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A year in Inaba: Persona 4 Golden
What is the mark of a great game? Is it engaging gameplay that keeps you coming back? Flashy visuals and presentations that bring you into the world and won't let you go? A well written story and a loveable cast that you can't help but become attached to? Persona 4 Golden doesn't make that choice, but rather opts for the full package. The result of the amazing attention to detail is one fantastic game, let alone for the Vita.
Persona 4 Golden drops the player into the shoes of a transfer student, moving to small town Yasoinaba, to spend a year under the care of your uncle while your parents are working overseas. Just as school ramps up, a strange serial murder case rocks the small hamlet and weird dreams, headaches and a voice lead you to discover the ability to enter a world inside TV sets, a deadly world when fog covers Inaba and the apparent main method of the killer. Soon enough, you awaken the awesome powers of Persona, the power of the heart made manifest. You and your friends begin an investigation to pursue the killer, learn the nature of the TV realm and rescue the attacked who have been placed inside that world.
It's a well written story that takes its time in all aspects. You as the player is thrown into this world with about as much instruction as the player character. The first several hours of the game are heavily structured, as you are introduced to some key characters, the world around you and the story, but once you get over the hump you get an almost overwhelming amount of choice. Choice in how to spend your days, who to spend time with, when to pursue the investigation, and when you simply need to study. The choices you make in day to day life have an impact on combat in the TV. By spending more time with certain people, certain types of Persona can get an experience boost when fused, yet another facet you are left to explore and learn on your own. The social links you build with your party members, classmates and general townsfolk provide a great deal of the character development and backstory to the people you meet, each one with a story to tell. This leaves a great deal of the story up to the player to write for themselves, but carries tangible benefits in combat to give a meaning to those who could take or leave the dialog as well.
Inside the TV is where you'll find the engaging, if fairly standard, dungeon crawling RPG gameplay. Forming your party from up to three other characters, you'll lead your friends through varied dungeon environments, climbing floors and battling enemy shadows. You can purchase or find new weapons, armour and accessories that boost your personal stats and grant helpful buffs to specific attacks. Winning battles grants you chances to draw cards for more money, experience, stat boosts or new Persona. These Persona can then be taken to a specific person to be fused into new Persona and pass their skills to ones that may otherwise not learn a specific move. The Pokemon-esque element of catching them all adds another addicting layer, and as the only character that can use more than one Persona, it behoves you as the player to keep mixing persona and maintaining a team that can handle any situation.
Persona 4 presents itself in a fashion that deserves the name "Golden". Everything is crisp on the Vita's gorgeous OLED, bringing a vibrancy to the different environments. The colourful art style gives each major character a distinct personality, further emphasized by the amazing voice acting throughout. The story can swing from the silly, to the serious, to talking about boobs and back to serious again while feeling natural the whole time. The amazing soundtrack, the kind of j-pop that somehow you never get tired of, is expanded from the PS2 release and sets every mood perfectly. While the character models themselves sit with a static and blocky face, the close up for major characters that shows up during conversation shows an adequate range of emotion.
Persona 4 Golden is a compulsive experience that won't let go once it sinks it's teeth in. While it takes a few hours to really get moving, the payoff for those who can get through it is an immersive world, brilliant story full of memorable characters and engaging, if generic JRPG battles to back it all up. If you own a Vita and don't own Persona then your simply doing it wrong.
Ask Activision, EA, Ubisoft or any number of publishers around today, they will tell you used games are destroying their business model, that they cannot sustain themselves without a ten dollar cut, or more. These publishers who create amazing games like Tomb Raider, that have sold 3.4 million copies, and still arent breaking even. Even console manufacturers, Microsoft is getting the finger pointed here in particular are jumping on board to fight this plague. How could those naughty, naughty used games do such a thing? Well, thats just it. Used games are not the problem and have a right to exist.
First, lets get this ludicrous idea that used games is as damaging as piracy out of the way. There is one, fundamental difference between these two that ruins this argument. A pirated game is the result of a single copy being leaked on the internet and producing thousands. A used game on a shelf got there somehow (Hint: Key word is in the name, used games). Every single used game currently circulating represents a brand new sale at some point. The publisher received their dues when they received the money from that sale, and in a capitalist society that should be the end of it. At least in the USA, they even have a law to protect this act in the form of the first sale doctrine, which basically states that once sold to a customer for an agreed upon price, their involvement in the product and their say in what one can do with it is over. After all, do you need to pay a fee to Ford when you buy a used car? the thought is ridiculous.
But these poor, poor publishers need to make money somehow, right? In this environment of AAA, multimillion dollar game development and 100 man teams who need to make money somehow, right? These poor games that cant break even on their huge, bloated costs, even with Downloadable content, marketing deals and advertisement campaigns that make sure you cant turn the corner without hearing about it. Games like Dark Souls, who managed a meagre 2.4 million sales. Wait though, Dark Souls was successful and made money. Imagine that, a game made money while the used game market was in full effect?
