Persona has come a long way since the third iteration of the series kickstarted a second-life for the series that would turn it from a humble Playstation 1 Shin Megami Tensei spin-off to a fully-fledged franchise much bigger than SMT ever has been. While Persona 3 reignited interest and opened new doors for itself, Persona 4 with its beloved cast was the game that truly earned Persona its die-hard worldwide fanatical fanbase. Remembering all the hours I spent hacking away on the OG releases for P3 and P4 on my PS2 slim, it truly dates me to think those games are 14 and 12 years old respectively. After skipping an entire console generation, the franchise returned in full force with Persona 5 and its spin-offs. The latest, Persona 5 Royal is an expansion of the original P5, a convention the series is famous for. Persona 3 got two extended editions and while those haven’t resurfaced save a bare-bones digital-only Playstation 3 port, the excellent Persona 4 Golden is now coming to Steam.
In my head, I think absolutely every anime freak out there has played Persona 4, it being an essential part of our canon and sub-culture. However, I realize I’ve become more impervious to the passage of time and that not everyone that’s come into the fold the last decade has had the chance. After all, the 2012 rerelease Persona 4 Golden was a Playstation Vita exclusive! A truly great handhold console, but not one that ever sold too well. At this point in time, there are probably whole swaths of people who’ve never gotten play Persona 4 in any form or at the very least haven’t played it since the 2008 Playstation 2 disc was issued out. Hell, even if you are one of the proud few Vita owners and you have specifically played Golden, it’s nearly been a decade. It’s time to throw yourself into the TV once again.
Persona 5 might have the fresher coat of paint and Persona 3 swells with artist ambition, but there’s a downright delightful charm bursting from Persona 4 not found in either other game. Yosuke, Chie, Yukiko, and the rest of the cast feel like such a tangible unit that the game overtly in its ultimate goal; making you the anime highschooler protagonist you’ve always wanted to be. Set in rural Inaba, Persona 4 oozes with a simultaneously eerie yet cozy atmosphere you simply live in while striking up relationships it’s many colorful residents.
Regarding the grindy JRPG part of the game, Persona 4 Golden made a number of quality of life improvements making a closer experience to how playable P5 is as a modern turn-based game. They also included a whole new chapter and girl who looks like she stepped out of a Hot Topic circa 2007, Marie. At the time fans were a bit mixed on her inclusion, but I’ve always been a fan of her endearing awkwardness mixed in with that tough-girl exterior. If you’re still quarantining, I can’t imagine a better way of killing 70ish hours than revisiting this golden masterpiece.
We don’t know exactly when Persona 4 Golden touches down on Steam, but rumor has it that it’ll come sooner than we might expect.