Persona 4 Golden

Common Sense Media says

Mature RPG with turn-based violence, sex, and profanity.

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable
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.

Privacy & safety
Not applicable

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.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • collecting data
  • logic
  • strategy

What Kids Can Learn

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

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • collecting data
  • logic
  • strategy

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

This Learning Rating review was written by Mark Raby

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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
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 (PlayStation Vita)

This review of Persona 4 Golden was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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Parent of a 3, 3, and 5 year old Written byjonallypugliese1023 November 1, 2013
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Persona 4 Golden <3

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 there is fighting yes but absolutely no blood NO sex there is flirting and you can date a girl and you see Yukiko Chie Naoto Rise and Nanako in towels very briefly you see them in bikinis a couple of times but thats it. I am really doubting that who ever reviewed this game didn't play it much if at all the "evil creatures" as you call them are called shadows the "dream world" isn't a dream its a world inside the tv and what do you mean by "its unclear what's real and what's not" everything is real inside the tv world you should try actually playing the games before reviewing and rating them the "Not For Kids" label should be removed and this review should be redone by someone who's actually played it.
Teen, 16 years old Written byCloudIsC00L723 December 8, 2012
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

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 not shown and while some of the bodies are shown (one hanging on a telephone wire), no blood or gore is shown. The turn-based fighting is frequent but never ever graphic. However, some persona can be pretty bizarre/dark in appearance. As for sexual themes, THERE IS NO SEX in the game other than some topless persona, some that look like male genitals, some implied/suggested nudity and flirting here and there. But honestly, it's nothing I haven't heard about in high school and believe me, your teen has probably seen/heard a lot more explicit sexual content already in movies. Heck, CSM gave the movie Taking Woodstock "iffy" for 15+ and it has graphic nudity and they also gave Monty Python's Flying Circus "iffy" for 13+ and it has topless female nudity (mostly illustrated). Flirting is also very common in a normal high school. As for language, while swearing is frequent, it's fairly mild for an M-rating and I've heard worse in high school (such as the occasional f-word) and sometimes my teachers use s--t. This game doesn't go beyond PG-13 levels of swearing so it's really nothing to worry about. There's really one thing iffy in the game I can point out and that is that there is a long scene in a club/restaurant where some of the teen characters appear to be drunk. While a couple characters were wondering if the drinks they were having were liquor, one character explains that alcohol hasn't been served at the club they're at for years and that they're probably just "drunk on the air". One (drunk) character also insists that she ordered soft drinks. The drunk characters later play "King's Game" (similar to a drinking game) but no alcohol is consumed. Overall, this game is great (if challenging) for older teens and up. I really hope the ESRB comes out with a "Teens 15+" rating just like they did with the "Everyone 10+" rating back in 2005 because several other reviewers for the original Persona 4 and I agree that this game doesn't deserve an M-rating. I can see reasons why the ESRB gave this game an M-rating but it's nothing compared to games like Nier, Dragon's Dogma, and Bioshock. One last note is that the Japanese ratings board rated this game "C" for 15+. I hope my review was helpful and have fun saving the town of Inaba!
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byMagatsu Orpheus March 6, 2015
AGE
15
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

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 not shown, there's only mild language, and little to no sexual themes. So, that said, why did they give it a Not For Kids? Well, it's not just being a bit too far on the safe side; they have reasons. The primary suspect, I think, is that what little sexual and alcoholic reference there is involves a group of teenagers. None are 16 or 17 to my knowledge, they're 14-15. For example, at the very beginning of the game, you see a fictional commercial for a product called Quelorie Magic. It's endorsed by a pop star named Rise Kujikawa, stage name "Risette", no older than 15, who says lines like "I'm tired of dieting and going to the gym is too hard!" and "Good thing there's something even I can handle!" The satire is very subtle. (Not.) For another example, if you date one of the girls in-game, you'll get a scene wherein it's heavily implied they and the player have sex. Related, it's entirely possible to cheat on the girls and date all of them at once, though you do get a rather scathing punishment come Valentine's Day, on which you can only spend the day with one girl. And, most incriminatingly, one of the dungeons in the game is an exaggerated version of a Strip Club representing the aforementioned Rise's frustrations at being sexualized and marketed as a brainless ditz to the public. That being said, all of these pale to what a 15+ year old has already heard from their peers at school. And, hey, there's good messages, and good role models. The entire message of the game is that repressing the negative parts of yourself is unhealthy and dangerous; the heroes only gain their powers by confronting their "Shadow", the repressed parts of the psyche that they don't want to acknowledge. And this isn't a "Be yourself" thing either, these are very negative things: Your best friend feels bored with his life as it is, and his friends are holding in hidden desires to feel like a knight in shining armor, or feelings of emptiness and loneliness. Which isn't to say they're bad people, they just have flaws, and there's nothing wrong with that. The aforementioned best friend is a responsible individual and the second-in-command of your Investigation Team. Rise is, despite mild bitterness towards the industry she used to be a part of, a very caring, positive individual. All in all, Persona 4 isn't for your 10-year-old, not by a long shot. But it's certainly not "inappropriate for 17 and under" either. And it's a great game, so there's that. It's certainly better for kids than grim and depressing Persona 3 with its themes of death and loss, and Common Sense gave that a 16+.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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