It's already been a month since I started this game and I've been debating with myself all this time about what I really think about it. I truly love the JRPG genre with all my heart. Games like Final Fantasy VII, Dragon Quest VIII or Chrono Trigger have been some of my most precious experiences and memories of my life and now, I'm currently just about to add Persona 4 Golden to my list of favorite games ever made.
I don't really think I've ever said this about a game since I created this blog, much less in this generation as a whole. I've loved many games in this gen wholeheartedly, Final Fantasy XIII, Dead or Alive 4, Forza 3 or Uncharted 2, just to name a few, but to be quite honest, none of them have left me with this great sadness like Persona 4 Golden. I simply don't want the game to end, it was a fantastic experience that I want to live again.
It's actually quite funny because when I try my best to look at it from a more objective perspective, Persona 4 is quite simple in many ways. All dungeons are actually the same with different layouts for the corridors and stairs in each, there's no Overworld, in fact, the entire game takes place inside a very small town with about... seven or so actual locations to visit and the battle system goes a very orthodox way (but it works perfectly fine).
The thing is that Atlus managed to make a simple, yet magical mix of little somethings that eventually turned out to be a masterpiece, because I can't really think of a better word to describe this game. Persona 4 Golden. Is. A fucking. Masterpiece. The social links are an excellent way of making character development, and the fact that there are so many people the protagonist can have friendships with just makes living each of them very exciting. The entire cast is truly awesome. And not only the party members like Yosuke or Teddie, but the main character's friends outside it like Sayoko, the nurse over the hospital, Nanako, the main dude's little cousin you'll want to spoil during all the game or Adachi, the lousy detective who always goofs around Junes.
During the whole game, I noticed the narrative, while simple, moved at a perfect pace from the moment you start a New Game until the very end. Atlus got it right by having the players wonder what the hell will happen next?, how will Kanji or Rise help me once they join the party? Who is the killer? Etc, etc. The battles feel simple, with a turn-based system that have allies and enemies take turns to attack, defend, buff and debuff without many flashy or great animations. But the customization in the Personas, skills, items, equipment and everything is huge which guarantees that every player will have a different set of Personas for the main protagonist and they'll all probably use a party member in many different ways so my Kanji is probably completely different from another player's Kanji.
I'm really happy with this game, no other title had given me this feeling of satisfaction is so many years. I was pissed off at first when I found out Rise doesn't actually join the party's front line but she becomes so fucking useful and acts so much in battle that you'll have no choice but to accept that she's extremely awesome in-battle, even if she doesn't attack opponents herself. The cast, narrative, graphics, story, battle system, gameplay outside battles and holy fuck... the soundtrack, THAT.FUCKING.SOUNDTRACK. It's just incredible. I never thought J-pop and so many vocal songs could work so perfectly in a JRPG game.
I haven't actually finished the game yet. I'm just about to start the True Ending dungeon, already watched the bad ending and good ending cinematics and almost cried out of joy. Tomorrow I'll most likely be done with this first playthrough and though I have a huge, HUGE backlog waiting for me, I'll tell those game to fuck themselves and play Persona 4 Golden again with some tweaks to enhance my experience. I checked the list of extra stuff in the Vita version compared to the PS2 one and it's huge. Extra social links, extra personas, fuse abilities, a whole fucking season to live in town and even events during the entire game. Persona 4 Golden is a must-buy even if you played the PS2 version before.
Once I get the true ending, I'll be reviewing the game in a more elaborate and objective way but I can't really find anything negative about it so this is pretty much smelling like my very first 10/10. It's about time I gave a perfect score huh¿ I'll see what I decide on once I sit down and write it. But long-story-short, this game is a true masterpiece of gaming and should not be missed.