Persona 4 Golden Review Sakura Index

Persona 4 Golden launched its PC port on Steam last June 14, 2020. Check out our Persona 4 Golden review on this beloved entry in the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona franchise.

Originally released in 2012 for the PS Vita, P4G is now 11 years old. Before we dive in, here are a few disclaimers:

– The reviewer has not played the original Persona 4 or P4G game on console but has watched the anime.

– The review was played on a laptop in a room temperature of at least 36C (96F). Thermal performance may vary depending on your region.

– Minor spoilers may be up ahead.


About the Persona Games


Persona 4 Golden Review Sakura Index - 03


For the uninitiated, the Persona series is about high school students gaining the powers of a “Persona”. They summon these to fight supernatural threats called the “Shadows”.

Along the way, they also deal with the normal troubles of school life, often balancing a social life with their regular after-school adventures. They even get a chance to connect with their friends and build strong relationships. This formula of gaining power, overcoming your inner demons, and unlocking hidden powers remains the same for most of the series.


The Plot



The game follows Yu Narukami, who moves to the rural town of Inaba while his parents work abroad. He settles with his uncle and cousin, but soon encounters mysterious murders that even the police can’t solve. The only clue to finding the culprit is an old urban legend called the “Midnight Channel”, where the next victim can be seen.

While investigating, Narukami acquires his Persona, and must now gather allies to solve these mysterious cases.



Even though Golden mostly follows the original Persona 4, a new assistant in the Velvet Room joins the cast of characters to aid the player in this game.


The Gameplay



Persona veterans will know about the turn-based combat of the game. You form a party, set up your Personas and engage Shadows.

As standard for this franchise, exploiting elemental weaknesses is your bread-and-butter strategy. This lets you finish fights quickly and level up faster. Along the way, you can also recruit different Personas to fight for you.



Outside of combat, you spend the day going through everyday school life. You answer questions in class, explore the town of Inaba, do part-time work to earn cash, or hang out with friends if they invite you.

Visual novel-style dialogue options pop up during conversations, and your choices can often affect the growth of your stats as a character.





Here’s a quick rundown on the laptop and specs used to review this game:

Laptop used: Asus ROG Strix G G531GU-AL406T (2019 model)
CPU: Intel i7-9750H
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 1660Ti
RAM: Kingston 32GB DDR4 2666 MHz (16GB x2)

Just a quick disclaimer: The thermal paste in the laptop isn’t fresh, and the game was played at a room temperature of 36C (96F), so expect higher thermal spikes along the way. The settings used were as follows below:



Performance-wise, I set the game to 60 FPS with V-Sync on, which made combat and cutscenes a joy to watch since the framerate was constantly locked. The CPU temperatures though, spiked to the upper 90C (194F) range at times. GPU temps were mostly in the 60C (140F) range. RAM usage was mostly stuck at the 10GB range, making it a pretty forgiving game overall.


What I Like


Classic turn-based gameplay



As a veteran of Persona 3 Portable, this is nothing new, and it’s a good thing. You select Persona abilities that best exploit elemental weaknesses of Shadows, knock them all down and finish them off with an all-out attack.

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Persona games get this right in that regard.


Building relationships



The core lesson of Persona games is all about positive relationships. The stronger your bond with friends, the more powerful a Persona grows. This is a consistent factor in all the franchise’s games.

Narukami even has a chance to pursue romantic interests in this game once a high relationship level is reached.




Keyboard controls take getting used to



If you have a PS4 controller or similar gamepads, use them. Anyone who played Persona games on PlayStation will prefer to use the traditional approach on the Steam version. Using the usual mouse and WSAD keyboard controls just feels jarring, at least to me personally.


A lot of fusion options



With all the available Personas to summon and fuse, getting overwhelmed is always a risk. Still, this can be mitigated by looking up Fusion Recipes on Reddit or having a reliable Fusion Calculator on hand. The good thing about playing this on PC is that you can pretty much just glance at your secondary monitor or just switch from the game to a guide by alt-tabbing.




OVERALL SCORE: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

The Steam version was a great overall experience and worth the review. Anyone looking to relive the nostalgia of Persona 4 Golden can find it right here.

Sakura Index thanks SEGA Asia for the STEAM review code for the use of writing this review.



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