The PS Vita’s release list has been rather quiet lately, and if you’re in need of a new game that will last you a while, Persona 4 Golden would be my first recommendation. It blends an eccentric presentation, with some of the most addicting gameplay out there. If you’ve never played any of the Persona games, P4 Golden is the perfect starting point for newcomers. There are a lot of great games for the PS Vita, and Golden proves to be one of the best out there.
If you don’t know, Persona 4 was released on the PS2 a few years ago, and Golden is essentially a HD remake of that game. I never got deep into the original PS2 game, but I can notice a lot of changes in the Vita version. The biggest changes has to be the game’s visuals. Thanks to the Vita’s HD screen, the game benefits greatly from the upgrade. The environments and dungeons are crisper, and the many NPCs and player models are sharper and smoother. Persona 4 looked good on the PS2, it was released in the latter years of the PS2’s life-cycle, so Atlus really got everything out of the PS2.
The story of P4G takes place in the town of Inaba, where you take control of a young transfer student. Everything seems normal at first, but after a number of supernatural incidents and murders, the town really starts to go down the tube, literally. The residents quickly find out about a mysterious channel on their televisions. The channel ends up transporting people into, where they meet their tragic fates. The protagonist and his friends enter the world to and try and save the residents of Inaba. The group of friends utilize their Persona’s to fend off countless monsters and try and survive the tough dungeons. The story is great, but it needs time to get going. The first couple of hours are really slow, its just a lot of exposition, which you really need. After the first few hours, the evolution of the narrative and it’s characters create a compelling and engaging tale.
This has to be one of the most complete packages in a Vita game yet, and maybe the most addicting one as well. Disregarding his ultimate task of saving the victims who have been trapped in their televisions, he still has to attend class and maintain many relationships you’ll have with other students and residents of the town. The game does a great job of encouraging you to make as many friends as possible. The stronger the relationships, the stronger your Persona will become. The great balancing between your social life and dungeon crawling is what makes the game so infectious.
There are a lot of other time-consuming activities like studying, fishing, sneaking out at night, or just reading books. Every thing you do in the game benefits you, you’re not just doing mindless activities just for the heck of it. You’re not just leveling up while you traverse through countless dungeons, you need to complete these activities to increase various stats like Courage, Understanding, and Expression. This is what makes this game stand out from the other RPGs. The combat is really good, you can earn new Persona’s to add to your collection. With the new Persona’s you earn, you can fuse the two creatures together to create a more powerful Persona. Your interactions with the Persona’s can be a bit overwhelming at times, especially when you add the dozens of social links into the mix as well.
Since this a remake, there are a number of new additions and changes to the game. Aside from the new animated cutscenes, including the hour long intro, the gameplay was the component that benefited the most from the HD remake. There are new difficulty modes which cover both sides of the spectrum, noobs and purists will feel right at home with the settings. Another feature includes the option to connect to the PSN, and see what other players chose to do, in terms of in game decisions. Its a neat feature, but its not all that interesting in the end. There are more characters and activities than the PS2 version as well, creating an even beefier game.
This game proves to be THE game for the Vita, I would say even more than Uncharted Golden Abyss. There is a gigantic amount of content in the game. I know people who’ve been playing the game, that lasted them more than 100 hours. Thats impressive for any game. The Vita’s release list for 2013 is looking a bit barren, so if you need something to fill the void, Persona 4 Golden is perfect game for you.