Tag Archives: persona 4 golden

The Week That Was 12/2: On Impostors

Funny story! I was planning on getting another The Week That Was up last week, buuuut then a little game called Persona 4 Golden game out (only $39.99 for the Playstation Vita, available now! *ding!*) and suddenly a good 40 or 50 hours of my life vanished, like so many “missing time” cases on Coast To Coast AM.

On the plus side, a rather lengthy review did happen to appear on this very site, so it wasn’t a total loss, right? …right? And we do have something of a double-header this week to make up the shortfall, as John Layfield has put together his own “Wiik That Was” for your perusal. See? We’re totally professional!

The Weekly Haul

neil gaiman hostess ad
The world of the now-defunct Hostess, as imagined by Neil Gaiman. Naturally.

• Review: Persona 4 Golden – Addition Without Subtraction. Persona 4 was at the top of its class when it was first released in 2008, and this new version for the Playstation Vita is all that and more. With that in mind, my review mainly covers the changes and additions made by Golden, most of which are very positive.

• RAW Rambling 11/26/12: Not Quite The Avengers Initiative I’m fiddling a little bit with the format of these articles on the behest of Mr. Layfield. More context? More weird Tumblr pics? Star ratings for matches like it’s 1999 or something? Let me know what you want in the comments.

• Nicolas Cage Really Is In Everything It’s true, he really is.

• That Charles Barkley RPG Has A Sequel On Kickstarter I wonder if Mr. Barkley himself is aware of these games? He seems to have a pretty solid sense of humour, so I’m sure he’d be down with it.

• Game Of Thrones: The Lost Seinfeld Episode It’s pretty safe to say that Ned Stark wasn’t the “master of his domain”, unfortunately for him.

• The Wiik That Was – 10 Miiverse Images of the Past 7 Days I suppose Mr. Layfield felt the need to get my ass in gear with a “Wiik” of his own. Will this become a running feature? Who knows! You’ll just have to keep your eyes peeled.

News We Missed

I’ll be honest, I haven’t been paying as close an eye to my usual news sources these last couple weeks. Still, here are a couple items for you anyway.

• There was a Walking Dead swimsuit calendar, and it was horrifying. No, it doesn’t feature the show’s female cast. It’s all zombies in bikinis. Really. On the scale of disturbing ideas for calendars, this ranks somewhere between that fireman thing my mother tried to give me once (presumably as a test of my sexuality or something) and that one a bunch of old nude ladies did for some kind of medical research benefit. Brr. (via io9)

• Patrick Stewart pulled a Stephen Colbert impression for PBS. Now here’s fundraising I can get behind! Looks like Stewart’s recent appearances on The Daily Show rubbed off on him. (via TrekMovie)

Community Things!

CF-XCOM has been underway for a while now. Here’s the latest mission report straight from our forums’ own Falcon Critical:

We shot down a medium UFO, it took both our interceptors to do so, and we’re going to have to clear the insides of this thing. Thor takes another break, despite the last time he did so going disastrously.

The team spots high ground to one side and moves to secure it. Estranged sets herself up the elevated position and the team moves forward. Two thin men stroll into line of sight, HunterF and Est both miss their overwatch shots, but Est doesn’t the second time around. Squad sight snipers on high ground are pretty OP.

caffeine-fueled xcom

Estranged drops the thin man and HunterF retreats to better cover… uncovering two sectoids. Pontiff run and guns his way over and shotguns one, the other remains at large along with the thin man in another direction. With a couple of troops on overwatch, a suicidal sectoid charges at Pontiff and DHerder guns it down before it can get close.

Another two sectoids show up and one brazenly sits behind a tree daring us to shoot at him. We do, and we miss. The thin man from earlier has swung around to back up the sectoids as well, but Est puts him down. Pontiff moves in to get a shot at the sectoid, but it is overwatching.

caffeine-fueled xcom

It hits for 4 damage, meaning Pontiff’s going to be in the infirmary for a while. DHerder continues to lead by example, lasering the sectoid through a tree for the kill. Pontiff darts back to DH for a little healing spray, and HunterF finishes off the other little grey immigrant.

