Persona 4 Returns!
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 originally was released in 2008 on Playstation 2 and was amazingly well received and now it’s finally come back on the Playstation 3 as a classic PS2 game. This isn’t a huge surprise as Persona 3 FES also came to the Playstation Network as well. However is this game, now on the PS3, as good as everyone remembers? Also this isn’t an official re-make like Final Fantasy X and X–2 and Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, just is just a port on the PS3.
For those who don’t know the Persona series is a mixture of an Action RPG and dating game, in the sense that learning more about the characters actually helps you in the long run. The main plot of Persona 4 revolves around a set of mysterious murders happening in the small town of Inaba, a town where you (the player) have just arrived to live with your uncle. Eventually you are dragged into investigating the various murders and trying to catch the killer. You eventually gain to use the power of Persona, basically the ability to summon powerful spirits to fight the Shadows, basically the monsters you have to fight in the various dungeons. The plot is definitely easy to get into and stays rather strong most of the way, however there are parts where the plot lags a bit and becomes a bit boring. However these are few and in between. The visuals of Persona 4 definitely can’t hold a candle to the more recent games like The Last of Us. However depending on the TV, the visuals can be quite impressive and still quite beautiful, both in cut scenes and during normal game play. The visuals are a different style, but are the same in quality as the previous installment in the series: Persona 3 FES. The music for Persona 4 is just as good as the original game, with all the songs intact. Of course, they can get a bit repetitive as songs are recycled for various purposes, but otherwise no complaints. The voice acting is top-notch boasting all kinds of famous voice actors from all over. Some characters voices start off as annoying, but they usually grow on you and become less of a problem.
The gameplay is where Persona 4 has always shone through and this port is no different. Persona 4 builds on the battle system established in Persona 3 and diversifies it, adding on new factors and ideas. The enemies in the various dungeons can be rather difficult, the bosses sometimes incredibly so. Usually when I had to fight a boss, having all of my teammates under the “Direct Command” setting was integral as the teammate AI is rather unadaptive. However with an increased challenge was the increased payoff I felt when I finally defeated a dungeon or boss. The concept and importance of your character’s Stats and Social Links has been deepened and developed. Instead of the three basic stats in Persona 3: Courage, Academics and Charm, there are now five social qualities: Diligence, Knowledge, Expression, Understanding and Courage.
One of the most important parts of a game is its replay value. I’m happy to say that with multiple quests, Social Links, jobs, difficulty levels, endings (only three) and a New Game + , Persona 4 excels at this as well. In general this game is a faithful port of the original Persona 4 and has yet to crash or have any bugs what so ever.
Compared to Persona 4 Golden
Some people might be wondering why they should invest in this game when there was an official re-make of Persona 4 in 2012: Persona 4 Golden? Well there are some differences between Golden and this port for the PS3. When you are defeated in battle, either or entire party or just your main character, in Golden you re-spawn at the beginning of the dungeon while in the original port you re-spawn from the last save point. The bosses in Golden also seemed to be toned down as well, as they don’t exhibit specific elemental strengths or weaknesses present in Persona 4. This can be a good or bad thing depending on a person’s playing style. If you really want to experience the story of Persona 4, with extra features and social links, by all means go for Persona 4 Golden (however that game is a PS Vita exclusive). If you want to experience the story and have a more challenging enemy AI and bosses, go for this PS3 Edition of Persona 4.