Persona 4 Golden is one of the most important games in the long-running franchise, catapulting ATLUS to the success the studio would nurture with Persona 5. Persona 4 Golden’s recent PC port gave fans hope that the title would finally grace consoles for the first time in over a decade. Fortunately, the wait after the PC port was not long as ATLUS confirmed Persona 4 Golden would come to all modern platforms in 2023. Inaba welcomes players to discover the truth behind mysterious murders, a dense fog, and the true self. This time, the game is better than ever with new features and quality of life improvements. Availability on Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck gives Persona 4 Golden a suitable home for portable play once more.
A Quiet Town Full of Mystery
The Velvet Room invites a new guest, and Igor determines a great mystery will soon present itself. Persona 4 Golden begins with the protagonist, Yu Narukami, embarking on a train ride to Inaba, a rural town in the Japanese countryside. The teenager leaves the city life behind to live with his uncle, Ryotaro Dojima, and niece, Nanako. While getting accustomed to attending Yasogami High School, a bizarre series of murders become the talk of the town. Coincidentally, a rumor begins to spread around Inaba about discovering one’s soulmate by watching a switched-off TV during rainy midnights.
Inaba’s strange occurrences lead the protagonist to bond with others in his new surroundings. Narukami becomes friends with fellow high school classmates Yosuke Hanamura, Chie Satonaka, and Yukiko Amagi while following the rumors and gossip. The rumors lead to the TV World, a realm hidden behind the rumored Midnight Channel, and Teddie. The murders are connected to the TV World, and Narukami’s newly-founded Investigation Team are on the case to discover the truth. Ultimately, many of Persona 4 Golden’s answers lies in one’s true self.
Persona 4 Golden is beautifully remastered from start to finish, and the UI is as colorful and nostalgic as ever. As the name suggests, Persona 4 Golden is an expanded version of Persona 4 with new events, characters, Personas, music, and much more for players to discover. There’s a lot more content to explore compared to the original version, so it’s the definitive Persona 4 experience. Once more, players will manage their time by building closer bonds through Social Links, making money in part-time jobs, and studying while attending high school.
Narukami and the Investigation Team pursue the rumors and mysteries surrounding the string of Inaba murders after school. The team will venture into dungeons to discover leads and pursue dangerous Shadows. Persona 4 Golden doesn’t have an immense dungeon like Persona 3 Portable’s Tartarus and Persona 5 Royal’s Mementos. However, the game still features plenty of unique dungeons with a variety of enemies. The cohesive Persona experience was popularized by Persona 4 Golden and remains delightfully true with the re-release. Moreover, the iconic soundtrack with vocals by Shihoko Hirata stands the test of time.
This time around, ATLUS developed new quality of life features for Persona 4 Golden. The game has been fully remastered with HD visuals and difficulty options may be changed at any time during a playthrough. These difficulty options are accessible from Persona 4 Golden’s system menu while paused just like in Persona 3 Portable. Players may adjust battle difficulty, EXP rewards, and continues after game over. These options allow players to tailor their difficulty and gameplay experience as desired.
Persona 4 Golden players have access to a Quick Save, which immediately saves and returns the player to a title screen. When loading the Quick Save data, the player picks up exactly where they left off. If desired, save data may be erased as well. Furthermore, Persona 4 Golden has an all-new Album feature that allows players to revisit certain scenes. The game is a pleasant and vivid experience on a large display, and being able to take Persona 4 Golden into a portable form factor on Nintendo Switch is seriously beneficial.
Persona 4 Golden is accessible to newcomers and longtime Persona fans alike. As a result, it’s the perfect entry point into the Persona franchise and one of the most affordable games in the series. A vast sea of Personas to fuse at the Velvet Room and summon into battle, feeding into the overall Megami Tensei gameplay loop. Margaret is the Velvet Room attendant for the fourth entry, lending her Arcana expertise. Completing Velvet Room quests allows players to learn more about Margaret while becoming a stronger Persona user in the process. Once more, leveling up social links enables higher EXP bonuses through fusion.
Players are incentivized to learn more about characters, build these bonds, and utilize strong Personas throughout the course of the journey. Each Persona has its own strengths and weaknesses, and Shadows may exploit these if players aren’t careful. Members of the Investigation Team gain additional abilities by progressing these social links, raising their battle potential and effectiveness. For instance, Yu Narukami’s closest companions will guard him from deadly attacks. Eventually, his companions awaken to an even more powerful Persona with better abilities. These new abilities are vital toward some of the game’s most difficult challenges.
Familiar Feels New Again
Persona 4 Golden was a major improvement over 2008’s Persona 4 when it debuted in 2011 for the PS Vita. Those enhancements are even more apparent now in the latest re-release. Persona 4 Golden is a vivid JRPG that resonates with nostalgia and high-school life. At the same time, it’s a brilliant JRPG that’s aged like a fine wine and may still be enjoyed to this day without any glaring flaws to consider. Performance of the Nintendo Switch version is top-notch as well, making it one of the well-rounded ports.
Persona 4 Golden’s rewarding turn-based combat, incredible music, and encouraging features make it one of the best JRPGs ever developed. The main story and its coming-of-age themes make Persona 4 Golden a timeless classic that is worth revisiting and replaying many times over. This is a must-buy for those interested in discovering what the Persona series is all about. Players who have already journeyed through Inaba in the past have an opportunity to play the best version of the timeless JRPG yet.
Disclaimer: ATLUS provided Final Weapon with a review copy of Persona 4 Golden.
Read up on Final Weapon’s extensive coverage of the Persona series:
- Persona 3 Portable Review
- Persona 3 Portable Guides
- Persona 4 Golden Guides
- Persona 5 Royal Review
- Persona 5 Royal Guides