Just a few days ago I did my Persona 4 Golden review. I tried my best to make sure I reviewed the experience more than the game. That’s what this game comes down to for me: an experience. Sure you’re grinding away for levels, collecting Personas, and what not but what I really took away from the game is much deeper and personal than that.
To start off, I’m going to copy pasta the section from my review where I talk about “reaching out to the truth”.
I mentioned before that the theme of this game is all about reaching for the truth. Since this is a mystery at heart, the phrase holds a lot of meaning but it goes further than just trying to find a killer. A recurring event in this game is when a character has to face their true self and learn to accept who they really are and begin to work towards bettering themselves.
Throughout the game you’ll deepen relationships with characters and as you do you start to see just how hard everyone is working not only towards this case but also trying to become better in their own lives. It’s obvious that because of the events of their Persona’s awakening these character had to face a lot of truths about themselves and although the support of the cast and your main character helped them, the thought that others had finally seen who they really is daunting to them.
This game’s cast is very surreal in the aspect that these are all human elements that we ourselves have to face at one point or another in our lives. Some of us will continue to deny the truth and keep running. Others will turn and face the truth and move on to try and be better. Not everyone can do this and it certainly is harder doing it alone.
Persona 4′s story have us, as players and humans, come face-to-face with scenarios that show many different types of people go through this exact experience. It doesn’t stop there, though. Their battles continue as they struggle to come to terms with the truth and to better themselves. Accepting something is only the tip of the iceberg. Putting action into words and experiences is the key and this game shows the full sequence from acceptance to realization and success.
What this game can do for us beyond giving us a great story, mystery, and overall experience is showing us what it takes to face ourselves. Some of you playing this game may take away from it what I did and some of you won’t. Thankfully, I feel like I got the message behind this game’s story. We all have desires and we all have thoughts. There are layers to each of us that we hide from others but when it comes down to it, that is what holds you back from your own greatness. Some times you just need to lean on a few shoulders and face yourself. Whether you try and do that on your own at some point in your life or this game gives you the message that you should try now, think past the game here and really look at what this story is trying to tell you.
For me, it was an eye opener and I’m more than glad to have played through this wonderful game and realize things about myself that I denied for years. I never thought once in my life that I would say a game made me think this way. I’m happy I was wrong.
But what does “reaching out to the truth” mean? It means you need to step back, look at yourself, accept your deepest and truest feelings about not only the people around you but yourself and then strive to be better. That’s the lesson that Persona 4 Golden tries to engrave in you.
This game hits a lot of personal notes for people as it tackles expectations, selfishness, uncertainty, acceptance, attention, greed, humility, death, and even suicide. Each of these things has a character attached to them and each event for these characters has them facing their own truths. It can be difficult to watch unfold sometimes, especially if you or someone close to has gone through issues like the ones above. I know the one that hit me the most was suicide as I know someone very close who went through that with another friend of her’s. It wasn’t me directly but having to help her cope with that was beyond tough. I can only imagine what it was like for her.
When I was going through the portion of the game that tackles this issue, it was tough for me because I’ve been very close to that before and all the things I said in my head to try and understand why people try or even go through with that came out in the characters of Persona 4 Golden. They succeeded in stopping another character from ending their life and helped them see another way. Whether or not you see it in the same light because it’s a video game means nothing. It’s a real enough situation that can and will touch people’s hearts. Just because we are playing something doesn’t mean it can’t have a profound effect on people.
Persona 4 Golden is special. The story, characters, and choices all come together to try and make you, the player, reach deep into its meaning and walk away feeling a bit different inside. The question you need to ask yourself after playing this is, did it work?
The question you need to ask yourself if you haven’t played it is, are you willing to listen?
It isn’t easy for people to listen to criticism about things, especially themselves. Persona 4 Golden delivers that message in a convention that we all enjoy: a great video game.
If you come out of Persona 4 Golden feeling like you played a great game, then Atlus did its job. If you came away thinking about yourself and facing some hard truths, then you did everything Atlus hoped you’d with Persona 4 Golden.
Note: Thanks to Megaten Wikia for the featured image.
Note 2: If you want to be sappy while reading this, listen to this song! It’s a great track from some bonus content in Persona 4 Golden.