Persona 4 Golden is alive and real on Steam, debuting the beloved Atlus franchise in PC for the first time. There’s going to be a formal review in the foreseeable future, but for now, here’s my impressions of the first 15 hours looking for clues about the Inaba incidents, along with details about what the port brings to the table.
The announcement came as an absolute surprise for me as well. I have always wanted to see the Persona series in new platforms (yes, I agree that they should be on Switch by now), but to be honest I did not expect for Persona 4 Golden to be the first. Persona 5, on the other hand, would have made more sense, especially when Catherine Classic released a month before Catherine Full Body, and Persona 5 Royal has been out for a while now.
This is a curious case since it’s pretty much the main reason myself, and probably many others, wanted to get a hold of a PlayStation Vita way after its life cycle. I had to conform with the original PS2 version on my PS3, but alas, my console stopped working long time ago. And yeah, I played it for a couple dozen hours using an emulator, but I just couldn’t stick to it. But now I finally see myself committing to get past the first 30 hours or so until the end.
In my short experience I’ve found the port to be what I was expecting, with a couple small surprises that make a huge difference compared to the PS Vita version. First, the jump to full HD makes it look gorgeous, despite the fact that this was already a more polished version of a PS2 game. The art direction helps, too, but everything is more vibrant and detailed than we could ever hope for in this remaster.
First off, here’s the full list of video options:
Rendering Scale: 50%, 75%, 100%, 125%, 150%, 175%, 200%
Shadow Quality: Low, High, Middle
Antisotropic Filter: Off, Low, High
And this is how they impact the game, both low and high settings:
The difference is stunning, and while I’m not sure if many people are gonna want to play this on the lowest settings, it’s great that there’s enough range between them to guarantee a decent framerate in medium to low specs. I’ve the running the game on a RTX 2060 with a i7 8700k and 16GB of RAM, along with a 144hz monitor, but I wasn’t able to get 144 FPS no matter that I did, it always stays around 120-130. I don’t mind at all, but it’s worth mentioning.
As for quality of life updates, I was pleased to find out you’re now able to change your difficulty at any time, and not just at the beginning of the game. This is on pair with Persona 5, and a welcoming addition all around. Oh, and you can also remap buttons, both from your controller and keyboard. If you’re coming to Persona 4 Golden after the latest installment in the series, make sure to change the Rush button from triangle/Y, otherwise the first few fights will be really frustrating.
Everything else has been maintained as is, with the cool addition of both English and Japanese voices for dialogues and cutscenes up to choice. I haven’t encountered many problems either, except for some minor bugs. At times when moving the camera with the right analogue stick during dungeons the movement got stuck for a few seconds, and some sounds were missing at times.
In terms of everything else, Persona 4 Golden shows its age if you’ve played Persona 5, but it’s the intriguing story and the great characters that hook you in from the first few seconds. The combat is one of the most engaging in the JRPG landscape, even if it’s missing some personal beloved features like shadows’ negotiation, but it’s still a solid entry to get started if you’ve never played a Persona game before. Plus, the soundtrack is an all timer.
I think it’s only a matter of time until more entries appear on PC, even if the series still has a long way to go to address its conservatism. Until then, I’m gonna be spending my time hanging out with my friends in Inaba.