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Showing 1-10 of 338 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 415 reviews
on September 21, 2016
With Persona 3 FES behind me and Persona 5 right around the corner I purchased Persona 4 for the PS2 with high expectations. I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't disappointed. Everything about this game seemed so well thought out and it was a definite step up from Persona 3 FES. The first thing I want to address is how the story of a Persona game has never flowed more flawlessly than it has here. Revelations Persona way back at the end of the '90s was too busy laying the ground-work and foundation of the Persona series, Persona 2 while having a very good story suffers from having to be told across two separate titles, and Persona 3 was a near from the ground up attempt at resurrecting a by then nearly dead and buried series and reprogramming it for a new generation of audiences meaning that for as much effort as was put into it, the game still ended up with those moments where you undeniably thought, "can you just get on with it game?"; Persona 4 tells its story at a very realistic pace, accounting for things like a serial killer working at his pace not yours and incorporating more than enough events for you to become attached to the cast, both the main cast and several of the characters you would otherwise only care about because of social links.

The most glaring improvements over the previous game in the series are that there's less downtime between plot driving events and the fact you can assume direct control over everyone in your party. The drawbacks for me with this game are one, the fact that I don't enjoy the majority of the soundtrack; I dislike almost every instrumental track (exceptions being the bathhouse theme, the Marukyuu striptease theme, the panic music before anyone's shadow goes berserk, and "I'll Face Myself") and among vocal tracks I only enjoy Reach Out to the Truth and the ending theme Nevermore; and two, that after obtaining your original 4 party members you never have to change out because everyone covers the four basic elemental strengths and weaknesses and the silent protagonist with his wild card ability can cover the elements of light and darkness which you won't be using much anyway because as is customary for any game with Shin Megami Tensei attached to it, spells with light and darkness attributes have a very low chance of working and under most circumstances are useless against bosses. I can ignore every new party member after Yukiko joins. In fact it's recommended that you don't experiment because as with Persona 3 FES you'll have a hell of a hard time getting your levels balanced again if you do. If you come across a boss that would be easier to take down if you swapped out Yosuke, Chie, or Yukiko for Kanji, Teddie, or Naoto just hang in there. Level up an extra three-five times (wracking up some extra cash in the process), and make sure Yosuke, Chie, and Yukiko have accessories that cover their elemental weaknesses. Also be strategic and observant as bosses tend to have exploitable points in their attack patterns.

Concerning the characters and their individual development I have a lot of positive things to say, but also a few negative things to say. As far as character development goes Teddie is loaded with it. No-one grows more throughout the story than Teddie. That makes him my second favorite character despite never once using him in battle. My favorite character in this game and possibly my favorite in the whole series is Yosuke Hanamura who also has a lot of character development. I rage at Atlus deciding to remove the romantic route they'd crafted for Yosuke's social link because I don't like any of the girls in the party more than I like Yosuke. I thought Kanji and Naoto's struggles with who they are and who society wants them to be and sees them as were very relate-able. The friendship between Chie and Yukiko is wonderful to see and Chie and Yosuke's bother-sister style bickering is hilarious. I also really love Rise. She brings a different flavor to the team and where Fuuka was useless as an analyst type Rise is not. It's great to have family members to feel attached to. Nanako is the sweetest little girl ever and when it comes to Dojima's pain at the loss of his wife, you'll have a difficult time not feeling his pain as if it were your own especially with the evidence of what her death has done to Nanako and her relationship with her dad because he doesn't know how to approach her sitting right in front of you.

Concerning the social link exclusive characters I was especially drawn in by Eri Minami's and Kou Ichijou's. I also really enjoyed Ayane Matsunaga's to an extent. Although I like Ai Ebihara a lot, I hated her social link. It just felt dull by comparison to the rest of the social links I managed to complete. I got bored with Naoki Konishi's at rank 3 and never got back to him. Unfortunately I never got around to starting Naoto's social link let alone finishing it. I had a few other social links I never got to start or finish as well, so plus one for replay value Atlus, but minus one for having too many social links in the game for comfort. Although I thank you for making them easier to manage than in Persona 3 FES because they don't reverse as easily.

The endings for this game are much better than the ones for Persona 3 FES. You still have to go through a hellish final boss for the true (canon) ending, but you won't feel anywhere near as upset as with the true ending of Persona 3 FES. In closing I will put out a plea to anyone who may stumble upon this that works for Atlus, please for the love of all that is good figure out a way to add true replay value to the Persona games. There just isn't enough of it in any of the existing titles and that is one major drawback for the series. When you come across a series with games as good as this one you want to play them again, but when there aren't any incentives to do so there's just no point.
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on October 14, 2016
The UI is basic yet striking. The characters are believable, generally relateable, very expressive during combat and conversations. The music is modern, varied, mostly electronic, and does well to matches/enhances the mood of a given scene.

