Persona 4 GOLDEN

I played the original on the PlayStation 2, and I’m feeling nostalgic.

Expect spoilers galore. This is your only warning.


Starting the Game

This is going to be slow. I remember that much…

Selecting Difficulty

I don’t remember the original having difficulty levels.

  • Very Easy: “This mode is easier than easy. Relax and enjoy the story. If your party is wiped in battle, you can instantly retry.”
  • Easy: “For those who are less than confident in their skills. The battles are easier than NORMAL mode, so don’t get too worked up.”
  • Normal: “This is the best balance of difficulty and enjoyment. Please experience the tension.”
  • Hard: “This is for the confident. Battles are more challenging, and you’ll experience severe gameplay.”
  • Very Hard: “Do you hate yourself, or are you supremely self-confident? This difficulty requires a strength of heart that never gives in.”

Fuck it; I’ve beaten Demon’s Souls. I can probably handle this on max difficulty. Then again, the difficulty is adjustable during the game. If I want to, I can do dungeons on “very easy” and switch to “very hard” for boss fights. That way the trash mobs are a cakewalk but the battles that really matter will be memorable.


Nice how they make a point of reminding me that the game is a work of fiction.

The Velvet Room

Or is it a limo? Igor’s back, as usual, with the usual spiel. Only those bound by a contract may enter, etc. It’s as good an excuse as any to name the protagonist. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough room for “Hiro Protagonist”.

The default is “Yu Narukami”.

Now there’s something about fortune telling.

  • The Tower, upright: representing the immediate future, a terrible catastrophy is imminent.
  • The Moon, upright: hesitation and mystery.

Dire portents indeed.

But first, time to meet Margaret. She replaces Elizabeth from Persona 3 as Igor’s attendant, and will herself be replaced in Persona 5.

We’ll be back soon, I’m sure.

Coming to Inaba

Not sure why Yu is headed to Yasoinaba, but that might be explained later on. It’s a quiet little town, or so we’re supposed to think.

11 April: Afternoon

Getting off the train. Meeting Ryotaro Dojima (or should it be Dojima Ryotaro), who’s the protagonist’s uncle and the game’s first dialogue choice.

  1. “It’s nice to meet you.”
  2. “It’s been a long time.”
  3. “…”

I went with option 2 since Yu should recognize his uncle. Seems to have been the right choice.

And Yu has a little cousin: Nanako. Shy, naturally. Yu’s horns must be showing.

Time to head to the car, but first: there’s an “unfriendly-looking girl” in a punk-rock outfit. I don’t remember her from the original. Apparently Yu dropped something, leading to a dialogue choice.

  1. “Thank you.”
  2. “It’s not mine.”

Might as well go with option 1. Given that there’s a portrait with her dialogue she’ll probably be plot-relevant. Turns out it was a note with Dojima’s address.

There’s an attendant1 who addresses Yu. After a bit of chitchat and a handshake, something happens to him. Almost like a sudden headache or a bit of carsickness.

Dojima notices, leading to a dialogue choice.

  1. “I’m just tired.”
  2. “It’s nothing.”
  3. “I just felt lightheaded.”

I think I’ll go with option 3. Dojima understands, and I have an opportunity to roam a bit, tag the save point, etc.

The bookstore will be selling a few books on 20 April:

  • The Lovely Man: 1,200 yen
  • Expert Study Methods: 2,800 yen
  • Beginner Fishing: 1,600 yen

Probably worth buying and reading for social stat boosts.

This shopping district is the equivalent of a “main street” in the US, and like many “main streets” had seen better days, better days that ended with the coming of a big box store called “Junes”. Kinda like a Japanese Wal-Mart, I suspect.

Not much to do yet, so it’s time to get back in the car. Looks like Yu will be Dojima’s guest for the next year or so.

11 April: Evening (rain)

Now we know why Yu has come to Yasoinaba: his parents are working overseas.

