Honest Gamers Review - Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4

Honest Gamers: "Before I get into the praise of Persona 4, I will note that there are aspects of the game that some players will take as flaws. Long-time fans of the PS2 Shin Megami Tensei titles may note that the bulk of Persona 4's 3D persona models are recycled from prior games. Most of the engine basics are recycled from Persona 3, and in some cases were not updated when perhaps they should have been. The combat AI, for instance, has difficulty using some new types of Skills and the Guard command intelligently, probably because these options weren't available at all in Persona 3. Some of your party members have curiously imbalanced move sets, and there is a strange segment of story roughly in the middle of the game where the plot stops to try and remind you how much you liked Persona 3.

None of these flaws, by themselves, are really serious. The spartan graphics do not negatively impact the gameplay, since the 3D models are only seen briefly (and combat is so tactical you quickly stop focusing on animations). You can control your characters directly in Persona 4, something Persona 3 never allowed, so failings of the AI are no longer as significant. While the AI is very good at speeding up dungeon crawls, taking control of your own party members for major boss battles helps the experience feel more tense and immersive (and certainly less frustrating). The character imbalance may irk some fans but doesn't actually make the game less fun, and for the most part Persona 4 has its own identity, plot, and tone wholly independent of Persona 3's. Given what a massively influential title Persona 3 was, and how easy it would've been to make the entirety of Persona 4 about reminding you how much you liked Persona 3, the fact that Persona 4 is an actual interesting game in its own right is really a bit extraordinary."

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