* I wrote some amount of my thoughts on why Persona 4 is great for Review A Great Game Day. It’s less of a proper review and written more in the style of ‘review a game you love’, which feels more in keeping with the aim of the project and the style of other reviews. *
Persona 4 is a JRPG: part Twin Peaks murder mystery, part Stephen King’s IT tale of youths uncertainty in the face of morbid danger and part Power Rangers high school fantasy.
Where so many games overlook a worthwhile story and characterisation for pure carnage or eschew gameplay for narrative focus – Persona 4 utilises honed, tested gameplay in service of telling a wonderful, sprawling yarn of friendship and intrigue.
Forgoing the typical fantasy world setting for the day to day normality of a small Japanese town allows you to really get acclimated with the down to earth setting. Rather than journeying across a mystical land to face down the world muncher in the God Dimension, Persona 4 places you in the life of a normal high school student, with all of the banality and socialisation that entails.
Building upon this, every interaction with the world and it’s characters, be it working a part time job or hanging out with your friends furthers your interests as a player in the more gameplay orientated ‘dungeon’ sequences. Getting to know the investigation team and people around town better empowers the personas you have as well as allowing new ones to be created – giving you an edge in battle.
On the other hand, you traverse each dungeon with these Senpai by your side, being given an insight into the inner lives and motivations of future friends or current foes. Nothing feels superfluous every aspect of the game neatly ties into the whole, furthering the investigation, empowering you in battle or simply building relationships.
In short, Persona 4 is the kind of fuzzy, self fulfilling fun that most games simply are not. Everything from the excellent, funky soundtrack to the cheery voice acting and accompanying visual novel like character portraits put a smile on your face and encourage you to spend more time in this earnest, wonderful world.