Persona 4 Golden is the darling of the PS Vita, check any list of Top 10 Vita games and it’s probably at the top. Persona 5 is a genre-defining champion of a JRPG, but how do the two compare?
Both games are the classic Persona mix of awesome looking demons or “shadows”, fighting in an alternate reality and the daily struggles of a high school student in Japan.
Which friend should I hang with? Which of my five part-time jobs should I go to? Batting cage or fishing? Reading or capsule machine? Rescue a potential victim or take down a Palace? These are the major questions in your young life.
These games are not short by any stretch: at the time of writing I’m roughly 70 hours into P4G and in late October, whereas in P5 I’ve finished my first play-through at around the 120 hours mark.
The big driving force for the Persona games has always been the characters that you get to interact and build relationships with and both games have a stellar cast with some outstanding voice acting.
If I’m going to compare apples to apples then I’d say that I prefer P5’s cast over P4G’s but both had characters that ended up grating on me (Morgana for P5 and Yusuke for P4G).
Going from P4G to P5 there has been an obvious graphical jump, the world is rendered beautifully and is extremely loyal to real world Tokyo and the surrounding areas. My partner has been to Tokyo and she was able to point out places she’d been and even some shops she recognised.
The “dungeons” themselves have also experienced a massive jump in quality. P5’s are worlds which could virtually be stand alone games, each one featuring different puzzles and a host of unique challenges relating to the owner of the Palace. Whereas P4G’s are akin to P5’s Memento’s: sprawling procedurally generated floors which vary slightly.
Colours in P5 are rich and vibrant in a kind of neon ultra-violence way, like Hotline Miami or a colourful Sin City, and being able to see the demons I’ve become familiar with in previous Persona or Shin Megami Tensei games rendered in full 3D is wonderful.
Both games have phenomenal plots and capture the innocence and naivety of teenage life without pandering or becoming condescending. One of the high points in P5 is how well they capture the unpredictable and uncontrollable nature of the internet.
Ultimately I think that P5 is the most refined version of the Persona formula so far. Sure, it’s not as complicated and involved as P4G can be at times, but there’s an eb and flow which has kept the game enthralling for every minute of my 120 hours with it.
Do you agree? Is Persona 5 the greatest Persona, SMT game, or JRPG ever made? Do you still prefer P4G, or even P3? Let me know on Twitter @JPPostsTweets