Persona 4: The Virgin

The following may contain minor spoilers for those who have never played Persona 4 or intend on playing Persona 4 Golden, but I don't go into detail about major plot points.

I have a confession to make. I don't know anything about Megami Tensei games. That is until 96 hours and 26 minutes ago. Aside from a few, totally forgotten hours of Revelations: Persona on the PlayStation fifteen years ago, I'd never even played one. Not only that, but I have not watched the Endurance Run……*ducks*……I KNOW! How could a moderator of this site have avoided it this long? "Blasphemous" is probably an accurate exclamation to shout at me right now. Please, put your pitchfork down and let me explain.

Like many people (I assume), Final Fantasy VII was the first RPG that I sunk a ton of time into. For several years after that, I fell in love with the genre and played a ton of stuff. Then this thing called EverQuest happened. Being neck deep in EQ for a number of years doesn't allow for investing 100 hours a pop into RPGs. That, combined with some other factors, means that I have a ridiculously long Shamefully Shameful Pile of Shame, which unfortunately needs to be updated. In my warped sense of reality, I still believe I'll get around to playing these games. So, when presented with the idea of watching two dudes play through one of the most acclaimed RPGs of all time, I avoided it like the plague because I wanted to experience it for myself first. Four years later, I finally got around to Persona 4 thanks to the added convenience of playing it on my Vita. Miraculously, I made it without having any of the major plot points spoiled for me.

It took me a dozen hours or so before I got past that "am I doing this right?" phase, but that was to be expected. At one point, I looked at a Social Link guide and just decided I wasn't going to worry about it. Go with the flow and whatnot. The only thing I "cheated" on was making sure I made the right dialogue decisions on 12/3 to get the opportunity to experience the "true" ending. I'd like to thank for his spoiler free guide in helping do that without totally ruining the twists and turns in the story.

Concert at Junes. Wait...who's that guy?

I'm not here to review the game, though. Chances are, if you're reading this, you already know how great it is. I guess I'm partially here to say that I get it now. I understand the hype, obsession, and love shown for this game. It's still too raw in my mind to responsibly say it's one of my favorite games of all time, but it's definitely up there. More importantly for now, I also feel that my experience with Persona 4 is somewhat rare considering I came into the "Golden" version of the game knowing virtually nothing about the original. In a way, I feel like it must be similar to Brad's experience with Mass Effect 3. Looking at the excellent breakdown of what's new in Golden on its wiki page, it seems like there's a significant amount of new stuff that I got to experience as if it was always included. Many of the new additions are gameplay mechanics that streamline the experience. Some of the more notable additions are fan service such as the group concert with Rise at Junes. It seamlessly fits into the story, but it's not all that important. But, then there are the additions that I can't imagine playing through the game without. The best example of this is Marie.

Marie. If that is her real name.

I knew ahead of time that Marie was new of course. What I didn't know was how she would be integral to the backbone of the entire game. I feel like an asshole for just assuming she'd just be a somewhat throwaway Social Link character. I don't want to spoil anything for those intending on playing Golden, but Marie is of the utmost importance to the entire mythology under the surface of the game. Her involvement adds a whole extra layer of emotional impact as well as providing (in the true ending) a better understanding of the world of Persona 4 as a whole. I promise that I'm not exaggerating here.

It may sound like a dick thing to say, but I almost feel bad and/or sad for fans of Persona 4 who have not and will not experience the "Golden" version.

To iterate what I said before, I get it now. Consider me on the bandwagon even if it's a few years late. In the end, especially with the additional epilogue that's new to Golden, a sense of sadness equalled, if not outweighed, the sense of joy and accomplishment I had in just finishing a game. After leaving all of your friends behind, the new epilogue brings Yu back to Inaba the following Summer for a visit. In this extra ending scene, everyone looks different. It's at this point that it really hit me that all these friends I'd made were growing up without me. The sense of sadness and nostalgia I felt in this scene was probably amplified by my own life experiences, but it speaks to how good of a job the game did making me care about everyone in it.

Part of me wants to dive back in with New Game+ and see the stuff that I didn't get to see. Hit the Social Links that I skipped and/or paid less attention to and whatnot. But, I don't think I will. Not because I don't want to invest the time again, but because I don't want to taint the experience I had. The benefits earned by the decisions I made in terms of who to spend my time with should also have the consequences of missing out on whatever else there was that I didn't get to see. What I got is what I got. Am I crazy for thinking that way?

