Persona 4 Golden

Game review by
Mark Raby, Common Sense Media
Persona 4 Golden Game Poster Image
Mature RPG with turn-based violence, sex, and profanity.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 13 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Persona 4 Golden wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

Positive Messages

This game's story centers around a high school student who finds himself in the middle of an intense murder mystery. Rather than turn a blind eye, he finds the courage to get to the bottom of the mystery and help restore peace to his rural town. Players are also encouraged to make friends in the game. Doing so allows them to create "social links," which can unlock bonuses and secrets within the game. Characters frequently engage in combat, but this is only because it is necessary in order to get rid of the evil creatures. Violence is not glorified.

Positive Role Models & Representations

All of the focal characters in this game exude very positive characteristics. They understand the value of working together, and have a focus on the greater good rather than individual greed. However, they use a lot of violence.

Ease of Play

This game fits into the Persona video game franchise as being quite challenging. The series is designed for experienced gamers who know how to find the perfect strategy for turn-based battles. In addition, navigating the winding mazes and environments throughout, the game can prove to be a frustrating experience, with trial and error sometimes being the only way to find the way through certain areas. For the experienced player, the difficulty is manageable, and it makes the entire gameplay experience more rewarding.

Violence

This game contains frequent battle sequences; however, they are always presented in a turn-based style. This makes the fighting much more about strategy rather than brutality. Nevertheless, during these battles, there are weapons (swords, magical effects, and guns), loud sound effects, splashes of blood, and other visual effects that add to the intensity. Many fights are between humans or human-like creatures, though the entire nature of the game is very surreal and highly detached from the real world.

Sex

There are female characters that have exposed breasts, though they are never depicted in a sexual connotation. There is, however, sexual innuendo within the dialogue. In addition, one area that players must explore is a strip club. There is a dancer in the club but she is wearing a bikini. Descriptions of "Persona" creatures also reference sex (e.g., the text-based description of a succubus includes a line about having "sexual intercourse" with men). Finally, there are some surreal persona creatures that resemble human genitals.

Language

There is a lot of profanity in the dialogue, including the words "a--hole" and "s--t." "F--k" does not appear, however.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Players will encounter characters who smoke and drink. There is one prolonged scene in which characters slur their speech and appear to be drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Persona 4 Golden is the PlayStation Vita version of the game Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4.  Throughout the game, players will need to battle evil forces. These strategic battle sequences include use of weapons, intense sound effects, and depictions of blood. In addition, there is sexuality in the game including innuendo in the dialogue as well as partial female nudity and characters that look phallic. Smoking and drinking also occurs among some characters though it is not a focal point of the game. Profanity appears in the dialogue. The Shin Megami video game series has been around for years, and it has a very distinct style of presentation. The games tend to be very surreal and a bit confusing at times. This game is no exception. Although the story takes a lot of twists and turns, it is ultimately about finding the courage within to overcome huge obstacles.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 3, 3, and 5 year old Written byjonallypugliese1023 November 1, 2013

Persona 4 Golden

Love Persona 4 Golden and all the Persona and the Shin Megami Tensei games. The "Not For Kids" rating is completely unnecessary. There is NO blood the... Continue reading
Adult Written byMagatsu Orpheus March 6, 2015

Critical Research Failure Strikes Again

So, Common Sense has given this game a Not For Kids. I feel this is inappropriate - There's no bloody on-screen violence, what is there is offscreen and no... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byCloudIsC00L723 December 8, 2012

CSM has done it again. This game doesn't deserve a "Not For Kids" rating.

To start off, this game is NOT very violent. While the storyline does involve around a series of murders in a small Japanese town, the murders themselves are no... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bysaibhandari January 3, 2015

Great game, the CSM review is wrong!

Yes, this game has sexual themes at times, however it is never graphic in the portrayal and usually comes in the form of innuendo. There are issues involving se... Continue reading

What's it about?

In PERSONA 4 GOLDEN, a young high school student in rural Japan suddenly finds himself in the middle of a high-profile murder mystery. He takes it upon himself to figure out what is going on so that the community can be peaceful once again. Players team up with other characters who are in the same situation and they work together to solve the mystery. Evil creatures and characters appear frequently and players must defeat them in turn-based combat to proceed. The game is filled with twists and turns in the storyline, always leaving players guessing what will happen next. Much of the game takes place in a parallel 'dream world' where it is unclear what's real and what's not. This level of ambiguity means that every piece of the story is integral.

Is it any good?

Persona 4 Golden will appeal to a specific type of gamer. As a role-playing game (RPG) with turn-based combat, it relies heavily on developing the right battle strategy and sticking with the game long enough to level up characters so they are ready for combat. While it may seem a bit strange at times, the story is unabashedly compelling and will keep the attention of any player willing to give it the level of focus it requires. The turn-based RPG seems to be a lost art form at times, but this game masters the art beautifully. It is not a game for the faint of heart, though. There are a lot of adult themes ranging from drinking to sex, but the complexity of the gameplay and the nuanced nature of the storyline are best suited for older players anyway.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in this game. Do you think this game is overtly violent?

  • What do you think of the casual references to drinking and smoking?

  • How do you select video games for playing?

Game details

  • Platforms: PlayStation Vita
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, reading
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: collecting data, logic, strategy
  • Price: $39.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Atlus
  • Release date: November 20, 2012
  • Genre: Role Playing
  • ESRB rating: M for Alcohol Reference, Animated Blood, Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence

For kids who love role-playing and adventure

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