No other aliens appear on the way into the ship, and even inside the ship it’s in the control room that we find one Outsider. Everyone misses him and he responds in kind. Again most of the team miss, but HunterF claims the kill.

MISSION SUCCESSFUL
7 Aliens Deceased
—————————————
Lt. “Drifter” Estranged (Sniper) – 12 kills, 8 missions
Sgt. “Prophet” D Herder (Support) – 7 kills, 8 missions PROMOTION
Cpl. “Loco” Pontiff of Zargos (Assault) – 8 kills, 4 missions PROMOTION WOUNDED (5 days)
Cpl. Hunter “Thunder” Friar (Heavy) – 7 kills, 4 missions PROMOTION
Sq. True Perception (Support) – 3 kills, 2 missions

Pontiff earns the nickname “Loco”, probably due to running into battle with a shotgun when facing plasma toting aliens.
HunterF steals some of Thor’s “Thunder” by proving his match as a heavy.

Want to help save the world? Sign up!

Ard, C-F’s artist du jour, may or may not be rendering myself and a few others as Persona characters. So look forward to that, should it really happen. You’ll just have to check out the forums for more!

One More Video!

Another shout-out to Ard for this one. See? Video games are beneficial! Take that, old people!

See you next week!

Persona 4 Golden: Addition Without Subtraction

In case you missed it the first time around, Persona 4 was an RPG for the Playstation 2 in which you followed a year in the life of Souji Seta Yu Narukami Charlie Tunoku, a Japanese high school student sent to live in the tiny mountain town of Inaba while his parents worked abroad. A series of paranormal murders began upon his arrival, pushing Charlie and his new friends into forming their own “investigation team” – one that involved physically entering television sets and fighting the shadowy aspects of mankind’s collective unconscious.

It was perhaps the biggest hit for Japanese developer Atlus ever, one that has seen its story retold in an array of different media since then, including its own anime series. Now, the remastered Persona 4 Golden has arrived for the Playstation Vita, becoming simultaneously the definitive version of Persona 4 and also the only truly compelling reason to purchase Sony’s troubled handheld aside from the recent expansion of their Playstation Plus service.

Having read those introductory paragraphs, you’ve most likely (and very correctly) guessed that our review for Persona 4 Golden will be almost entirely positive. Congratulations, your Understanding has greatly increased. So with that in mind, let’s focus mainly on Golden’s changes and additions from here on out.

persona 4 golden marie steak
If you’d like to see Marie grant Hiimdaisy’s webcomic ascended meme status, select the highlighted option.

First, the big stuff. There are two new Social Links for players to indulge in. The first is with Marie (pictured above) who falls somewhere between Elizabeth and Margaret on the Persona scale; an outsider who, while naive, isn’t completely removed from the real world. Marie is thankfully the beneficiary of some very strong voice work. The second is Adachi, a familiar face for P4 veterans. Both are important to the overall story rather than being mere side characters.

Both Chie and Teddie have retained their new voices as introduced by Persona 4 Arena and the anime’s English dub. This is a good thing, as both those products are still very recent and switching up the actors any further would be an awkward blow to continuity. That said, I will always prefer the somewhat more mature portrayal of Chie in the original Persona 4, though I do realize that recasting her was a necessity which also opened up new dialogue opportunities with Golden that would’ve been impossible otherwise.

Online functionality has also been added in the form of the Voice and SOS options. It’s not true multiplayer – which is a good thing as such a mode would never fit into Persona 4’s existing structure – but something more akin to Dark Souls and its predecessor. Tapping the Voice button will fill your screen with speech bubbles that indicate what other players did in your current position, which can be useful for weighing your daily options at a glance instead of wandering around town looking for something to do. However, as different players progress through the social aspect of Persona 4 Golden in different ways, there will usually be a few bubbles that won’t reflect your own situation, and you’ll likely have avenues of your own that aren’t shown either.

persona 4 golden sos
An example of Persona 4 Golden’s SOS messaging system. Your options for Engrish hilarity are far wider than you might expect.

