Does Persona 4's slow start bother you?

#1 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19388 posts) -


#2 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19388 posts) -

One of the commonly stated issues players have with Persona 4 is how long it takes for the game to enable them to explore the world and make their own decisions freely. Persona 4 takes about a couple of hours until players are free to do as they like, with those hours being used to establish the world, characters and general setting.

The game does slightly less handholding in its initial hours in Persona 4 Golden, where players are able to actually walk around the shopping district within minutes of the game's start, but this isn't a major change to the game's initial pace.

So I'm curious: does the time Persona 4 (Golden) takes for this exposition also one of your criticisms or does this not bother you?

Personally, I was never bothered by how long the game took to set itself up. The characters and world are very important aspects of Persona 4 and knowing I was starting a lengthy RPG coming from Persona 3 FES, I had no issue with 1-2 hours of mainly pressing X.

#3 Posted by Bocam (3822 posts) -

I don't remember Persona 3 having such a slow start.

#4 Posted by WarlordPayne (705 posts) -

It doesn't bother me at all because there are interesting things happening even if you have little to no control at the time.

#5 Posted by Dtat (1630 posts) -

It did not bother me the first time at all. Replaying it, I guess maybe a little.

#6 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19388 posts) -

@Bocam said:

I don't remember Persona 3 having such a slow start.

No, what I meant was that since it took me around 100 hours to finish Persona 3 FES, I knew that Persona 4 was also going to be a long game. Because of that, I didn't care about a 1-2 hour slow start since there'd be so much more after that; it's only a small percentage of the total experience.

#7 Posted by dungbootle (2428 posts) -

No, I knew what I was getting into, but I can certainly see how someone would be put off by it.

#8 Posted by TohruAdachi (261 posts) -

Only reason why it took so long to beat Persona 3 FES is because of the additional training dungeon with Elizabeth and most certainly 200+ floors of Tartarus. Also near the end of the game,it takes like three months until you can finally fight Nyx nlike Persona 4 where the days usually skip or you have certain game events so it's actually only an extra month and a half. Also if you add on Persona 4 Answer gameplay which added another 70 hours or more of gameplay.

#9 Posted by Eirikr (1010 posts) -

The slow start is less of an issue than Atlus games across the board not letting you entirely skip cutscenes (the exception is Digital Devil Saga, whose cutscenes were all movie files). Having a 3 or 4 hour start is fine on your first play, but it really hurts replay value quite a bit when you still have to hold down triangle for half an hour or more. Golden at least slaps another bandaid on top of the problem with the ultra fast-forward, but even that I bet will end up wasting much time of the player who doesn't want to be bothered with it any longer. I think it may be a problem with how it's programmed and how the cutscenes often incorporate (mostly completely pointless) dialogue choices, but that's still no excuse for not considering the time of the player; and more often than not it affects the players who are into the games the most and want to squeeze every last drop out of them. The Devil Survivor games are TERRIBLE about this. They are highly replayable from a gameplay perspective, but you have to wade through a murky mire of repetitive anime dialogue every time. I just want to fuse demons, god dammit!

It's hopefully something we won't have to worry about anymore once they stop using the Nocturne engine for everything.

#10 Posted by prestonhedges (1961 posts) -

In some Final Fantasy titles, it takes the entire game to get to the "free roam" part.

#11 Posted by wchigo (566 posts) -

@Dtat said:

It did not bother me the first time at all. Replaying it, I guess maybe a little.

Probably this. It's been a while since I played vanilla P4 so it wasn't that big of a bother.

However, since I'm not planning to do a max S. Link run on my first playthrough of Golden, that may come back to haunt me on the second time 'round.

#12 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -

I remember it took five hours or something like that for the game to truly open, right? It didn't bother me when i played it, but now, i don't have much time and it can really be a problem.

#13 Posted by Nightriff (5337 posts) -

No, it's perfect, it's a great slow burn, love it

#14 Posted by Bishna (334 posts) -

Yes it bothered me. If I didn't get that game during summer break, and I didn't know it had really good reviews, I most likely would have put it down and burned out on it like my friend did when I lent it to him.

I am really glad I did see it through though.

#15 Posted by LiquidPrince (16175 posts) -

Not in the slightest.

#16 Posted by Flappy (2352 posts) -

I've played it so many times that I'm numb/blind to any of the little issues that bother most other people. All in all, I believe they did a pretty good job of streamlining certain things and making your life much easier.

#17 Posted by metalsnakezero (2342 posts) -

I don't take issue with the lengthy beginning since it had a good set up and help me take my time with the gameplay mechanics till the game starts to kick my ass with the weakness on both sides. It only a problem when your doing a New Game + but the game has skip system (Golden improves it).

#18 Posted by Giantstalker (1727 posts) -

Yes, such that I've never been further than 5 hours through a playthrough. I just can't slog through the game and I've owned it since it was released.

#19 Posted by MyNiceIceLife (635 posts) -

If it had been boring, yes i wouldn't have liked it. but it wasn't so I have no problem at all with the slow start.

