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Falls short of greatness (Story review)
P4 is a game with a high amount of potential which it doesn't achieve due to a lack of character development and a somewhat flawed moral on why you shouldn't lie to yourself.

I was excited to obtain new characters the first time playing as I was eager to see how they would work on dealing with their own issues. How disappointed I was when I learned that the characters don't develop AT ALL. Whether or not you spend time on their S-links, nothing really changes about them outside of battle. By the end of the game, they're still the same person, which brings me to the anvilicious moral of the game...

The game makes it obviously clear that you shouldn't lie to yourself and that you should accept who you are. A commendable effort... HOWEVER, this moral takes a rather unpleasant light once you reach the 7th storyline boss. Simply put, I felt that the moral of the game shouldn't have been "Don't lie to yourself" but rather "Make yourself a better person." Just imagine if you-know-who were to accept who he was and how much more powerful the game would've been. Which leads me to Yosuke...

I can't believe that the writers at Atlus took such a huge step backwards from Persona 3's Junpei. It seemed rather simple: Both are class clowns who suffer similar tragedies and they both share the same arcana. While Junpei becomes more mature because of it, Yosuke unfortunately acts like an obnoxious imbecile who disrespects his own teammates, failing to realize that his behavior throughout the entire game might've been the reason girl he loved didn't love him back, making it hard for us to disagree with her when she said that "he was a real pain in the ass".

The S-links are also another issue I have. Other then Nanako, Dojima, Naoki and Naoto, all the other S-links were bland. While the Arcana/Ally bonuses are quite helpful, it does nothing to affect the main story which feels rather wasted seeing how much it would've worked with the moral I mentioned above.

As for the main mystery plot, I only had minor issues with it (talking to civilians...) though one scene near the end of the game was quite the head banger (before unlocking the 7th dungeon). What happened afterward should've been avoided.

In short, P4 is a huge disappointment in terms of story. Hopefully Persona 5 will fix these issues as P4 truly could be something amazing.
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The Golden: Sometime's Less Really is More
When I think of Persona 4, there are a few things that I immediately think of it: That it was one of the greatest games on PS2, perhaps the last great game on that console, and easily my favourite JRPG of all time. Perhaps with such a high view of it, I'm a little biased to talk about the 'updated rerelease' known as The Golden. But what the hoo-ha, I want to talk about it.

For the most part is, the game is intact, a very solid recreation of Persona 4 on the Vita retaining the old material. There are some new voice actors in place of the old ones, but they do a good job so I shan't complain. All the old social links are there, along with two new ones... which make for one of my main gripes with the game. Adding Adachi in as a social link is dumb, but you can ignore it entirely. Marie on the other hand? Oh no, she is crowbarred in right from the get go, and throughout most of the game you'll be dealing with her irritating 'personality' (that of a stereotypical tsundere) and crap poetry with no escape in sight. She really does come off as a bad fanfic self-insert and drags the experience down.

The combat is the same for the most part with a few new gimmicks thrown in like new specials and Rise being able to take a more proactive approach to combat. Nice ideas, sure, but not exactly necessary. The game adds new scenes such as the ski trip and beach trip along with some new locations to explore. And I can appreciate them, again they're nice and probably some of the better things added to the port.

Also for an 'updated' version of the game, some of the old niggles are still there. You still have to do those stupid investigation segments before you can start a new dungeon, grinding the pace to a halt looking for information the characters should already know. And it's still kind of a pain to build your stats up to handle certain social links, making for a uphill battle to do the Dojima social links on the first playthrough.

I'm probably biased, and the game would likely be better for people who didn't play the vanilla version of Persona 4.
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Amazing plot. Wonderful characters. Mind-blowing JRPG.
Short answer: see title. Long answer: below.

Storyline/plot - 9/10 - P4's story is definitely a major reason why you'd want to buy this game. The story is a huge driving force motivating you to save innocent victims of the evil bastard kidnapping them and bringing him to justice. Furthermore, not only is the plot intense, exciting, often humorous and (in some places) a real Tear Jerker, but it is like that throughout the entire game - there are very few moments, if any, where the story gets repetitive or dull. The main downsides can include a stretched Willing Suspension Of Disbelief and confusing aspects of the plot that make little sense which are not explained until very late-game. But overall, it's great.

Characterization - 8.5/10 - P4 has a truly wonderful cast. Your party members, closest friends and even the antagonists each have their own unique, distinctive personality, and the English VAs are actually really good! The social links are mostly brilliant, sometimes completely changing your perspective on a certain character; doubly so for your party members since you also get to see their "shadow" (a hidden/suppressed part of their personality). An example of how effective this is? People cry at the normal/true ending, purely because they are saying goodbye to these characters they've known so well.

Combat - 8/10 - P4 uses a modified turn-based system where both sides can be granted extra turns if they score critical hits or exploit weaknesses. This may sound simple, but actually adds a lot of depth to strategies in battle and can easily decide who emerges victorious. Along with the SMT tradition of buffs, insta-kill spells and ailment attacks actually making a real difference, Persona 4 has a complex and often challenging combat system that rewards players who fight intelligently, and punishes those who are lazy and ignore their weaknesses.

Soundtrack - 8.5/10 - P4 has some truly brilliant music, complete with Engrish lyrics and vocals. Almost any situation you find yourself in will be accompanied by an amazing soundtrack.

Lasting appeal - 7.5/10 - Although you'll know who the culprit is on a NG+, the game is often as fun and as exciting as ever. There'll be quite a few aspects of the game you won't have seen before, in addition to other exclusive NG+ features. Definitely worth a second playthrough.

Overall - 9/10.

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