|Publisher||Atlus (JPN, NA) |
Square Enix (EU)
|July 10, 2008|
December 9, 2008
April 8, 2014
|March 13, 2009|
Persona 4 is the fifth game in the Persona series. The game was developed by Atlus for the PlayStation 2. The game is a turn-based RPG akin to most games of the SMT series, although this game's plot is rather unique compared to other games in general and in its series as it is based off a murder mystery. Two fighting games based on the game, Persona 4 Arena and its sequel Persona 4 Arena Ultimax have been released on both the PS3 and Xbox 360. An enhanced port of this game, Persona 4 Golden, was released for the PS Vita.
(This summary only details the main story of the game; neither activities the player can choose to spend in-game time on nor the individual storylines of Social Links are listed here.)
Set in 2011, the game starts with the protagonist (who is named by the player) being sent to the rural town of Inaba from the big city, since his parents are working abroad. He is living with his uncle Ryotaro Dojima and his younger cousin Nanako Dojima, and attends Yasogami High School, where he becomes friends with Chie Satonaka, Yukiko Amagi and Yosuke Hanamura. His uncle Dojima is a police detective, whose primary assistant is an odd man named Tohru Adachi.
On the first day of the game, the protagonist has a strange dream that teaches him to use a Persona, specifically his first one Izanagi, in battle. Through Chie, the protagonist and Yosuke come to realize that an urban legend called the Midnight Channel is true; if you stare into a turned off TV at midnight on a rainy day, you will see a strange figure in there. Shocking the once sleepy town, a TV announcer — Mayumi Yamano — is found dead, hanging upside-down from a telephone pole. When the protagonist first watches the Midnight Channel after hearing the rumor from Chie, he finds that he has the power to physically go into the TV, but his TV is too small to support him.
When the protagonist reports this to his friends the next day, all three of them decide to then go through one of the large TVs at Junes; all of them make it through, and subsequently find a strange bear named Teddie; the group is let out by this same bear after wandering the strange world in fear, as well as finding out there are no exits except for the bear's T.V.'s that he can create. The next day, the body of Saki Konishi — the girl who discovered the body of Mayumi — is found dead as well. When Yosuke and the protagonist return to the television the next day, they find that there is a pathway to an area resembling Inaba. There, in this realm created by the true feelings of Saki called the Twisted Shopping District, Yosuke's repressed feelings of how he was not really liked by Saki — whom he harbored a deep crush on — manifest into a clone-like figure of himself. Yosuke's inability to accept the clone's claim that he did not enter the realm for Saki's death (and how it was all about adventure for him) allows it to become Shadow Yosuke. When the player defeats it with Izanagi, Yosuke accepts his true feelings, allowing the Shadow to manifest into Yosuke's Persona, Jiraiya. The player learns that he has a special power named the Wild Card which allows him to wield multiple Personas (unlike all the other party members who only have one).
Eventually, a shadowy figure begins to appear on the Midnight Channel, which is feared by the group to be Chie's best friend Yukiko who just made a recent appearance on the news, though she is still present in the real world. Unfortunately, Yukiko does become kidnapped eventually, and afterwards clear and vivid images of her appear on the Midnight Channel. With Teddie giving analytical support, the protagonist and Yosuke decide to venture into the TV World (specifically Yukiko's dungeon Yukiko's Castle) and use their Personas to fight. They both warn Chie that she shouldn’t enter since she lacks a Persona, though she ignores the warning. On the 6th floor of the castle, Chie is caught up with and her emotions manifest and battle the pair as Shadow Chie; though after its defeat, Shadow Chie will turn into Chie's own Persona, and Chie will now join the trio as the third combatant. Shadow Yukiko is then defeated on the last floor of the castle, and upon its defeat it becomes Yukiko's Persona.
The protagonist and the group see another strange figure appear on the TV, and suspect it to be a biker who recently appeared on the real-world news; Kanji Tatsumi. While looking for the boy, the group spots a strange, blue-dressed slender young man who seems to be following him. They are unable to keep close enough an eye on Kanji to prevent him from being kidnapped, and once he is, he begins to appear clearly on the channel. After Kanji is rescued from his dungeon, the Steamy Bathhouse, he joins the group.
