We waited a very (too?) long time for the arrival of Persona 5 on Switch, but as happiness never comes alone, Atlus is also releasing Persona 3 Portable as well as Persona 4 Golden! And all in French! So, let’s take a look today at the fourth installment of this spin-off from the Shin Megami Tensei license. Prepare your most beautiful tarot game, accept the dark side inside yourselves, and above all, turn on the TV on a rainy evening. Let’s go for Persona 4 Golden!
Welcome to your new life
As usual in Persona, you lead a mute hero (well, you choose his dialogues), who bears the name you give him. However, we will use the name of Yu Narukami, it is the name used in the animation series for example.
So you are Yu Narukami, forced to change schools and come live with Dojima, his uncle. His parents are forced to go abroad for work, so you land in the small town of Inaba, a traditional Japanese rural town. For someone who comes from the big city like Yu, it’s a little disconcerting then, but we adapt quickly, especially with the presence of Nanako, your little cousin and daughter of Dojima, but also friends that you will do at school like Yusuke, Chie or even Yukiko.
But soon after you arrive, strange phenomena start happening to Inaba. People disappear, then they are found dead in strange, even horrific circumstances. Dojima, our hero’s uncle, is in charge of the case. However, Yu and his friends will quickly realize that they can access a strange world, especially following a legend from the city of Inaba: “If you look at your TV screen turned off at midnight in rainy weather, the face of his soul mate will appear”.
Thanks to this legend, our hero and his friends discover that they can access a parallel world, inside the TVs. And this universe has a connection with the murder cases that take place in Inaba. We will therefore find ourselves quickly embarked on the resolution of these cases, especially after the disappearance of Yukiko, one of your friends…
It’s the good life every day at Junes!
The Persona series stands out from its parent series Shin Megami Tensei for its social side. You will live with Yu every day. Go to class during the day, walk around Inaba in the afternoon. You will discover people more interesting than the others.
You will also make friends with your classmates, join a sports club or even a more traditional activity such as the theater. In short, a busy school life, while of course answering the various questions asked in class.
These interactions will help you in your progress on the dungeon side, but also to advance in your relationships and other events. Studying, for example, will obviously increase your knowledge, but eating a very spicy dish can increase your courage. But be careful, each of these activities takes up a slot of your day. Usually you only have two, one after class and in the evening.
But living in Inaba isn’t the only thing to do in Persona 4 Golden, there is of course dungeon crawling!
It’s foggy isn’t it?
Dungeon crawling advances Persona’s story, but it’s also a sword of Damocles hanging over your head. If it rains for 2 days in a row, then mist will be present next. But after every mist there’s a death, and then it’s game over for you.
It is therefore necessary to manage its timing well, between advancing our social relations and going into this parallel world. You will have a dungeon to discover for each “case”, this dungeon can be explored entirely in one go, or in several times. But be careful, going there several times is bound to waste your time in real-world relationships.
In terms of fighting, you will find something rather classic in the license. Your hero can have multiple Personae, which he can then change on the fly in battle. The other members of your team have a Persona associated with them. Then follows the famous relation of the types of Shin Megami Tensei / Persona.
If the opponent is sensitive to lightning, you attack them with a lightning spell, then there will be an extra turn in addition to stunning them. If ever all the enemies are stunned, then you can make a group attack. These attacks are very effective. However, be careful, using spells costs SP, and it’s a rare commodity, so use it sparingly if you want to save some for the final boss.
The dungeons are explored like an old-fashioned dungeon crawler, as you move around you discover monsters (visible, moreover you will have the advantage if you attack them from behind to trigger the fight), new rooms, chests, and sometimes a staircase to go up to the next floor. But during this progression, no saving, no pause, no healing. But you can get out of it whenever you want, with the constraints seen previously.
At the end of the fight, you may be lucky enough to come across a draw of cards, a bit like if you were given fortune-telling, because I remind you that just like P5, here the Personae are linked to cards of tarot. During this card draw, you will sometimes have the chance to come across a Persona card, this will be the only way to get new ones apart from the fusion of course. But you can also come across an XP or money bonus, a boost in PV/SP, or even keys to open chests. In short, it’s rather pleasant when that happens.