The game is calendar driven, and your characters get worn out if you overuse them. There are personality stats, seperate from combat stats, and they are usually increased depending on what you choose to do with your day.

Eventually there are non-combat milestone events (academic tests, important conversations, etc) that will test how well the player has advanced their stats. If the player has done well, their combat powers are strengthened and extra story bits are shown.

I found myself often forced to choose between going to the dungeon to make my combat stats stronger, or instead resting so that i could make my social stats stronger.
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on September 22, 2009
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 is not for the faint-of-heart emotionally. No game yet created will be able to tug out as much emotion from you as a full playing here does. Moreover it is, without a doubt, an RPG made for adults. This alone is a feat of epic accomplishment -- when has a game (other SMT titles not included) ever used the 'M' rating for anything more than violence, language or sexuality? It today's society, it's hard for us to remember that "adult situations" come up in a lot of other ways, as well. Sure, there are some of those more common elements here, but... no, that's not what makes this "for adults".

In short, if you're willing to open your heart to it and dedicate some of your time to it, Persona 4 will ultimately become the most immersive and emotional RPG you've ever played. The setting, characters, gameplay and its incredible story all combine in perfect harmony to give the result.

For many years, I've wanted to be able to say that a new game was worthy of a highest-possible score (an effective 10/10 instead of just saying 5 starts of 5, which I list for 9 or 10/10 on my scale)... that something else was worthy... and I'm glad it's finally happened. Persona 3 and its FES epilogue version came ever-so-close, but Atlus has taken every aspect of P3 and enhanced it. To put it another way, any excuses anyone might have had to rain some scorn upon Persona 3 are now gone and you'll find yourself hard-pressed to come up with a single criticism of this game.

It's been a long week for me. With a first clear time of 59hr 36min and having received the game 7 days ago (at time of writing this review), it's not hard to realize I've done nothing but dive into Persona 4 at times other than essential life functions. That doesn't include much sleep, naturally. Not a minute of that time was a waste.
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Alright, enough of the emotional ramblings. I suppose I should probably get to the actual content of the game itself.

The game scenario is pretty standard for an RPG, and if you wanted to simplify it into a single line, you could call it a Scooby Doo murder mystery case. The protagonist is a transfer student to a high school in a small town, events unfold, you gain friends and allies, and you work for a common cause. A serial killer seems to be on the loose, killing people in ways no one can seem to collect any evidence from-to say nothing for finding any suspects. It's not long before you realize that you have a unique but inexplicable ability to try to combat the killer, and the hunt it on. This quick summary is the end of any type of simplicity you could give to P4. ...There's one extra thing worth noting as you begin. The opening movie just can't stand up to what we saw in P3. After all, it'd be damn hard to make a more shocking opening than one where there's a simulation of someone shooting themselves in the head with a pistol.

The bare-bones start to the game lasts roughly 2 hours. It'll be another 2 before anything close to the normal flow of the game begins. It seems your town had some odd weather patterns and some urban myths to match, and the most famous being that watching a TV at midnight on a rainy night will show a picture of someone. Your soulmate, many say. This theory is quickly put to rest as people start to turn up dead. For American players, just a few murders hardly seem like something worthy of forming a such a game around. Just remember that this is Japan-ANY sort of violent crime is pretty much unheard of and a single act can put an entire city on edge. As the plot thickens, you can sense the rising tension amongst your school members and people around town.

Quite quickly, you'll see that the game is unapologetically Japanese. Name tags are used based on relation, school lessons match and general customs are followed. Incredibly off-the-wall is the introduction of a giant fuzzy teddy bear as a character, who'll be sticking around with you the remainder of the game. ...Yea, definitely Japanese. If you're willing to overlook the fluff and fuzz, you will see that he's quite a strong character and a valuable member toward your efforts. If anything you should consider the culture gap content to be a good thing, since it means that only minor adjustments (at most) were made in the translation and adaptation of a North American release.

Game flow is simple and easy to follow. You have school during days, your dungeon adventures occur in the afternoons, and your evenings are free to pursue your studies or do things with your relatives in the house. Days off and times you choose not to battle are when you'll form your "Social Links" and dive into the plethora of sub-stories, and your adventures in total will fall over a calendar year. One important difference between P3 and P4 is that each ally in your team has an individual social link, instead of just the girls. This is a lot more natural and will likely result in substantial guilt when you can't bring along certain members for certain missions... it's unlikely you'll really "hate" any of the characters since you really get to know them all at length.

