Persona IV Golden – PS Vita Review

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and the PSN was down.

The spinner was spinning, cause lizards had pwned.

I couldn’t DL BL 2, but I did not pout.

P4G was physical, I was still able to nerd-out.

With my new book finally in a semi-finished state, and having taken a short vacation (two days) from the ‘zon, I decided to spend a couple days doing absolutely nothing. More specifically, I’ve been living an alternate life within a JRPG: Persona IV Golden, to be exact.

Without further ado, I bring you my P4G Vita review:

Story: Something strange is brewing in the small (fictional) town of Inaba, deep within rural Japan. Joshaki (that’s me!) has recently transferred to the local small-town high school. You see, Joshaki had been living in the big city, but his parents were called away for work, so they sent him to live with his widowed Uncle who has a young daughter of his own and a busy career investigating a recent spate of small-town murders. So that shit makes perfect sense.

Joshaki quickly befriends schoolmates Yosuke and Chei. Everything seems dandy until the local news announcer, who was having an illicit affair (what affairs aren’t illicit?) with a local secretary to a councilman, is found dead, hung from electrical lines. This, plus a small rumor around school, leads Joshaki to realize that if he watched  TV at midnight on a rainy night he could then put his hand into the TV and have it be nibbled on by a hollowed-out-yet-somehow-fat Teddy Bear (aptly named “Teddy”) who lives in a mysterious TV land and makes un-bear-able jokes.

Joshaki and his friends make the painfully obvious leap: If they just had a bigger TV, they could leap  inside the TV and enter Teddy’s magical (and murderous) world. Thankfully, Yosuke’s family happens to own the big appliance store in town. Upon entering Teddy’s world the team realize they all have to fight evil shadow spirits, but only–and this is important–when the fog has rolled in on the outside world (because this means the fog has rolled out in TV land… duh), in order to reach alternate versions of themselves. Their bizzaro selves say all of the horrible things each of them secretly think on the inside (such as, “I’m totally honey-dicking Yosuke to get him to do my homework–tee hee hee!”, HT to The Interview, which was surprisingly not that funny).

As if this wasn’t good enough, things reach a new level when Teddy has an existential breakdown because 1) he is hollow on the inside (where is his Teddy-Brain!!?!?!), and 2) he has never before pondered what’s outside the walls of his world. Good times.

One final major plot point: Joshaki happens to be visited nightly by a creepy old dude in an existential, floating limo within a purgatorial dreamstate. This seems to be entirely coincidental that Joshaki has this special creepy-dude looking over him, thankfully though, the creepy limo dude is able to grant Joshaki access to various “personas” that give him the ability to summon crazy monsters to do weird ghost attacks on the aforementioned shadows.

Oh yeah, and when not solving the mystery of TV land, because, you know, fighting shadows gets exhausting, you can grow gardens and pass the time leveling up in your social school circles.

Really, it all makes perfect sense when you think about it.

Graphics: After that plot above, does it fucking matter?

Sound: Fan’f”in’tastic. The intro song is awesome.

Battle System: After the 2 and a half hour intro the battle system was a welcome change. LET ME REPEAT THAT: it took 157 MINUTES of “playing” before I actually played the goddamn game. Seriously. TWO AND A HALF HOURS. And I was going fast through all the txt. I was beginning to think the entire game was just one constant quick-time-event of pressing X, where the punishment of not pressing the button was never getting to the end of the game. Christ.

Playtime: On that note, the game’s internal progress is measured in days. In my game it’s may 18th or some shit, and I know there’s a special Halloween event at some point. So, yeah, you definitely get your bang for your buck with this one.

Overall Rating: For JRPG’s, I’m not sure it gets any better than this. However, after diving into FF14 over the summer, and having now become mind-melded with my couch into some kind of symbiotic catatonic state while playing P4G over xmas (seriously, I think my leg hair has fused with the couch’s fabric), I may need to blow some shit up during Easter. Or *gasp* exercise. GIME here I come.

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