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Thread: Sequel Slump: Persona 4 - Editorial

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    Dread News Editor RPGamer Staff Fowl Sorcerous's Avatar
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    Sequel Slump: Persona 4 - Editorial

    In this instalment, RPGamers reach out to the truth only to discover lacklustre investigation mechanics, poor pacing and railroading. At least the characters are more interesting, for the first few hours.

    well, the soundtrack is pretty good

  2. #2
    Good editorial, balancing praise and criticism is always a plus with me.

  3. #3
    You make some good points, but you're inaccurate on at least one.

    There's 23 social links. Of those, 3 are automatic and you don't affect their advancement. Of the remaining, 7 are your team members, being generous with the term "team member" to include the Hermit social link.

    That leaves 13 social links that are not party members and not automatic. Thus, the majority aren't team members, but people who aren't associated with the party directly. 11/21 if you don't count the two new ones for Golden.

    Of course, if you only look at the social links tied to students at the school, then there's 6 party members vs 4 other links, but when you take into account the two members of the velvet room, the 3 jobs, the old lady, and your two relatives... Not to mention that dip Adachi.

    Also, I've finished every social link for Persona 4, but I haven't done the same yet for Persona 3. It didn't really draw me back in for a second playthrough like P4 did. I mean, I did start one, but only managed a month or so into it.

    Though, what I did of P3's links left a lot to be desired. Lovers, Emperor, Justice, Magician, and Priestess especially. I think it would have been more fun to do a social link with Akihiko or Ken than those 5 dull links. I did like Sun, Strength, Hanged Man, Empress, and Aeon though. Hermit was only really good for its ending. Hierophant was interesting, but with little payoff. Moon was most notable for how it tied into the overall storyline, but the character was just irritating. Not to mention the ending of the storyline as a whole. How depressing. Plus, there was even less choice and fewer endings for P3 than P4, and you actually had to do a bit of thinking to solve the case. In Persona 3, you're pretty much powerless all the way through. You go where you're told, when you're told, the choice of an ending is just a "easy way out, or long and slow way out." No real thought at all.

    I never had any problem with feeling a false pressure to rescue them, primarily because I always just rescued them the first day I could and spent the rest of the time doing links. When I did wait (december) the only time they really pressured me to go in was the last 3-4 days before the game would have been over.
    Last edited by kazriko; 01-12-2013 at 08:23 PM.

  4. #4
    Going to have to agree with the lack of tension due to having too much time to kill and time to spare. It just didn't work well with the plot.

    This is probably why I enjoyed devil survivors plot so much more than P4, because the tension was there the whole game and every action you did contributed to even greater tension.

  5. #5
    Tactic's Ogre I choose u! scorpio_7's Avatar
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    Meh... ultimately I find P4 to be the more solid game in the series. Charaters, story, social links, gameplay... all more superior.

    So I respectably disagree... I feel this sequel is by far an improvement. And in some cases sequels are better, for example EVERYONE says ff13-2 is better (that might be a bad example lol)

    EDIT: Is P4 actually a sequel? FF8 isn't a sequel to ff7... are these games (universes) any different? Is P3 a sequel to P2? I;m not sure about this labelling... but I could be completely wrong at the same time.
    Last edited by scorpio_7; 01-12-2013 at 11:26 PM.

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    Some interesting points brought up, but I still find the story (and the game as a whole) to be substantially better than Persona 3 (especially in it's original form on the PS2). Sure, Persona 3 had some tension, but it was rarely clarified to anything more specific than impending doom for the world, which isn't very interesting in and of itself.

  7. #7
    News Director/Reviewer RPGamer Staff Severin Mira's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scorpio_7 View Post
    EDIT: Is P4 actually a sequel? FF8 isn't a sequel to ff7... are these games (universes) any different? Is P3 a sequel to P2? I;m not sure about this labelling... but I could be completely wrong at the same time.
    Persona 4 is more a sequel than those two other examples as it very clearly takes place in the same real world what with the visit to Gekkoukan and the apearance of Chihiro - doubt that needs to be spoilered but just in case :P. I believe Persona 4 Arena furthers this too (not that I've been able to play it yet, grr). As it is, the events of P3 have almost zero direct effect on those in P4 so it may not be a "true" sequel to many.
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    That Guy You Hate RPGamer Staff omegabyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kazriko View Post
    You make some good points, but you're inaccurate on at least one.

