes in Persona 4 are not just here to take up space, they feel like rewards and are genuinely enjoyable to watch. This is furthered by the interactions between characters and the way the dialogue is written makes every cut scene a gem.  Every so often there will be events that occur, perhaps your whole team will get together and have dinner or go to a festival. This is where I feel the cut scenes shine.

 

Social links are arguably one of the best game mechanics I've ever come across. For those of you who haven't played the game or Persona at all, I'll provide an explanation here (spoiler free)

 

Spoiler

 

Social links not only provide bonuses for gameplay, but also for character development. They provide insight into what the person really feels, as you spend more time with the person they will open up to you and you can choose to comfort them or hurt them. You'll learn more about the characters (especially those in the main cast) and they'll trust you more. The characters are extremely humanised and I cared about them a lot. The main cast's friendship throughout the entire game is portrayed very well because you get to see them do things TOGETHER.

 

My favourite social links are (spoiler). 

 

Spoiler

 

There was never a dull moment in Persona 4's story, the sub plot of Kanji's sexuality and Naoto's struggle with her gender were handled very well and something I've never seen in a video game. They were both well executed and had me in awe. I will now informally discuss the character of the 'killer' and a spoiler scene in the tag.

Spoiler

 

Phew, I could say a million more things about the story but it's time to move onto the actual gameplay.

 

As I stated, Persona 4 uses the traditional turn based combat system and it works extremely well. Here, you exploit enemy weaknesses using your personas. Knocking enemies down or smacking them out of the map with a critical hit has never felt so good. You can control your party to the fullest or have the AI control them. Exploration is done in the Midnight Channel and you are racing against the clock, if you don't save the person within 2 weeks of them falling in they will die and you've got to reload your save file. This forces the player to plan their days out and prioritise certain things. There is no problem that level grinding cannot solve :D Dungeons have you climbing up 10 or so floors until you reach the boss at the top.

 

In short, I love the gameplay a lot. However a lot of my complaints of this game are related to the gameplay. First of all, the difficulty of this game is INSANE even on Normal. If the enemy gets the first turn on you you can easily die without even getting your first turn. Dungeons do not have save points except for at the beginning and the door before the boss. This is extremely frustrating during level grinding and when some dungeons throw in mini bosses. The save system is horrible, especially when you get to a new dungeon and the enemies can easily one shot you towards the highest floors.

 

The dungeon design in this game is also really bad. They are generated randomly but every dungeon is a re skinned version of the same base dungeon, the only difference being the look. There is only one dungeon that slightly differs. It's extremely dull, once you've seen one dungeon you've seen them all. I also hate how you can surprise a Shadow yet you may not even get a surprise attack on them. I hate the dungeons in this game. There isn't much to say about the combat system itself, it's fun to exploit enemy weaknesses and the bosses are very memorable. I love the challenge of them and the thrill.

 

Content wise, Persona 4 is extremely dense and by the end of the game Inaba felt really close to my heart. The game has about 5 different locations to explore that have a traverse time of about 2-3 minutes maximum, yet it had more life than most of FF15 did. Persona 4 is small, but very dense and packed with NPCS that constantly talk about different things that are occurring in the story. When a murder happens they'll discuss it, when you save the victim they'll discuss it! The town is full of life and there are fetch quests you can also do.

 

I loved the anime inspired art style here. It looks fantastic especially when up scaled. The soundtrack is absolutely flawless too: your affection, SMILE, Never More, like a dream come true and corner of memories are masterpieces.

 

 

Phew, after 2 hours I have basically managed to say everything I need to. Playing this game was an experience I wish I could redo all over again for the first time, the bond between the main characters is something so remarkable, the battle system is a blast, the character interactions work so well due to the flawless cut scenes, the social link mechanic is genius, the main villain is very well characterized, the impact that the later scenes have on you is incredible. I ADORE Persona 4.

 

I want to give this game a 9.5/10 because of the bad dungeon design, but I can't.

 

I cannot give Persona 4 a 9.5/10. I'm sorry.

 

 

That would be a crime against humanity. The dungeon crawling may feel bad, but everything else is so perfect that it doesn't hinder my enjoyment enough.

 

Persona 4 is a perfect 10 out of 10. The only game I have ever given this score to.

 

 

Thanks for reading :D Tell me what you think of my review and the game! 

 


Edited by The 13th Kenpachi, 06 March 2017 - 02:36 AM.


