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Persona 4 Mini-review

January 11, 2009
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Cross-posted by El from Fangirlisms.

So I got myself a copy of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 this month even though I haven’t finished Persona 3: FES yet (but I did finish Persona 3), and I have to say that it’s one hell of an addicting game. I’m a bit of a sucker for life/dating simulation games, and the Persona series definitely has elements of that in the games.

I’m happy that this game ironed-out a lot of the problematic areas of the previous game while still keeping to Persona 3‘s system. For example, it’s much easier to go to places around school and town with the use of the square button instead of having to run to specific places and/or talk to specific NPCs to go somewhere. Another wonderful addition is the “Direct Command” tactic, which enables players to directly control party members as opposed to P3′s tactics which just let players assign a general tactic and leave the AI system to come up with the appropriate action. Instead of having a huge-ass dorm building that served as the P3 characters’ home and headquarters, P4 has smaller spaces like the Dojima residence (a small-ish Japanese house that’s just right for three people to live in) and the food court at the Junes mall. The two sidequest systems (Margaret’s fusion requests and Inaba residents’ quests) are also fun to do, though I’m not big on the fusion because it seems too tedious to me. Fusion has also been improved with the new “Fusion Forecast” system wherein certain stat bonuses for Personae can be achieved when the requirements for that day are met.

In P4, players may also select part-time jobs for the main character; apart from being good sources of money, these jobs open up new Social Links and improve the main character’s social characteristics. Speaking of characteristics, P4 has five characteristics (Knowledge, Courage, Expression, Diligence, and Understanding as opposed to P3‘s three (Charisma, Courage, and Academics).

I also love how they made the main character much cooler than the previous one; I mean, it seems very Mary Sue/Gary Stu-ish to have a really cool lead guy, but hey, I think he’s much better than Persona 3‘s resident emo boy.

The manly (and not so manly) men of Persona 4.

If you know who created this fanart, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

Like P3, P4 has no shortage of interesting supporting characters; there’s the resident spunky girl and kung fu film fan Chie Satonaka, the prim-and-proper Yukiko Amagi who is prone to unstopabble fits of laughter, the tough guy Kanji Tatsumi who also happens to be interested in things like sewing and textiles, and the stoic and highly intelligent Naoto Shirogane. Also of note are the character’s relatives, Ryotaro and Nanako Dojima, whom I believe add more depth to the main character’s personality and background as opposed to the orphaned lead guy in P3.

It’s hard to find anything really wrong with the game; it’s like an improved version of an already great game, and I think it’s good that new games for the PS2 are still being released despite the existence of new gen consoles like the PS3.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2009 8:32 am

    I really, really love P4. I think I may have even liked it more than P3 which is saying something. I didn’t like the way the ending was handled (I hope I’m not spoiling) with the time skips and even though I put 60+ hours into it it still seemed a bit rushed and short. I adored Teddie and Kanji, really like Chie and I am a giant Ryotaro fangirl. If there were a girl version of P4 sort of like the girl versions of Harvest Moon I would pray he wasn’t my uncle so I could chase him.

    The battle system was much improved though I didn’t like that death of the main character equals game over and it would have been really nice if they hadn’t decided for some reason not to let you buy SP recovery items. I love the detective work in letting you figure out who it was in the end, and the totally believable non over the top characters.

  2. January 12, 2009 9:48 am

    Listening to my girlfriend play and gush over Persona 4 on the phone makes me want to trade in my PS3 for a PS2. From what I’ve seen, the whole package is just a pimp-tastic romp with a great detective story mixed in for good measure.

    What gets me the most is the attitude and visual styles they used for the game; the menus, the battle system and the music. The character design is superb and honestly – the girls are too cute.

  3. January 12, 2009 2:30 pm

    Yikes, I just noticed that I forgot to mention Teddie in that list of characters I have there. FAIL.

    Oh man, Ainilome, you just mentioned something I really want to see in future Persona games: a female protagonist option. Not that P4 lacks in the fanservice-for-fangirls department, but I think that would ultimately make the game more interesting and fun.

    I think I’d go for Yosuke if there were a female protagonist option just because he’s so annoyingly adorable, but now that you mention it, Ryotaro’s hot in that mature-detective-guy-with-stubble sort of way. Mm.

  4. January 12, 2009 3:33 pm

    Ah, crap. I keep forgetting that the second image in this post is not a friendly sight at the office.

    My boss is calling me, I think I’m getting promoted!

  5. January 12, 2009 3:49 pm

    He’s also got the “my heart was broken by a tragedy in the past” thing that pulls on a girl’s heart strings, as well as the simply adorable Nana-chan for a daughter. I just want to smush-hug her.

    Yosuke does have being voiced by the yummy Yuri Lowenthal going for him. I would be a hard choice 😀

    I want a Teddie plushie.

  6. January 12, 2009 5:15 pm

    Everyday’s great at your June’s~!

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