“A peaceful rural town is shaken by bizarre murders… What truths will those unraveling the case find?”
Persona 4 is the fifth game in the Persona series. The game was developed by Atlus for the PlayStation 2, and was ported to the PlayStation 3’s PlayStation Store as a downloadable classic akin to Persona 3 FES, but only in North/South America.
An enhanced port of Persona 4, Persona 4 Golden, was released for the PS Vita / PS TV. It has many new features and is often recommended to first-time players. However, it does not necessarily replace the original PlayStation 2 version; Persona 4 enthusiasts may still find value in the original version as Golden re-did certain enemy stats, dungeon aspects, voices for Chie and Teddie, etc.
As with Persona 3, the game is a turn-based RPG akin to most games of the Shin Megami Tensei series, although this game’s plot is rather unique compared to other games in general and in its series as it is based off a murder mystery.
Persona 4 follows a group of high school students dealing with a mysterious TV channel dedicated to distorting and exaggerating the truth of who they are and their identities. A string of bizarre murders related to the TV channel begins shaking their once peaceful town. They explore the mysterious world inside the TV and perform rescue missions in order to save its victims from death. Only by looking past what is on the screen, finding and evaluating the truth among a myriad of lies can they hope to find the serial killer and save their town.
Persona 4 Golden (known as Persona 4 The Golden in Japan), is an enhanced port of the PlayStation 2’s Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 for the PlayStation Vita. It was released in 2012 in Japan and North America and in 2013 in Europe. It is the 5th chronological instalment in the Persona series and the 10th game released overall.
Persona 4 Golden, released in Japan as Persona 4: The Golden, was announced in August 2011 as a port of Persona 4 for the portable PlayStation Vita. It was originally planned by Atlus to be a PlayStation Portable title, similar to Persona 3 Portable, which would have required removing some of the features of the PlayStation 2 game. However, the Vita provided sufficient resources that allowed Atlus to expand the game. It is an expanded version of the PlayStation 2 title, adding new features and story elements to the game. A new character named Marie was added to the story. Additional Personas, character outfits, and expanded spoken lines and anime cutscenes are included as well as two new Social Links for Marie and Tohru Adachi. The game supports the wireless networking features of the Vita, allowing a player to call in help from other players to help in dungeon battles. Another new feature is a garden that produces items the player can use in the various dungeons. The game was released in Japan on June 14, 2012.Persona 4: The Golden is also the first Persona game to be released in traditional Chinese.
The release of Persona 4: The Golden resulted in the surge of sales of PlayStation Vitas. During its debut week, the game sold 137,076 units in Japan. Media Create stated that the game’s outstanding sales that surpassed the debuts of other titles from Persona series may be due to the exposure the Persona 4 game has had in other forms of media. As of mid-July 2012, the game had sold 193,412 units in Japan. The game was the eighth most purchased digital Vita game on the Japanese PlayStation Network in 2013. As of April 2014, the game shipped 350,000 copies in Japan, and over 700,000 copies were shipped worldwide as of December 2013.
A soundtrack was released in Japan on June 27, 2012, consisting of a single disc of 15 new tracks composed and arranged by Shoji Meguro and Atsushi Kitajoh.
In an interview with RPGamer at E3 2012, Atlus USA revealed that in terms of bonus content in the special “TV Channel” feature, the US release would have all of the content the Japanese version has, with only one or two commercials missing. It was released for the PlayStation Vita on November 20, 2012. A special 10,000 copies were also released on November 20, 2012, as the “Solid Gold Premium Edition”. NIS America released the game in Europe on February 22, 2013.
Persona 4 is a role-playing video game developed and published by Atlus for Sony’s PlayStation 2, and chronologically the fifth installment in the Persona series, itself a part of the larger Megami Tensei franchise. The game was released in Japan in July 2008, North America in December 2008, and Europe in March 2009. Persona 4 takes place in a fictional Japanese countryside and is indirectly related to earlier Persona games. The player-named protagonist is a high-school student who moved into the countryside from the city for a year. During his year-long stay, he becomes involved in investigating mysterious murders while harnessing the power of summoning Persona. The game features a weather forecast system with events happening on foggy days to replace the moon phase system implemented in the previous games.
