Persona 4 Golden

Game review by
Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media
Persona 4 Golden Game Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Challenging high school murder mystery gets new life on PC.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 22 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Story centers around high school student who, along with other students, find themselves drawn into solving a murder mystery across their whole town. While they're hesitant to get involved, they support each other, try to find the culprit with their newly found abilities. Along with making friends in game by way of social links, which provides new insight into characters as well as new abilities, players are encouraged to help other people in town with their problems. Lots of combat, but it's mainly focused on strengthening your party members to save people in danger and defeat threats.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Positive ideals of teamwork, helping others, putting oneself in danger to save others. Characters may have disagreements or argue, but it's really because they care about each other. Questionable comments and situations related to a character's sexuality is one blemish on the positive representations in the game.

Ease of Play

As in other Persona games, players have to balance a lot of game elements, such as part-time jobs, hanging out with friends, strengthening characters. All of this has to be done with looming time pressures, meaning that the wrong decision or lack of action can have dire consequences later. Players also face randomized dungeons that don't come with frequent save points, along with some moments where the difficulty spikes suddenly. As a result, players will need to become accustomed to frequent saves and lots of trial and error before they're completely successful.

Violence

Combat is frequently held in dungeons against fantastic creatures, using swords, knives, magical attacks, etc. While there are limited amounts of blood shown during battle, some blood is shown in environments and from murder victims. No gore is shown, though, and the nature of the beasts you're fighting limits the impact of combat.

Sex

Loads of sexual innuendo, ranging from light flirtatious comments to overt and sometimes aggressive statements about what appeals to certain characters. Some creatures are clearly phallic in nature, while others wear skimpy clothing, bondage wear, other items that leave little to the imagination. One character's questioning of his sexuality and reactions from other characters have hints of homophobia.

Language

A range of profanity is used occasionally, such as "a--hole" and "s--t."

Consumerism

This is a title in the long-running Persona role-playing game franchise, which has spanned multiple consoles and released toys and other merchandise based on the game. Original game was exclusive to the Vita, is now on Steam.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters smoke and drink. Some scenes take place in a store that converts into a bar at night. Other characters are shown with slurred speech and seem to be drunk. There's also a drinking game that can be played.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Persona 4 Golden is a role-playing game for the PlayStation Vita and Windows PCs. This is an expanded version of Persona 4, and focuses on a group of high school students that are trying to uncover who's behind a string of mysterious murders in a rural town. The playable characters do sometimes fight with each other and argue, but they actually care about their friends and are willing to put themselves in danger to save other people and the peace of the town. Players should be aware that this is a challenging game because they constantly have time pressures to save people, accomplish jobs or build new friendships, and explore randomly created dungeons without making significant mistakes. Combat has a prominent role in the game as characters face off against monsters, and while there's some blood shown in battle from weapons or magical attacks, there's no gore. Blood's often shown in the environment and in cutscenes. There's lots of sexual innuendo, as well as some creatures that are clearly sexual in nature, with outfits that leave little to the imagination. There's also a character whose questioning of his sexuality has hints of homophobia. Dialogue has occasional uses of "a--hole," "s--t," and other profanity. Finally, some characters are shown smoking, while others are shown slurring their words and drunk, and there are drinking games that characters can play.

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, 15 years old Written byclankfandom100 February 9, 2018

Yosuke Hanamura is best boy

I started playing Persona at of the age 13, it's a really good game and if you trust your kids to not swear because of this game, then I'll say go fo... 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

What's it about?

PERSONA 4 GOLDEN is the expanded version of 2008's Persona 4, and takes place in the rural town of Inaba, Japan. Players take on the role of a young high school kid who's recently moved to the town, only to find that he and his classmates are stuck in the middle of a surprising murder spree that tends to happen when the fog rolls into town. Fortunately, he and his friends discover that they have access to Personas -- shadowy reflections of their inner selves -- which give them magical powers and abilities. Players will need to balance their school work and the other demands of life, such as part-time jobs and school clubs. But they'll also need to build their relationships or "Social Links," which enhances their powers, unlocks completely new skills for party members, and further expands the story. Golden adds plenty of new content as well, such as two additional months to play through, a new character to add to your party, new areas to explore, and much more. Plus, the game is presented in full HD with the option of Japanese or English voice-overs to draw you into the story.

Is it any good?

This role-playing game (RPG) remake was fantastic on the Vita, but its release on PC means that a whole new audience of fans will be exposed to this classic game. Persona 4 Golden dives deep into the franchise's well-known mechanics of detailed story development through "Social Links," which are governed by how much time you invest into getting to know your fellow classmates. It requires investment in becoming acquainted with the people in your life, taking on odd jobs or quests they ask you to complete, and spending time to make sure that they feel like you care. The same can be said for the randomly generated dungeons, which pack turn-based battles into twisting, cramped hallways. These tense, challenging fights between your party members and strange monsters have a specter of time pressure hanging in the background. If you can't defeat creatures in dungeons and save victims within a set number of days, the game ends. It's the balancing act between your personal life and your otherworldly investigator life that adds tension, drama, and emotion to a challenging game, and it will give dozens of hours of entertainment. Plus, it looks great in full HD, which the Vita and PS2 simply couldn't produce at the time, so visually, this feels like a completely new game.

All of this being said, the challenge is one of the biggest issues that some may find with Persona 4 Golden. The difficulty can spike on some dungeon levels, which can make improving your characters, boosting the levels of your collected Personas, and still accomplishing your goals a very steep climb. Add to that the limited number of save points in dungeons, and some newcomers to the franchise or to RPGs in general may be daunted. Similarly, the game's take on a character's questioned sexuality is cringeworthy. It was questionable in the original title, and it just feels antiquated and offensive now. It's a large blemish on an otherwise fantastic port of a classic game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Persona 4 Golden affected by the fact that you're fighting fantastical creatures? Would it have more impact if the enemies were more realistic? Would it have more impact if there was a lot more graphic blood and gore in the game, or is the plot and the gameplay graphic enough?

  • How far would you go to help a friend? Would you put yourself and other friends in danger to save them? If a friend is in trouble, should you consider getting help from authorities instead of doing something on your own?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love role-playing games

Themes & Topics

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