When Kanji is rescued, the group comes to realize that all 4 of the kidnap victims — Yamano, Saki, Yukiko and Kanji — appeared on real-life TV before appearing on the Midnight Channel. Additionally, Yukiko and Kanji's first appearances on the channel were blurry and out of focus, though those appearances happened before they disappeared. After they disappeared, their appearances on the Midnight Channel became clear and in-focus and representative of their inner emotions. Therefore the group concludes that the victims will first appear on the real-world TV, then appear in a blurry form on the Midnight Channel, then they will be kidnapped, then have vivid appearances on the channel until they die on the next foggy day. Also, the Shadow forms of the victims are their true emotions, which gain their power from their host's inability to accept them (since each victim denied their Shadow form).
It comes to the attention of the town that a local celebrity model, Rise Kujikawa, is coming to Inaba. However, the group becomes worried when they see an indistinct silhouette on the Midnight Channel that seems to resemble Rise. The group is unable to prevent her from disappearing, and after she is abducted, she begins to clearly appear on the Midnight Channel. When she is confronted in her dungeon, the Marukyu Striptease, she refuses to accept her shadow form; it engages the group in a battle, but eventually, it will simply use the move Supreme Insight to make it invincible.
The group is unable to do a thing about it, but Teddie steps in and uses his inner power to destroy the monster. This results in his body being completely and utterly flattened, almost killing him. Eventually, Teddie's inner emotions about himself manifest and create Shadow Teddie, which battles and loses to the group. Teddie gains his own Persona after its defeat, and so does Rise. Rise will take over Teddie's role as the analytical support, while Teddie will join the group as a playable character. Teddie also gains a human body in the real world. The group, for the second time now, encounters the slender teen from before, who has now taken an interest in Kanji, the next victim.
After Rise's rescue and recovery (and Teddie doing "training" in the TV World to repair his exhausted body and prepare him to be a playable combatant), the foul-mouthed and largely unpopular schoolteacher Kinshiro Morooka — despite never appearing on either the news or the Midnight Channel beforehand — was found dead in a manner similar to the first two victims. The group is shocked at how the killer's pattern has completely been abandoned. The strange slender teenager the group encountered before reveals himself to be Naoto Shirogane, a young, aspiring detective whom is assisting the P.D. in the case. He comments that the police have found a suspect who has confessed his guilt, though they have not yet revealed his identity — Naoto does say that he is a student from another high school.
As summer break starts, a clear and vivid image appears on the Midnight Channel showing a strange boy taunting the protagonist's to "come and get me". An investigation around town by the party to find the boy's identity reveals him to be the suspect being sought after by the police (and a student from another high school) named Mitsuo Kubo. When he is confronted in his Midnight Channel dungeon, Void Quest, his shadow form attacks the group and is defeated, and he is pulled out of the TV and handed over to the police as the true killer. However, the group suspects that something isn't right with the theory that he is the killer due to the large incongruities in his profile (as well as how Morooka was simply beat to death with a blunt object). The group tries to piece together any evidence to confirm or disprove the theory that Kubo is the killer.
It is confirmed that Kubo must be a copycat killer when Naoto, after first deliberately appearing on the real world TV himself in an attempt to bait the killer, appears on the Midnight Channel. When the group goes out to his dungeon, the Secret Laboratory, to save him, they find that in reality, Naoto is actually a girl who took on a male identity to avoid the sexism of the police department. After her dark self is defeated she also joins the group, whose excellent detective skills prove to be a highly valuable asset for the rest of the game. But on October 20th, the protagonist receives a letter addressed to him — the sender's name and address are nowhere to be found on the letter which literally only reads: "dont rescue anymore" with no capitalization or punctuation. The player's party members offer some theories but nothing definitive about the letter.
