Yes, it's time for the other Persona game! This one was released in early 2009, and while it takes place two years after Persona 3, we have an entirely new cast of characters and a new location.
The storyline in Persona 4 is much, much lighter than Persona 3, despite the aforementioned kidnapping and serial murder. We start off with our new protagonist (I called him Souji, after his manga incarnation) moving to the sleepy town of Inaba to live with his Uncle and cousin while his parents... are not around. I don't know. Persona just seems to have a thing against their teenage protagonists having parents. At least Souji's aren't dead like the last protagonist's.
I'm not going to be talking about the gameplay much here, partly because it's the story and the characters that absolutely make this game, and also because it plays much like Persona 3, only slightly more refined. There is a slightly different dungeon structure, and the boss battles are harder, but other than that, there's not a whole lot that's changed, although I should probably mention that the dungeons are locations such as a castle, an underground lab, and a strip club.
Right, now that we have that out of the way, watch this:
That is a fairly accurate (if slightly simplified at points) rendition of the introductory section of the game. And yes, the dungeons are accessed by jumping into TVs, in case you were wondering. Interestingly, the murder victims were killed by being pushed into TVs as well.
I think they're trying to tell us TV is bad or something...
Anyway! After two people die and a third is kidnapped, the initial gang decides to do something about it. Then follows wacky adventures, whereupon we add lots of dysfunctional characters to the team, because this a Persona game, and we can't let the protagonist make friends with normal people.
|See that blonde kid down the bottom left? Eldritch abomination.|
Speaking of, social links are back, and it's much easier to max them all out on a single playthrough (not that I managed, but nearly). This time, there's no reward at the end of it, but it's also stupid amounts of fun. Of course, this is because Souji ultimately ended up being the biggest manwhore in the town on my playthrough, and even though two of his girlfriends had a fight in the middle of the street over him, everyone still likes him. Behold the power of the Persona Protagonist everyone; as long as you help a kid get over his dead sister and let Chie kick you for a while among other things, you can sleep with as many pretty girls as you want.
No, seriously. I'm not even kidding.
So, my whoring Souji out aside, this game is a lot of fun. The plot starts out much more light hearted than Persona 3 as mentioned (although how it manages to do this with two people being killed in the first hour or so is beyond me), and ultimately stays that way, despite what should be extremely dark plot development. It also has an entire section devoted to a class trip back to the area where Persona 3 was set, which made me ridiculously happy (and it also features the cast of 15/16 year olds getting smashed. On juice).
Overall, no, this storyline is nowhere near as good as the one in Persona 3, but it's still a bloody brilliant storyline in its own right. It also wins on the replay front, because it's quicker and easier to get through, even if it's harder to get the real ending. And it's downright hilarious in places.
For those interested, the video up there is a dub of Hiimdaisy's Persona 4 comic, which is both split-your-sides-laughing funny, and also fairly accurate to the game. Check it out sometime ;D
|You heard the man.|