Dojima invites him to make himself at home, leading to a dialogue choice:

  1. “I’ll do just that.”
  2. “Thank you for your kindness.”
  3. “Yes, Sir!”
  4. “…”

Option 2 seems the proper choice. Or perhaps it was too formal.

The phone rings. Dojima’s being called away. Good thing he wasn’t drinking, apparently.

Alone with Nanako, it’s time for another dialogue choice:

  1. “What does your dad do?”
  2. “It must be tough.”
  3. “…”

Might go with option 2 here, which leads to Nanako saying that Dojima’s a detective. Thus he’s probably off to a crime scene.

The TV’s on, with local news. Local official Taro Namatame has allegedly been banging a reporter. His, wife, enka2 diva Misuzu Hiiragi will most likely clean him out in the ensuing divorce. Meanwhile, Mayumi Yamano (the other woman) has been put on leave for PR purposes. Most likely unpaid, poor thing. But I suspect she won’t have to worry about paying her bills much longer…

Afterward, Yu can wander about the house. There’s a save point in the living room and fried rice in the fridge. Apparently it’s tasteless. Eating it might have been a mistake.

Yu can’t leave the house, and can’t do much in his room either. Time to sleep; school starts tomorrow.

But first, a dream. Surrounded by fog, the only way open is forward.

A voice asking, “Do you seek the truth?”

The voice again: “If it’s truth you desire, come and find me…”

There’s a door, and warning that somebody’s ahead. This could be dangerous.

There’s a staged value against a fog-shrouded figure who doesn’t expect Yu to be able to see and strike them.

12 April: Early Morning (rain)

Looks like Nanako’s made breakfast. She seems a bit young to be cooking on her own. No harm in asking…

  1. “Did your father go to work?”
  2. “Did you do the cooking?”

It doesn’t seem smart to be too direct with Nanako, so option 1 it is.

There’s been some kind of trouble, so Dojima won’t be around. So Yu’s taking Nanako to school since it’s on the way.

After dropping her off, we see our first party member. Dude can’t seem to handle a bike in the rain, and didn’t have the sense to wear a cup.

The homeroom has a couple more party members, judging by their clothes. Only NPCs conform to the standard uniform. Somebody named Morooka is the homeroom teacher, and if memory serves he’s an asshole.

Yep. He’s an asshole. And a gonk3. Seems obsessed with the thought of his students indulging in springtime romance. He’s none too happy to be here, and he’s taking it out on Yu by suggesting he’s a big a loser here as he was in the city. Time for another dialogue choice.

  1. “Nice to meet you all.”
  2. “…”
  3. “…You calling me a loser?”

I think I’ve seen this anime before. I doubt challenging the teacher will do much good. Never worked out too well for me IRL, but I didn’t have the sense to hold back as a kid.

Then again, standing up to this asshole boosts Yu’s courage stat.

And Morooka thinks Yu is looking at a girl “back there by the window”. Never mind that the brunette in the red cardigan is much cuter.

Wow. This guy seems to think that every young man in his class is a would-be sexual predator. One suspects that his accusations are confessions.

The references to LiveJournal and MySpace didn’t exactly age well…

Nice of the brunette in the green jacket to reach out, though.

12 April: After School (foggy)

Looks like all of the faculty have been called into a meeting. Students aren’t to leave the building. I bet it’s about the murder.

Apparently it’s always foggy after it rains in Yasoinaba.

So, the brunette with the red cardigan is Yukiko, her family runs an inn, and the reporter might have been staying there. Not that Yukiko will say; she’s discreet.

And there’s a rumor involving rainy nights…

Nice of the girls to invite Yu to walk home with them. The short-haired brunette introduces herself as Chie Satonaka, and isn’t sure Yu knows he sits next to her.

  1. “Of course.”
  2. “You do?”

Probably shouldn’t be snarky, so let’s go with option 1.

And Chie’s friend is Yukiko Amagi. She seems a bit shy, or perhaps preoccupied.

