Persona 4 Golden is a RPG that perfectly combines story, characters and combat.
• A murder mystery story that compels the player to pay attention all throughout the game so that you can identify the murderer.
• Long game play gives the player lots of value for their money.
• A good turn based combat system that has 5 difficulty levels; this solves the grinding problem that the Persona 4 PS2 game had. However if you enjoy a greater challenge and don't mind some grinding then the greater difficulty levels cover that.
• Characters so life like that you find yourself more interested in the dialog then the combat.
• Lots of s-links to create deep character personalities and also bonuses to combat when using certain characters in combat.
• Inaba the small country town where the game takes place is the perfect setting and gives the game lots of charm.
• Lots of persona's and skills to collect and fuse, this makes combat much less tedious.
• Addictive game play may cause you to neglect your real world obligations.
The story and characters are the heart and soul of the game. You play as the main character a 17 year old high school student, who moves to a small country town called Inaba. You move in with your uncle and younger cousin and after being there for only a few days people start turning up dead. You also discover that you and some of your school friends can enter a different dimension where the murders are taking place. It's up to you and your friends to save the victims and identify the murderer by using demon like creatures created from the different aspects of your mind. All that and you have to go to school, get a job, find a girlfriend and not get caught by your uncle who just happens to be a detective with the police.
Game play is a mix of combat and social management. Combat is standard turn based, however you and your friends have persona's that are bit like summons from the Final Fantasy games. Each persona has its own skills and abilities, but only you can use more than one persona. Each monster and persona has strengths and weaknesses, the trick is to discover your enemies weakness and protect yourself from the enemy taking advantage of yours. You can also fuse two or more persona's together to create a new and more powerful persona. When you're not in combat you're going to school and other parts of Inaba. With some characters you can create social links or s-links, as you rank up these s-links to a maximum of 10 you gain experience point bonuses to the persona's you fuse. The s-links that you create with your party members also gives them special skills that they use in combat. Spending time with s-linked characters and answering questions is how you rank up your s-links. Your character has 5 attribute, courage, knowledge, diligence, expression and understanding. You rank up these's to a maximum of 5 and as they rank up you gain access to many different parts of the game. Tests at school and part time jobs along with other tasks help you rank up your attributes.
The graphics look very good on the Vita and they really make playing the game fun, load times are short as well.
There is a huge amount of value to the game. I ended up playing the game 3 times and spending 325 hours. I earned all the trophies and all this for $45.
This is a great game, I liked it even more then the PS2 release of the game. For me the characters and their immense depth made Inaba a place I wish I could live or at least visit. I highly recommend this game and the Vita really makes the experience memorable.
Story & Characters: 10
Game Play: 10