The plot of Persona 4 was inspired by the work of mystery novelists owing to its murder mystery premise. The rural setting was based on a town on the outskirts of Mount Fuji and intended as a “‘nowhere’ place” and is the central setting to have players sympathize with the daily life of the characters. The developers added many in-game events to prevent the game from becoming stale. During the localization, numerous alterations to names and cultural references were made to preserve the effect through translation, but some Japanese cultural references were altered or removed. The release of the game in Japan was accompanied by merchandise such as character costumes and accessories. The North American package of the game was released with a CD with selected music from the game, and, unlike Persona 3, the European package also contained a soundtrack CD. The music, as with the previous game, was composed primarily by Shoji Meguro. He was joined this time by Shihoko Hirata, who performed vocals on various songs, including the theme song “Pursuing My True Self”.
The game was positively received by critics and developed into a full franchise. An enhanced remaster for the PlayStation Vita, Persona 4 Golden, was released in Japan in June 2012, in North America in November 2012, and in Europe in February 2013. Various other manga and light novel adaptations and spin-offs have been produced. An anime television adaptation by AIC ASTA, titled Persona 4: The Animation, aired in Japan between October 2011 and March 2012, with an anime adaptation of Persona 4 Golden, produced by A-1 Pictures, which began airing in July 2014. The game has also spawned two fighting game sequels, Persona 4 Arena and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, and a rhythm game, Persona 4: Dancing All Night.
- Two new Social Links. Both Social Links are capable of unlocking new story content — such as new dungeons, and additional scenes for every ending.
- Marie, a Persona 4 Golden exclusive character, of the Aeon Arcana.
- Tohru Adachi, of the Jester Arcana and the Hunger Arcana.
- New Difficulty levels similar to Persona 3 Portable. On New Game+, the player can change and even customize the difficulty levels for individual game elements in the configuration menu. The pre-set levels of difficulty are:
- Safety (Very Easy in NA Version)
- Easy (Left untouched in NA Version, used to be called Beginner)
- Hard (Left untouched in NA Version, used to be Expert)
- Risky (Very Hard in NA Version)
- Several new music tracks.
- Additional voice over dialogue.
- Chie and Teddie have new voices in the English versions.
- New animated cutscenes.
- More Personas, including new Ultimate Personas for the Investigation Team.
- New areas, such as Shichiri Beach, and a ski resort. Okina City, which was only seen during certain Social Link scenes, is now accessible.
- New events, such as a Halloween event and a skiing trip.
- The player can now explore Inaba in the evening, when Dojima is not home. Places to visit are limited, just like Persona 3.
- Yu and his friends now have motorized scooters to explore various areas.
- Costumes are now available to buy at Croco Fur, in Okina City. Costumes have their own slot for equipment, and affects the Investigation Team’s appearance, similar to Persona 3 FES and Persona 3 Portable. Costumes do not affect the party’s stats.
- New Garden and Bug Catching features.
- The ability to choose which skills can be inherited by the Persona the player is fusing. (However inheritance restriction still applies.)
- The Vox Populi (Voice of the People) and SOS are new additions to the game, available while connected to the PlayStation Network.
- The Vox Populi can be used to see what other players of Persona 4 Golden have chosen to do during the current day in the game. The feature is also available in the Velvet Room to see what Personas other players are currently fusing.
- The SOS feature calls other online players for help in dungeons, allows you to send help to others, and is received as a gift of a minor amount of health and spirit. The amount restored by the SOS is very little and isn’t restricted by the current health status of your party.
- New scene skipping function.
- If the player fulfills criteria for at least the good ending, daily activities are expanded to February 14, 2012, giving more time for events and social links.
- New epilogue for the True Ending.
- Changes to the requests of NPCs or the fox.