November 5th marks the start of the climax of the game, when another letter is addressed to the protagonist; it reads "if you dont stop this time someone close will be put in and killed" again lacking any capitalization, punctuation or grammar. Unfortunately, Dojima sees the letter and sends the protagonist to the police station, his suspicions about him being involved in the case (what with him and his friends being found at crime scenes) now affirmed true. Nanako is then reported kidnapped and is indeed seen on the Midnight Channel that night; the group, using Naoto's deductive reasoning, find that the culprit should be a small-time suspect in the first murder, Taro Namatame since he uses a delivery truck, something that can both hold a TV with access to the TV World and is not suspicious to ordinary people. No signs of force entry were found at the Dojima house as well, a clear indicant that this was someone who knew Nanako (like Namatame).
When Dojima gives chase to Namatame, the cars collide seriously injuring Dojima while Namatame and Nanako disappear into the Midnight Channel through the large TV in Namatame's truck. As Dojima rests in the hospital, the group comes to the conclusion that Namatame must be the real killer. He and Nanako are tracked down in the next Midnight Channel dungeon, Heaven. When confronted, Namatame will claim that he is actually "saving people", leaving the group confused (but no less enraged at him). A shadow stems from Namatame and attempts to attack the group (Kunino-sagiri), but after it is defeated, the team escorts both Nanako and Namatame out of the dungeon. Both are sent to the hospital injured, with Namatame being in too unstable a state of mind to make any statements to police or the group.
Unfortunately, at this time, fog — the same type of fog that courses through the Midnight Channel (that reduces visibility without special glasses) — is found running through the real world. The team goes through a stressful period as they wait for Nanako to recover. Dojima and Nanako are periodically visited in the hospital by the group. More and more people begin falling ill over the fog, and the doctors comment that there is actually no visible evidence on Nanako to indicate what is causing her sickness (though this is almost certainly because of how the fog's supernatural powers and the technology of the hospital don't go hand-in-hand).
December 3rd is the final turning point in the game. On this day, after the group rushes to the hospital when Adachi calls them to tell them that Nanako's condition has worsened, Nanako appears to succumb to her wounds and appears to die. Furious, an emotional Dojima attempts to walk into Namatame's ward and kill him, but is stopped by guards. As the guard drags him away, the group enters Namatame's room and they find that he is actually mentally unstable, and uttering indecipherable comments. Unfortunately, as Dojima's assistant Adachi told them earlier, there is almost no evidence that the police can use to convict, or even further detain Namatame (and of course there is no chance a judge or a jury will believe the story about the Midnight Channel). After watching a Shadow manifestation of Namatame, the group, particularly Yosuke, contemplates murdering Namatame to bring true justice for all the victims and to prevent him from claiming more. The player must convince Yosuke and the group that they need to seek the truth and think with their minds and not their emotions; if they do not do so, one of these "bad ending"s will occur.
- If the player approves Yosuke's wishes, Namatame is thrown into the television and likely is killed by the Shadows, while Nanako will be confirmed dead. The protagonist will return home, and the mystery will go unsolved (just not to the group's knowledge) with the party never realizing that the man they killed was not the true culprit. The fog seems to disappear 3 months later in March as the protagonist leaves the city. The rather downbeat credits, as well as the very existence of alternate pathways in the dialogue tree, are likely to be interpreted by the player as clear indicators that this was not the true ending.
- If Namatame is spared, but the player cannot convince the group that they need to dig deeper into the case, or if the player does do so but cannot guess the killer's identity 2 days later, then Nanako will come back to life. The game ends, and the mystery will go unsolved (again, not to the group's knowledge). Namatame is seen pleading guilty to the kidnapping charges but not guilty to the murder charges on TV. The same downbeat credit sequence plays again, another indication to the player that this is not the true ending.
Now, if the player convinces the group to dig deeper, then the group will hear Namatame's explanation 2 days later. He states that after seeing Yamano and Saki die, and realizing they both appeared on the news and the Midnight Channel before their death, he began to want to save people who appeared. He also had the power to physically thrust people into TV's, and he had the idea of throwing Yukiko, Kanji, Rise, Naoto and Nanako into the TV's to safeguard them from the murders. But it wasn't until he entered the TV world alongside Nanako that he realized how awful the world is, and he didn't know all that time that he was actually forcing people into mortal danger. The protagonist then must guess the identity of the real killer (from a list of 26 suspects in the game's narration) as the true killer; Dojima's assistant Adachi.