Could that be because Dark Souls was budgeted, and created with less money than it would take to buy a third world country and targeted to a specific audience? No, couldnt be that. Hitman Absolution, another Square game failed to meet expectations with 3.6 million sales, or Capcoms disappointment in Resident Evil 6, which couldnt even manage more than 5 million sales! Damn used games, damn them. Dare i say that many of these similar sob stories are less critically acclaimed than Dark Souls, and less successful since From Software actually made money on it. Money can be made, even with the used market out there. Could the blame somehow be on these publishers that need to insist that every game needs to appeal to everyone? Could these publishers somehow be asking too much from reality when they need a game to sell 6 or 7 million to break even? Nobody is being forced into these decadent, unsupportable business moves. There is really no excuse here.
Not everybody can be the quarterback, and not everybody can be Call of Duty, yet the mainstream tugs and pulls at the caboose of a train that has already left the station. These publishers have no choice but to charge so much and spend so much on these games. Well, weve already been over the exorbitant expectations of publishers, but a big boon for the used game is the fact it is usually cheaper than the new product. A popular retort is that video games are a luxury, that they arent needed for survival. This is true, putting the privileged attitude of such an argument aside, games are not a necessary part of life. However, whos to say how much your game is worth? If I return to the store, unsatisfied with or having recently completed a game that i dont wish to hold onto, but am interested in a new release on launch week when sales are at the most critical, yet i dont have enough money. How can i solve this conundrum? why not trade it in? I recoup a bit of my previous investment, make a brand new one and the publisher makes a brand new sale i couldnt have otherwise afforded, and would have had to pass on the new game until sales are no longer as big of a deal. Would we look at that, used games even have a benefit. Perhaps the game is a bit smaller, and doesnt offer quite as much as other games at $60? Could that game be more attractive to a potential customer who isnt looking to spend $60 in the first place? Silly, of course not. Used games are the devil, because they say so.
To the apologists, who shed a tear for the poor, billion dollar publishing houses like the stereotypical native shedding a tear over litter, take note that these publishers take advantage of the same capitalist system, yet cries fowl when that same system allows some control to the customer, they are whining about having their cake and eating it too. Publishers love to say that you dont own what you own, despite laws that contradict them, cry over not being able to break even on unrealistic sales expectations because they spent exorbitant amounts of money on development, and marketing, and still sell for $60, $15 DLC and online passes, and throw a tantrum when you try to make a little bit back on your investment. When you attack used games, you attack your own rights, and thats pretty saddening that there are people who would join greedy publishers in taking away the few rights we do have. All we have left, as consumers that should be pro-consumer is the ability to vote with our wallets. We can make the choice to support draconian DRM, always online and anti-used games technology. We only need to make the choice to use it, andwell as they say, the victor shall write history.
I'm still playing around with Photo editing. Doing most of it on my iPad, but some of it needs a PC. My newest Persona X Fire Emblem inspired sig is the result of this playing, i'm fairly happy with it.
Perhaps I should create a new profile banner, this one was around since the System Wars Bets days. Anyone know the dimensions?
My Recent Reviews
Jun 19, 2013 6:36 am GMTdarkspineslayer posted in the topic Possible solution that dosn't involve formating your hard drive. on the Sony PlayStation 3 board
Jun 19, 2013 5:40 am GMTdarkspineslayer posted in the topic Persona 4 Golden Social Link schedule. on the Sony PSP / Vita board
Jun 17, 2013 6:41 pm GMTdarkspineslayer posted in the topic Jimquisition: Doing nothing, meaning everything on the System Wars board
Jun 17, 2013 3:26 am GMTdarkspineslayer posted in the topic Yet another noob looking for help on the Computer Hardware Discussion board
Jun 15, 2013 2:08 am GMTdarkspineslayer reviewed Persona 4 Golden and gave it a score of 9.5
Jun 15, 2013 1:01 am GMTdarkspineslayer posted in the topic Smash has generic reboot name/Won't support cross play. on the System Wars board
Jun 14, 2013 2:58 am GMTdarkspineslayer posted in the topic Persona 4 Golden review for evaluation on the union board Welcome to the Round Table
Jun 13, 2013 2:50 am GMTdarkspineslayer posted a new blog entry entitled A year in Inaba: Persona 4 Golden review
Jun 7, 2013 10:57 pm GMTdarkspineslayer posted in the topic Bu....any publisher that wants money has already made up their mind on used! on the System Wars board
Jun 7, 2013 4:22 am GMTdarkspineslayer posted in the topic But...isn't GameStop evil? on the System Wars board