Person 4 Golden, Fini!

Game completed screen from Persona 4 showing the animation version of all the characters.

Well I finally went and finished Persona 4 Golden. Why’d I go and do a thing like that? I’ve started various Persona games (including this one) at least half a dozen times, but this is the first time I’ve ever completed one, and goodness gracious did I ever enjoy it.

What’s odd is that all the times I’ve bounced off a Persona game it was because of all the ‘social stuff.’ If you’re completely unaware of the series, it takes place in a contemporary setting where you, as a student, have to balance things like school work and part time jobs with hanging out with friends to improve “Social Links.” Then there’s another whole facet of the game where you’re doing dungeon crawling. You are staying with an uncle and your young cousin in a small town for a year. When the year is up, the game ends, so there’s a certain amount of time pressure. Each day is broken up into day and night sections and you have to pick, generally, one activity per section. Do you go home and study in order to get your Knowledge attribute up so you can do well on an upcoming test, or do you go hang out with one of your friends to increase your Social Link?

Higher Social Links let you create more powerful Personas. Personas are like facets of your personality that you can draw on while in the dungeons to use skills. You can collect a lot of Personas and fuse them to make even more Personas. While this is fun I found the UI for doing this to be pretty clumsy; one of my few gripes with the game.

Previous to this time playing, I’ve never given the social stuff a chance and found it boring and that’s why I bounced off the games. This time I stuck around and it didn’t take long for things to completely flip. I started LOVING the social stuff and when I had to go do a dungeon and fight I found it almost annoying. I wanted to get back to hanging out with my friends!

I found the main plot in Persona (basically a murder mystery) quite engaging, with some ‘twists’ that I saw coming a mile away, and others that legit surprised me. Even more endearing was the messaging; there’s a lot about facing and accepting the different facets of one’s personality and it was a real ‘feel good’ experience over all. The characters are all very well written and I grew quite fond of them. I played with the English voices and the actors did a superb job. When the game finally ended I had that melancholy feeling you get when you have to say goodbye to an ensemble cast that has become quite real to you. I’ll miss these Persona kids!

The Tzitzimitl Persona. Basically a medusa only with arms instead of snakes coming out of her head.

I’d guessed that I’d finish at 100 hours and I think it was 107. My main team of characters (you can take 3 of your friends with you into a dungeon) were all in their low 90s (with a cap of 99) and I was playing on Normal difficulty. I did pretty well with the Social Links and maxed 11 or 12 of them. I think there were a few I never even touched, and one (Ai Ebihara) which I wanted to max but ran out of time.

There are a few possible endings you can get and thanks to consulting a guide I got the best one, meaning I fought through every dungeon and beat all the bosses. I’d spent a lot of time in dungeons grinding during mid-game and that really cut the difficulty down for me. The Internet says you should be around level 70 to beat the final boss and I was 20 levels past that so… I was grinding not just for levels but to farm Personas because I had this idea of catching them all, but eventually I gave up on that. (The Persona designs are delightfully weird.)

Anyway, that’s it. It’s an old game and most everyone has played a Persona before so I don’t have any great insight to share. But this will NOT be my last Persona game. I’m a little sad, though, that each game stands alone. I’d like to see Yukiko, Yosuke, Naoto and Nannako one more time.

Shot from an in-game dialog segment showing Rise.

2 thoughts on “Person 4 Golden, Fini!

  1. Congrats on finishing!

    I was making a lot of headway with Persona 5 Royale earlier in the year, but then dropped it after everything happened with my mother and just haven’t been back yet.

    It has still been on my mind though.

    I hadn’t ever tried any of the others, but had tried and bounced off P5 more than once in the past. It was the social elements that kept it going for me as well as long as it did the other times, but I had found perhaps a bit more of a balance in the enjoyment on that last go round.

    Kinda looking forward to the Persona 3 Remake, although I think that’s still a ways off yet!

    1. I want to say the P3 Remake is scheduled to release on Feb 2, 2024.

      I was thinking of going to P5 first but figured I should take a break between games and my semi-OCD just feels like I should play the lower numbered games first. In fact I originally started P3 before P4, but then heard about the remake so figured I should wait for that version, so skipped ahead to P4.

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