Coming from a set gaming background fetishing mainly on simulation, adventure and frequently on role-playing games you would think that such an individual would be aware of almost if not at least have heard of a top tier role-playing, mystery and adventure game that is intricately crafted and contains several ingredients of what the ideal game would be for this genre: an interesting setting, enjoyable choices of characters and interactions, an engaging story and a game-play that has meaningful content. Of course, I am talking about Persona 4: Golden which is the first game I have played in the Shin Megami Tensei franchise. It wasn’t long before my eyes forgot what it felt like to see sunlight and as you may have gathered from the way I opened up this paragraph indeed this game had me head over heels amazed like a toddler welcoming home a hybrid baby labradoodle.
Persona 4: Golden is a game published by Atlus (released on back in February 2013 in Europe) with its first series being launched on Playstation 2. The game starts with the protagonist in the character of a high school student sent away by his parents to study and live in the Podunk town of Inaba. Being thrusted with only the helping guidance of his uncle who has been called in the vocation of a police investigator, your arrival has coincided with the series of unfortunate events happening in town; strings of death began taking some of the townspeople’s lives, rumors regarding the supernatural television broadcast (which later you will discover plays a massive role in your alternate xenoverse dimension-hopping to battle hordes of evil monsters, bosses manifested in the sins and evilness belonging to people’s humanity) and a very helpful pair of humans that only appear in your dream that provides you fusions of the personas you gather throughout your Inspector Gadget-like adventure.
You will soon discover along with your crew of newly found class mate turned friends a dark separate world within the television where human desires and hidden feelings are transformed in devilish manifestations and these are tied with the serial killings happening in the town. Persona 4’s game-play and content is no stranger to the Japanese take on Role Playing Games – in fact, the game is heavily conceited in fantasy and sci-fi driven in exhaustful plots of hysteria, battle between good and evil and magic however, great emphasis on the interaction of characters within the game and how this affects the ending of the story has been put into place. Each day in the game, the player is presented with numerous choices of activities that literally feels like there is so much to do.
In this sense, you will find yourself thinking that if you had done this particular activity then you would have achieved a different outcome every time. For instance, you can spend your day in non-combative activities such as performing hobbies at your home, hanging out with your friends, working part time jobs for your extra spending money or some other days you can spend your time entering the dungeons in the alternate universe in the television and increase the level of your characters and discover new abilities and personas. The list of opportunities is truly immense and this is where the game succeeds in terms of retention of interest for its players.
The game operates in this system as to simulate your choices of activities to reveal your priorities which from this aspect does sort of psychologically challenge your thinking however, it also seems to encourage you to decide which of these choices of opportunities you value more – most choices provide you with with multiple benefits. For example, by forming friendships and supporting networks, powerful personas associated with that character are enhanced and depending on the persona type you have this can really give you an edge in combat. Befriending the people in this game is called “social links”.
It is therefore an important aspect of the game to choose wisely how you would spend your time as each day is locked in an interval time with each action taking up a quarter if not all your time in the day providing you with its own risks and rewards. Through your social links, it is your job to solve the puzzles that accompanies the engaging journey of discovering the characters personality which I found relatable and believable. The struggles they go through are almost so human and they all feel like the reality of real life. It is this game’s dialogue and localization that triumph and skilfully deliver both heart-wrenching and roll on the floor laughing moments.
The reference on the socialization elements is only but one portion of the game. After clocking in almost 40 hours, most of the time I spent playing has been spent on exploring the TV world. As the game progresses, new dungeons in the TV world claiming the unfortunate life a cumbersome victim dragged in the makeshift belief of the ideal world as they perceive it in their mind expands and with the help of your crew that becomes the self proclaimed “investigator team”, you battle these evil foes whilst scouring for treasures, exploiting their elemental weakness and operating on different devious strategies and attacks in true RPG style spirit. The concept of “Personas” are a big part of the game which are basically the supernatural representations of one’s projected self coming in the play during combat. Personas come with a set of skills, weakness and strengths and the player is given the opportunity to enhance this through fusions. evolution and levelling up.