Game Review: Persona 4
[Cross-posted at Metro Gamer]
So I got myself a copy of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 this month, and I have to say that it’s one hell of an addicting game. I’m a bit of a sucker for life/dating simulation games, and the Persona series definitely has elements of that in the games.
An Improvement on Persona 3
I’m happy that this game ironed-out a lot of the problematic areas of the previous game while still keeping to Persona 3‘s system. For example, it’s much easier to go to places around school and town with the use of the square button instead of having to run to specific places and/or talk to specific NPCs to go somewhere.
Another wonderful addition is the “Direct Command” tactic, which enables players to directly control party members as opposed to P3′s tactics which just let players assign a general tactic and leave the AI system to come up with the appropriate action. Instead of having a huge-ass dorm building that served as the P3 characters’ home and headquarters, P4 has smaller spaces like the Dojima residence (a small-ish Japanese house that’s just right for three people to live in) and the food court at the Junes mall.
The two sidequest systems (Margaret’s fusion requests and Inaba residents’ quests) are also fun to do, though I’m not big on the fusion because it seems too tedious to me. Fusion has also been improved with the new “Fusion Forecast” system wherein certain stat bonuses for Personae can be achieved when the requirements for that day are met.
In P4, players may also select part-time jobs for the main character; apart from being good sources of money, these jobs open up new Social Links and improve the main character’s social characteristics. Speaking of characteristics, P4 has five characteristics (Knowledge, Courage, Expression, Diligence, and Understanding as opposed to P3‘s three (Charisma, Courage, and Academics).
A Likeable Cast
I also love how they made the main character much cooler than the previous one. It seems very Gary Stu-ish to have a really cool lead guy who can do anything and everything, but hey, I think he’s much better than Persona 3‘s resident emo boy.
Like P3, P4 has no shortage of interesting supporting characters; there’s the resident spunky girl and kung fu film fan Chie Satonaka, the prim-and-proper Yukiko Amagi who is prone to unstopabble fits of laughter, the tough guy Kanji Tatsumi who also happens to be interested in things like sewing and textiles, and the stoic and highly intelligent Naoto Shirogane.
Also of note are the character’s relatives, Ryotaro and Nanako Dojima, whom I believe add more depth to the main character’s personality and background as opposed to the orphaned lead guy in P3.
It’s hard to find anything really wrong with the game; it’s like an improved version of an already great game, and I think it’s good that new games for the PS2 are still being released despite the existence of next gen consoles like the PS3.
El Santos is a marketing & advertising professional by day and gamer/bookworm/tarot reader by night. She’s prone to sudden fits of fangirling over her varied interests: video games, fiction, art, folkore, anime, and tarot. She currently lives with her husband and 2 rescue cats.