I want my life back, Atlus

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.

18 thoughts on “I want my life back, Atlus

  1. I don’t think your complaint is entirely true. Yeah, most S.Links aren’t available on rainy days, but at least two still are. One of which is Hermit, which will reduce the price to restore your SP in dungeons the higher the S.Link is. And rainy days are the only time you can get that mega beef bowl thingy, which is the most efficient way in the game to raise your social stats. And then there’s fishing for huge fish and guardians to finish a quest and get some of the best equipment in the game.

    Yeah, there are less things to do on a rainy day, but I never felt like I had no choice but to run through the dungeon. I only ever bothered to use a rainy day for dungeoning once or twice through the game.

  2. …and my comment disappeared. Anyway, I was just pointing out that there were a few new enemies and some new item drops on rainy days to create new equipment. Still, I only went in on a rainy day once or so because of the beef bowl and Hermit.

  3. I’m not tearing through P4 like I did with P3 and P3:FES. I kinda wish I would have passed on FES so I wouldn’t be so burned out.

  4. P3: 64 hours
    P4: 65 hours (True Ending)

    No Eirikr-style triangle button humping here, either. P4 trades P3’s longer dungeon crawl for longer story segments. It’s a wash in the end.

  5. Agreed w. Rosencrantz. You can also study on rainy days for a big Knowledge boost. It *is* kind of a pain later in the second playthrough, though, since you’ll literally have nothing to do some days but hit the dungeon.

    And SP restoration gets easier and easier as you progress; by the time you’ve maxed Hermit (by the summer if you’re smart) it’s almost negligible to pay for it, and TaP Soda is cheap.

  6. My method for SP refill because I was greedy was to leave my current dungeon, rush through an earlier dungeon until I flipped an upright Death or Judgment card through Arcana Chance. Not the most efficient method in the world which may be why it took me 20 hours more to complete the game than everyone else from the play time amounts I’ve seen others report.

  7. I’ve put like 100+ hours down on FES and this is just on the first playthru. I’m obviously doing something wrong.

  8. I have to agree with the general consensus so far; eventually you’ll be given the option of visiting the shrine, and the hermit S. rank there will follow you into the TV and heal your sp for money. Then save the hermit arcana for rainy days considering its the only one you can improve then. Heh, its like a kitsune no yomeiri but in reverse. If you manage your free time improving S. ranks whenever possible and spare hermit for rainy days only, its possible to shave your mandatory dungeon crawl down to 1 day going from start to finish in one go (preferably on a rainy day for the bonus L@@K RARE enemies). And if you’re really boxxed in and don’t want the dungeon, there’s the 3000 yen trip to the meat dimension at the chinese restaurant that raises a bunch of attributes or the school library rainy day study bonus or fishing even. There’s also the useless capsule machine outside the item store that only works on rainy days and somehow eats an entire afternoon every time I’ve tried using it. I dunno if that advice helps you any.

    Anyway, its a mistake to compare Persona 4 to Persona 3 or any Persona game really. Despite their obvious similarities, the boxxing in sensation you’re feeling is from it being a typical Megaten game where things are switched up enough to make it a completely different game under the hood.

  9. My main complaint with Persona 4 is exactly the same as yours, Anthony. I miss the freedom and I miss always being able to do social links in the afternoon and then having the option of dungeoning at night. Other than that, though, the game is definitely better than P3.

  10. I think it’s funny that in a game that I loved so much that I still found room to complain too. I guess when you spend 80 hours with a game though, very minor annoyances really start to wear on you.

    As much as I’m kind of interested in seeing what dialogue opens up with a New Game+, and even though my 360 is being repaired, I’m finding it impossible to muster up the willpower to slog through a LOT of story again just to hook up with new girls.

    So it’s kind of like real life in that regard.

  11. I actually disagree. While you are correct that Persona 3 has more day-to-day options, I feel the removal of the fatigue system more than makes up for it. The fatigue system of P3 was at times the bane of my existence once I had everyone equipped with SP restoring accessories. Anyway, I can see how playing P4 can be a problem if you only have 20 minutes per session, but P4 is superior to P3 in each and every way that matters to me personally, however incremental it may be.

  12. You know what you were just talking about? About how P4 tells you what to do but P3 let you do what you want?

    That’s why P3 is the better game.

  13. Persona 3 was the last game I played through, and I still cannot remember that tard-harshin’ scene at the shrine in the screenshot. Context?

    Could this be another GameSpite (aside: I still call it ToastyFrog in my mind) to video game insertion like the telebunny T-shirt in some fighting game background? Surely one Nich Maragos couldn’t be reading the GameFrog ToastySpite site and dropping sly allusions into the Personae? Certainly not.

    PS That tard-harshin’ tagline always reminded me of Phil Hendrie’s you-makin’-fun-of-the-tard? Bud Dickman routine, and I still don’t know if I’m insane for thinking of that.

  14. Alixsar – P4 tells me what to do, but I find that it gives me more fun things to do. That’s why P4 is a better game.

    We can do this all day.

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