I've stated before that the original Persona 4 was my favorite game of all time, well that continues with the Vita release of Persona 4 Golden. I was concerned going in that it wouldn't live up to my expectations that had built up with all the stuff I had read about it, but having beaten it last night I can say for the first time that it has not only met my expectation but actually surpassed them.
How did it surpass them? Simple, it made a game that was already had a fantastic story, incredible characters, and fun combat and improved on them in so many ways. Gameplay wise, P4G was a lot easier than the original. When I first played P4 I played it on easy and still died a few times, but with no real consequence. When I played P4G I played on Normal since I knew what to expect, but found myself easily getting through dungeons with only one death the entire game on a hit from a self sacrificing pair of dice. I would not only knock out one dungeon in a day, but I'd also go through the optional boss of the previous dungeon in the same day. Some people would complain about no challenge, but this lead to me being able to play the other part of the game a lot more than in the original.
Being able to focus more on the social aspects and story of the game allowed me to enjoy P4G to the fullest. It's the same story in basic, you still rescue people that are thrown into the TV, find the real killer, and then go after the real reason that everything happens (assuming you get the true end). But there is so much more added. You can now have a social link with Adachi, which I didn't complete (that'll be in playthrough 2), and that's kind of crazy especially with the fact that you can get a bad ending if you go through the whole thing. There are new events such as a ski trip, you form a band to play at Junes, and that damn Valentine's Day event. That event made it an easy choice that on my next playthrough I will be focused on Naoto only, especially since she was one of the two lover relationships that I didn't get. The Valentine's Day event made me guilty for just getting as many lover relationships and the events with the girls themselves were nice themselves, Chie's was the best but I stock with Rise.
But all that doesn't compare to the addition of Marie. She could have just been a throw off addition, a new social link and some new personas, but she wasn't. She was a key part to the actual story that you didn't get to see in the original. It was a fantastic arc with her, to find out the things you do about her, and to see where it ends up had me with a big smile on my face. The only thing that would have made it better is if you could have her in your party, but it makes sense why you don't, although the end credits have me a little curious about what role she may have in anything from now on since it does show her with a persona and also the events from Arena.
So am I happy with what they did to my favorite game? Hell yea I am. Everything they added, everything they changed (I didn't even go into how much I like the new Shuffle Time and being able to pick skills to inherit), and just the overall polish of the game I couldn't ask for more. Heck, I even like the new voice actors for Chie and Teddie, although I do miss the old voices they do a great job making up for them. I could keep going, but I think I'm more looking forward to getting started on my second playthrough so I'll just end with some screenshots.
The All-star of my personas:
Some random screens: