Welcome to the third in our new series, Staff Picks: Retrospectives.
The games that should be mentioned and our main sources of gameplay granting us hours of inspiration and satisfaction.
This week we look at possibly one of the greatest and most respected games of the JRPG genre, Persona 4 Golden.
Persona 4 Golden, otherwise abbreviated as P4G and released in Japan as Persona 4: The Golden, is a role-playing game developed and published by Atlus that was first released in Japan on the Playstation 2 in 2008, and worldwide in 2009.
In 2012, it made its handheld debut on the PS Vita system, and on Windows in 2020 with over 2.5 Million copies sold worldwide to date.
It is an enhanced port of Persona 4 (2008), the fifth main instalment of the Persona series, itself a part of the larger Megami Tensei franchise, and was released worldwide again for Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox X/S and Nintendo Switch on January 19, 2023.
The game follows a group of high school students who investigate the disappearances of several people in the town. They discover that they can enter a parallel world known as the TV World. In this strange place, they encounter monsters known as the Shadows. By fighting and defeating these Shadows, they can purify them and turn them into Personas – powerful allies that they can summon in battle. The students must use their Personas to solve mysteries and stop crimes in the real world. But as they get closer to uncovering the truth behind the TV world, they soon begin to realise that there’s much more at stake than they initially thought…
On the gameplay front, and compared to its previous title P3P. The arrival of P4G on the latest Sony handheld, the PS Vita was something of a revelation. Not only with a new and higher spec system to run it but also in terms of the game itself and the enhancements and improvements that developers Atlus had made with its latest title.
Gone was the static “point and click” movement around the environments that was replaced with free-roaming actions feeling more open, realistic and flexible. Everything from social interactions to social links became deeper and more expansive. Dungeon areas were made character specific, removing the blandness of the previous excursions in the Tartarus Tower. Then with a newer system and game, far greater quality and detail in every pixel from the environments, characters and the Persona themselves. Combat is more expansive with enhancements and tweaks, granting more options with choices and actions with significantly tighter battles the result.
As we move on to the present day, and its release on the Nintendo Switch. There’s no denying that the inclusion of P4G is most welcome and graciously received by many who played the game previously and remember it with respect and fondness, or those curious and may have missed it before.
Above that, there’s only one question being asked.
Is Persona 4 Golden worth getting on the Nintendo Switch?
Well, it’s no surprise that there’s nothing changed in this version and that in terms of the age of the game, we get the P4G we know and expect.
And yet, upon loading and playing the first few hours on a Switch Oled, the extra bit of screen space and the vibrancy of colour mixed with that extra degree of clarity to detail. And this feels like something a bit more special compared to what I had experienced on the Vita.
So if you’re really on the fence with this, and haven’t completed the older release multiple times, there’s a recommendation to return and add this to your Switch collection and experience it all again with its gorgeous new modern-day look!