I have been playing Persona 4 in the last few days while being held up feeling like crap at home or at work. Originally obtained late last November, I was held up with Disgaea, then Ragnarok Odyssey and other games (such as Totori), it took me a while to get around to Persona 4, despite hearing many good things about it.
I will be upfront about this: I have never played any other Persona. When I started playing the game, I have NO idea what this game was about besides being a JRPG, which means there could be multiple endings and it could be a long, possibly grindy, background story to the game. It turned out to be something horribly addictive that I can’t stop playing T_T
This particular storyline follows a protagonist (me) who has moved to his uncle’s place in the country side for a year. There were some mysterious murders happening and then the protagonist and a couple of his friends discovered that they could enter a world in the televisions – and somehow these murders were related to the TV world!
In the TV world, other than the protagonist, everyone has to face up to their “Persona” – their inner selves, their “Shadows”, the “self” they are not ready to admit is a part of their very being. Once they did, these Personas also become a power that they can utilise to battle with. Over the course of the game, the protagonist is also able to collect and “fuse” all different Personas together to aid him in the fight.
This is where it interests me the most. All the Personas in the game are…. legendary beings! Yay! I have always been interested in Mythological creatures, like Beliel, Izanami and Izanagi, angels and demons, etc. So, when I realised there’s a FULL compendium full of different beings, I was completely ecstatic >.> I sat there for a few hours and spending more than 2 million yen ingame just trying to see what I can obtain from different fusion, lol!
Each Personas have their own characteristics, weaknesses and strengths that are elemental in kind. Within the compendium, there’s also a mini intro to where this particular mythological being came from. Personas are also further categorise into sets that are depicted by Tarot cards. However, I am still unable to really understand how each category is really sorted out as it’s not always clear.
Then again, considering how there are some hilariously depicted Persona (like the one on the toilet, some that look like penises…) I am not sure if there really was a point any way.
The gameplay itself was quite intricate. While I love my JRPG, I didn’t used to play them that much so Totori itself was a shock to my system (what, crafting, killing, levelling wtf all at the same time!?!?!). This was probably worse, lol. To get somewhere in the game, you have to raise some social links – meaning you actually have to socialise with some characters in game. To be able to help the game play ease out, such as cheaper things for better heals/attacks, you SHOULD raise those social links. However, some social links cannot be accessed or raised unless you raise some of your PERSONALITY TRAITS. ~_~
You have limited time each day to raise either or choices of things. And some of those dates are completely untouchable as, being a high school student, your protagonist gets time out to go for camps, ski trips, onsen trips (lol), cultural festivals (LOL) or have to hold down a job (to help with cash flow AND your personality traits). And, not to mention, to get into the pants of various female characters.
Actual battles are turn base, although most bosses cheat and get 2 chances of bitch slapping you. However, if you were as hardworking as the other characters wish you to be, you could easily out level the mobs to the point of one shotting them by the second dungeon. Or, at least, I was. The main problem I faced was mostly a personal one. I like all the characters that I could use towards the end of the game, which was like 7 or 8 of the. But I could only actively pick 3 more characters beside my main one. As such, I had to rotate through them so I could level them and see them every now and then.
I have finished the game once now on Very Easy level so I could have a feel of the story line and what’s expected of me from the game. I really enjoyed myself, particularly with the Persona fusion function (lol). The good part is, if I wasn’t looking to get a platinum in achievements, I am not compelled to finish the game to check out x or y ending (there really isn’t much different endings. just good or bad).
Further more, there were many times in this game where some of the storyline was so sudden and crazy that I burst out laughing because it was all just so unexpectedly funny!
There were many parts of the game where I felt it was just completely lengthy and unnecessary and then when it matters the most, I felt I was being rushed 🙁 Especially when it came to one of the characters’ social link, I really had no time to build that social link since I didn’t know that I had to try and build my personality traits before.
Still, I am going through a round 2, and possibly a couple more rounds, more of a challenge now to see what other social links I can obtain and what can come out of it (different fusionable godly creatures) hahaha!