Nice job, but…
Persona 4 Golden is therefore an improvement on Persona 4 Golden, released on PS Vita, which was an improvement on Persona 4, released on PS2. Here, no additional additions compared to the PS Vita in terms of content. This version, just like Royal for Persona 5, already added an additional character, a dungeon, objects, etc.
However, a major addition is still present, which was absent from the PS Vita version, it is indeed a complete European textual dubbing! Finally we can enjoy Persona 4 Golden in our language, and frankly we haven’t seen any particular typos in the translation. We will even add that she is very good, they did not hesitate to place insults, so it is not censored or softened (so the insults are nice, like poor idiot for example, it is not vulgar to excessive either). You also have the possibility to choose the audio in Japanese and in English, we don’t have the memory if it was the case previously.
On the visual side, the game had undergone a great job when it was released on Steam and it is this version that we now have in front of our beloved Switch. If the overall work is of high quality, it is sometimes a little uneven. Especially on the characters, when we walk around the city and even more in small rooms like our house, we feel a little too much the visual difference. The game may be too “clean” for its age. We also feel more than at the time the reuse of assets, the jerky / rigid movements of the characters. But again, it’s a detail that in no way spoils the pleasure of the game.
We will also notice the almost disappearance of the filter in the parallel universe, at the time we had a visual filter which added an old generation TV aspect to us (for the youngest, we called it a cathode-ray television), with streaks suddenly horizontal. It is certain that nowadays it is not very well known, especially since it seems that it has been blurred, it is a bit of a shame, but there too it is nitpicking.
On the music side, it would be really impossible to complain, so much the saga puts a high point in being on top of it. And Persona 4 is not left out with its iconic themes (that of the Velvet Room for example), but also all the themes specific to the games.
If Persona 3 went rather in a mystical and violent side with the twenty-fifth hour and firearms; here, we find rather what will give the bases of Persona 5, with its tarot cards and its parallel universe. Persona 5 had a very… Jazzy side to it. Here, we are rather towards a groovy side. Everything is very yellow/golden, colorful, whether it’s the visual text assets, the overall atmosphere or the monsters. You will find in the roster a good number of well-known characters from the saga.
Clearly, if you liked Persona 5, it is surely Persona 4 Golden which will come closest to the latter, we are almost wondering if the real revival of the saga was not P3, but P4 which has clearly provided the basis for the creation of the fifth opus which sublimates all that. The game is less “visual novellesque” than Persona 3, in particular by the fact of being able to move around and walk around everywhere, but don’t worry, the game is still very talkative and those who don’t like read, frankly, go your way, because you have hours of reading. For example, on our side it took us almost 5 hours of play to get into the first dungeon. We will also appreciate that the game is fluid in all circumstances, whether on a laptop or on TV, we did not feel any slowdown, or even a certain “speed” surely due to a higher framerate than on the PS Vita version. We still advise you to play in portable mode rather than on TV, the age is still felt on a large 4K TV.
The lifespan is shorter than that of Persona 5, it is close to that of Persona 3, that is to say about 60 hours, but beware, as usual, the game does not allow you to accomplish everything during your first game. If it is certainly possible to optimize your days via guides on the internet, we can only advise you to live the story in your own way and your desire, you will watch it for the New Game + present of course. Ah, and interesting little thing, it is possible to choose the level of difficulty of the game. Persona is famous – and rightly so – for being rather difficult games, but above all punitive, this is of course always the case in Persona 4 Golden, but the different difficulty levels available when starting the game still allow you to be able to change all that.
- A gripping and solid story
- A substantial lifespan
- Manage the daily life of our hero
- A robust and approved combat system
- A technical improvement over the PS Vita version
- Well written and endearing characters
- A complete French translation
- A choice of difficulty that allows you to live the story at your convenience
- A sweet little price for a big, almighty game
- A wonderful soundtrack
- The age is felt at the level of the basic assets
- Lots of text, which may bother some people
- A generally slow pace depending on how we play
- Uneven text/combat balance, you’ll read more than you fight
- Impossible to see everything at once, you have to go through the New Game + box
We would like to give thanks to the author of this write-up for this awesome material
Persona 4 Golden (Nintendo Switch) – The test
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