When you start to have carte blanche over your time, the game seems to be able to sense what you're trying to do and scold you appropriately. After a few trips into battle the first week it was available, I received a phone call from the infamous and series-recurring Velvet Room reminding me that I should be looking to get to know people in my new town. For those not familiar, the Velvet Room is a special place only the protagonist can enter where you'll be able to manage your Personas. Though this is important, a trait of the Persona series is the need to advance your social links with friends so that your Personas can become substantially more powerful as you develop and create them. In all seriousness, a Persona that is a few levels above your main character will make difficult battles substantially easier in a lot of places and gives you access to more powerful abilities. In short, a Persona is merely a facade of yourself that allows you to reveal more of your soul, and thus changes what you can do in battle based on what you put forward.

Another awesome improvement over Persona 3 is the finer details of the plot. Not to say it wasn't complex, but there were times where you could be screaming at your TV wishing your characters would figure out something obvious. These moments are gone-actually, in almost every instance I came up with a new deduction about things it was addressed by others before my turn to speak. Shamefully, I must admit that there were times that my allies figured out some things before I did that resulted in a facepalm for me. This if far from a bad thing, of course! Just more proof of a very well-written story where it seems the authors thought through things and were able to anticipate what players were probably thinking at the time. The end result here is that plot twists are truly a surprise, yet are entirely logical once your team has a chance to sit around and discuss them.

The characters you'll find here combine to make the greatest cast ever assembled for an RPG. Each has quirks, a sense of humor, running jokes, particular matters of irritation, etc.. The cross-character chatting actually gets so intense sometimes that they make very offense remarks to others regarding very serious topics such as gender orientation. Not one of your crew feels at all "boring" and the development of all of them is quite enjoyable.

Always true to themselves, at some point everyone will probably annoy you temporarily and you'll grumble at the direction of your TV while glaring at them. Although (as you might expect in an RPG) all of the characters are dynamic in some way, their cores never change. My favorite instance of this was during a drinking game (yes, seriously) between friends where a particularly philosophical member has been forced into a situation where a lot of his-uh-"Innocence" was to be lost. On the spot and without hesitation, he spits out a haiku perfectly explaining what he has to do. It's not even an obvious thing and you have to REALIZE it's a haiku, though the fact he didn't spell it out for you makes it all the more hilarious. There are so many little moments like this and awesome lines from the whole crew that no cutscene is dull.
...

Regarding the combat system, it's simply flawless. Though a major beef with P3 was the inability to directly control your allies, you now can... though... there were but 3 instances where I actually took control of the entire party. I know it was 3 because I can remember reach time and why I changed! The ally and enemy AI alike are just phenomenal. Similar to the facepalms in the story, I found my group members performing actions to disable or knock down foes that I didn't realize or completely forgot about. It's never a bad thing when your friends help you, and not vice-versa. Combat speed is rather fast if you let characters act on their own, Persona summoning is very crisp (another improvement), and every pleasant quirk from P3 is still there with even more fun battle details added. You'll also be happy to know that you can actually find out what Persona abilities do by pressing Square on the Persona selection menu, since there's no way you'll remember what each strange spell name means on your own.

Of special note are the cross-member interactions during combat. This was already well-defined in Persona 3, but it's improved even further here and the banter between allies is almost continuous. Despite the limited number of lines they have, for some reason it never seems to get old.

Actually, developing your social links with your group members helps play into the changes to the battle system. Depending on how advanced it is, they're able to take a mortal blow for you that would have otherwise resulted in your death and a "Game Over". Better still, they're able to cure you from annoying ailments including the dreaded charm. Quite literally, someone will run up to you and slap you in the face to get your attention. Best of all, if you're willing to push through the entire story for one of your allies, they'll develop the ability to survive a single killing blow to them and this is very strategically important in boss battles. Players of Persona 3 in particular will enjoy this, since taking time to raise your allies basically crippled you in difficult fights.

Another little detail about dungeon improvements is that treasure chests will no longer spit out Yen. That was well and good of course, but also made no sense in P3. To counteract always being poor, the activities you use to increase your character statistics include part-time jobs that pay rather well. Your other primary source of income is the selling of innate materials dropped from defeated foes. Selling these off to a local shop unlocks new weapons and armor for you. Not remotely realistic, but as good of a system I've seen in a modern-era RPG nonetheless.

Oh, and it's been pretty clear from a lot of the other reviews around that you need to do a ridiculous amount of exp grind to really do well. I beg to differ. If you'd like an indication of how much "work" I did, I completed each dungeon twice... once for the storyline and another to defeat optional bosses. In a few cases I did short sorties to particular places to collect items requested by the townsfolk for quests. Do note that although the "fatigue" factor is gone from P3, you no longer recover full HP/SP after returning to the entrance.
...