#20 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

I've played it before, so I know that it's all important in a world-building, character establishment sense.

But fuck me if a 3 hour intro isn't a hard pill to swallow even now.

#21 Posted by OmegaChosen (647 posts) -

First time through no but I'm on a NG+ now and I did basically have it on continuous fast forward cause going through the beginning again is rather tedious once you've done it once.

#22 Edited by Fredchuckdave (6145 posts) -

JRPGs start slow, in some ways I find this charming in others it is rather frustrating. Of course the best JRPG (Vagrant Story) doesn't start slow and some of the ones that do spend a good amount of time buliding up an extremely interesting plot (Valkyrie Profile 2, Front Mission 3, Vandal Hearts 2, Xenosaga 1). Of course the best plot doesn't really get started until 5 hours in or so (FFT), who knows. As long as a game doesn't take an excruciatingly long time to get started (Xenosaga 2) I find them relatively easy to get back into, and several games have much more interesting buildup periods than denouement (Final Fantasy VI, IX, Suikoden III). That said I've never found the premise of the Persona series interesting enough to try one; despite an extensive interest in JRPGs.

#23 Posted by TohruAdachi (261 posts) -

I'll contribute to this topic since I was off-topic earlier. No it does not bother me. Why? It gives you enough time to understand the general idea of the storyline with the first two cases of the game giving you an hint of what's going to happen and gives you a little start off as how Chie and Yosuke are in terms of personality.

It also gives you a cryptic thought of who that person was in your dream. The start may be long,but gives you an general idea of the game's engine in such and gives you the feel of the game. As you further progress you start to understand characters more in such. I agree the introduction is a little long,but other than the part when he first meets Chie and Yukiko,any part after that is practically enjoyable. The TV world,meeting Teddie,understanding Yosuke more,and I loved that little touch of how they instantly make you fight a cool looking boss,and if you include Chie's that,too. The game starts it off fairly well and gives new players a good grip of the game,I can say the same for P3FES.

#24 Posted by Lydian_Sel (2501 posts) -

I kinda knew what I was getting into with P4 so it didn't bother me as much, still kinda long & exhausting knowing that you're going to be sitting around hitting a single button to make text scroll slightly faster for a few hours. It's the kind of thing that often makes you have to try to be into a game.

#25 Posted by Encephalon (1334 posts) -

Absolutely. I thought it was pretty interminable. It makes total sense that you're not fighting shadows on your first day in Inaba, but they could've let you loose on the time management part of that game way earlier.

#26 Posted by Eirikr (1010 posts) -

@Fredchuckdave said:

the best JRPG (Vagrant Story)

dudeeeeee, we are so bros

Given that you also think Vagrant Story is the top of its genre, you should probably try games from the main SMT series, like Nocturne and Strange Journey. Devil Survivor (2) is also good toe-dipper game, as a mix of the anime character elements of Persona with the gameplay mechanics of the main games.

While the main series is admittedly nothing like Vagrant Story, other than a complex mechanic structure, the tone is similar, especially of Nocturne: You play a lone character in a city (Tokyo, in this instance) devoid of life, other than supernatural entities, and what little dialogue is there is impactful and meaningful to the plot. You'd probably like it!

#27 Posted by tread311 (357 posts) -

I thought it was fine but I did feel for the first 10 hours or so that it wasn't as good as 3. Eventually it reveals itself to be a far superior game but man the start to 3 is good.

#28 Edited by Fredchuckdave (6145 posts) -

@Eirikr: Ah interesting, this may sound strange but which game is the most challenging of the bunch and I'm not talking optional super-bosses and/or which ones don't have random battles if any? Most JRPGs have this small hump that you get over some time in the early game and then its super smooth and relatively dull sailing afterward even with no grinding, I'm more looking for one that stays relatively challenging throughout but at the same time doesn't force you to grind to beat it. Additionally where do the most difficult bosses fall in the narrative structure, as I find storyline bosses much more interesting if they simultaneously challenge you in combat as well as in the plot (VP2 probably does that the best, also Final Fantasy X does though there's a fair number of issues with that game), so if there's a climax type moment in the story I want there to be a challenging boss there as well.

In VS almost everything was at least somewhat challenging and pretty much every storyline boss was substantially harder than the things leading up to it especially Guildenstern (thinking Grissom and the Dark Knight as a corollary). I assume nothing is up to Guildenstern's caliber much like every other boss in every other game ever made but I do tend to look for some degree of challenge in my JRPGs, albeit I find challenge runs themselves to be exceedingly asinine; if the game is challenging in its vanilla state that's great but making it harder on yourself arbitrarily is a bit dense.

Edit: Nice Xiahou Dun avatar if I'm seeing that correctly

#29 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

One of the commonly stated issues players have with Persona 4 is how long it takes for the game to enable them to explore the world and make their own decisions freely. Persona 4 takes about a couple of hours until players are free to do as they like, with those hours being used to establish the world, characters and general setting.

The game does slightly less handholding in its initial hours in Persona 4 Golden, where players are able to actually walk around the shopping district within minutes of the game's start, but this isn't a major change to the game's initial pace.