Adachi, once confronted, escapes into the TV World, as does the group; when he first confronts the group, he explains how he killed the first two victims and how he used Namatame to kidnap the rest and how he threw Kubo into the TV World since his false confession would stop Namatame's actions. He claims that he did this all so that he could sit back and enjoy the juxtaposition of Namatame and the group's efforts; after the group goes through the dungeon, Magatsu Inaba, that he runs to, he then tells the group that it is humanity's desire to allow the fog to settle in to settle their emotional distress. He then fights the group, surprisingly using a Persona of his own; Magatsu-Izanagi; he is unable to win. After losing, the group then fights the spirit that used Adachi as a puppet; Ameno-sagiri. 3 months after its defeat in March, Nanako will be released from the hospital. Now, the protagonist can either go home without causing the trigger events; if he does, the "Normal Ending" that shows the true credits plays.
However, if the player (after first seeing all his maxed S. Links) insists that he meet the group at Junes, then the group begins to acknowledge the incongruities in the theory of Adachi being a lone wolf; how did he and Namatame get the power to enter TVs in the first place? How did the protagonist himself? How did the Midnight Channel and its rumors get started?
By retracing his steps from the first day in the game, the player comes to realize that the real antagonist and conductor of the game is the Moel Gas Station Attendant, or really, the god Izanami. When the attendant shook hands with the protagonist back on the very first day of the game, this gave him the power to fight with Personas, and it reveals having done the same with both Adachi and Namatame.
The group confronts Izanami in the final dungeon, Yomotsu Hirasaka. When Izanami and its true form, Izanami-no-Okami, are defeated using the protagonist's final and Ultimate Persona, the Midnight Channel turns to what it was a long time ago according to Teddie; a beautiful universe of joy, that Teddie can now return to in happiness. Teddie returns, and the protagonist leaves by train, with his friends saying joyful goodbyes.
- See also: List of Persona 4 Characters
As in most Persona games, a majority of the characters are high school students, this time from Yasogami High School.
- The protagonist: The silent protagonist of the game. He recently moved to live in Inaba with his uncle and cousin, after his parents had to work overseas. He is named by the player. His silence creates an aura of mystery around him, though he is social enough to establish many Social Links in the game.
- Yosuke Hanamura: A clumsy, awkward second-year boy who is often used as comic relief through physical comedy. His dad is the manager of Junes, a department store.
- Chie Satonaka: An upbeat girl with a short temper and an obsession with martial arts and food. She was born and raised in Inaba and is a second-year with Yosuke, Yukiko, and the protagonist.
- Yukiko Amagi: A wealthy, elegant, introverted girl who is the heiress of the famous Amagi Inn. She is always busy training herself for the family business. Like Chie, she is a second-year.
- Kanji Tatsumi: A juvenile delinquent with piercings and a tough look. However, his mother runs a textile shop in their home, making him very skilled at tailoring. A first-year.
- Rise Kujikawa: A former idol in Japan, she quits her job to have a normal life in the countryside and enrolls at Yasogami High as a first-year. She acts as support in battle after taking over for Teddie.
- Naoto Shirogane: A young, serious detective who is dubbed as the "Detective Prince." After becoming involved in the murder cases, Naoto enrolls at Yasogami High as a first-year.
- Teddie: A strange bear mascot who resides within the TV World. He starts as outside support, but after Shadow Rise is defeated by the group (or more accurately by him), he joins the group as a battler.
- Igor - The man who operates the Velvet Room. He fuses Personas and gives access to the Compendium through the room.
- Margaret - Igor's well-meaning assistant in the room, and is actually the sister of Elizabeth from Persona 3.
- Nanako Dojima - The protagonist's intelligent, sweet and young cousin. Her mother died in a car crash.
