Saturday, December 22, 2012

Just So Much Persona

There's just so many screenshots that I've taken of P4G.  It's that good.

Lately, if I've been thinking about anything it's been...well, it hasn't been Persona 4, but if it's been the -second- anything, it's been Persona 4 Golden.  Which is to say that it is effectively second-place in what I've spent all my time thinking about, which is to say that I have been spending a lot of time thinking about Persona 4.  It is not unwarranted, of course - Persona 4 is every bit as amazing as I've been lead to believe it was, which is nice.  For once I go into a game with everyone telling me it's going to be great and then it is.  I don't have to wonder if there's something wrong with everybody, something wrong with -me- or just if there's just something that has gone awry with matters entirely as I have wondered in the past.  Since it is a valid concern to have, I imagine.

Come Game of the Year time, using the thing I go by, I won't be able to vote for Persona 4 Golden as a Game of the Year since it is a remake of a game from years past.  That restriction, not being able to include remakes or re-releases, has never been a problem for me until this year and specifically because of this.  P4G is every shade of wonderful, and if I'm being honest, it would have a very real shot of being in my top 5 list were it able to be.  It's honestly going to be a little painful to not be able to give it that recognition that it actually deserves, but I'll suffice for using this post that is gushing about it to do that.  It is close enough, at least, I should say.  Since there is honestly not a negative thing I could say about the game - even the parts of it I don't care for (the dungeon crawling, basically) are manageable at worst and I'm completely indifferent to their issues as a standard (the last dungeon I was in began to grate on me...then it was over.  So that was good.) so it's of no concern.

In fact, Persona 4 Golden is so good that it's in fact making me like Persona 3 (Portable, since that's all I played) even more than I liked P3P when I was playing it and beat it.  Admittedly, I took issues with some things in P3P, but it's a solid game overall, and like I said I'm being reminded of that by playing P4G.  I am retroactively liking P3P more and more as I play P4G.  You can ask me how that works, but my response will be "I have no idea" because I really don't; I just know that it is a thing that is happening.  As I'm playing P4G, I find myself thinking about P3, thinking about the characters and the story of it and it's all just fantastic.  Admittedly, part of it is me comparing the games to one another which is an unfair thing to do, but a lot of it is just good old fashioned reminiscing and it honestly is probably enhancing my playthrough a little bit because of it.

I think the thing about P3 that has stuck out the most as a result of all of this is probably what I like most about the game and is one of the only things I think it does better than P4, is the characters.  Now before you start, just hear me out, alright?  I haven't beaten P4G yet, nor do I think I'm that close - at the most I'm 3/4ths of the way through - but by this point in P3, the characters had all developed entire arcs, changed dramatically before the players eyes, and that was all done in the main story.  That is not to say that P4 doesn't do that, but if you take the likes of Junpei from P3 and Yosuke from P4 (the obvious equivalent) and put their character arcs (main story only) side-by-side it's no comparison.  That might be an unfair example, however, as I've considered that they sort of...well, not have the same arc, but really similar ones, but they're told in entirely separate ways over the course of the game.  Both have a loss aspect to their arcs and while Junpei's has a build to it, Yosuke's loss is almost immediate and the rest of the game is the after-effects of that, where Junpei's loss is his endgame.  So perhaps it's being able to see Junpei for so long before it, see what he's like before he deals with that, that makes it so different and so dramatic a change, but it's there nonetheless.

Of course, there's a trade-off to all of that too.  Persona 3's strength is in its characters, so much so that it overshadows the narrative, but Persona 4 does not have that problem.  Persona 4's main story is all about that and it's a compelling ride because of it.  It's a give and take thing as I sort of inferred because I don't think P4's characters are quite as developed as P3's, but they're entertaining all the same and their real development comes, unsurprisingly, from spending time with them one-on-one in the social links.  Because of that, I cannot say fully that they're not done well, nor would I suggest it, but I'm just saying that, well....I think you know what I'm saying, really.  Persona 3 was character-focused, Persona 4 is story-focused and they're both great.  It's all about build, about tension and drama and it's all about development in either case, so it's subjective to say the least, but to me, both games are just really good at what they attempt to do in their respective approaches.

In any event, playing P4G has been nothing short of a pleasure from start to where I am now, and I doubt that that is going to change in any facet.  I look forward to seeing the story continue to unwrap as I honestly still have no real idea of how it's going to end and that alone intrigues me.  I suspect it's either going to be a situation where I go, "Well, I couldn't have guessed that" or I'll say, "Oh well, -now- it makes sense!" instead of dreading that it will turn out one way and being frustrated that it did.  Because, usually, when I figure on where a thing is going and I'm right, I'm a little disappointed because as we all know, I am pretty bad at predicting things.  So if -I- can predict it, it's probably not all that strongly written.  Maybe I'll be able to develop theories closer to the end, but so far I've really got nothing and I like it that way.  No matter the case, I'm having a hard time imagining P4G leaving my Vita for the rest of the year (okay yeah, it's not that long but still) and that's saying something.

Okay, awesome, I made it the whole post without saying I miss Yukari

wait shit

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