I’m still playing Persona 4. I’ve been plugging away at it since the day it came out, but that was two months ago and I’m still not finished. From what I’ve hear, it’s shorter than Persona 3 by a good 10-20 hours or so; for my sake, I certainly hope so. Not that I’m knocking the game itself — on the contrary, of all my available options, there isn’t anything else I’d rather be playing. It’s quite good, even! I just have other things to do with my life, you know?
The main problem is that Persona 4 is that it’s very clear about when you should be dungeon crawling and when you should, for example, be making time with the high school ladies. Personally, I felt that the jewel in Persona 3’s elegantly designed crown was how much it respected my time; whether I was socializing or battling demons, it was entirely my own choice. And though Persona 4 seems to offer the same choice at first glance, it conspires to force you to do what it wants at every turn. In particular, the entire town in the game seems to shut down on rainy days, meaning your choices are either a) spend the next few hours in a dungeon, or b) waste time and play the game much less efficiently. Combine that with the fact that the only way to restore your HP/MP in the dungeon is to leave — meaning you also can’t explore to your heart’s content — and suddenly I feel boxed in.
[[image: ar_020409_persona_01.jpg:Thank you, Atlus:center:0]]
The funny part is, had I been playing this at the tail end of last summer when Persona 3 came out, this setup probably would have worked out for me just fine. At that time, most of my friends either lived far away or were off traveling, leaving nothing to do but work and play Persona. That’s not the case these days, however, and therefore the game will sit unplayed for a few days at a time, all because I only had 20 minutes to play while the game wanted two hours. That’s not any different from most RPGs if you think about it, but coming as a follow-up to something that was much more considerate of my schedule really highlights the reason portable RPGs are all the rage these days.
I’m almost done, though! With any luck, I should finish it up within the next couple weeks, just in time for…a whole slew of Atlus releases. Great.