    There's 23 social links. Of those, 3 are automatic and you don't affect their advancement. Of the remaining, 7 are your team members, being generous with the term "team member" to include the Hermit social link.

    That leaves 13 social links that are not party members and not automatic. Thus, the majority aren't team members, but people who aren't associated with the party directly. 11/21 if you don't count the two new ones for Golden.

    Of course, if you only look at the social links tied to students at the school, then there's 6 party members vs 4 other links, but when you take into account the two members of the velvet room, the 3 jobs, the old lady, and your two relatives... Not to mention that dip Adachi.

    Also, I've finished every social link for Persona 4, but I haven't done the same yet for Persona 3. It didn't really draw me back in for a second playthrough like P4 did. I mean, I did start one, but only managed a month or so into it.

    Though, what I did of P3's links left a lot to be desired. Lovers, Emperor, Justice, Magician, and Priestess especially. I think it would have been more fun to do a social link with Akihiko or Ken than those 5 dull links. I did like Sun, Strength, Hanged Man, Empress, and Aeon though. Hermit was only really good for its ending. Hierophant was interesting, but with little payoff. Moon was most notable for how it tied into the overall storyline, but the character was just irritating. Not to mention the ending of the storyline as a whole. How depressing. Plus, there was even less choice and fewer endings for P3 than P4, and you actually had to do a bit of thinking to solve the case. In Persona 3, you're pretty much powerless all the way through. You go where you're told, when you're told, the choice of an ending is just a "easy way out, or long and slow way out." No real thought at all.

    I never had any problem with feeling a false pressure to rescue them, primarily because I always just rescued them the first day I could and spent the rest of the time doing links. When I did wait (december) the only time they really pressured me to go in was the last 3-4 days before the game would have been over.
    Play Persona 3 Portable and use the female protagonist. Then you get S. Links with Mitsuru, Yukari, Fuuka, Aigis, Akihiko, Ken, Junpei, Shinjiro, Koromaru, and even Ryouji. Shinjiro and Ryouji's are probably the two best social links across both games, but you have a VERY limited time frame to finish them.

    As far as the ending goes, P3's is a thousand billion times better than P4's. It's more powerful in every possible way (but then, the themes of the two games are very, very different as well.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by omegabyte View Post
    As far as the ending goes, P3's is a thousand billion times better than P4's. It's more powerful in every possible way (but then, the themes of the two games are very, very different as well.)
    I can't even remember the ending of Persona 3. That's how little impact it made on me. I've just never understood the love P3 gets compared to P4 and the rest of the SMT series. Characters (in the FES version) were less interesting, the story as a whole was far less interesting (it was a pretty generic "save the world" story), and the combat system (until the PSP version) was lacking due to only being able to control the main character. For the portable versions, P3's combat system was fixed, and the P4 ending was improved, which left the overall story and characters as the main differences between the games. IMO P4 wins both of those easily.

    Every now and then I think I should try replaying P3 (the psp version this time) to see if maybe I was wrong, but I don't think I have the time or motivation to get through it again.

  10. #10
    A Serious Man Drav's Avatar
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    I kept waiting for Persona 3 to have a story about after 15 hours I kind of just gave up. It usually doesn't bother me when games are story-light but when the rest of the game is mostly just Japanophile wish fulfilment you kind of need a reason to keep going.

    Of course Persona 4 has the exact opposite problem. Maybe it's just that I expect a certain level of ludonarrative dissonance from JRPGs by this point but the stuff in the editorial didn't really bother me; It's mostly just the glacial pacing and the length of the cutscenes (which becomes intolerable during the school events) that have stopped me from finishing it. One day.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Azilis View Post
    I can't even remember the ending of Persona 3. That's how little impact it made on me. I've just never understood the love P3 gets compared to P4 and the rest of the SMT series. Characters (in the FES version) were less interesting, the story as a whole was far less interesting (it was a pretty generic "save the world" story), and the combat system (until the PSP version) was lacking due to only being able to control the main character. For the portable versions, P3's combat system was fixed, and the P4 ending was improved, which left the overall story and characters as the main differences between the games. IMO P4 wins both of those easily.