And the guy we saw on the bike earlier apparently broke a copy of one of Chie’s favorite movies, Trial of the Dragon. And he took another shot in the nuts. Twice in one day might be cheaper than a vasectomy.

Outside the school, a student in a different uniform accosts Yukiko, and calls her ‘Yuki’ even though she doesn’t know him from Adam. He asks her out, and she’s not into it. I suspect we’ll be seeing him again because he doesn’t look the sort to take ‘no’ for an answer. Except, to Chie’s chagrin, Yukiko had no idea she was being asked out.

Apparently Yukiko is the heiress apparent to the Amagi Inn. Sounds like a lot of pressure, given that the tourism the Inn brings is vital to Yasoinaba’s economy. This will probably form the basis of her character arc.

Now Chie wants to know if Yu thinks Yukiko is cute.

  1. “I think so, yeah.”
  2. “It’s hard to say.”
  3. “…”

Naturally, I’m going with option 1. Yukiko is not amused. At all. Apparently she’s popular at school but has never had a boyfriend. Chie thinks that’s kind of weird, but Yukiko insists that she doesn’t need a boyfriend. She’s not wrong.

But right up ahead is the crime scene, with people gathered around to rubberneck. Apparently there was a corpse hanging from a TV antenna. And here’s Dojima. Wants to know why Yu’s there.

  1. “Did something happen?”
  2. “We were curious.”
  3. “We’re just passing by.”

I don’t think Yu or his new fiends expected to find the crime scene ahead of them, so I’ll go with option 3. Looks like the principal fucked up.

And here’s Adachi, looking for somewhere to puke. I don’t think he’s nearly as squeamish4 as he appears to be.

Looks like I’m allowed to poke around town again. Not much in the Shopping District besides cops telling Yu to get his ass home. Nothing of interest at Junes, either. The Samagawa flood plain has nothing of interest yet either, but apparently it’s a good place for fishing.

And there’s an empty garden next to Dojima’s house. I bet that’ll be relevant later. Likewise the scooter parked outside.

Looks like when Yu returns home, the game clock will move toward “Evening”. Nothing else to do right now, though, so fuck it.

12 April: Evening (foggy)

The murder is on the local news. The victim is Mayumi Yamano. Wonder if the enka singer had her whacked. Nah, this is a MegaTen5 game; there must be something supernatural going on.

Nanako freaks out after seeing Dojima mentioned on TV:

  1. “Are you worried about him?”
  2. “It’ll be all right.”
  3. “…”

I’ll go with option 1. She isn’t worried; she understands that it’s the job.

And the authorities have no idea why Yamano was found hanging from a TV antenna. The police don’t know if it was an accident or a homicide, but a thick fog common to Yasoinaba is slowing the investigation.

And Nanako is singing along to the Junes jingle again. Dammit.

  1. “Do you like that song?”
  2. “You’re a good singer.”
  3. “Your Junes!”

Might as well build her up a little, so option 2. Apparently she’s the best in her class. Too bad her repertoire is so limited.

Looks like Yu’s done for the day. He’s not allowed to go out at night yet.

13 April: Early Morning (foggy)

The guy in the bike ended up head-first in a trash can. Guess Yu should help him out. Not that there’s a choice. Looks like his name’s Yosuke Hanamura.

  1. “Nice to meet you too.”
  2. “Are you OK?”
  3. “Is your bike OK?”

Might as well check up on him; he’s been taking a lot of abuse lately. Looks like he’ll live. He wants to talk about the dead reporter. He’s sure something that weird couldn’t be an accident.

  1. “You might be right.”
  2. “I don’t know.”

Having played this game before, I know he’s right. Nice of him to let Yu ride pillion since they’re close to being late to school.

13 April: Morning (foggy)

Oh, shit. Not Morooka again. Too bad he wasn’t the first one to get murdered. How is he qualified to teach philosophy, anyway?

But listening to the lecture increased Yu’s knowledge stat a little.

13 April: After School (foggy)

Yosuke wants to know if Yu has settled in.

