Persona 4 Golden Review

Dan Webb

Persona 4 Golden, like a lot of people, was actually my entry into the Persona franchise. It wasn’t until 2013 that I found myself drawn into Atlus’ now multi-million selling franchise, a year after its PlayStation Vita debut. It feels like Persona 4 Golden was a game sold purely through word of mouth, and it effectively spawned a phenomenon. Granted, Persona 3 laid the foundations, but Persona 4 Golden built a freakin’ castle on them, with nothing but smart game development.


They(and by they, I mean me) say that the key to building a new sequel is to fix everything that was wrong with the previous game, build on the central mechanics, and then introduce new mechanics into the equation. Persona 4 Golden did all of that in spades, when you compare the game to Persona 3 Portable.

While Persona 3 Portable hasn’t really stood the test of time, thanks to its hugely monotonous central gameplay loop - that being the mighty 250+ floor tower known as Tartarus - Persona 4 fixed that, and did so with ease.

Instead, in Persona 4 Golden, the new dungeons have a lot more variety and new gameplay mechanics interspersed, but perhaps more importantly, at the end of each dungeon is a carefully thought out and intriguing final boss that put your strategical nous to the test. It’s a cosy halfway point between Persona 3 and Persona 5.

Persona 4, of all the Personas (including Persona 5), has the series’ best cast of characters and story beats. Each central character stands on their own two feet, thanks to a cast of voice actors whose performances elevate the story - Troy Baker as Kanji, Yuri Lowenthal who plays Yosuke, and Laura Bailey who lends her voice to Rise Kujikawa (all of whom are legends in the voice acting world), are uniformly excellent. The whole game is remarkably well written, from its day-to-day interactions to its big set-piece moments. It really is a whodunnit that will keep you guessing from start to finish.


But how well has this 2012 RPG hit aged? Well, to be completely honest, pretty damn spectacularly. It definitely felt like it did when I played it a decade ago. And enough time has passed that some of the story beats that were a little hazy were almost as impactful. Sure, in comparison to Persona 5, the gameplay isn’t in the same league, but that’s more of a testament to Atlus’ enviable approach to creating a cracking sequel. But on its own, for a game that was released eleven years ago, it’s certainly better than the majority of RPG titles available today.

The truth is, we just wanted the chance to play Persona 4 Golden on a home console, and having that ability, for a game that is equal parts nostalgia and brilliance is exactly what fans wanted. There is a reason that P4G is often referred to as one of the greatest RPGs of all-time, and now anyone who perhaps missed it back on PS Vita back in 2012, will finally have the chance.


While in 2023, Persona 4 Golden might not  blow you away from a visual perspective (indeed, it’s not necessarily a remaster to write home about), but it is a remaster/re-release of sorts that’s wholly faithful to the original game. This is very much the exact same game from 2012, but with slightly enhanced visuals, and, like Persona 3 Portable’s update, I’m more than okay with that. I’m genuinely just happy I got to experience Yu Narakami’s adventure once more, and with Shoji Meguro’s fantastic score elevating every single moment - just brilliant, as always. Simply put, Persona 4 Golden remains every bit the masterpiece it was just over a decade ago.

Persona 4 Golden

Persona 4 Golden has absolutely withstood the test of time, delivering a fantastic story with a truly likeable cast of characters. Could more have been done with the visuals? Perhaps, but it’s still a brilliant game nonetheless. A true classic, now available on your console of choice. Sweet.

Form widget
90%
Audio
95%

Arguably one of Persona’s greatest soundtracks, just a shade behind Shoji Meguro’s brilliant arrangement for Persona 5.

Visuals
65%

Persona 4 Golden doesn’t look too bad for a game from 2012. I do wish they would have put a little more attention into making it feel more like a home console release. For instance, Mrs. Nakayama still looks incredibly weird.

Playability
85%

My only gripe with Persona 4 Golden would be the over-simplification of melee attacks when compared to Persona 3, but other than that, you can’t really fault it. It’s an absolute joy to play.

Delivery
90%

Persona 4 Golden, from a gameplay, story, and character perspective, has actually aged pretty damn well. It still holds its own as one of the iconic games of the past fifteen years. If it wasn’t for the fairly average visuals, you could certainly mistake it for a game created today.

Trophies
70%

Persona 4 Golden’s trophy list pretty much spawned what would become the Persona 5 and Persona 3 Portable lists. Expect multiple playthroughs, maxing out all Social Links in a run, and taking on all optional bosses. It’s a time investment, for sure, but one that is utterly rewarding.

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