In The Game: “Persona 4 Golden” is Finally Available on Modern Consoles and Stands the Test of Time

I want to get this out of the way right out the gate.

I have never played Persona 4 Golden in my life. Until now.

I’ve beaten Persona 5 three times and got halfway through Persona 5 Royale. I’ve also played a couple Shin Megami Tensei games and put a lot of hours into Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, the fighting game spin-off. I am no stranger to this series or these characters, but I’ve never really gotten to know them in the context of the game. I never owned a PlayStation Vita and never had interest in weird JRPGs as a kid like I do now. Persona 5 has become one of my all time favourite games and I have been DYING for a chance to play what people consider a classic. I am happy to say that even though I am not yet finished, I absolutely adore Persona 4 Golden on PlayStation 4!

Without going into any spoiler territory, Persona 4 Golden is a mystery crime thriller. There’s some weird stuff happening on TV at midnight and people who tune in see a person. That person always winds up dead sometime later. You have to find out what is going on. It’s a very unique plot and the loveable iconic characters make it even more fun and interesting to dive into. The story continues to unfold in so many dramatic and super exciting ways that it kinda makes you wonder how you could even write something like this. Even today this game feels super revolutionary and fresh.

Speaking of fresh, we have to talk about the presentation and overall look of the game. What a treat for the eyes. Persona 4 Golden just jumps off the screen. The bright vibrant colours pop and shine in ways that many games don’t match. The fact that this year marks the 15th anniversary of Persona 4‘s original release date and it still looks this good is a testament to the talent of the Atlus team. The music matches the hyper stylization and presentation of the rest of the package. The music has always been a highlight of the Persona series and Persona 4 Golden is no exception. It’s nearly impossible to not hum along or find yourself singing the music to yourself in the shower. I for one cannot stop singing the Junes jingle. From a visual and audible standpoint, Persona 4 Golden shines.

Persona 4 Golden feels like it could have been released yesterday. Obviously its graphics don’t match what’s capable today, but you almost don’t realize it because of how stylized it is. It’s similar to how Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker or Okami have aged. Their graphical styles are so unique and special that age doesn’t effect them the same way it will a game that went for realism. It’s a major part of the staying power. Not only does it feel timeless but it was so ahead of its time. Persona 4 Golden uses social links like I’m used to in Persona 5. The closer you get with certain characters the more you unlock. You benefit from being friends with people in more ways than one. In real life that’s maybe a shallow way to look at friendship but in Persona 4 Golden it is THE way to look at friendship.

The core gameplay of Persona 4 Golden is fighting your way through alternate worlds and collecting different Personas. There is an abundance of obtainable Personas. Much like Pokemon, there is a fun collectability to them. You’ll want to catch ’em all, so to say. There are many different types of attacks like physical, fire, wind, ice, etc. Personas have different weaknesses and resistances so you have to strategize how to tackle each fight. Each party member you have join you seems to specialize in a different type of attack and all come in handy in different fights. You play as Yu Narukami, or whatever you choose to name him. Yu’s main persona is called Izanagi. Izanagi specializes in fire abilities and support abilities. At any point in a fight you can change your Persona to adjust your abilities based on the enemy type you’re fighting. After fights there is a card system that comes into play. You can pick a card that heals your party or doubles your experience. There are also Persona cards and that is how you obtain new Persona to add to your inventory throughout the game.

If you are a JRPG fan you owe it to yourself to play Persona 4 Golden on whatever modern console you have. There is a strong chance that you’ve already played it and maybe you’re wondering if it’s worth getting again. I’d say if it has been years since you’ve played and you no longer have access to your PS2 or Playstation Vita or a PC, then you have got to get Persona 4 Golden back in your life. I still have many hours to go before I get to the finish line. If the rest of the journey is as high quality as what I’ve already played then I am in for a treat. Persona 4 Golden has proven to me why it is a classic. I will be thinking about this game for years to come.

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