- Some changes to the flow of battle:
- Some shadows/enemies have changed their attribute (weakness/strength/null) or area spawn.
- Shuffle Time has been revised.
- Rebalanced characters.
- Rise can now assist the Investigation Team in All-Out-Attacks.
- Tag Team attacks.
- Cavalry Attacks: Attacks from members of the Investigation Team that are not currently in the party. These usually are a follow up to Weak/Critical attacks that down an additional enemy or two allowing for an All-Out-Attack.
- Some spells have reduced usage cost (Megidolaon now only costs 38 SP and Morning Star costs 55 SP).
- Spell buffs and debuffs can now be used on the same character to prolong the effect.
- A new “TV Listings” menu, for displaying bonus content unlocked through the main game. Bonus content and the game itself are presented as television shows. The various shows are:
- Song Battle 2012 – Various clips from Persona Music Live 2008 in Akasaka Blitz and Persona Music Live 2009 in Wei City Tokyo.
- Persona Music Live 2008 in Akasaka Blitz includes “Pursuing My True Self,” “Mass Destruction” and “Reach Out To The Truth.”
- Persona Music Live 2009 in Wei City Tokyo includes “P3 FES,” “Deep Breath Deep Breath” and “Never More.”
- Mr. Edogawa’s TV Classroom – Lectures on the various themes of the game and their relation to psychology.
- Midnight Trivia Miracle Quiz – A Quiz show with questions regarding minor aspects of Inaba and the Shadow World. The character dialogue in this content is fully voiced.
- Daily Personamations! – A hub for rewatching the game’s animated cutscenes. Scenes are unlocked as they are encountered during play.
- P4 Golden – The main game, this program serves as a link to return to the game.
- Giants of P – A series that shows Persona 4 concept art with commentary on each piece. Additional pieces of art are unlocked as the story progresses.
- HEE! HEE! HOO! Music King – An in-game music player for listening to previously encountered music. Additional tracks are unlocked through playing the game.
- Persona Hits – This series shows various Japanese television commercials and trailers for Persona on PSP, Persona 3 on PS2, Persona 3 Portable on PSP and Persona 4 on PS2.
- What is P4 Arena? – Plays the P1 Grand Prix introduction video from the Persona 4 Arena story mode.
- P4 the Animation! – A Japanese extended trailer for Persona 4 The Animation, this content has the original Japanese audio and does not contain subtitles.
- The Midnight Channel – A Minigame accessible only when the PlayStation Vita’s clock is at Midnight until 1:00 AM. It features Teddie covered by TV static and can be manipulated with the device’s touchscreen. Teddie is fully voiced in this mode.
- Song Battle 2012 – Various clips from Persona Music Live 2008 in Akasaka Blitz and Persona Music Live 2009 in Wei City Tokyo.
- The return of the Aeon Arcana and the introduction of the Jester/Hunger Arcana. Personas present in Persona 3 FES that were not carried over in Persona 4, such as Seiten Taisei and Lakshmi, as well as some brand new Personas like Baphomet and Kaguya Hime, have been placed in the Aeon and Hunger Arcana.
- Floors and chests in dungeons reset by changing floors instead of leaving the dungeon and TV world or visiting another dungeon.
Persona 4 was awarded the “PlayStation 2 Game Prize” in the Famitsu Awards 2008, voted by readers of Famitsu. It was also recognized by the Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association as one of the recipients for the “Games of the Year Award of Excellence” in the Japan Game Awards 2009. The game was given the award for its “high quality of work”, “excellent story, automatically generated dungeons and impressive background music”. In 2013, GamesRadar ranked it fifth “best videogame stories ever”, saying its “greatest strength comes from pacing”. In 2015, GamesRadar named Persona 4 Golden the 53rd best game ever on its “The 100 best games ever” list. In that same year, USgamer placed the game fifth on its “The 15 Best Games Since 2000” list.
