Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Persona 4 Review

My memory is not what it once was, so I am running out of things to review! With that thought in mind here is my review of the excellent PS2 RPG (Role Playing Game) Persona 4 which I am currently 24 hours into.

In Persona 4 you play as a student recently transferred from a school in the City to a Town in the countryside. You are staying with your Uncle (the Towns chief Detective) and his young Daughter. Soon after arriving a woman who had been in the news regarding an affair with a rich business man is found hanging from a Telegraph pole, her cause of death not apparent. A High School girl discovers the body. A week later her body is found in equally bizarre circumstances. Through a series of coincidences you discover you have the ability to enter TV's where you travel to a weird alternate reality. You along with your friends discover that someone is kidnapping people and throwing them into TV's where their true self manifests and kills them. You and your friends successfully face the personifications of your secret thoughts and unlock Personas (Basically Humanoid Pokemon)

The game is split up into days. Each day usually involves you going to school, and then having free time in the evening to investigate, and rescue people from the TV, as well as other stat building activities such as after school clubs, reading, studying, and spending time with family and friends. Usually once a month someone is kidnapped and placed in the TV world. You have until the weather turns misty (usually a few in game weeks) to fight through a dungeon and defeat the personification of the latest victim.

The game has kind of adult themes in places, like the relationship between a single Dad and his child, and suicide. This is reflected in the games dungeons. Such as a Steamy Sauna, and a Strip Club. The victims personifications are also more mature themed. One personification is of a characters hidden homosexual desires, another personification is of a timid shy characters secret desire to be basically a slut.

The game is very text heavy in places, it can sometimes get up to an hour without any fighting actually being done. The characters are all well done though, all are interesting, and have great voice actors. The music is J-Pop mostly (the game actually came with a separate Soundtrack CD) but good, and fits the Japanese feel of the game well. The plot is quite a cool mystery, I'm 25 hours in, and really intrigued to discover who is behind the murders. The graphics are not fantastic, the dungeons in particular are very basic looking, being randomised this is not a surprise, but even for a PS2 game the graphics are average.

Combat is turn based, you can attack with weapons, or use your Persona to attack with elemental magic. Each and every enemy has a particular elemental weakness, and a elemental strength, as do the characters which leads to slight tactics needing to be used. The enemies are interesting, and relevant to their dungeon (Hulk Hogan day-glo wrestlers in the camp Sauna, couples in evening wear with hearts floating above them in the Strip Club). The main bosses are excellent, and unique looking, also providing lines of dialogue taunting you at different points in the battles. The secret optional bosses however are poor and just stronger versions of existing enemies.

The game can get a bit repetitive, but it is nice to have some calm after the panic of the few weeks when you have to rescue a victim (the games days progress regardless, if you fail to rescue a victim before the next misty day it will be real Game Over so it's always stressful to rescue someone in time). The game does require a bit of grinding, but the fetch quest sub missions give you a reason to grind) Recommended if you enjoy RPG's with a difference!

An update for this....

I carried on playing, and playing, and playing and finally after 91 hours it was complete! A heck of a long game, and a very very good one at that.  The plot had brilliant twists and the music stayed fantastic and the gameplay and story ace.  Well recommended!


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