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Persona 4 Switch review - you are gold

It’s time to revisit Inaba in our Persona 4 Golden Switch review, as we look to solve a grisly murder with a band of teenagers in the mysterious TV World

Persona 4 Switch review - key art depicting the cast of Persona 4

Our Verdict

Persona 4 Golden on Switch is just as fantastic as the original game, with minimal performance issues, a great aesthetic, enigmatic characters, and an enthralling story that keeps you guessing, this JRPG is a must-play for any role playing fan. Throw in some great turn-based combat with unique elements, and you’re in for a terrific time.

Persona 4 Golden on Switch is just as fantastic as the original game, with minimal performance issues, a great aesthetic, enigmatic characters, and an enthralling story that keeps you guessing, this JRPG is a must-play for any role playing fan. Throw in some great turn-based combat with unique elements, and you’re in for a terrific time.

Even after 14 years on the market, many still regard Persona 4 Golden as one of the best JRPGs of all time, and with good reason. Heck, despite the subsequent release of the critically acclaimed Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal, some fans still think so fondly of Persona 4 that it remains their favourite from the series, and, frankly, I can see why. Especially since it remains my favourite entry, too.

So you can imagine my excitement at the announcement of the next-gen versions of the game. Yes, we all knew Persona 5 would inevitably hit Nintendo Switch (check out our Persona 5 Switch review to see what we think), Xbox Series X/S, and PS4, but the addition of Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden could only send the fandom further into a frenzy.

It’s always a risky business, a game you hold dear from years ago making a comeback in the form of a port or remaster – what if they don’t possess that magic anymore? What if it’s the folly of youth and rose-tinted glasses that make the original so good? Fortunately, in my Persona 4 Switch review, I can declare the game to be just as good as it’s always been.

Persona 4 Switch review - the main character stood in the middle of an empty road

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Persona 4, and are about to experience it for the first time, allow me to lay out the story for you, free of spoilers, naturally. You take on the role of a teenage boy, whom you get to name just to give a little bit of personalisation, and then follow his life for some time as he’s set to stay in Inaba for the rest of the school year.

Inaba is an idyllic town with eccentric architecture, enigmatic characters, and a serial killer that gets their kicks from ending the lives of others in a grotesque way. Well, that took a rather sinister turn now, didn’t it? But wait, it gets better, as the bodies of the unfortunate victims hang from TV antennas, though the authorities are clueless as to how this is happening.

Still, before you can attempt to put a stop to these murders or, at the very least, gather information that may lead you to the killer, you need to acclimatise yourself to this world and discover how to navigate not just the town of Inaba, but a mysterious TV World, too, though what goes on here is just a little bit different to what you’re used to.

Speaking of which, it’ll probably help to elaborate a little on how you end up in this strange place. Well, you have a few in-game days to settle in, before you and a couple of pals encounter the Midnight Channel rumour, which inadvertently leads you to fall into a world inside a TV. While this may sound a little confusing, you meet Teddie as soon as you arrive, and this lil chap is on hand to help you get to grips with this alternate reality. In fact, this is where you learn all about Persona and how to summon them. Honestly, the game does a great job of introducing all of the primary mechanics in a way that gives you time to come to grips with them.

Persona 4 Switch review - a group of characters stood in a room with three stacked TVs

Inside the TV world, you and your band of merry men must explore randomly generated dungeons, each of which is related to an unfortunate kidnap victim. As such, the stakes feel that much higher, and you know that failure isn’t an option. However, to ensure your success, it’s not just your own combative capabilities that you need to consider, as there are numerous party members that can join you. Each of them has their own approach to combat, and some may prove more harmonious with your approach than others.

Of course, it’s not just the strengths and weaknesses of your party to consider, as these dungeons are sprawling with enemies, all of which possess their own strengths and weaknesses that may throw a spanner in the works. So, if you hope to be the one that’s victorious in these intense turn-based encounters, you’d best ensure that your personas are up to scratch and that you apply the most efficient skills to these avatars.

There are plenty of persona on offer in-game, so you’re bound to find at least one that gels with you to meet all of your combat needs. To unlock new ones, you create them in the Velvet Room, a place where you can also summon persona that you already own. It’s definitely worth creating new ones, though you do have to fuse two or more existing avatars together, the end result has a powerful combination of skills and abilities inherited from the sacrifices.

To be honest, turn-based combat is a hit-and-miss mechanic with me, as it either grips me and gives me a sense of urgency with a hint of strategic thinking, or it makes my ADHD brain go on a trip down the yellow brick road surrounded by butterflies and unicorns. Luckily, in Persona 4, it’s the former, as the game entices me with its splendid design, satisfying combat, and attacks that are a thrill to watch.

Persona 4 Switch review - a character facing off with enemies in the dungeon

As much fun as it is to explore the TV world and fight through all the dungeon-crawling enemies on what is essentially a digitised, violent version of Cluedo, you do have a life outside, and that means it’s time to go and be a teenager. Though you can dictate how you spend your time, well, for the most part. You do still need to attend school sometimes – you need an education, after all. But you can choose what to do in your free time, namely after school and in the evening.

You can spend time with your dungeon buddies in the real world, and what you do plays more of a crucial role than you might realise, as the activities you partake in affect five different attributes – courage, knowledge, expression, diligence, and understanding. However, while it’s nice to have some freedom, spend time with friends, and form lasting relationships, you can’t forget to look at the bigger picture. People are going missing, thanks to a serial killer.

Should you ignore the urgency and spend your time doing something redundant (no matter how fun it is), time may rewind, and you have to play through the week again. So, do your due diligence unless you want to experience Happy Death Day and Groundhog Day for yourself. Be wary of this when deciding who to spend time with as well, as some of the characters you can interact with aren’t what they appear to be, but for those of you that are yet to play the game to completion, I’m reluctant to say anything else.

In Persona 4 Golden, there are actually two new social links (those you can spend time with outside the TV World), one of which is an existing character from the original version, but getting to know him on a whole new level like this adds even more depth to an already grisly tale.

Persona 4 Switch review - four characters posing together

I could gush more about Persona 4 Golden’s gripping narrative or impressive combat, but I’ve covered all the important points without divulging too much information in avoidance of spoilers, so it’s time to move on to the more pressing matter of performance – is the Nintendo Switch the console you should own Persona 4 Golden on?

Yes, it is. That’s the short answer, and to be honest, there’s not too much more to elaborate on as I’m yet to encounter any performance issues in the game. Then, to top it off, the title looks great, runs smoothly, and serves as a fantastic reminder of just how good this JRPG truly is.

All in all, I can’t recommend the Switch version of Persona 4 Golden enough. Everything that makes the original so good remains, and the enthralling story, mysterious cast, and satisfying turn-based combat come together to create an experience that new and existing fans can enjoy.

If you want to know even more about this world and its characters, you can check out our Persona 4 Rise, Persona 4 Teddie, Persona 4 Naoto, Persona 4 Adachi, and Persona 4 Kanji guides.