So…now what? Arena? Yeah, soon. But, right now? Well, I guess I better get started on this Endurance Run thing. I've heard it's pretty good.

72 Comments
74 Comments
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Posted by Video_Game_King
I was going to Photoshop this to be relevant to the title, but just looking at it, it seems I don't need to.
Posted by JasonR86

That extra stuff still weirds me out. Yosuke looks so fucking weird! What's up with his shirt?!?

Posted by TooWalrus

Persona 4 is a quality game, man. I loved that epilogue too. Though, it's weird that Teddie apparently doesn't age. I'll feel bad for him, watching all his friends die of old age has to be awkward.

Posted by Mento

Oh jeez, that one year later photo is just weird. Kanji's "real" look and Marie being shoehorned in there, looking more than a little like Yukiko.

I think you're right about having an experience similar to Brad's Mass Effect 3 run, in that you get to have an enhanced "original" playthrough that trumps our old and busted first times through. I'm quite envious. While I doubt I'll be replaying P4 (those 100 hour playthroughs are nothing to scoff at), it's getting me excited for P5 (more so, even) with all these great convenience additions and other cool mechanics.

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Posted by Giantstalker

I'm still at the point in Persona 4 where the disc is in its case, and I haven't put it in the PS2 yet.

I unwrapped the plastic, so progress is being made.

Posted by marbleCmoney

Not sure if I can deal with Kanji's new look in the epilogue.

Posted by MetalGearSunny

I don't like the epilogue character art at allllllll

Posted by Bocam

Did you get to see the added Adachi scenes?

Edited by Marino

@Bocam: I only leveled his SL up to 4 I think. He's not around a lot, and clearly I didn't realize his importance to the story until it was too late.

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Posted by MooseyMcMan

You should still need to watch The Endurance Run. Their commentary is so incredible that I don't think I could ever go through Persona 4 without it.

Also, Kanji without his trademark blond hair is MESSING WITH MY MIND!

Posted by Bocam

@Marino: Then go look up the Accomplice Ending on youtube

Posted by Nux

That one year later stuff is crazy. You're right it hits you hard when you realize that everyone is growing up without you and they have their own lives to lead.

Posted by Red

I'm probably 20 hours into P4:G, and I probably won't be able to make much more serious progress until March, but it's been really interesting seeing the additions made. Just from the extra scenes (The moped babe hunt was pretty great) to the small combat and fusion tweaks have made it into a far more enjoyable experience. It's such an odd, odd game, but it's one you can't help but love because of it. You eventually just get to the point where everything the characters say just puts a smile on your face. I've been going for a semi-perfect playthrough (trying to max all possible social links), and while that has left me planning a bit too much, I'm really excited to see the stories of each character to completion, and be able to eventually get to all of the top-tier Personas.

Posted by ZombiePie

Someone needs to buy me a Vita so is that I too can play my first Persona game.

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Posted by SmasheControllers

The Persona series is one of the best, it's a time commitment but you should check out P3 Fes and both Persona 2s. I personally suggest against P3P. Sure it's a better game, but I don't think better combat is enough to make up for the gimped social interactions.

Posted by RenegadeSaint

Great post. It's crazy coincidental, but I just blogged about P4 and started watching the ER yesterday after finally giving up on the idea of ever playing through the game. So far, it seems extremely quirky in a very lovable sort of way. I continue to have these grand delusions that I will one day be sitting on my couch as an old man, enjoying all of these wonderful games I've missed, but I suspect they are, indeed, delusions, as my life seems to change into something new every time I turn around. That being said, it's always nice to hear someone finding the time to do what they love. Kudos.

Edited by benspyda
Posted by Slag
So…now what? Arena? Yeah, soon.

Persona 3 I'd recommend first, it's really dang good.

+ if you wait to do Arena after that, you'll be able to appreciate all of the characters more.

Posted by amlabella

Looks like we had similar experiences. I always wanted to play Persona 4 so I avoided the Endurance Run and pretty much anything about the game. Then I got super excited when Persona 4 Golden was announced. Played through it last year and I'm pretty comfortable saying it's one of my all-time favorites now. Watched a lot of the Endurance Run while I was playing and was really shocked by how much additional content is in the game. And the changes they made were all for the better in my opinion, especially being able to choose skills during persona fusions.

Like you said, it's too bad that some Persona 4 fans will miss out on Golden because it's on the Vita. I think people who have already played it would really enjoy the extra content. I couldn't stop laughing during the new scooter scene in which you first meet Hanako. Just perfect.

