"A peaceful rural town is shaken by bizarre murders... What truths will those unraveling the case find?"
Persona 4 is the fifth game in the Persona series. The game was developed by Atlus for the PlayStation 2, and was ported to the PlayStation 3's PlayStation Store as a downloadable classic akin to Persona 3 FES, but only in North/South America.
An enhanced port of Persona 4, Persona 4 Golden, was released for the PS Vita / PS TV & Steam. It has many new features over the original Persona 4 and re-did certain enemy stats, dungeon aspects, voices for Chie and Teddie, among others.
As with Persona 3, the game is a turn-based RPG akin to most games of the Shin Megami Tensei 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.
Persona 4 follows a group of high school students dealing with a mysterious TV channel dedicated to distorting and exaggerating the truth of who they are and their identities. A string of bizarre murders related to the TV channel begins shaking their once peaceful town. They explore the mysterious world inside the TV and perform rescue missions in order to save its victims from death. Only by looking past what is on the screen, finding and evaluating the truth among a myriad of lies can they hope to find the serial killer and save their town.
- Note: This plot summary only covers the content in the original Persona 4. Golden-exclusive plot content such as Marie is not 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 a man named Tohru Adachi.
On his first day arriving in town, 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 TVs that he can create. The next day, the body of Saki Konishi, the girl who discovered the body of Mayumi, is found dead on an antenna as well. This greatly upsets Yosuke, Saki's co-worker at Junes. Yosuke and the protagonist plan on returning to the television the next day, with Chie acting as a rope lifeline.
Inside the TV, the protagonist and Yosuke 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 an unrequited 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 protagonist defeats it with Izanagi, Yosuke accepts his true feelings, allowing the Shadow to manifest into Yosuke's Persona, Jiraiya. The protagonist 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 is 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 2nd floor of the castle, Chie is caught up with and her emotions manifest and battle the pair as Shadow Chie who revels in Chie's jealousy of Yukiko; though after its defeat, Shadow Chie turns into Chie's own Persona, and Chie joins the trio as the third combatant.
The trio eventually finds Yukiko, along with another 'Yukiko': Shadow Yukiko. Shadow Yukiko expresses her disgust with inheriting the inn, and playfully confesses to the protagonist, Yosuke, and Chie. Calling Chie her Prince Charming, Shadow Yukiko asks her Prince Charming to take her somewhere far, far away to escape her fate of inheriting the Amagi Inn. Confused and shocked, Yukiko begs Shadow Yukiko to stop. Ignoring Yukiko's pleas, Shadow Yukiko taunts Yukiko, asking why she would want her to stop confessing her true feelings. Shadow Yukiko exclaims that she is Yukiko, and is merely expressing her thoughts. Yukiko denies Shadow Yukiko's claims, and tells her that she is not her. Fueled by Yukiko's denial, Shadow Yukiko transforms into a caged bird and attacks the party. The trio eventually manages to fend off the shadow, and with Yukiko eventually willing to face herself, the shadow transforms into 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. The team ventures into the Steamy Bathhouse, where they find Kanji facing his Shadow, manifested from him questioning his sexual orientation, possible homosexuality, and being ridiculed by girls for possessing stereotypical "feminine" interests such as sewing. Kanji reluctantly accepts his Shadow and receives his Persona.
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 being abducted, after which 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 uses the move Supreme Insight to become 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 takes over Teddie's role as the analytical support, while Teddie joins 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 (not preceded by a blurry image) showing a strange boy taunting the protagonist to "come and get me." An investigation around town by the party to find the boy's identity reveals him to be Mitsuo Kubo, the very suspect the police are searching for. The group defeats his shadow form inside his Midnight Channel dungeon, Void Quest, and pulls him out of the TV and hands him to the police as the true killer. During the group's summer break and the beginning of the second semester, they begin to befriend Naoto who has enrolled as a student, and are relieved that the case is closed. However, Naoto points out the incongruities in the case - namely how Morooka was simply beaten to death with a blunt object.
Naoto's suspicions that Kubo is a copycat killer are proven correct when he, after appearing on the real world TV to bait the killer (having arrived at the same conclusion regarding the killer's pattern), is kidnapped and thrown into the Midnight Channel. When the group goes out to his dungeon, the Secret Laboratory, to save him, they find that in reality, Naoto was born female and took on a male identity to avoid the sexism of the police department. After Naoto's shadow self is defeated, she embraces her female identity, and joins the group with her own Persona, her excellent detective skills proving a valuable asset for the rest of the investigation team's journey.