  1. “Yeah.”
  2. “Not yet.”

There doesn’t seem like there’s much to get used to, so let’s go with option 1.

Apparently grilled steak is the local delicacy, and Yosuke knows where to get some cheap. And here comes Chie. She must be hungry, and she’s still miffed about her broken DVD.

Fortunately, Yosuke is only stuck covering Yu and Chie. Yukiko has to work after school, and she’s paranoid about her weight. Yosuke, being an idiot, thinks she’s started training to take over the business.

Of course, there’s no steak to be had. Yosuke can’t affort steak for free, so instead it’s the food court at Junes and revelation that he moved to Yasoinaba six months ago. He followed his father, who had been assigned to manage the new Junes that had opened up here. Apparently a lot of local stores have closed since then.

Somebody Yosuke recognizes shows up. Looks like she works there and her name is Saki Konishi.

  1. “Who’s that?”
  2. “Is she Yosuke’s girlfriend?”

Option 2 seems unlikely.

Saki’s family runs the local liquor store. Most likely not for long. And Yosuke doesn’t have the sense to leave her alone while she’s on break. According to her, Yosuke doesn’t have many friends and can sometimes get nosy. You’ve got to tell him directly if he gets annoying.

  1. “Yeah, he’s annoying.”
  2. “That’s not true.”
  3. “Nah, he’s a great guy.”

I’ll go with 3. Might help out later on.

Bit of banter, and now we’re getting somewhere. Chie’s just mentioned the Midnight Channel. “You’re supposed to look into a TV that’s switched off, alone, exactly at midnight on a rainy night. While you’re staring at your own image, another person will appear on the screen… and they say that person’s your soulmate.” Sounds like baaaaaaaaaaad shit.

Not that Yosuke’s impressed. But it’s supposed to rain tonight, so guess what Yu will be doing…

13 April: Evening (rain)

Another dinner alone with Nanako:

  1. “Did your father call?”
  2. “Don’t worry.”
  3. “…”

Seems presumptuous to tell a little girl not to worry.

Apparently Dojima always says he’ll call but never does. But he’s come home. Not that Nanako’s happy about it.

More on the news about the murder. Saki gets interviewed. I suspect she won’t survive long. Nanako wants to go to Junes, but her old man is conked out already.

Time for bed. But first, the Midnight Channel…

The TV turns on at midnight despite not being plugged in. Jittering, broken video shows a figure resembling Saki dancing. A voice pronounces, “Thou art I. I am thou.” Moments later, Yu touches the screen and his finger goes into it. Then his arm, shoulder, and head. He pulls back, and the TV cuts out.

Unfortunately, he hits his head on the table behind him, disturbing Nanako. She wants to know of Yu is OK:

  1. “I’m OK.”
  2. “Kind of…”
  3. “Did I wake you up?”

Selecting option 3 suggests that Yu did in fact wake her. Good thing he wasn’t having a wank; the walls must be pretty damned thin.

The game doesn’t seem to say much about it, but Dojima seems to have parentified the shit out of Nanako. This little girl is taking on entirely too much at her age.

14 April: Early Morning (rain)

Chie insists on getting under Yu’s umbrella. She had her own, but broke it trying moves she saw in a kung fu movie. Don’t they come with “don’t try this at home” disclamers?

She wants to know if Yu saw it. Probably means the Midnight Channel.

  1. “I did.”
  2. “See what?”

Probably shouldn’t pick option 2 unless I want to be a dick.

Chie seems to have recognized the person shown on the Midnight Channel but won’t name names yet. Tease.

Now she wants to run the rest of the way to school since they’re close. Maybe she got closer to Yu than she’s comfortable with being.

  1. “Don’t worry about it.”
  2. “You’ll catch a cold.”
  3. “Then let’s race!”

Option 3 might please Chie. 2’s out; pretty sure she’s got a mother already. Though Chie changed her mind about running in the rain.

14 April: Morning (rain)

New teacher: Kimiko Sofue. She’s into history… and cosplay.

