Let's start with what Persona4 does right. The combat system's, due to the option to directly control your team-mates and a slightly refined weakness-hitting system, is a welcome improvement on the Persona3 system. Also welcome is the availability to view skill descriptions at any time. Oh, and there's a most deserved Take That to Twilight. The story's concept is very good, if borrowing a bit from the previous entry. As a student being relocated for a year from the city to the country, you discover Another Dimension on the other side of T Vs, which conveniently ties in with a murder mystery in that someone's throwing people into this other world where they'll be devoured by a monster formed by their suppressed self when the fog arrives in the real world. You, your friends and the Persona beings you control must save the victims and identify the killer. The concept and other ideas are good, but the execution is... put simply, there is no execution. Apart from 'rescue someone' and a Red Herring or two, nothing happens at all until the very end. A very disappointing end (and I'm not just taking about the three bad endings). It's clear the game was meant to be more character-centric, however in this case it fails entirely. Apart from Kanji and Teddie, every single playable character is either obnoxious and/ or boring, and the supporting cast is only slightly better. The problem here was simple. Atlus tried way too hard to make the cast endearable and relatable, "just like back in high school", that they ended up with a bunch of irritating brats (Heh, just like back in high school). It doesn't help that all Character Development is confined to the social link side-stories. There's also a lot of humour in this game, however, while some isn't so bad, pretty much all of it is groan-inducing, predictable, cliched (Lethal Chef anyone?) and unfunny. The game centres around an Aesop of Truth and being true. Unfortunately, Persona4 is one of the most unforgivably Anvilicious games since Eternal Sonata. I wanted to punch the screen every time the word truth appeared. Although most Persona designs are good, most of them have been recycled from Persona3. A mostly awful cast, no subtlety whatsoever, painful humour, an overrated soundtrack, a mishandled plot and decent, but not stellar, gameplay: Persona4.
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