As they say, nothing beats the original, even though you’ve had years and several opportunities to try and get one over your predecessors. That is how one might feel once they’ve gotten their hands on Persona 4 Golden for the Playstation Vita. Persona 4 Golden is essentially a ported version of the game Persona 4, which was originally released for the Playstation 2 way back in 2008. Its great storytelling and relatable characters have made it gather quite a following, and this is why Persona 4 Golden came to be, due to the sheer number of people who would still like to grab a a copy of this title even if it is something that they have played and completed almost half a decade ago.
Persona 4 Golden was able to capture all of the features and elements that made it popular all those years ago, albeit on a whole new platform. The Vita, in fact, was able to accommodate all features with the old Playstation 2 system, something that wouldn’t have happened if the original plan of porting it to the PSP had occurred. In addition, Persona 4 Golden also offers players with great visuals using the Vita’s wide screen and crystal clear display, letting players enjoy their gaming up close and personal.
Still, it’s not only the aesthetic factor that makes Persona 4 Golden a game to watch out for, as it contains both old and new features that will make gamers who have played its Playstation 2 version want to invest hundreds of hours in this game again, as well as for those who have never even played the game before but would like to try out what this popular RPG and simulation game has to offer. Like Persona 4, Persona 4 Golden also offers the “New Game Plus” mode, which allows you to carry over your stats from a finished game onto a restarted game. Social link functions still exist, which would help improve how you interact with characters as well as unlock even more personas the longer that you spend time with them. Aside from these, players can also opt to skip through dialogues and scenes, which is great especially for those who have completed the game numerous times and would not like to spend time reading text that they have memorized during their sixth or seventh playthrough.
Other great features included within Persona 4 Golden are the Vox Populi, which lets players view the choices that other players have made during that day. It is a great way to strategize future courses of action, as well as a nice way to snoop at what other players are doing and deciding within their respective games. Another nice feature is the SOS system in which players can call upon online friends to help them during their dungeon battles. If a player is low on health or other resources, other players can supply them with a little health and SP, allowing them to continue on without having to retreat. This is also stackable, meaning you can potentially reach up to full health if you have enough friends helping you out.
Persona 4 Golden also touches upon and improves on what made the game great. This includes a new character in Maria, a seemingly aloof girl that hides a dark past, as well as various new scenes and costumes that you can use. Places that characters were previously not able to visit have now been made available, and various content that have been added makes Persona 4 Golden feel more like an expansion rather than a port, giving even veteran Persona 4 players something unique within something so familiar. Visuals, voice work, and various other elements within the game have also been improved on, and the added cut scenes have been inserted seamlessly, making the expanded storylines not seem like it was forcefully tacked on.
Another great thing that players, especially Persona fans, must not miss is Persona 4 Golden’s television feature. Players can now select and play video and music files containing material from Persona games past and present. These “channels” offer up clips from the Japanese Persona Music Live concerts, trailers, as well as audio. In a potential nostalgic trip down memory lane, nothing beats this feature.
But if this is simply a port for the Vita, is it worth playing for those who have finished the game countless times in the past? The answer, for most, has been yes, as sales for the Playstation Vita have greatly increased since the title’s release. At its core, however, Persona 4 Golden offers players the chance to experience one of the best, unique, and most influential RPGs of its time once again in a whole new environment. Not only will players get to enjoy that same Persona 4 look and feel, but there’s enough added content and improvements within the game that will surely be able to capture the interests of both old and new players. It’s like having a remastered version of a game with bonus content as well as deleted scenes crammed in, and all these elements will result in another classic title of the Playstation Vita console, and would surely garner even more fans for this modern classic RPG.
If you are only able to grab one Persona title in your lifetime, then make Persona 4 Golden that title. It offers a great simulation experience, and its RPG mechanics are revolutionary and top notch. The social interaction with characters are addictive, humorous, and very engaging, and all these are presented to players through beautifully drawn and rendered scenes and animations. Persona 4 was arguably the best title in the franchise, but Persona 4 Golden was able to take that title away from its big brother simply due to the number of enhancements that it has made along the way. If you do not own a Vita, then make Persona 4 Golden your number one reason and inspiration for getting one.
Tested on Playstation Vita. Final Score: 9/10
Persona 4 Golden was released on November 20, 2012 in North America. A European release will follow in February next year. It was developed and published by Atlus exclusively for the Playstation Vita handheld console.