Touching the SOS button while in a dungeon will send a distress signal over the Playstation Network, which will provide HP and SP regeneration at the beginning of your next battle if responded to by another player. This works basically the same way as the Invigorate skills already in the game, but depending on how many players respond it can be dramatically more effective. If used liberally, SOS could allow your party to remain in the TV world indefinitely without spending any yen or items on healing, depending on your play style. It could also be a huge boon to players using the Very Hard difficulty setting.

Unfortunately, SOS pauses the game for a moment while the signal is going out, which delivers a slight hit to immersion. This naturally becomes more of an issue if your Wi-Fi network is prone to interruptions or if PSN is on one of its little sabbaticals. Of course, Voice and SOS can both be disabled entirely at any point and the game prompts you to make this decision on every startup.

Voice and SOS are also Persona 4 Golden’s only use of the Vita’s touch capabilities, which could be good or bad depending on your outlook. No one likes control gimmicks that feel tacked on, yet minor uses of such functionality often feel like missed opportunites or wasted potential. Personally, I just dislike getting fingerprints on the screen. It’s for that reason that I wonder if this feature could’ve been mapped to the rear touchpad instead, which like most Vita titles, sees no action at all in Persona 4 Golden.

persona 4 mara
Yes, you can still fuse Mara, the penis chariot Persona.

Tweaks to Persona 4’s existing mechanics are almost too numerous to mention although several stand out from the pack as critical. Chief among them is the ability to cherry-pick your new Persona’s skills before fusion, rather than “The Nose” giving you a random assortment of inherited abilities as he did before. This means that the days of backing in and out of the fusion screen until you get the skills you want, a frustrating limitation of this system since its introduction in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, are finally at an end.

Another welcome addition to the fusion system is the Fusion Search screen, wherein a list of all the Personas you can create with your current stock are given to you straight up. You can still select two or more of your Personas blindly the old-fashioned way, but with Search, there isn’t much reason to unless you’re intentionally going for a huge multi-Persona fusion job. This isn’t as big a deal as the skill picker, which had me jumping out of my chair and DX crotch-chopping when I first read about it, but it is nonetheless very nice to have.

Skill cards have also been added to the mix. Obtained via the revamped Shuffle Time minigame, you can register skill cards in the Velvet Room in the same manner as Personas which allows you to purchase them later and apply them to any Persona on your active roster. These cards contain skills ranging from the expected staples to exotics that I don’t recognize at all, some of which could be new to Golden.

persona 4 golden combo attack
Persona combo attacks return for the first time since Persona 2. You’ll probably be seeing this one a lot.

In battle, Persona-based combination attacks can now be triggered by All-Out attacks, forming a one-two punch capable of laying-out most basic enemies. Furthermore, S-Link progression now unlocks new skills for your party member’s Personas; for instance, Yukiko’s Persona can now learn Mudo fairly early on, which only helps the never-ending search for enemy affinities and weaknesses. However, a lot of rebalancing has also been done to prevent the player from steamrolling over everything, particularly in the case of bosses, though rest easy knowing that Chie is still perfectly capable of punting a mid-boss into orbit.

A balance pass has also been made over the non-combat gameplay to account for all the new timesinks. New books, new jobs, and new side activities have all been added, many of which can raise more than one social characteristic at once, and the options in this area which already existed have also been improved. Finish reading that Knowledge-boosting manual early on and every subsequent study session will be doubled. Being able to explore the town at night also grants new methods for boosting stats like Diligence and Courage, as does taking a ride on the scooter to neighbouring Okina City.

persona 4 mysterious fox
Mysterious Fox: still mysterious.

With so many enhancements made to Persona 4’s already winning marriage of story and mechanics and with nary a strike to be made against it, Persona 4 Golden becomes the definitive edition of P4 – and the strongest weapon in the Playstation Vita’s wanting arsenal – pretty much by default. Fans of Persona in particular and RPGs in general, with a “J” or otherwise, should consider this a no-brainer addition to your library if you happen to own a Vita already. If not, it’s your best justification yet to grab that new chunk of hardware.

For non-fans or the unfamiliar, consider the following words and phrases: steak; TV world; the Meat Dimension; luchador masks; Mysterious Fox and Funky Student; “the secret animal cracker.” There are so many more, and so much depth beyond just the comical aspects. If you want to discover what any of that means for yourself, Persona 4 Golden the best way to do so.