Saturday, March 28, 2009

Nerd Life: Persona 4 Impressions

This is not a full review, as I have yet to finish the game. However, I feel you readers would prefer to read my thoughts before the NEXT game in the series comes out. This is a very long game. However, I feel I've played enough to give it a fair judgment.

A secondary opening video can be found here. If you don't mind some small spoilers, it shows off some gameplay elements.

Persona 4 is the latest game in the Persona series, which itself is part of the larger Shin Megami Tensei family of games.

Persona 4 places you in the role of a nameless protagonist (a common element in the series). You arrive in a small town just as dead bodies start showing up. You and your friends decide investigate the murders, and a wonderful mystery plot plays out.

The characters are all very well developed, with dark, hidden sides to their personalities that they must confront and accept, their Personas. Personas are powerful spirits that will assist you in battle. They enable you to cast spells and use powerful attacks.

Battle plays out in a standard JRPG, sort-of-turn-based format. Persona 4 is the first game in the series to give you the option to issue commands to your party, which makes the gameplay much more strategic. Many enemies have weaknesses, and when these weaknesses are exploited, they will be knocked to the ground for a short period of time. Knocked down enemies take extra damage, and can become "dizzy" and lose a turn. Be careful, though! Your characters have weaknesses, too.

The thing that I enjoy most about this game, though, is that battle and dungeon crawling is only a small portion of the actual game. Believe it or not, the bulk of the game puts you in the shoes of an average Japanese high school student, living out his life. You can learn things in school, read books, participate in school activities and any number of other things to raise your personal stats. These stats will, in turn, open up Social Links. With Social Links, you grow closer to your friends and unlock more power in yourself, making your Personas more powerful.

How many other games present you with the decision of whether to kill monsters or go to Drama Club practice? And how many other games exist where you would actually choose the latter? As long as you rescue the current victim before the killer strikes, you're free to spend your time as you wish.

Visuals and audio are top-notch. The anime style comes off very well, even on the dated PS2 hardware. The music is amazing, with each dungeon or character having their own unique theme. The battle music does get a bit repetitive after a while, but that doesn't make it any less awesome. If you're not moving even a little bit during that opening video, there's something wrong with you. Voice acting is great, and they manage to fit a great deal of it on a single PS2 game disc. Each character comes off as full of life when combined with the outstanding writing.

Persona 4 is highly recommended to any RPG fan who can still FIND their PS2. This could very well be the best RPG I play this year.

I can sum up this game in one word: style. They even have their own Ipod commercial!


Spicytuna said...

I love the Persona series. I'm currently playing Persona 3: FES, trying to beat that before I go on to Persona 4.

A great mix of Dungeon Crawler, and school life sim. Very fun.


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A part-time player trying to exist in a full-time world. Guild Master of Denarian on the Azjol-Nerub server.


Image courtesy of Nexodyne

Current Goals

  • Haddar - Level 80
  • Tarmr - HERBS!
  • Samodean - Wyrmrest Accord Exalted
  • Samodean - Finish Northrend Quests


  • Watching - Primeval
  • Playing - Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (DS)
  • Watching - Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • Playing - The Last Remnant (360)
  • Playing - Persona 4 (PS2)


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