On October 20th, the protagonist receives a mysterious letter addressed to him — the sender's name and address are nowhere to be found on the letter which only reads: "dont rescue anymore" with no capitalization or punctuation. The group notices that this letter being delivered to the protagonist means that the culprit is aware of their activities.
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 indicator 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 claims that he is actually "saving people," leaving the group confused, but no less enraged at him. A shadow (Kunino-sagiri) stems from Namatame and attempts to attack the group, 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, 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 die. Furious, an emotional Dojima attempts to walk into Namatame's ward and kill him, but is stopped and dragged away by guards. The group enters Namatame's room, observing that he is mentally unstable and incoherent. As Adachi told them earlier, there is almost no evidence that the police can use to convict, or even further detain Namatame, and the story about people entering the TVs would never hold up in court. The group sees a Shadow manifestation of Namatame on the Midnight Channel gloating about his actions and daring the group to do something about it. Yosuke proposes that they murder Namatame now by throwing him into the TV while they have the chance, in order to bring justice for his victims and ensure he can't claim more. The player's decision decides what happens next.
- If the protagonist approves Yosuke's wishes, Namatame is thrown into the television and presumably killed by the Shadows. Nanako is confirmed dead. A saddened Teddie returns to the TV World, and the mystery goes unsolved with the party never realizing that the man they killed was not the true culprit, while both investigators and the public are left in the dark about the truth of the case. The fog still covers the town 3 months later in March as the protagonist leaves Inaba. The rather downbeat credits with "Corridor" playing in the background, 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 protagonist cannot convince the group that they need to dig deeper into the case, or if the protagonist is able to do so but can't correctly guess the killer's identity 2 days later, then Nanako comes back to life but remains hospitalized. The game ends, with Teddie again returning to the TV World (as well as never finding out that Nanako is alive), and the mystery goes unsolved. Namatame pleads guilty to the kidnapping charges, but not guilty to the murder charges, as reported on the news. The same downbeat credit sequence plays again, another indication to the player that this is not the true ending.
To get to the Normal or True ending, the protagonist must convince the group to calm their emotions and dig deeper into the case to assess if Namatame is truly guilty. The next day, they hear his story in the hospital. One night, he observed Yamano on the Midnight Channel, and unthinkingly reached out to touch the TV, causing him to discover his power to enter it. The next day, he discovered the news of Yamano's death, and wondered if the image he saw the previous night was a distress signal from her. Later, he observed Saki on the Midnight Channel, and feared a similar fate awaited her; he attempted to warn her of the danger she was in, but this failed to keep her from dying. When he next saw Yukiko on the channel, he interpreted her appearance as trying to say that the TV World was a safe place; so, he decided that he would have to force people who appeared on the Midnight Channel into the TVs to save them, in order to prevent the killer from killing them. This is why he kidnapped Yukiko, Kanji, Rise, Naoto and Nanako, unaware all this time that he had been placing them in mortal danger, and it wasn't until he entered the TV World himself upon being cornered by the police that he understood how dangerous it truly was. Naoto comes to the conclusion that the true culprit of the case is the one who threw Yamano and Saki into the TV. From Namatame's point of view, everyone he threw into the TV reappeared safe and sound later on (thanks to the group's efforts), proving to him that his actions were working, thus encouraging him to continue. All of this makes it clear that the Shadow manifestation the group saw on December 3rd was not speaking Namatame's thoughts; but rather, it was a reflection of what the Investigation Team believed they were.
Now, the protagonist must guess the identity of the real killer from a list of 26 suspects in the game's narration. If they fail three times, they will get a bad ending as listed above. The correct suspect is Tohru Adachi, Dojima's assistant.
Once confronted, Adachi escapes into the TV World. When the group finds him in there, he explains his actions. It was during an argument he had with Yamano that he discovered his power to push people into the TV, so he accidentally pushed Yamano in, causing her death, and was excited by the thrill. He later deliberately pushed Saki into the TV after she slapped him and rejected him. He then manipulated Namatame into kidnapping the rest by encouraging them to put them in a "safe place," correctly predicting this would put the idea of using the TVs as a safe haven in Namatame's head. However, he himself threw Kubo into the TV World since his false confession would stop Namatame's actions, and for the thrill of having some direct involvement. 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 his dungeon, he states that it's humanity's desire to allow the fog to settle in to settle their emotional distress. He then fights the group using his own Persona, Magatsu-Izanagi, and loses. Afterwards, the group then fights the spirit that used Adachi as a puppet; Ameno-sagiri. 3 months after its defeat in March, Nanako is 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 protagonist (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 protagonist 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. After exposing the goddess form of Izanami using Orb of Sight and revealing its rotting Izanami-no-Okami form, the party puts up a hard fight, but Izanami attempts to send the protagonist to Yomi using her "Thousand Curses," but all of his teammates, one by one fall protecting him, causing him to be inevitably dragged down as well. Forging the power of his Social Links, the protagonist returns to the battleground awakening his ultimate Persona, and Izanami casts Oho-Ikazuchi to kill him, but fails, causing it to be killed in one Myriad Truths attack. Killing Izanami prompts her to remove the fog and states that she will no longer interfere with humanity and allow them to make the decisions that bring them happiness, then fades away. After defeating the true culprit of the murder case, the Midnight Channel turns to what it was a long time ago according to Teddie; a beautiful world 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
A majority of the characters are high school students attending 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. 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.
