Progress Report: Persona 4 Golden and Social Links

Ever since starting over on Very Easy, I’ve been flying through this game. I’m about 45 hours in, and it feels like I’m already heading into its final act. The funny thing is, I really do prefer playing it this way, even though it doesn’t provide much of a challenge. You get more money than you can spend, and most of your characters will be hitting level 99 by November. Additionally, if your party gets wiped out in battle, you can just continue from where you left off with full health and magic, making almost all recovery skills and items unnecessary.

So, why do I think this is fun? It’s because P4G is at its best when you’re not in dungeons. I mean, the dungeons here are good, and they’re more varied than Tartarus in Persona 3, but I still find them repetitive, especially if you go back for the harder bosses and the numerous fetch quests.

I’m definitely more in my element with the Social Link system, which fleshes out the stories between the main protagonist, his friends, and his family. I remember falling in love with this aspect of Japanese simulation games on the Sega Saturn when I played Sakura Taisen back in 1996. Its grid-based strategy parts were fun, but the interactions with the other characters was what made it a classic for me. And what an intro, right?

The Social Links in Persona 3 were excellent, and they’re great here as well. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of characters that you can build Social Links with, and even at this late point in the game, I’m gaining and working on new ones. This keeps things pretty fresh and your options open, especially if you’re like me and clear out dungeons right away, giving yourself weeks of free time in the game.

The scenario writers have done a really nice job not only making the main character story arcs interesting and meaningful, but giving the supporting cast three dimensions as well. There are times where I will find myself skipping over opportunities to advance my party member links in order to see where the story will go for people out on the fringes. Their struggles and personalities are warm, honest, and emotionally rewarding.

As I head towards P4G‘s finale, I’m already thinking about the links I will not have maxed out, the quests left undone, and trophies uncollected. Yes, there’s always New Game+, but a part of me wishes I could see everything in one shot.


2 thoughts on “Progress Report: Persona 4 Golden and Social Links

  1. I always love to read how people progress through P4G and their thought processes.

    It’s pretty near impossible to play that game to perfection on the first run without using a strat guide or FAQ. Where’s the fun in that, right? Just enjoy the journey naturally.

    Glad you’re loving it. It’s definitely my favorite Vita game.

  2. Thanks EH! I’ve been using a guide for some of the more time-consuming things like the dungeon fetch quests and the painful Fox/Hermit Social Link, but have been doing most of the other stuff naturally. I’m annoyed that I missed a single-day event that prevented me from getting the one book I needed for the Compulsive Reader trophy, but oh well. On the flipside, I did max out Marie’s SL, so I’m glad I got that in on time!

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