Posted by Juno500

The epilogue isn't one year later, it takes place in summer 2012, just a few months after the original game ended.

Posted by PerfidiousSinn

And another reminder that I need to buy a Vita just to play one game.

That reunion picture is weird. I wanna play the game to see how it could possibly happen.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

It really bums me that if I wanted to see all the new stuff I would have to get a Vita. Of course, that's why Youtube exists I guess (Holy crap is the accomplice ending dark). Glad you enjoyed it so much. It's bizarre, for as much as I identify and really like that game, I've had most of my exposure to it through the Endurance Run and my own file is barely at Yukiko's Dungeon. I initially bought a PS2 to play it, but I got Persona 3 instead. If you feel like sinking another 60+ hours into a similar game, give Persona 3 Portable a go, or maybe watch the Anime. The Anime is surprisingly awesome.

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Posted by SmasheControllers

@ArbitraryWater: Man I have to say as someone who loves Persona, I can't stand the Animation at all.

Posted by papercut

I completely forgot I wrote that guide. Glad it could help!

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@SmasheControllers said:

@ArbitraryWater: Man I have to say as someone who loves Persona, I can't stand the Animation at all.

I do seem to remember you not liking it very much in the discussion thread. What makes it for me essentially is how the protagonist is portrayed, with his weird mannerisms and constant deadpanning. I'm not going to call it a masterwork or anything, but I found it to be a successful translation of most of the elements of Persona 4 into anime form.

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Posted by OmegaChosen

There was one thing that irked me about the epilogue.

I hung out with these jerks for an entire year and for that whole time frame they were completely static unless I forced them into a sentai costume or something and even then they'd go right back to how they were once we left the TV. An entire year and they wore the same thing day in and day out, as if in protest to my being there. I leave for a few months and when I get back, BOOM, everyone's got a new wardrobe and new hairstyles and just subtly saying, "Yo bro! You've been holding us back, dog! We've all blossomed into young adults while you're still wearing that polo shirt thing. How'd it feel going back home to not having friends?"

Yeah, well, I joined the Shadow Operatives, Brosuke. I've got NEW friends. Better friends. Friends with guns for arms. "Nice" hair, Kanji. I only came back to tell you guys that I'm off to save the world again while you'll be staying here being seniors and worrying about finals and gossiping and dating and not being an awesome Shadow killing Persona using messiah of destiny.

You know, the usual in my day to day life. What've you been up to?

Posted by Blimble

Just for anyone wondering where to go after Persona SMT Nocturne (Lucifer's Call in europe) is generally considered the best in the franchise. Strange Journey and Devil Surivior 1/2 for the DS are also really good but if you want something more action orientated go for the Devil Summoner Raidou games which are my personal favorites. The non- persona games are generally a lot more combat heavy though so if you found it dragging in those SMT may not be for you

Posted by Marino

@Mento said:

Oh jeez, that one year later photo is just weird. Kanji's "real" look and Marie being shoehorned in there, looking more than a little like Yukiko.

@marbleCmoney said:

Not sure if I can deal with Kanji's new look in the epilogue.

It was definitely jarring when Kanji showed up at the end. But, I don't know, I think it's kind of cool that he changed so much. As for Marie, if you play(ed) Golden, you would understand that she's anything but "shoehorned" into that picture.

@Red said:

The moped babe hunt was pretty great.

See, I didn't even realize that was new. But, yeah, it was quite funny. There were several moments during the ski trip where I laughed out loud as well. Especially Kanji's reaction to Teddie going down the mountain without skis.

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Posted by Sweep
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Posted by Neurotic

I can't imagine going back to PS2 Persona 4 now. Everything about Golden is better (yes, that includes the new voices). I was also surprised that I liked Marie. Everything I'd seen of her from the announcement of her to the first rank of her S. Link made me think she'd totally suck. You should finish the Adachi Link, or at least watch it on Youtube. It's pretty damn good.

Posted by Vexxan

What in the fuck happened to Kanji?!

Posted by TooWalrus
@Vexxan

What in the fuck happened to Kanji?!

Obviously the same thing that happened to Jeff and Ryan- they quit bleeching their hair.
Posted by Jedted

Damn, I'm not sure i like 'clean' Kanji. I assume that's all after the True Ending, I skipped that cause i wanted to save something for my second playthrough.

Sounds like they did what everybody wanted Bioware to do with ME3. "You wanna see what all your friends are doing after the credits roll? Here ya go!"

