I tried playing Persona 3 when I had my PSP running, but I just couldn’t do it. There is way too much dialogue and anime type content for my tastes, and the music- god that music. I have never been able to understand why people love the game so much.
Then I decided to pick up a PS Vita. The bundle I purchased came with The Walking Dead (a game I had already completed on my PC), a memory card and an extra game. There were eight titles I could choose from but only three of them I wanted: Persona 4 Golden, Uncharted, and Playstation All-Stars. I was picking up the Vita a couple months before Black Friday (I got a good deal anyway), so I wanted something with enough content to hold me over until some of the newer games went on sale.
The game I truly wanted was Soul Sacrifice, which I now have along with Killzone Mercenary. I also picked up a year subscription to Playstation Plus on the cheap thanks to Amazon (Gamestop was also offering them).
Anyway, after some research I decided to pick up Persona 4 Golden to give the series another try. My Vita arrived, and I popped in the game to play. Admittedly, the first thing I felt was remorse. What the fuck did I get myself into?
The music was the same cheesy Japanese pop as the previous title. The art style and visuals were decent, but it was all that Japanese anime crap. The characters are all named –you guessed it- in Japanese. The worst part is that there are hours of dialogue you’re forced to wade through before you even have a chance to play. Yes, for those of you who have never picked up a Persona title that statement is accurate; there are hours of simple tutorials and dialogue sequences to watch.
I didn’t want to go back to playing The Walking Dead yet, so I just kept pushing through Persona. The further I got in, the more I started to like it.
Then, all of a sudden, something happened. I started to care about the quirky, Japanese-named characters. I started to relate to the silly high school kids that were miraculously thrust into a new dimension. I started to wonder who the killer was behind the big mystery (yes Persona 4 has one). Most of all, I started to love my experience.
After I got past the initial shock, I really fell in love with Persona 4 Golden. That’s when I realized I probably didn’t give the previous title Persona 3 a fair shot. Although, many claim that Persona 4 is the best in the series so it seems I started in the right place.
Collecting Personas to battle with is eerily reminiscent of collecting Pokemon, only the whole process, and the battles themselves are so much cooler. Making social links with friends and enhancing your stats is nothing like a chore, even though by every right it should be. A lot of the simple tasks that the game throws at you become fun and desirable. For example, hours in I really started to love taking the main characters little sister places to hang out, mostly because her father Dojima is a complete dick, but also because I came to enjoy the dialogue sequences and minor cutscenes. As a bonus, it would incrementally boost my social link with my little sis, in turn enhancing the stats of my Personas.
There is so much meat to the game it’s ridiculous. I have since picked up Soul Sacrifice, Killzone: Mercenary, Wipeout 2048, Uncharted and Gravity Rush yet Persona IS my go-to game. The thing is, I have the oddest feeling I’ll never put it down either. I’m already planning what I’m going to do on my next playthrough (yes there’s a new game+ mode) when I complete the game. Trust me when I say, that’s a long time coming though.
People bitch and moan about the Vita not having enough good games, but I disagree. Persona 4 is truly the only game you need for the platform. This is coming from a guy who completely hated the idea behind the series. I was never able to understand what so many people saw in these games, and then I too fell in love with them.
I probably will purchase Persona 3 from PSN at some point to play on my Vita, but for now I’m too focused on Persona 4.