- Ryotaro Dojima - The protagonist's uncle, a renowned police detective and Nanako's father. He is working on the murder case as well.
- Tohru Adachi - The strange, somewhat twitchy assistant of Dojima. Also a police detective.
- Kinshiro Morooka - The foul-mouthed, unpopular, and very strict teacher of the protagonist and his classmates.
- Noriko Kashiwagi - The teacher who replaces Morooka later on, and is still unpopular.
Over the course of Persona 4, the player's main goal, as a high school student, is to defeat and progress through the Midnight Channel dungeons before their deadline to progress in the game's story. Before starting a save file, the player must choose between one of 3 difficulties.
After school on school days (from Monday - Saturday), or on a holiday/Sunday, the player (provided there are no story-driven cutscenes that day) can either choose to engage in Social Link activities, or engage in the battle system by entering the Midnight Channel. The player can also go around the Shopping District to shop, though this does not take up the time used to battle or engage in a social link. The player can also simply go home and skip the day, which progresses the game faster but does not have the benefits of grinding or engaging the social links.
Each dungeon in the Midnight Channel must be completed before the first foggy day after it is opened; failure to do this will result in a game over (though the player will be provided the option to revert 7 days back).
After school or during the day, a character with a "!" speech bubble above their head indicates that they are open to hang out and engage in activities. Each Social Link corresponds to an Arcana tarot. Some story events will automatically progress certain S. Links levels, while some S. Links themselves are entirely automatically upgraded (namely the Fool Arcana). Social Links, when first established, start at LV1 and are maxed out at LV10. Certain trigger events are needed to start some S. Links, though some are automatically offered to the player as time progresses.
When the player has a Persona of an Arcana, they will have an easier time progressing the Social Link corresponding to that Arcana. For example, while holding a Magician Persona, the progression of the Yosuke Hanamura S. Link will be faster.
There are a few reasons why S. Links are important:
- When a player fuses a Persona in the Velvet Room, if the Persona the player is about to create is of an upgraded Social Link, they will gain Bonus EXP (thus upgrading them) as soon as they are summoned. The higher Level that S. Link is, the more bonus EXP the summoned Persona will get. It's also worth noting that while the player cannot fuse a Persona with a higher base level than him, he can fuse a Persona that has a lower level; but will have a higher level after the S. Link boost.
- The ability for the player to fuse and find Personas of a certain Arcana will increase corresponding to that Arcana's S. Link level.
- The character's party members will gain special abilities and have upgraded Personas in battle, making their S. Link's the most important to advance. Also, most of the party members are weak to a certain affinity, but their upgraded Personas nullify this weakness.
- Maxing out an individual's social link allows you to fuse an exceptionally powerful Persona that corresponds to that arcana.
This is a list of Social Links.
- Italics indicate S.Links automatically upgraded via story progression.
- Bold indicates a party member.
- Fool: Investigation Team
- Magician: Yosuke Hanamura
- Priestess: Yukiko Amagi
- Empress: Margaret
- Emperor: Kanji Tatsumi
- Hierophant: Ryotaro Dojima
- Lovers: Rise Kujikawa
- Chariot: Chie Satonaka
- Justice: Nanako Dojima
- Hermit: Fox
- Fortune: Naoto Shirogane
- Strength: Kou Ichijo or Daisuke Nagase
- Hanged Man: Naoki Konishi
- Death: Hisano Kuroda
- Temperance: Eri Minami
- Devil: Sayoko Uehara
- Tower: Shu Nakajima
- Star: Teddie
- Moon: Ai Ebihara
- Sun: Yumi Ozawa or Ayane Matsunaga
- Judgement: The Seekers of Truth
The other option for the player during his days is to enter the channel and battle. However, since S. Links are important and since all dungeons in the game must be completed before a deadline, the player must be considerate of how they use their time.
In the Midnight Channel, accessed by the Junes Department Store, the player will be able to enter the Velvet Room as well. Here, they can both access their Compendium (which stores all Personas they've used before) and fuse Personas to make new ones.