Moving on to overall presentation of the game, you really can't ignore PS2 limitations anymore. Since the entire development process of Persona 4 has been after the PS3 was launched, it's unfortunate that the limited budget and resources of Atlus couldn't put this on the stronger system. Mind you, the graphics (in combat especially) are as good as you'll ever seen on the PS2, but hopping back to a game in HD will basically make your eyes bug out. Some kind of widescreen mode would have been awesome, but this is a very minor complaint and the lack of it doesn't subtract from the game in any way whatsoever.

The soundtrack is top-notch, as you'd expect from any SMT title. Each separate dungeon has its own background music, which mixes things up nicely while walking around. There are hours upon hours of voiceovers from a talented cast that anime buffs will be able to pick out a few "famous" voices from. Another intriguing thing present this time is "quazi-voiceovers", where the text of a line will appear and you'll only get a short outburst from the other character. This could be a clip of an emotional reaction, or the first few words of the phrase. To me, this shows that Atlus might have loved to have put a voiceover on everything, but could have been running out of disk space. One thing that they made a specific point of including for voiceovers, however, is the "final" cutscene with each social link that brings you up to the max rank. It feels like an extra bonus for your effort and really puts the emotion from everyone out on the table.
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One thing I always love to talk about is details in games; it's often the little things that really make a scene stick with you or add a good memory to the game overall. The first such thing I saw in the game was when I was eating breakfast with my hosts and finished toast popped out of the toaster. It seems really tiny and insignificant, but it was so unexpected I actually jumped a little in my seat. If you're looking for a "big" example of details, naturally it would be the manga-like marks that appear above the characters quite often which explain their moods. Especially in cutscenes without voiceovers, it helps hold things together well.

I also can't help but mention how well "detail" and dialogue is used in the Persona. As a voiceless protagonist, somehow you're still turned into an incredible character and member of your group. If it weren't for the fact that you're controlling him at all times and his ability to control multiple Personas is unique, you can easily imagine him being just any other normal person at school. It's a damn good feat of writing to allow someone without a voice to be both the "main" character and the strongest in most any sense of the word.

The "mood" is also simply amazing. As you could expect, there is an eventual point in the plot where things have entirely hit the proverbial fan and things look incredibly grim. I can almost assure you that you'll be so sucked in to the game at this point that you'll literally have knots in your stomach waiting for the next horrible thing to happen. This is made all the more exciting by the fact that very few of the major events happen at times you would expect and you get a lot of short term changes you need to cope with.
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In starting a summary, it needs to be said that this game is not for everyone. It takes dedication to get the most out of this game. Although I'd like to think that anyone who has ever at any point played any type of RPG and enjoyed it would find Persona 4 to be an incredible experience, there are some players that can't handle hours without battle action, or the fact that it's hardly worth turning on your PS2 unless you have at least 1-2 full hours to play in order to make much progress.

I'll kind start to finish this by giving a testimonial of my feelings throughout playing. At 10 hours in, I felt kind of disappointed. At 20, I'd adjusted to this. By 30, I was engaged. Hours 30 to 40 were hands-down the most I've ever enjoyed in any RPG (or game in general, actually). 40-Finish had me on the edge of my seat, and my first time at [AN] ending resulted in my crying for about 10 minutes.

Oh... and as a last impression, I'd like to say that this game answers important questions in life, such as what happens when a protagonist is used as an underage male prostitute (indirectly). Perhaps you'd like to know what hints of fanservice from previous Persona titles would look like. Best of all, you might be curious to know what an 8-bit era dungeon crawling game would look like in 3D, and thankfully such a vital ponderance is answered for you. When's the last time you fought a boss that was a 16x16 block of pixels. That's what I thought.
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Conclusion-Just an incredible symphony here. At this point I'm not even sure if this truly my favorite RPG, but a somewhat objective view shows what is practically a flawless game that has corrected every imaginable critique it faced in its last release. There is still potential for great leaps forward in the Persona series, but at this time Persona 4 is worthy of the utmost praise for everything it gives you.

Dare I say, Atlus is developing enough of a fanbase around the world now that releases are anticipated at nearly the same level of Square-Enix games? Might we finally have another true powerhouse in the RPG department which is slowly evolving past niche games to things anyone can enjoy playing? We'll have to see what Atlus can put together for the PS3 and/or 360, I suppose. They might not have the budget or resources of the SE-folk, but they have 10x the heart put into their titles right now. Not impressed enough yet? Go ahead and play through again on your cleared data to unlock everything available to you.
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on November 16, 2014
This game is an example of the true meaning of gaming. Everything about this game is near perfect and will be the best purchase you will ever make when buying a game.

