Spoiler Alert: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 review

John Seiler/Sun Star Columnist
September 25, 2012

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Developer/Publisher: Atlus
System: PS2
Release Date: Out now

During the long summer months, there’s usually a dry-spell of games that come out. Because of this, a lot of gamers tend to play things from theirstack of shame,” a stack of purchased games you haven’t played yet.

Released in late 2008, Persona 4 was the swan-song of the PS2 era.  You play as high school exchange student Yu Narukami, who is in the city of Inaba for one year. As you arrive, the body of a disgraced TV announcer is found hung upside down from an antenna in the city. As another body is found Yu and his friends discover that it may have something to do with the mysterious “Midnight Channel.” What’s pretty great is that the Persona series as a narrative is self-contained to each entry with only minor characters and themes carrying over which helps if your new to the series.

What I really like that set this apart from other Japanese Role-Playing Games is the social links system and the use of a Persona, your main weapon. During the day, you’ll go to school, hang out with friends and do certain jobs and this will affect certain social links to create more powerful Personas. At night, based on your social links, you have the ability to create a higher level Persona. Most dungeon crawlers run in to the problem of feeling repetitive, which does at times, but art and character design of Shigenori Soejima keeps things different.
The main thing I love about the game is the characters that you meet during your journey. At first glance, these are characters that you’ve seen before in other Japanese games or anime, but what sets them apart is the great voices these characters have. Through the game they slowly break out of their stereotypical molds and are one of my favorite casts in gaming. Persona 4 also has one of the best voice translations of seen in a genre that is usually plagued with bad voice-over work.

With the stellar soundtrack from Shōji Meguro and 60 hours worth of game play, this game is up there with some of the best RPGs out there. With the pseudo-sequel/fighter Persona 4: Arena and the remake Persona 4: Golden coming out for the Play Station Vita in November, it great to see this game get a second chance.

John Seiler hosts Spoiler Alert, a radio talk show about games, Movies, Comics, Wrestling, TV and anything else that may come up.  Tune in on KSUA 91.5 FM every Tuesday from 8 – 10 p.m.

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