- Kanji Tatsumi: A juvenile delinquent with 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 who quit 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.
- Teddie: A strange bear mascot who resides within the TV World who lost his memories. Bizarre, but cheerful in nature.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Note: This section covers the content from the original Persona 4. Content exclusive to Persona 4 Golden will not be mentioned here.
Before starting a game, the player must choose between one of 3 difficulties which can not be changed later (only on a New Game Plus, as well as in Persona 4 Golden), meaning that the player should be careful as the difficulty will remain for the remainder of the game. Easy Mode also grants the player 10 "Moon Tsukubame," which are similar to the Plumes of Dusk from Persona 3, and will revive the protagonist and give everyone full HP and SP.
Over the course of Persona 4, the protagonist'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. Each dungeon in the Midnight Channel must be completed before the first foggy day after it is opened; failure to do this results in a game over because the Midnight Channel victim will die and the protagonist will feel dizzy and black out. In reality, he is being summoned into the Velvet Room where Igor offers them another chance by reverting a week back or returning to the title screen. For some Midnight Channel dungeons, the protagonist must seek clues around the school and town in order to unlock them.
- The following are the endings that happen when the protagonist misses a deadline. All of these endings are near identical, where fog goes all over Inaba in the evening, police sirens can be heard outside, one of his friends call him to confirm the victim's death and he feels dizzy then instantly collapses to the ground, finally ending up in the Velvet Room:
- Yukiko is murdered: Yosuke calls the protagonist for Yukiko's death.
- Kanji is murdered: Yukiko calls the protagonist for Kanji's death.
- Rise is murdered: Chie calls the protagonist for Rise's death.
- Mitsuo is murdered: Yosuke calls the protagonist and states that he believes Mitsuo's body was found, then asks him for further details.
- Naoto is murdered: Kanji says that a body is heard to be belonging to Naoto's and scolds the protagonist for why would it happen.
- Nanako is murdered: Kanji says that more dead bodies had appeared and wants to tell the protagonist something, but cannot say it out loud.
- Adachi fulfills mankind's desires: Fog takes over Inaba and even seeps into the protagonist's house. Naoto calls the protagonist that shadows are running all over Inaba before she was presumably attacked by one as well.
After school on school days (from Monday - Saturday), or on a holiday/Sunday, the protagonist (provided there are no story-driven cutscenes that day) can either choose to engage in Social Link activities, do stuff around the town, or engage in the battle system by entering the Midnight Channel.
There are five main locations:
- Yasogami High School - The local high school where the protagonist and his newfound friends attend. Attendance is mandatory on weekday mornings, and is explorable after school.
- Junes Department Store - The shopping complex whose food court is where the protagonist's investigation team assembles, calling it their "Special Headquarters." This is also where they enter the Midnight Channel, via the large TV in the Junes electronics section. Accessible during weekdays after school, and on weekend afternoons.
- Central Shopping District - The street where most of Inaba's family businesses are located, but the majority of the shops are closed, due to the overwhelming success of Junes. Accessible on weekdays after school, and on weekend afternoons.
- Samegawa Flood Plain - The main path to reach Yasogami High School, whose river bed is where the protagonist can fish. Accessible on weekdays after school, and on weekend afternoons and evenings.
- Dojima Residence - The protagonist 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.
After the protagonist has used their time during the day, they return to the Dojima residence where they can do multiple actions.
- First Floor
- Television - Check the weather forecast.
- Fridge - Check for leftovers, which has various effects.
- Kitchen - If Nanako or Teddie announces that they have bought food, the protagonist can cook food to eat during lunchtime.
- Calendar - Save Point
- Entrance - In the evening, the protagonist can go fishing, work as a janitor or tutor.
