14 November 2013

Persona 4: the Golden Rant

This is an emergency.

I really need to get this off my chest. All progress on my review is on halt because of my emotions. I cannot make any progress and cover Persona 4 objectively without tossing out moldy food from the fridge. I have so much beef over so many things so trivial that I have no idea how to not make an unfair, unbalanced review. And I swear to God this is the last teaser for the review! I am sorry, I am sorry, I am sorry, I am so very sorry!! So let me just say this stuff now before we get another Persona 3, Part 4.

I am glad Gamestop charged $50 for Persona 4 a few years ago. It would have been a big mistake to invest in it that soon. Because if you are interested in Atlus and their Shin Megami Tensei franchise like I was, Persona 4 and Persona 4 Golden are the worst gateway games to try first.

Before anyone makes a doll of Fangirl and starts tearing her limbs off... HEAR ME OUT.

...BTW some SPOILERS run amok.

I don't hate Persona 4, the original or Golden.

Let me repeat that.

I do not think Persona 4 Golden is a terrible, unfun game that deserves to burn in the fires of hell.

Kanji and Naoto are on my menu screens.
However, it was a mighty gamble of me to buy a Playstation Vita for only one game for that system. It was a fairly risky investment, even if I could download PS1 classics and PSP titles from the Network. Maybe the system may not have been totally worthless, but it would be odd to have a Vita but play no Vita games or have such games worth playing. If Persona 4 Golden was a purely bad game, I would rip off the screen protector and delete the backgrounds I earned.

This game was worth it. I had a fun time. I honestly did.

But Persona 3, especially the Portable version, has spoiled my full appreciation of this installment. I'm stuck in this position where I feel like I must give into my inner demon and completely trash Persona 4 for everything it does wrong next to its elder brother. Even worse, since I'm crawling through Shin Megami Tensei III and IV, nowhere close to the ten hour mark for either game even WITH guides, I have the impulse to bash on Persona 4 for imbedding terrible gameplay habits into me.

Level 10 out of 99, people. Naga yanked out my entrails Higurashi style and wiped the floor with them far too many times for you to imagine.

But I digress.

Even worse, I get serious mood whiplash every time I'm in the mood for a MegaTen game, regardless if its the main SMT or spin-off series. It goes beyond the color scheme, the style of music, the tone, or the extent and kinds of Japanese tropes. One second the whole world is wiped out, save for Tokyo, where demons infest the wasteland of a city and Lucifer shoves a scorpion in your eye socket. The next, I'm helping a convenience store get good holiday sales by performing a J-pop concert.

One second I'm thrown into dreams of two distopian worlds where my friends are begging me to help them bring a future they blindly consider to be best for humanity. The next second I'm at the beach with my friends, one of whom lost his swimsuit and poses like Aphrodite to not traumatize the girls in the gang.

Uh, NO. Not at all.
One second I watch my favorite character get shot to death by the biggest f$#@ing asshole to ever live and who will not go down like Kai Leng no matter how many times I pick the "IMMAGONNAKILLZU!!!!!!!" option. The next second someone dies, only to be perfectly fine not ten minutes later after you pick the right dialogue options.

Wait. What.



Oh, time out, game!! TIME OUT!!!!

I don't care how old a damn character is or her sex, why does SHE get to live through dialogue options while Shinjiro and Chidori have long sidequests to get through and THEY STILL get put on the bus for most of the game if you remembered every minuscule detail?! If you so much as screw up one thing, you have to give up HOURS of gameplay to retrace your steps!! In Persona 4, it's just thirty minutes to almost an hour!!

Why in the flying hell do these games piss me off so much?! Why am I nitpicking over something like this?! Why is my temper flaring?! Why am I such a masochist?! Why do my favorite characters get horrible treatment for different reasons?! WHY DOES PERSONA 3 AND 4 EXIST?!?!?! WHY DID I WASTE OVER $60.00 ON FES, PORTABLE, AND GOLDEN?!?!?!?!?!?!?! WHY AM I STILL PLAYING THESE GAMES?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

*drops steak knife*

*slaps self*

*takes deep breath*

*continues typing*

No. Calm down, Fangirl. Calm down. Don't jump that far ahead into the game. There's other things you have to tackle before this... problematically executed scene.


This is the problem I'm stuck with. I can't talk about Persona 4 without bringing up Persona 3. It's already awful enough that the MegaTen fanbase is constantly attacking each other. Though the "wars" are poking contests in comparison to the nuclear holocausts in the Sonic and Silent Hill fanbases, that doesn't say much. I'm still one of those people that have strong feelings about one game over the other and feel the need to get face paint, blast some Marilyn Manson, and protest in the streets.

Worst of all, making a hate rant on Persona 4 would be immature of me, even if that's what I want to do so badly. Heck, this post might even count depending on how you look at it. I would rather admit I'm harboring these feelings, rather than contain and ignore them throughout the review and blow up at the very end. Though it did happen in the past, I still provided numerous positive points on a character so integral to the plot, even if his screen time barely hit twenty hours. It was still informative and sensible over my fangirly and hormonal bursts of insanity.

Doing a comparison is inevitable, however. Persona 3 and 4 both exist in the same spin-off series and share very similar gameplay styles. They exist in the same continuity, especially with the release of Persona 4 Arena. Placing them side by side has to happen when I critique. However, I have to be very careful I don't go overboard and let my emotions cripple my ability to judge a product by its own merits.

Hopefully someone can understand why I'm not making much progress on the review. This game was very fun and enjoyable, but it's a chore to make an opinion on it. The last time this happened was after I saw Oblivion. But while that movie was full of decent ideas horrendously utilized, Persona 4 Golden has serious flaws in basic storytelling that can be overlooked by the well executed small moments. Again, it's not a bad game in terms of being entertaining, it's bad as a Shin Megami Tensei title in the sense of how cohesive its story feels. I'll get to that in the review, don't worry.

...But still.

As much as I had fun, I cannot recommend Persona 4 to everyone. For those who just want a decent RPG and can't give two shits about Atlus or the MegaTen franchise, I see little reason to stop you. But if you are like me, who found the MegaTen series to be fascinating and wanted to take a dip into the pool, you're better off elsewhere. Otherwise you will adopt bad gameplay habits and will be shocked when you jump from happy anime land to post-apocalyptic nightmare with little to no hope left to be found.

Simply put, in the words of someone who has played far more MegaTen than Fangirl the newbie: "Persona 4 plays out more like a fucked up episode of Scooby Doo than a Shin Megami Tensei game." I cannot word it better than RasenReviews.

Lastly, I need to credit Persona 4 for two things before I finish up.

First, the addition of Marie and her story arc in Golden is far superior to the addition of "The Answer" and the Nyx-Erebus reveal in FES. Rather than dump plot-relevant exposition in an optional epilogue that takes forever to go through and has no build-up in the original game, Marie is introduced right off the bat. Her oddity is quickly addressed in the Velvet Room and in her Social Link, leading up to a fun new dungeon and some additional points on the nature of the villain near the end of the game. If Persona 3 did something gradual like that, I would not hate that damn "save the protagonist" subplot as much as I remind my readers over and over again.

Second, the dungeons in the TV World are far more diverse and far less repetitive than the blocks of Tartarus. Exploration and fighting Shadows is more fun too. Not much else needs to be said for now.


Never mind. 
The build-up to the boss fights SUCK.

I hate my life...

1 comment:

PGY-1230 said...

You cannot make an objective review about such a great game? But then again you do call yourself a fangirl so I doubt anyone was taking you that seriously to begin with.

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