Story:
The story is about a protagonist, who is moving to Yasoinaba because of his parents, gathering a team of persona users after a mysterious murders start to happen. They were able to discover their potential when they entered a TV and end up in the Shadow World. As the protagonist gathers up a team, he later finds out that not everything is what it seems and the path to the truth is harder then you think. The story overall is decent. It's not something you will find "original" as it is the typical murder case and trying to find the murderer. It will indeed make you want to reach to the end of the game just to see what happens and who was the one who threw people in the TV but it was pretty predictable at the beginning moments of the game. Overall I will give the story a 9/10.

Gameplay:
The gameplay is what you can expect from a typical JRPG game but with some noticable differences. In the game, you use weapons and your persona to attack enemies called shadows. Your persona is able to use skills and other things that a normal human would never be able to do. There are other things like the One More system gives you the ability to attack multiple times if you exploited the enemy's weakness. It is a good system and I liked it when I had to experiment with my skills to find a weakness of an enemy. The persona fusion system is in my opinion complex and an overall great system that makes you think if I should fuse this persona today or wait the next day to get an added bonus. The only gripe I had about the gameplay is how tedious it gets at times. It doesn't get too tedious but it makes you feel bored at times. The other part of the game is the Simulation aspect of the game. This is very well done as you have to keep up with your social life while at the same time fight shadows. Social Links are improved in almost every way from Persona 3 and it makes you feel like you're not the only one with problems and that everyone has a part of themselves that they hide from others. Balancing your social life and fighting shadows and saving people really makes me think on how I should spend my time and if I don't spend it wisely, I will not be as strong as I want to be. Overall I would rate the gameplay aspect a 9.4/10.

Setting:
The setting of Inaba and the Shadow World are great. Inaba is a small town and it is great that most people know everyone in Inaba and that is a good community. However, the shopping district starts to falter as Junes started moving in and has caused some tension between the people living there. The Shadow World is an interesting place as it is formed by human desires. It is covered in fog and (SPOILER MAYBE?) that people want to live in a world of lies instead of seeing the truth. That is the premise of the game of trying to discover the truth and it really changes your outlook on life as we people usually look up to false idols and make a false image of themselves. The Shadow World has good looking dungeons and each one looks different and a lot better compared to Tarturus in Persona 3. However, the dungeons do look kind of repetitive and some look bland but overall it will keep you engaged in the game. Overall I would rate it a 9.2/10.

Characters:
Now this is where Persona 4 really shines and that is in the characters and the Social Links. When you establish a Social Link with someone, you can establish a new arcana and make it so you are stronger the more you hangout with them. Your team in order for them to get a persona, they have to accept the part of themselves that they try to hide from other people and themselves or their shadow. Their true self is what they hide and once they accept that this is what they really think, then they are able to overcome anything and obtain a persona. It really shows how the characters are actual people and how they have to deal with the lies and stereotypes of society. When you further establish a social link to them, you can see how they had to deal with life before accepting their shadow. They will tell you how they ended up in this situation and how they plan to improve themselves and eventually you can help them find their true purpose in life. It really makes you feel like you made a difference in their life and you're not just making a difference in their life, but also in your's the player. And you can also establish social links outside of your team and see their struggles in life as well and most are very well written. It is an emotional experience unlike any other and will make you tear up once in awhile as you see them come to realization on what they should do in their lives. I can't express how much I love the character development in the game and I will give the characters a 10/10.

Lasting Appeal:
This game will not only make you think you purchased one of the best games ever, but it will also make you think about your life and what you should do with it. It really changes your life and a game like this deserves recognition for that. Once you finish the game, there is New Game + which will allow you to play the game again with all of your stats like knowledge and courage while also keeping your persona compendium and money. I immediately started a new playthrough after I finished and I usually never do so that should give you an idea on how great this game has impacted me as a whole. I will give this a 10/10.

Conclusion:
Persona 4 is an experience unlike any other. It is filled with comedic, emotional and just flat out amazing moments. This game will make you laugh, smile, angry, cry and so many more emotions will flow to your mind. You will absolutely cry at the end of the game because I know I did and this game will make you think about your life and the decision you make mainly the premise in finding the truth and your true self in life. There is a lot of symbolism in the game and it is great seeing how many people perceive a character or their shadow. The game is fun, emotional, and memorable and I'm happy to give this game a 9.5/10.
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on June 1, 2013
After hearing about this game from a 'Let's Play' series on YouTube, 'Two Best Friends Play' to be precise, I was immediately intrigued by the enthusiasm the two gamers showed while playing and the astounding reviews I found after researching the game more. So I decided to break out the old PS2 since even if I ended up disliking it it was only about $20, so no huge loss.