    Every now and then I think I should try replaying P3 (the psp version this time) to see if maybe I was wrong, but I don't think I have the time or motivation to get through it again.
    Well Persona 3 was the first to use this template is the main reason. Persona 4 is pretty much Persona 3 2.0, so it's not as fresh for the gamers. Persona 3 wasn't about the story as the editorial said, it was about being able to mess around with various activities all year round. Unfortunately that didn't create a lot of drive for some people as some people need a more story focus game (Persona 4 lovers). Plus not being able to control your party made you have to think a bit more strategically for battle (which wasn't for everybody).

    Don't get me wrong I like P4 better, but those are the reasons I think are what make people praise the game.

  12. #12
    Wait, really? I've seen some terrible sequels in my day (including the king itself, Ultima IX) and can't imagine P4 being an example of a poor sequel. It had what made the first great, and seemed more polished. I've finished both 3 and 4, seemed to enjoy the latter somewhat more.

  13. #13
    Dread News Editor RPGamer Staff Fowl Sorcerous's Avatar
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    this series has never been about terrible. it's about picking nits and dissecting how things fall short. theoretically i could do a series about sequels exceeding the original but those tends to much more obvious.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by omegabyte View Post
    Play Persona 3 Portable and use the female protagonist. Then you get S. Links with Mitsuru, Yukari, Fuuka, Aigis, Akihiko, Ken, Junpei, Shinjiro, Koromaru, and even Ryouji. Shinjiro and Ryouji's are probably the two best social links across both games, but you have a VERY limited time frame to finish them.
    I've started that, but got bored with it within a month. I'll go back eventually.

    As far as the ending goes, P3's is a thousand billion times better than P4's. It's more powerful in every possible way (but then, the themes of the two games are very, very different as well.)
    Ugh. My thought is... spare us from the overwrought messiah metaphors...

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    I had three major problems with the story of P4 which made it a step down from P3 for me

    1. As was said in the article, the characters' arcs end when they are rescued from the TV and recruited. After that, there's nothing for them to do except talk about their problems a bit more, and maybe have a very minor subplot in the social links, act goofy in the comic relief scenes, and say generic information in the investigation. P3's characters were developed as the game went on and events happened to them personally that deepened their characters. P4's characters have one confrontation with their inner self, their shadow helpfully spells out exactly what their inner demons are, and then they're rescued and nothing else happens to them for them rest of the game for the most part.

    2. The persona evolutions occur by raising the social links to the maximum level. This makes sense from a gameplay standpoint, but from a story standpoint, it cheapens the evolutions. In P3 the characters personas evolved because they underwent truly life-changing events that might have permanently changed them. In P4, the characters personas evolved because they spent a few months talking about their problems to the main character while he occasionally said "I agree" or "Don't be so hard on yourself". Since P3's evolutions happened in the storyline, the writing can show the characters as being slightly different than they were before. In P4, the evolutions happen in social links, so in the main storyline the characters behave the same way whether they're personas have changed or not.

    3. The Investigation Team's relationship never felt as strong to me as SEES did. By the end of P3, SEES felt like a true family. In P4, the team eventually felt like the MC and the MC's fanclub. This carries over to P4 Arena, where all of them generally regarded the events of P4 as being "I investigated a murder mystery with a few friends of mine, and the greatest, smartest, coolest, strongest, most amazing human being who has ever walked the face of the planet, Yu Narukami". In P3 the MC feels like a member of a group of friends, in P4 he feels like the center of it. Other relationships within the group are either almost invisible for most of the game (Chie and Yukiko's friendship), or played for laughs (Kanji's crush on Naoto). I loved the fact that in P3 It's Yukari who comes helps Mitsuru get over her father's death, and not the MC, and Yukari and Mitsuru for a close friendship.

    Persona 4 is still a great game, and slightly better than P3 gameplay wise, but these issues combined with some more personal issues with the story(I don't like Scooby Doo-esque mysteries; I find Teddie incredibly obnoxious; I don't like overly talky social links, and it felt like there were more of those in P4 than P3 though P3 had its share) made it a step down from P3 for me.

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