Question time: “The western calendar is based on Anno Domini, the traditionally believed year of Jesus Christ’s birth. What is the year before 1AD called?”

  1. “0 AD”
  2. “1 BC”
  3. “-1 AD”

These school questions are all based on real-world knowledge, so the correct choice is option 2. Getting it right will increase Yu’s knowledge stat.

As Ms. Sofue explains, the Gregorian calendar is based on the Julian calendar, which was designed by people who had no concept of zero as a number. Thus we go from 1 BC to 1 AD. Almost makes the Holocene calendar look worthwhile, doesn’t it? But who wants to write 12023 in dates instead of 2023?

14 April: After School (rain)

Apparently Saki found the body. Guess she’s next.

Yosuke wants to talk about what he saw on TV.

Saki wasn’t at school today, and Yukiko seems stressed out.

Chie, Yosuke, and Yu all saw the same person in the TV last night. Yosuke suggests taking a look at the TVs at Junes; they have big flat screens in stock, big enough for Yu to get through. Not that he or Chie believes Yu.

Nevertheless, they try touching the screen. They can’t get in. But Yu can…

And now they’re all in the TV.

Into the TV

Now that Yu Narukami is settling in, it’s time for shit to start getting weird…

14 April: After School (rain) (continued)

Chie’s on the ball; her first question is whether they’re still alive.

  1. “Where are we?’
  2. “Are you guys OK?”
  3. “Is this a dream?”

Better check on the others. Doing so boosts Yu’s understanding stat.

Looking around, they notice they’re in a space resembling a TV/movie studio.

Chie wants to know what they’re going to do next.

  1. “Let’s look around.”
  2. “Let’s go home.”
  3. “It’s up to you.”

Being the protagonist, Yu shouldn’t shirk the decision. And going home probably isn’t an option yet. Chie can’t see a way in or now.

She doesn’t realize she’s become a carpet crawler6.

The carpet crawlers heed their callers
“We’ve got to get in to get out…”

Naturally, Chie and Yosuke are scared shitless.

  1. “Let’s calm down.”
  2. “Let’s look for a way out.”
  3. “We’re doomed.”

Option 2 seems the most constructive.

Exploration leads them to a room where the fog isn’t as thick. Their phones don’t work.

The room is covered in posters of the enka singer with her face cut out, and paint splattered across the walls. Worse, there’s a noose hanging from the ceiling and a chair underneath it. That’s not good at all.

This isn’t a good place, and they’re getting tired. Nevertheless, they make it back to where they found themselves. And something else is there, too. It looks a bit like a bear.

It can talk, but Chie scared it.

  1. “What is this place?”
  2. “What are you?”
  3. “Is this a dream?”

Might as well make sure it’s not a dream.

The bear has always lived here. It thinks this place is real. It wants Yu and the others to leave. Somebody has been throwing people into the TV.

And Chie’s being aggressive again, scaring the bear thing.

Nevertheless, it’s going to help them get out. It conjures a stack of TVs and pushes them into it. This sends them back to their world.

14 April: Evening (rain)

Yu still feels like shit, and Dojima can see it, but that doesn’t stop him from asking Yu about Saki Konishi.

  1. “She discovered the body.”
  2. “People feel sorry for her.”
  3. “She wasn’t at school today.”

No need to mention the body in front of Nanako. Selecting option 3 reveals that the police got a call from her family. She’s disappeared.

Meanwhile, it turns out that Mayuri Yamano, the previous victim, had been staying at the Amagi Inn. Yamano had been staying there alone.

In the meantime, Yu seems to have gotten sick. Probably from being in the TV. Time for bed.

about the author

photo of a pale, blue-eyed man in a black coat with long brown hair outdoors in the winter

writes science fantasy inspired by heavy metal and has a day job as a software developer. He is currently writing a new novel called Spiral Architect. He'll use your pronouns, but doesn't care which ones you use with him. You can reach him at