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The Good Parts
Persona 4 combines stylish role-playing, social interaction, a well written story line, and characters that feel real into 60-plus hours of wonderful game play that varies nicely between action and social stimulation. A great cast of believable characters to interact with as you play makes playing the social elements of this game a tactical and strategic challenge.
Unique game play elements mean you have to balance your normal life of high school, friends, classes, and possibly a part-time job, with the action and adventure. You need to learn to manage time to progress in this game as well as complete the action sequences.
Great controls and interesting story concept that concentrates on creating personal bonds while solving the murders, personal bonds that are important to your success in the game.
The themed dungeons provide a nice variety of different game play options to keep things fresh and entertaining you as you explore them.
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The Bad Parts
Moving around in the themed dungeons of Persona 4 can be a problem in tight environments because the camera set-up isn't designed for twisting and turning in the tight confines of the typical dungeon environment.
A large percentage of the wonderful artwork you'll see while playing this game was reused from the previous titles in the franchise. This certainly will save money and won't be noticed by gamers who haven't played previous games in the series but then the whole point to developing a series is to create the desire in gamers to play the next title in the series. Seeing the same artwork as you play the next title in a series, no matter how beautiful, doesn't create this desire.
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The Graphical Picture
Persona 4 has a unique graphical presentation that has an outrageous style of its own, the presentation is cartoon-like in look and feel, but the settings are modern day settings that have a nice feeling of realism.
The animations of the characters are fluid and smooth, fast or slow and controlled, depending on the situation, but all the movements looked natural and realistic.
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Sounds in the Game
Persona 4 has an entertaining and satisfying sound track composed of tunes that sound like they were inspired by J-Pop and J-Rock, but they match the pace of the action and energy of the game play well. You'll hear them play again and again, but theses tunes are still entertaining each time.
The voice acting is stellar and professional, but they combine written text on the screen with audible conversation occasionally, which is unusual.
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The Story Line
The story line of Persona 4 is one of the most entertaining, engaging, and satisfying parts of the game. The game begins as a silent protagonist, who you'll have to name, is being sent to live with his uncle in the sleepy countryside village of Inaba. You're to spend the year in Inaba with your uncle but your year quickly turns dark as the village's peace is shattered by a murder with no clues or suspects. These events develop into a series of bizarre crimes where you find that only you and your friends can solve the murder and bring those responsible to justice.
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Persona 4 is a very playable game in which you have to investigate murders, rescue people, and unmask the murderer or forever remain in the dark. You need to balance your social life and daily time table as well as live the life of a supernatural detective as you play. You'll spend time with friends or a love interest in often hilarious or touching situations, in which your success in these social activities helps to strengthen your social links, which can unlock other powers in your allies. You also need to work on the personal growth of your character; you have 5 attributes which affect all of the actions and choices you make.
The design is amazingly fresh and inventive and was totally engaging to play, the depth this design provides makes playing this game a true pleasure and something that draws me back again and again.
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The Last Word
Persona 4 is an excellent sequel for a popular franchise that improves the game play in a variety of interesting and innovative ways.
It has a down-to-Earth, likable cast of characters that are brought to life by the masterfully written story line and an inventive mix of game play elements. This game will keep your attention to the end if you're a fan of the dark and bizarre Shin Megami Tensei or a first time shadow warrior, either way a superb role-playing adventure with something for all gamers.