The game's basic premise is about a silent protagonist (who becomes an extension of yourself in this world) that moves to the small town of Inaba where strange murders begin to take place. You and your new friends decided to put an end to these crimes because, as with most media focused on teen heroes, the adults are mostly idiots and only you can stop them with the help of your Personas, a magical being that is controlled through one's ego or inner self.

I went in with fairly high expectations that were not only met but exceeded quickly. First off, the characters are so damn likable and realistic it's crazy. The 7 teammates you make throughout the game are all fun and unique and you'll soon start feeling a real bond between them as the game goes on, which is something the game promotes. You level up your Personas by making connections between your friends through a system called Social Links, which are activities you can do with them in order to become closer to one another. This system of bonding and the characters personalities in general is one the strongest points of the game. Very rarely, if ever perhaps, have I adored EVERY character in a game before. I usually have characters I like and characters I don't care for so much. But with Persona 4, every one of the 7 felt special to me and that's quite an accomplishment. On top of the characters, the story, humor, setting, music and combat are all fun and exciting. It got to the point where playing this game was the most important activity in my day, that's how good this game is.

I did have a few problems here and there though with the game. One thing that really bugged me was how the game would sometimes be too vague in what it wanted you to do. There was one point in the game where you could make the right choice when it came to a moral decision, but you didn't make it in the EXACT way the game wanted you to do it and thus end up "failing" and having to start the sequence all over again, hoping that this time you did it correctly. It's possible to fail this multiple times and can get frustrating. Especially if you're like me and don't like looking up the answer, though I did eventually have to get some help because I didn't want to fail again. It almost felt at times like the game was trying to make you fail these decision sequences. It wasn't a matter of difficulty, which was a major plus about the game, but rather the feeling that I was failing in a cheap way.

Despite this, I feel like I may be underselling how great of a game this is. I'm not exaggerating when I say this is one of my favorite games of all time now, quite possibly my favorite ever. It's a flawed masterpiece in which the good points in the game are so great that any very few negative problems I nitpicked with it would cancel out and I'd ignore. I feel like that's quite an impressive feat.

Long story short, BUY THIS GAME! It's summer anyways what else do you have to do? What were you going to go outside? Not anymore you aren't.
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on December 11, 2008
For many of you who enjoy the Megaten series, you may already be well aware of this series. Two years ago, Persona 3 broke onto the PS2, creating an influx of newcomers and old school gamers alike. It provided a unique battle system, an intriguing dark story, a plethora amount of characters, and overall a great experience. Persona 4 is a standalone game, bringing many of the features, settings, and atmosphere from P3.

You are a silent protagonist who transfers into a rural area. Soon enough, you find something mysterious and dangerous. On one rainy night, you look into a television. Voices begin to ring, the storm seems to enrage, and the television flickers on and off. Reaching into the t.v, you are sucked into a whole new dimension.

Interesting, is it not? You'll find many mysteries held within the storyline. Unlike the city life in P3, you're in a very small town named Inaba.

The battle system holds its true colors. Although this time around, there are some tweaks. In P3, you were unable to control your allies, as they were under the influence of the AI. All you could really do was give them certain commands. This time around though, you are able to control their every move. These actions include using items, attacking, and defending. The all-out-attack is still implemented and the battle mechanics overall are ALL the same.

For those who have played P3, Tartartus was a large dungeon with many different themes and atmospheres. Instead of that, the dungeons in this game are spread out. Giving a more variety in gameplay. Each dungeon is uniquely themed based on the storyline. One night, you may be going through a steamy spa, the next you may going through an abandoned mall.

Many of the things you find in P3 and, to an extent P2, are all found in Persona 4. If you love the Persona series or you are a newcomer, pick this up, it's well worth your money.

(Side Note: For those who pre-ordered this game, the art-book is quite large (100 pages) and provides a few major spoilers. It's highly recommended you wait to look at it later. Although, the presentation of the package is wonderful, giving both the artbook and soundtrack is awesome).

Pros
+Fast-paced action.
+A great, long story. Develops quite fast.
+Interesting concept. Different from many other RPGs.
+Amazing soundtrack and character voices. It won't disappoint.
+Different endings create a twist.
+Characters have a lot of depth.
+Eerie Atmosphere accompanied with Amazing Artstyle

Cons
-Long adventure may tire some people out.
-Town is somewhat small; not many places to explore.
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on April 3, 2017
Really great game. Definitely challenging and frustrating at times, but the combat and story are solid. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes RPGs.

