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Possible spoiler alert!!
With Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, Atlus continues their
tradition of dark and lengthy JRPGs.
This means as a JRPG this is of those you are either going to love unconditionally
or absolutely abhor. Persona 4 takes
place about a year after the events of Persona 3. You start out Persona 4 as an unnamed high
school junior sent to live with your uncle while your parents are out of the
country for a year. Instead of living in
a major city like previous Persona titles, you’re sent to live in a middle of
nowhere town which is best described by the word boondocks. The situation changes however when a series
of strange murders strikes the quiet town.
Personally I believe games should be judged in part on their
predecessors. Therefore in parts of this
guide I may compare aspects of Persona 4 with aspects of Persona 3 as a means
to show improvement.
Just as in previous Shin Megami Tensei titles, there are a
wide range of characters from which the game draws upon for plot development. For the most part the plot seems a lot more
comical than Persona 3. The story is a
little more adult too, dealing with more advanced sexual themes that make the
story seem not so kid friendly. The
social link and relationship systems are back and slightly improved on. For your battle team, getting a social link
established means that you get some advantages in battle like players taking killing
blows for you or performing follow up attacks.
A possible positive consequence of this was Atlus removing the whole jealous
girlfriend problem from persona 3. Since
reversing a social link could have negative effect on your battle team, Atlus
removed this and now you’re free to date as many girls as you want. The only issue I still have with dating is
you go through all the effort of getting a girl to be your girlfriend and the
most you ever do with her is hug, I dunno seems kinda anticlimactic to me.
The battle system is where Perosna 4 improves best on
Persona 3. The primary difference is
that you can now take direct control over all characters, not just the main character. This means that the days of sometimes bad AI
making characters cast expensive and unnecessary spells are gone. In my opinion this is a major improvement that
allows for on the spot tactic changes that this game requires. There are however new issues introduced to
add complications. Sp recovery becomes
an issue at times. You can’t simply go
to the entrance and freely restore hp and sp, to do that you need to actually leave
and come back the next day. This leads to other issues, in Persona 3 Tartarus
never really got in the way of the regular school stuff and social link
activities. Since it was always a nighttime
activity and nothing really ever happened at night it never really caused an inconvenience. However in Persona 4 the TV world does tend
to get in the way, it’s an afternoon activity whose consequences carry over
into the evening where this time there is stuff going on. Evenings tend to be when you do part time
work which provides an extra source of income.
This is important because weapons and armor tend to drain your cash
reserves fast and money in the TV world is hard to come by. I may make this system sound worst than it is
it’s just an annoyance that one notices when playing this after playing Persona
Just like Persona 3, Persona 4 has a lot of those “chuck the
controller at the TV moments” everyone loves. I can’t even begin to count the number of
times I would get ambushed by groups of five enemies that would manage to kill
me before I could even get a turn in. I don’t
mind op enemies, I kinda enjoy them actually, but situations like this are
times where you just feel cheated. These
situations are the biggest weakness to the game imo because they play off of
the knock down system so well. It doesn’t even have to be a group of five ambushing
you; it can be a group of three you engaged normally. If they each have party elemental attacks
that at least one person on your team is weak to, they can basically chain
attack. The battle ends up becoming more
about luck than skill or strategy. Oddly
enough this seems to be the only way I would ever die in normal battles, which
is most likely why they annoy me so much.
Apart from all this the game delivers on multiple levels, it
has a rich and very deep storyline that makes it hard to put down. By requiring some level of strategy the
battle system never really gets all that old and further adds to the enjoyment
of the game. Furthermore the fact that
the game can take well over 60+ hours to beat makes it well worth a buy right
now considering how cheap you can get it.
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