- Your Room
- Television - Watch the Midnight Channel, the weather forecast, or Tanaka's shopping program on Sunday mornings.
- Coffee Table - Do part-time jobs here. The protagonist can also build two Mecha Models, F-M06 Brahman & Heavy Armor Agni (Request #26)
- Shelf - The protagonist can decorate the shelf with the completed Mecha Models, should the protagonist accept and complete Request #26.
- Study Desk - Increases Knowledge.
- Sofa - If the protagonist has bought a book, they can read it here to increase certain parameters.
- Futon - Rest.
- Calendar - Check for upcoming events and important days.
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 initiated with the protagonist as time progresses. Certain choices in S. Links will build it up faster, so being kind is a priority.
When the protagonist has a Persona of a certain 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 the protagonist fuses a Persona in the Velvet Room, if the Persona the protagonist 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. While the protagonist 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 protagonist 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 the protagonist 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.
- ❤ indicates a potential love interest.
- 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
Exploring the TV World
The other option for the protagonist during the day 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 protagonist must be considerate of how they use their time.
In the Midnight Channel, accessed by the Junes Department Store, the protagonist 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.
In the dungeons, the protagonist can take up to 3 allies along (the rest wait at the dungeon entrance and can only be changed there). For the most part, some floors of the dungeons are randomly generated, but some special floors contain the same layout. On average, each dungeon contains around 10 floors. At the end floor, the party faces the boss of the dungeon, although most dungeons contain mini-bosses in between. The dungeons are swarming with Shadows, which the protagonist should try to sneak up behind and attack for an advantage in combat. The dungeons also contain keys and items used to progress. It is recommended the protagonist stock up on items called "Goho-M" to escape dungeons easily.
After a certain point, dungeons will receive new optional bosses at the end of them. For example, after defeating Shadow Yukiko, a boss called "Contrarian King" will eventually appear. The party can defeat these bosses to receive valuable equipment.
The Tired ailment that limited the time the party could spend in the dungeons in Persona 3 is removed, though this is balanced out by the fact that the protagonist, 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 protagonist will eventually recruit that gives him the power to recover both HP and SP, though the cost for doing this is high. Additionally, unlike in Persona 3, returning to the entrance of the dungeon hub will not recover SP (or HP).
The party 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 party member loses all of their HP, that member 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 called Plume of Dusks to automatically fully revive the party when he is knocked down). As such, keeping the protagonist alive is one of the highest priorities. When all opponents are knocked down, the protagonist and his allies can perform a high-powered All-Out Attack to deal massive damage. One of the biggest changes to the game from Persona 3 (excluding Persona 3 Portable) is that the protagonist can control their party members. This must be done by setting the command to "Direct" in the Tactics menu first.
There is a total of 8 different damage types in the game; Physical, Wind, Fire, Electricity, Ice, Light, Dark and Almighty. All party members have a standard Physical attack that costs no HP or SP to use. The protagonist 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 user a percentage of their HP. Wind, Fire, Electricity and Ice attacks can only be done by the Personas, and cost SP instead. Light and Dark attacks will instantly kill the target if they are successful. Almighty attacks cost SP, though all party members have a normal affinity to them (see below for why this is advantageous). Several status ailments 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 target 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 it's weak to while knocked down, the target becomes 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).
After completing a battle, the protagonist may be able to partake in Shuffle Time; this can be denied. If accepted, the protagonist 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 upside down. The upright position grants the protagonist a positive effect while the upside down position gives him a negative effect.
An enhanced port of Persona 4, Persona 4 Golden, was released for the PS Vita, and some years later also for PC.
In Other Languages
|Japanese||ペルソナ4 (Perusona 4)|
|Korean||여신전생 페르소나 4 (Yeosinjeonsaeng Pereusona 4)|
- 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 MS-06 Zaku II of the Gundam 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 Char Aznable's own red Zaku II Commander Type.
- 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, they can find a calendar with promotional artwork for Persona 3.
- There's a Persona 4 reference in the English version of the game Yakuza Kiwami by Sega. There's an adult DVD store that the main character, Kazuma Kiryu, can visit and buy weapons but only if he says the name of a certain movie. One of the dialogue options is "Midnight Channel 4."
- Official North American site (Archive)
- Official Japanese site
- Persona 4 Information - a site dedicated to information about Persona 4
- A Graphic of Overall Persona Series Physical Game Sales in Japan for February 2020 Persona Central (Reggie, February 26, 2020)
- Yakuza Kiwami: Secret Weapons Shop. Youtube.com. (September 1, 2017)