Posted by Marino

@SmasheControllers said:

The Persona series is one of the best, it's a time commitment but you should check out P3 Fes and both Persona 2s. I personally suggest against P3P. Sure it's a better game, but I don't think better combat is enough to make up for the gimped social interactions.

Without spoiling anything, could you explain the "gimped social interactions." I'm thinking about doing P3, and the most convenient way for me to do that is P3P on my Vita from PSN.

@papercut said:

I completely forgot I wrote that guide. Glad it could help!

You should save it before it gets deleted in the transition to the new site.

@Sweep: The best part about you picking that picture? 04/16 is my birthday.

-----------------------------

I love how everyone's focused on Kanji. I guess he is the most drastic change, but it makes sense though. His mother said he dyed his hair when he started acting up, so now that he's "grown up," he no longer dyes it.

Also, just for the record... #TeamYukiko

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Posted by SmasheControllers

@Marino: It's just a personal thing and I understand it's because the PSP wasn't that powerful, but the fact that you can't actually walk around during the day, Tartarus and Fights are the only parts of the game that's in full 3D. If you can get over it, than go for it.

Posted by MormonWarrior

I'm weirded out by the later new look of the characters. I saw that picture out of context and honestly couldn't name more than a few of them, and that's after I finished the endurance run. Kanji especially...what the heck?

I knew nothing about Shin Megami Tensei myself until I found out that a random GBC RPG I had was a Megami Tensei game. It's like Revelations: The Demon Slayer or something. I have the credit for most points on that wiki still I think...

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

Pssst... you're not the only mod on here who hasn't watched the Endurance Run. Let's keep it on the DL, whaddya say?

Moderator
Posted by StarvingGamer

Rise chan you're so cute!

But yeah, Marie is so well integrated into the core plot of P4G and ties things together so well that she makes the true ending actually make sense. Fucking amazing.

Posted by Oscar__Explosion

Now hold the fuck on. Seeing now for the first time Naoto showing off her femininity I have to ask, as a serious question. How she was able to hide the fact she had breasts? Not to sound like a creeper but those don't look like they could be easy to hide.

Posted by SirOptimusPrime

@Oscar__Explosion: It's the eternal question, what with the whole Christmas event and the measurements scene. Whatever, I also think just listening to her talk would make anyone go, "really?"

Posted by xMEGADETHxSLY

didn't like the new VO, could stand it which is fucking crazy

Posted by OmegaChosen

@SirOptimusPrime said:

@Oscar__Explosion: It's the eternal question, what with the whole Christmas event and the measurements scene. Whatever, I also think just listening to her talk would make anyone go, "really?"

She ties them down presumably because in Japan tying down instantly turns a female body into a male one or something. In RL she'd probably have a shitty time breathing and running would likely leave her wheezing but it's a game so they probably went "they summon demons out of their head so meh".

Personally, I went into the game not knowing Naoto was a girl and didn't catch on until the actual reveal. Yes, I was that naive. I thought that having a male character voiced by a woman was a tad unorthodox but seeing as it was a Japanese game, and they do that on occasion, I just rolled with it without giving it much thought. Yeah it's fairly obvious now but when I game I tend to let the story lead me by the nose.

Posted by dvdhaus

@Marino said:

Also, just for the record... #TeamYukiko

Yeah! #TeamYukiko we are a rare breed on this site.

Another game I got when it came out and booted up, excited to play again, then just stopped. Guess since I put aver a hundred hours in the first time through the desire faded quickly.

Posted by Angouri

Aw man, Persona 3 Portable is also really good. It's a shame they cut on some of the animation in P3P due to the PSP's size restrictions, but DAMN. Some of those social link stories are great. Shinji's story? So good. #TeamMitsuru all the way.

Posted by TobbRobb

Oh god dammit. You really are gonna make me play this game for a third time, aren't you?

Maaaaaan, I want a Vita so bad now.

Posted by Binman88

The fuck is yosuke wearing.

Posted by Marino

@TobbRobb said:

Oh god dammit. You really are gonna make me play this game for a third time, aren't you?

Maaaaaan, I want a Vita so bad now.

Mission accomplished.

@Binman88 said:

The fuck is yosuke wearing.

I think it's a combination of that weird shirt and his shorter hair, but his neck seems abnormally long.

Staff Online
Posted by Bocam
@Marino Abnormally long necks are a staple of Persona 3's art.
Posted by Neurotic

@dvdhaus said:

@Marino said:

Also, just for the record... #TeamYukiko

Yeah! #TeamYukiko we are a rare breed on this site.

Solidarity, my brothers!

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