On April 11, 2011, the protagonist arrives in Inaba to live with the Dojimas, consisting of his uncle Ryotaro and his cousin Nanako, for one year, as his parents are working abroad.Just after his arrival, a TV announcer is found dead, her body hanging from an antenna; Saki Konishi, the high school student who had discovered the body, is later found dead herself, hung upside-down from a telephone pole. After the protagonist and his friends accidentally enter the TV world, they encounter Teddie, who helps them travel freely between the TV and real worlds. They awaken their Persona abilities, realizing that the murders stem from attacks by Shadows, beings native to the TV world created from repressed emotions, and are able to rescue several would-be victims. Yosuke, Chie, Yukiko, Kanji, Rise, and Teddie one by one come to accept the parts of their psyches they rejected, which manifest as giant Shadows in the TV world, allowing them to wield Personas whilst each joins the group in turn. Mitsuo Kubo, a student from another high school who disappears following the death of Kinshiro Morooka, the protagonist's foul-mouthed homeroom teacher, claims credit for the murders; it is eventually learned that Kubo only killed Morooka and played no part in the other murders, having murdered Morooka simply to gain credit for the other murders.Naoto Shirogane, a nationally renowned "Detective Prince" investigating the case, is also rescued and gains a Persona, and joins the group who learn that "he" is actually a girl who assumed a male identity to avoid the police's sexism.
Events come to a head when Ryotaro Dojima mistakenly accuses the protagonist of being involved in the murders. Nanako is kidnapped during the protagonist's interrogation, leading Ryotaro to engage in a vehicular pursuit with the culprit. The chase ends as they both crash; the kidnapper escapes with Nanako through a television set in his truck, and the gravely-injured Ryotaro entrusts her rescue to the group. The group tracks them down within the TV world; the culprit, Taro Namatame, becomes a god-like monster—Kunino-sagiri—which attacks them but is defeated, and both he and Nanako are taken to the Inaba hospital. When Nanako appears to die, the group furiously confronts Namatame; as the protagonist, the player must help the others realize that Namatame is not the killer by pointing out the lack of a proper motive, and subsequently work to determine that Ryotaro's assistant, Tohru Adachi, is the true killer. Deciding to throw Namatame into the TV results in Nanako remaining dead, while sparing him will result in her being miraculously revived. Failure to deduce the real killer's identity results in the mystery going unsolved. Killing Namatame or failing to solve the mystery results in the recurring fog permanently setting in, which will eventually lead to humanity's demise.
Having identified the culprit as Adachi, the party chases and locates him within the TV world. Adachi explains that his actions were out of both boredom and the belief that humanity is better off believing what it wants; his claims are dismissed by the party as the rantings of a madman. After fighting Adachi, he is possessed by Ameno-sagiri, the Japanese God of Fog, who reveals that the fog is harmful to people and will eventually cause humanity to fall into a permanent state of ignorance and transform into Shadows. Upon his defeat, he agrees to lift the fog, congratulating the party on their resolve. Defeated, the wounded Adachi agrees to assume responsibility for his actions and turns himself in. The game moves forward to the day before the protagonist must travel home. If the player returns to the Dojima residence, the game ends with the party sending the protagonist off as he departs Inaba. Alternatively, should the player be able to identify the unexplained cause of the Midnight Channel and attempt to resolve this plot element, the protagonist meets with the party, and together they decide to end the case for good.
The protagonist confronts the gas station attendant encountered at the start of the game, who reveals herself to be the Japanese goddess Izanami, the "conductor" behind the game's events. The cause of the recurring fog is established as an attempt to create a world of illusion by merging the TV world with the human world, all for the "sake" of humanity. The group tracks Izanami down within the TV world and battle her, but is at first unable to win; the defeated protagonist is given strength by the bonds he has forged with those around him, and with this power awakens a new Persona—Izanagi-no-Okami—which he uses to defeat Izanami. In doing so, the fog in each world is lifted, and the TV world is restored to its original form. The game ends with the party sending the protagonist off the following day, and a post-credits scene depicts the group resolving to remain friends forever, as the protagonist examines a photo of the party.
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