So I'm curious: does the time Persona 4 (Golden) takes for this exposition also one of your criticisms or does this not bother you?

Personally, I was never bothered by how long the game took to set itself up. The characters and world are very important aspects of Persona 4 and knowing I was starting a lengthy RPG coming from Persona 3 FES, I had no issue with 1-2 hours of mainly pressing X.

TO me it's compeltely inexcusable when games start slow. A slow start meaning several hours of exposition to get to the actual beginning of the game.

It's RIDICULOUS to expect someone looking to be entertained to invest the length of several movies just to see whether a game is any good or not. In a well established rule in every other medium that you start your story at the most interesting point or the point at which the story begins. Videdogames, for some reason, insist on starting, like, the day BEFORE that and then forcing you to slog through hours to get to the actual beginning of the game.

I think all RPGs should take a note from earthbound and START where the darn thing should START.

#30 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

@Fredchuckdave said:

JRPGs start slow, in some ways I find this charming in others it is rather frustrating. Of course the best JRPG (Vagrant Story) doesn't start slow and some of the ones that do spend a good amount of time buliding up an extremely interesting plot (Valkyrie Profile 2, Front Mission 3, Vandal Hearts 2, Xenosaga 1). Of course the best plot doesn't really get started until 5 hours in or so (FFT), who knows. As long as a game doesn't take an excruciatingly long time to get started (Xenosaga 2) I find them relatively easy to get back into, and several games have much more interesting buildup periods than denouement (Final Fantasy VI, IX, Suikoden III). That said I've never found the premise of the Persona series interesting enough to try one; despite an extensive interest in JRPGs.

I think the difference between games like Tactics that take a long time to "start" is that you're playing the game. You're off and running in combat in Tactics fairly quickly even fi the story takes a long time to kick into high gear,

That's fine. You as the player are still PLAYING the game.

It's games that take hours to ever allow you to control your character that are frustrating. It would even be LESS frustrating if they gave you control of your character immediately and then took it away for a few hours almost immediately. At least then you would feel engaged in the game. It sound slike maybe P5G does this.

#31 Posted by probablytuna (3822 posts) -

I think it was a boon that it has a slow start because there's so many damn things to do in the game if they just opened up right off the bat I would've been overwhelmed with mechanics and what not.

#32 Posted by StarvingGamer (8555 posts) -

Nope

#33 Posted by Neurotic (632 posts) -

After like 5 playthroughs across both versions, yeah it sucks. First time round it didn't bother me though. But now, who cares, since you got the skip function. Also, the added walking parts in the Golden have no effect whatsoever. You can't really do anything during those parts.

#34 Posted by Winternet (8053 posts) -

How could it? It's a fucking amazing start.

#35 Posted by SilvarusLupus (310 posts) -

No, because it's written well, the characters are great, the setup is amazing, and the payoff is worth it.

#36 Posted by joshth (508 posts) -

I picked "other" because it wasn't a problem at all the first time, I was enjoying getting to know the characters and the intro to the story. However, now that I've played this game MANY times, I do get a little annoyed with how long it takes to really get into it.

#37 Posted by TooWalrus (13256 posts) -

What? No. Come on.

#38 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Yea, I remember complaining about it on two occasions (not counting this one).

#39 Posted by Cyrus_Saren (540 posts) -

Not at all. Replaying it can be a bit frustrating though.

#40 Posted by Corvak (1172 posts) -

the irritation of a slow start depends on the game, and I think P4 does it fine. At least all the stuff they are showing you during the start is relevant to story and characters.

#41 Posted by DonutFever (3537 posts) -

It would if P4G didn't have the Skip option.

#42 Posted by PistolPackinPoet (211 posts) -

nope

#43 Posted by Hrothdane (12 posts) -

I've played it three times, watched it once on the Endurance Run, and seen it twice on the anime. It still doesn't bother me.

The intro does a great job setting up the normal world before things get sent out-of-whack, setting the story in motion. It introduces the supernatural elements a slow pace that builds a little suspense for the final reveal of the TV World.

Besides, after Kingdom Hearts II's intro, no other prologue can bother me.

#44 Posted by DukesT3 (1945 posts) -

JRPG. Get over it.

#45 Posted by Jedted (2412 posts) -

As someone who values STORY in video games i don't mind it.  I don't think it's that much slower than the first Mass Effect, there you spend a lot of time walking around the Citadel before getting access to the Normandy(even longer if you like mucking around and talking to everybody). 
 
Honestly the opening sequence where they introduce you to the Midnight Channel and the Shadow World didn't feel that long to me.  Having watched the Endurance Run i already knew most of the game mechanics so i could skip some of the tutorials. 

#46 Posted by panvixyl (325 posts) -

Of course not! Do y'all got the attention span of toddlers?

#47 Posted by Joeyoe31 (820 posts) -

Not the first time but on the third or fourth time it definitely did bother me. It also kill my mood whenever I say "Oh I wanna play it again." and then I remember the opening and it kills my motivation to replay the game completely.

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