One of the biggest changes to the game (from P3) is that the player can control their party members (this must be done by setting the command to "Direct" in the Tactics menu first).
In the dungeons, the player can take up to 3 of his allies with him. The players will use their Personas in battle to combat the Bosses and Shadows that populate the strange TV World. In a battle, every combatant has HP & SP; when a player loses all of their HP, that player is automatically knocked out of the battle, and if the protagonist is knocked out, the game ends (though in the easy difficulty setting, the player can use one of 10 special items to automatically fully revive the party when he is knocked down).
There is a total of 9 different attacks in the game; Physical, Wind, Fire, Electric, Ice, Light, Dark, Almighty and All-Out. All players have a standard Physical attack that costs no HP or SP to use. The player and his allies must use weapons bought from the Daidara Metalworks shop in the Shopping District to perform the basic attacks. Also, some Personas can use more high-powered Physical attacks; but these cost the player a percentage of their HP. Wind, Fire, Electric and Ice attacks can only be done by the Personas, and cost SP instead. Light and Dark attacks will instantly subtract all HP from the target if they are successful. Almighty attacks cost SP, though all players have a normal affinity to them (see below for why this is advantageous). When all opponents are knocked down, the player and his allies can perform a high-powered All-Out Attack to deal massive damage.
Several status aliments can be inflicted as well.
Virtually, if not every, Persona and Shadow in the game will hold at least one of the following affinities to a move type:
- Weak - Takes extra damage from the attack knocking the player down, and when knocked down, grants the attacker another turn. Attacker can't get an extra turn if the target is already knocked down. If hit with a move weak to while knocked down, you become Dizzy.
- Strong - Takes considerably less damage from that attack.
- Null - Takes no damage from that attack.
- Drain - Gains HP equal to the damage instead.
- Repel - Redirects the attack to the attacker.
Another way to knock down the enemy with more damage and gain another attack is a Critical strike, which only happens randomly out of luck (though some moves, like Rebellion and Revolution, can boost the Critical rate).
The Tired aliment that limited the time the player could spend in the dungeon's in Persona 3, is removed, though this is balanced out by the fact that the player — unlike in Persona 3 — cannot do a Social Link and enter the dungeon in the same day.
While HP-recovering spells are common and come naturally through upgraded party members, and since HP-recovering items are common and purchasable at stores, SP-recovering spells are almost non-existent and SP-recovering items cannot be bought and must be found in the dungeon chests; since SP is very important in battle and is difficult to recover, this is what makes grinding in one day difficult. There is a fox the player will eventually recruit that gives him the power to recover both HP and SP, though the cost for doing this is unsurprisingly quite high. Additionally, unlike in P3, returning to the entrance of the dungeon hub will not recover SP (or HP).
After completing a battle, the player may be able to partake in Shuffle Time; this can be denied. If accepted, the player will select a card that can be one of three things; a new Persona he receives, a blank card (that does nothing), or a Penalty Card which nullifies all rewards (money and experience) from that battle. Afterward, he may get the opportunity to partake in Arcana Chance; this will first show him an Arcana card, then if he accepts, the card will rotate until it lands upright or up-side-down. The upright landing grants the player a positive effect while the up-side-down landing gives him a negative effect.
North American Cover
DoubleJump Interview with Atlus concerning Persona.
- The plastic models are all named after plot-relevant Digital Devil Saga demons. In addition to being a reference to Brahman, the MF-06 Brahman is a homage to the of the series. The Heavy Armor Agni, named after Agni, is a variation and recolor of the MF-06 Brahman. It is most likely a reference to own red .
- In the True Ending of the game, Yosuke asks the protagonist whether he has plans in May, hinting at the release of Persona 4 Arena which starts in May, more specifically during Golden Week, two months after the True Ending of Persona 4.
- In the Persona 4 disc, one can find BGM from Persona 3 FES.
- In the protagonist's room, the player can find a calendar with promotional artwork for Persona 3.
External Links Edit
- Official North American Site
- Official Japanese Site
- Persona 4 Information - a site dedicated to information about Persona 4