The reason to own a Vita.
When I first started playing the game I thought I’d made a huge mistake. The game is Japanese, like super duper Japanese. I’m now “Senpai” and “Colin-kun” and everyone is super happy and friendly and right out of an anime and there is no actual game play its just people talking and I can’t even give the cool answers because I don’t have enough courage holyshitwhathaveIdone. The game is really tough on newcomers, you literally cannot move for a large part of the opening. It’s all just text as you learn about your character and they locations and people you will meet and interact with. Much like a Metal Gear game you have to be ready to read a whole lot of text. It’s a lot to take in and I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t heard such good things about the game I would have tossed it out long before it got interesting.
It does get interesting though. The jist is that you’ve moved from a large city to a small town to live with your uncle for a year. During this time a series of murders happen and you take it upon yourself to stop them. The story is actually pretty solid but its the characters that really shine. Along the way you meet new people and forge social links (more on those below). You learn about each of them and they all have a little side story that plays out over the course of the game. It’s all stupid high school crap but I really found myself invested. I almost hated actually playing the game (the more traditional RPG battles) as it got in the way of my social life. The characters are well done and each have their own problems and obstacles to overcome. You can have sex with women!!!! It’s actually pretty funny, if you start macking on multiple chicks you can run into scenes where they confront you and get all pissy.
The social links are used to create stronger Persona. To get a stronger link you have to interact with each character and learn more about them. Persona are essentially Pokemon, there are a ton of them that you can either obtain through battle or by fusing two or more together. The higher your social link with a certain character, the stronger the fusion will be and the more exp your new Persona will gain. Basically if you forge a strong link with Fred (spend time with him outside of the battle areas) who is of the Moon, each time you create a persona of the Moon type you will gain a large amount of exp. It sounds goofy but it all works really well and gives you incentive to talk to all of the characters in the game. Persona level as you do, the higher the level the more spells and attacks it can use. Each Persona does have a level cap though, they can only learn so much before they are tapped out. This forces you to constantly look for new Persona and is a welcome addition.
The battles play out like every other turn based RPG out there (attack/spells/items/run). The areas you explore are essentially the same but the designs are all different. You fight in a grocery store, a strip club, and a video game. They all look different enough and keep things interesting even when you are essentially just walking around hallway after hallway. The art design and overall look and feel of the game is quite pleasing. All of the Persona are delightfully strange, ranging from cute and friendly to insane. The music and sound effect compliment the action (although they can get a little repetitive) and the voice acting gets the point across (it’s an ANIME!!!). Even without the interesting characters and storyline, Persona 4 is a really solid game.
As far as the “Golden” part of Persona 4 I can’t really speak much of it. I played the original on the PS2 a long time ago and I can’t remember all of the changes. There is another character you can interact with along with some additional scenes. Other than that I honestly can’t remember enough to tell the difference between the two.
If you own a PSVita and you like RPGs you already have this game. if you are looking for a reason to buy a Vita and like RPGs this is a big push towards a purchase. It’s a great game that’s worth every penny, I enjoyed it just as much on the Vita as I did on the PS2. If you can stomach sup duper japanese nonsense you will learn to love this game.