Every day’s great at your Junes.
This is the list of At the Buzzer’s top 25 games of all-time, as voted on by the main ATB cast members and other friends of the show. For more information on how this whole thing works or for the other games on the list, check out the Related Links at the bottom of this post.
12) Persona 4 Golden (Vita)
Chris: Let me get something straight up front: I would have put the original Persona 4 in my top 25 by the skin of its teeth, probably in the low teens or high 20s. But Persona 4 Golden came in at #7 for me, and it was Jason’s number one game of all-time.
For people who are unfamiliar with the series, that idea probably seems crazy to you. “Didn’t that game just come out two months ago?” you might be saying. “How can it be one of the best games ever made?” If you’re one of those people, and you’ve ever enjoyed an RPG, stop reading right now and go buy a copy. Hell, P4G is almost good enough on its own to justify the purchase of a Vita, and that system is terribad.
Now that the uninitiated are on their way to the store, let’s talk about why Golden is the perfect version of an already classic game. Do you remember the nebulous and confusing Persona fusions from before? Those are gone now, replaced by a list of possibilities, so you can make whatever Persona you’d like out of the choices (and choose which abilities it gets, rather than having it be at random). Did you have nightmares about Social Links, constantly forgetting which day of the week certain characters were available or if hanging out with them would even progress their story? That’s fixed — you can instantly tell whether your time will be well spent. And we haven’t even mentioned the synergy of having this game be on a portable system instead of a console..
What about new content? Well, let’s see…
- New costumes, which can now be equipped on a separate slot without worrying about stats
- New endings
- New characters, including two important new Social Links
- New cutscenes and dialogue
- New extensions to the game, including new locations like a skiing trip
- New motorbikes, so that the party members you aren’t using can still come in and whoop some ass
- New changes to the Shuffle Time system, encouraging players to chain battles together and rewarding intelligent play
- New team-up attacks, both from your party and from Rise, who finally gets to be involved
- New bonus features like access to the soundtrack, mini-games, movies and more
Again, this is all additional content to a game that was already beloved by a cult following. Persona 4 has some of the best characters in the business, a fantastic story, a phenomenal soundtrack and a clever battle system. This just expands it all.
I could gush for 2,000+ words on Golden. I’ll spare you that ridiculousness here. Suffice to say that this is the definitive version of Persona 4, as well as one of the greatest RPGs ever made. If you haven’t given it a chance, you’re missing out.
Shaun: Unlike Chris (whose taste I should have trusted but didn’t), I’m new to the Persona 4 club. For the longest time, I didn’t care about the series. Honestly, the amount of content was intimidating, and I wasn’t that intrigued by the “high school detective” plot.
Turns out I was overlooking the single strongest aspect of Persona 4 — the characters. While the other aspects of the game are certainly adequate, for me, the writing and the characters are what elevate Golden to such heights. Each character in your party is diverse, complex, and wonderfully flawed, almost frustratingly so; you want to include each of them in your party because of the unique traits they bring to the table.
This variety also makes Golden a title with a staggering amount of replayability; aside from the sheer volume of content, you’re compelled to go back through and explore different social links and interactions with the characters, and invest more into relationships you didn’t have the time for before (I’m sorry, Kanji — if you were as hot as Yukiko, I’d keep you around). It’s rare that a game takes such time and care with each member in their cast (FF VI comes to mind), and that’s why Persona 4 has endeared itself to gamers around the world.