Atlus' re-release of the PlayStation 2 classic, Persona 4, is more than a simple port. Featuring a bevy of upgrades and extras, it isn't necessarily as large a jump as was made between Persona 3 and Persona 3 Portable, but it still represents a showcase update for Atlus' RPG classic. Only the Japanese version was available for demonstration at E3 2012, focusing on what's new with this release.
First, let's cover what's not new. There is no touch-screen gimmick in any content that was in the original Persona 4; you only use it in a few special-features menus and one minigame. Further, nothing was removed for the re-release, so the entire original classic is playable with the same controls and everything.
What is new centers on a high-definition spit and polish. Everything is optimized to look beautiful while preserving the original art style — more detailed models and textures, etc. — bringing the graphics up to par with modern titles. This especially shines in the menus, which load rapidly and feel brighter and sharper than before. The sound effects are the same, except for the addition of more voice acting.
Several new features are being added, including a new touch-based minigame and a pretty large collection of unlockable videos that are tied to your game progress. This includes videos of cut scenes from Persona 2, concert footage, and other fan-friendly content. Additionally, there are more animated cut scenes for the main game, and they've all been updated to the Vita's higher resolution. There is one new Social Link, matched to one of a number of new characters, plus some more areas and sequences to explore and sequences.
Overall, Persona 4 Golden looks like a sweet update that will satisfy many fans, even if it isn't of the same scale as some past Atlus PSP ports. At the very least, the game is something to behold in its higher resolution. When it comes out this fall, Vita owners will have another worthy JRPG to enjoy.
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