The graphics are definitely dated (pushing 10 years) and the PS2 doesn't hold up to the PS4 or PC games, but if you can get past that you'll have a great time in the game.
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on April 10, 2015
Persona 4 is, to me, one of the greatest RPGs of all time. Because it combines many of the things I love in games. The characters are really well defined and all have a chance to grow and change over the course of the story. You get to know the characters of Persona 4 like very few other games and even if you don't like them, or start off disliking them, they have a way of really growing on you until they feel less like characters in a story and more like people that you knew. The story itself is really interesting and has enough twists and turns that you want to push on. Every time you think something has been figured out, there's something else that appears and shows you that you still have more to go.

Graphically, it's a PlayStation 2 game. A good looking PS2 game, for sure, but still not up to modern standards. That being said, everything still looks good and the graphics aren't so outdated that the game is difficult to play or get immersed in. The anime-style cutscenes still look good as well. The soundtrack to the game is really really good, full of quirky and catchy tunes that you'll find yourself humming along with whether you mean to or not. The voice acting is pretty solid across the board and there are very few voices that feel inappropriate for the character or are just poorly done. Some lines do get repeated a bit too often, especially when it comes to battle dialogue, but that's not uncommon for many games of this sort.

From a gameplay standpoint, there's really two distinct things going on. There's the social/school side of things, where you're doing things like hanging out with friends/acquaintances, studying for school, helping out town locals with their problems, and working part time jobs. Some of these just help your character stats like Knowledge or Courage, but some of them are more important things called social links. Social links with your party members give them additional combat abilities and all social links increase the power of certain kinds of Personas summoned by the main character during combat. Combat itself is not exceptionally unique or different from many other JRPGs. It's not bland or boring, but you'll get used to the different quirks and sub-systems pretty quickly. You'll need to do a fair bit of fighting to level up, complete side-quests, collect new Personas, and collect items. In the end, depending on how you play things, you'll spend about half of your time in dungeons and half of your time doing social/school things.

The game, in the end, ran me about 80 hours to complete. It was not a max social link run, which would have needed much more planning and understanding of the game up front, and would be better suited for subsequent playthroughs, which means that there's a pretty good amount of value to be had here even if you just play through twice.
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on July 27, 2014
Ever wondered what your high school would be like if you and your friends had to investigate a serial kidnapping and murder case involving a hidden world inside of TVs, literally fighting your inner demons, and a talking bear mascot suit? If you said yes, you need to play Persona 4!

Just like Persona 3, you play as a junior in high school who must balance his duties as a student with those of a shadow-killing, Persona-wielding badass. Unlike 3, you can now directly control the actions of your teammates in battle (and never use tactics ever again), and yes, this did warrant a bullet point on the back of the box for many people. Also, skipping your turn now has the added benefit of increasing your defense and making it nigh-impossible for enemies to exploit your weak points. However, it's also easier to get 1 more turn, as ma- skills (the ones that hit all enemies) are now eligible for 1 mores. Getting knocked down isn't as big of a deal since your turn isn't wasted by getting up. Also, hitting a downed enemy doesn't make them stand back up anymore, but instead has the chance to make them Dizzy. A Dizzy enemy or character will not be able to stand up on their next turn unless an item or ability is used (I believe the skill name is Re Patra). Overall, the fighting is about as good as it was in Persona 3. Whether you like one over the other is a matter of preference (and ability to make Tactics work for you). It feels a little bit easier than Persona 3 (partly due to the changes to teammate Social Links), but the combat can still be challenging and even deadly. Every enemy that isn't significantly weaker than you can kill you if you aren't careful, as is the case with most games within SMT. And remember, if the main character's health reaches 0, he doesn't just lose consciousness like the other characters: he dies. That means you need to save whenever possible!

As you might've heard or guessed, this fighting takes place inside of the TV. The inside of the TV has several different dungeons within it, and they're all quite interesting to look at. Each one feels a bit different than the last, though they're all pretty similar from a design standpoint.

There also added conveniences, like the square button's new fast travel functions. These really help speed up moving through town. You can also press the Start button to get a view of the entire map of the floor you're on in the dungeon (provided that you've explored that floor), which would have been REALLY nice to have in Persona 3. The removal of the physical condition mechanic is also nice (no more Sick or Tired ruining your fun, but now your exploration of the dungeons is limited by other factors).

The time-of-day mechanic of the previous game has also been reworked. Instead of using your Evening and Late Night slots to explore the other world, you now must do it during the Daytime or After School, and Late Night has been removed entirely (it wasn't terribly useful in P3, and would be even less useful here since there's no need to get extra sleep). It is mildly annoying to have to waste your precious Social Link time to save people from the TV world, but there are also more things to do in the Evening now. For example, there are about twice as many night time Social Links than there were in Persona 3, as well as a new set of night time activities tied to your social stats.

And you'll be doing all of this to a really funky soundtrack. There's aspects of electronic music, rock and roll, and genres I'm not even familiar with all blended together to make that "Persona sound" that composer Shoji Meguro is known for.