#2 Joker

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 06:03 PM

Sounds about right, after you beat P4 tho you should the very least look up all the new content and events in P4 Golden. It added a lot of cutscenes, events dialog, and a new story dungeon along with 2 new social links, being Adachi and the new character Marie  



#3 BlankShell

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 06:35 PM

Persona 4 truly is a remarkable game. It's all about the characters; they're the ones that set it apart from any other game I've played. There's bits and pieces that make it difficult to navigate through, but it ultimately is a phenomenal experience. It might not be everybody's cup of tea, but if it is, it's the best damn cup of tea you'll have.

#4 Headphone Jack

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 12:36 AM

it says a lot about a game (a lengthy JRPG no less) when i feel compelled to play it multiple times. i see JRPGs as huge time sinks so the idea of multiple playthroughs really doesn't sound appealing but wow man...first time i beat Persona 4 (i played the Golden edition) i was blown away. i started a second playthrough right away because there was more content to explore on New Game+ and then after that i continued to play new games. i loved it. 

 

if i had to make a top 10 list of favorite games it would for sure be on there.


Edited by Headphone Jack, 06 March 2017 - 12:36 AM.


#5 The 13th Kenpachi

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 02:37 AM

Sounds about right, after you beat P4 tho you should the very least look up all the new content and events in P4 Golden. It added a lot of cutscenes, events dialog, and a new story dungeon along with 2 new social links, being Adachi and the new character Marie  

I need a Vita xD. Or Atlus need to put Golden on PC.



#6 FlyingEggplant

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 05:11 AM

Persona 4 Golden is my favorite game of all time, i agree with everything in your review there is only a single thing i don't like about this game.

 

Spoiler

 

Other then that this game is amazing

 

Edit: i will also recommend playing Persona 3 if you like 4, i haven't finished it yet but so far it's really good, just don't play Persona 3 Portable is just.... so trash


Edited by FlyingEggplant, 06 March 2017 - 05:14 AM.


#7 Yusaku Fujicookie

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 06:46 AM

Yeah I enjoyed it myself, good game, 8/10 for me.

My biggest issues with it were that it is extremely repetitive and the dungeons.

Too bad Golden is for the Vita.

Persona 4 Golden is my favorite game of all time, i agree with everything in your review there is only a single thing i don't like about this game.

 

Spoiler

 

Other then that this game is amazing

 

Edit: i will also recommend playing Persona 3 if you like 4, i haven't finished it yet but so far it's really good, just don't play Persona 3 Portable is just.... so trash

I disagree personally, you can't even control your allies in any version but the portable, which should never be a thing in any turn based RPG.



#8 FlyingEggplant

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 06:54 AM

Yeah I enjoyed it myself, good game, 8/10 for me.

My biggest issues with it were that it is extremely repetitive and the dungeons.

Too bad Golden is for the Vita.

I disagree personally, you can't even control your allies in any version but the portable, which should never be a thing in any turn based RPG.

I agree with being able to controll allies and it's just stupid that you can't do that in any other version

Spoiler
but the visual novel style, no animated and no 3D character movement (unless your in Tartarus) really makes the game incredibly boring and unforgetable. i would only recommend it AFTER you played the original and FES just to experience the Female MC and the improved party system



#9 Yusaku Fujicookie

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 06:58 AM

I agree with being able to controll allies and it's just stupid that you can't do that in any other version

Spoiler
but the visual novel style, no animated and no 3D character movement (unless your in Tartarus) really makes the game incredibly boring and unforgetable. i would only recommend it AFTER you played the original and FES just to experience the Female MC and the improved party system

Yeah, I can see where you are coming from.

I am just used to playing visual novels, so the style didn't bother me myself.



#10 The 13th Kenpachi

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 11:09 AM

Yeah I enjoyed it myself, good game, 8/10 for me.

My biggest issues with it were that it is extremely repetitive and the dungeons.

Too bad Golden is for the Vita.

I disagree personally, you can't even control your allies in any version but the portable, which should never be a thing in any turn based RPG.

 

Persona 4 Golden is my favorite game of all time, i agree with everything in your review there is only a single thing i don't like about this game.

 

Spoiler

 

Other then that this game is amazing

 

Edit: i will also recommend playing Persona 3 if you like 4, i haven't finished it yet but so far it's really good, just don't play Persona 3 Portable is just.... so trash

I'm actually playing Persona 3 FES at the moment, 15 hours in. P3P lacked 3D models in the overworld and FES allows you to use tactics to control your party's actions+their AI is good. It's bad how Atlus makes players chose between the two though, since both the lack of 3D models in the overworld in P3P and the fact you can't control your party members in FES are both equally important, it is hard to chose one. I hope they release a definitive version for PC and PS4 where it's P3P but you have real cutscenes in the over world.


Edited by The 13th Kenpachi, 06 March 2017 - 11:09 AM.