But all of these aspects wouldn't matter all that much if they weren't backed up by the most important component of a story-driven game: the story! Fortunately, Persona 4 has a compelling narrative that keeps you guessing like a good detective story should, and manages to blend a fair amount of slice-of-life anime into it (this may be good news for you or bad depending on your personal taste). Who is throwing people inside of the TV? Will you rescue their latest victim before their shadow kills them? Can you bring the killer to justice? Where did this world come from? What's the deal with Teddie? Even if you think you've got it all figured out and you've reached the game's credits, you might be wrong. This game has several different endings, and the true ending is deviously hidden. Depending on your actions and dialog choices, you might reach the true ending, or something might go horribly wrong. Fortunately, you can always just load up your last save before the pivotal moment if you messed up. However, despite being a murder mystery, has a pretty bright and happy tone most of the time. This is in stark contrast to Persona 3's dark and often depressing tale. This can be a pro or a con; you'll have to play them for yourself and form your own opinion here.

Another major component of the story is the aspect of Social Links. The idea of hanging out with people to improve Persona fusion returns in Persona 4, and works in almost exactly the same way as in Persona 3, though you now have the option to form bonds with all of your team members (and not just the datable ones). Raising teammate S.Links now grants special bonuses at certain points. For example, they can sometimes attack enemies when you knock them down, or take hits for you that would normally kill you. You also have the option to make non-romantic bonds with members of the opposite sex, which is nice, as some of the romances of Persona 3 felt a little forced to some players.

Overall, it's quite a good game! Many of the characters feel like people you know or knew, and the gameplay is engaging. It's worth taking a look at. If you don't have a PS2, you can also get it on PS3 through the Playstation Store. If you have a Vita, you probably already have Persona 4 Golden. If you're one of the few Vita owners who hasn't played P4G, you should get on it. The Vita version is actually the definitive version of the game! Whichever version you get, don't look at a guide for your first playthrough. Just play it and have fun with it!
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on April 29, 2013
Persona 4 is quite an intriguing take on the RPG genre. If you have played Persona 3 then you know what I mean, but if you haven't be warned that the later Persona games play as if they are part slice-of-life anime and part jrpg. To me this is a great thing, and if this sounds like an interesting take on the jrpg genre, then you are likely to enjoy it as well.
Persona 4, much like 3 before it, plays on a calendar based system, meaning that the game plays around a year in game, and you go about the day-to-day life of the main character. In doing this, you are able to socialize with the characters in the game, which becomes important as the battle mechanics are centered greatly on fusing monsters that you acquire into more powerful monsters. These monsters, or Persona rather, have certain classes (arcana) that they belong to, and as you socialize with certain characters in the game, you are able to make your persona fusions more powerful as your "social link" of the various classes increase. It's actually a pretty simple concept, and it works quite nicely to make the game more fun both through the social interactions and in the combat itself.
Of all the things I could praise about this game, the Characters really are what stand out to me the most. There is something really quite special about the characters in this game, since you really do get to know them quite well over the course of the game. (regardless of whether you max their own personal social links or not) The character interactions were honestly my favorite part about the game as a whole, even if the combat was it's main selling point. Don't take me the wrong way though, as the combat is also top notch as well. It's just that the characters are so well developed and likeable that they really do shine through.

All in all, Persona 4 is simply a must have Playstation 2 title.
The fact that it came out so late in the PS2's lifespan is the icing on the cake.

*In Summary*
Pros:
-Fantastic characters and character interactions that make you really grow attached to the members of your group as you progress through the story.
-Fun slice-of-life anime feeling of the game gives it a unique twist that freshens up an otherwise standard jrpg feeling
-Music is catchy as hell, especially Reach Out to the Truth (main battle theme) and Your Affection (plays on sunny days)
-A lot of what happens in game depends on the weather each day, which is a pretty interesting device that's used quite well.
-The atmosphere of the game as a whole is quite laid back and upbeat, which is a nice feeling to have in a modern-styled jrpg.
-Excellent story pacing that makes Persona 3 seem quite jumbled in its pacing and ensures that the story rarely gets boring.
-Has some truly hysterical scenes that will make you laugh your ass off.
-Beginner difficulty allows you to enjoy the game's story without having to worry about death too much.
-Colorful game that is loaded with eye candy

Cons:
-Some of the social links in the game appear late, so you have to be particularly careful about getting them maxed in time. (minor negative)

Mixed:
-The first few bosses of the game can be a pain difficulty wise, but stick through and the game becomes much more manageable. If you like a challenge then this is a good thing, otherwise it may be a turnoff.
-The use of strong language is a bit more prevalent in this than in 3, but depending on who you are this probably won't make a difference.
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