Persona 4 Golden - A first look at the PC version
At the PC Gaming Show, Atlus made it official, Persona 4 Golden is coming to Steam, and it's available now. It is the first in the series to release on Steam and only the second Atlus game ever behind Catherine Classic.
We've had some time with the PC port already and we've wanted to share our impressions so far, as well as show what various settings are available for the new PC version.
First of all, we've captured a near half-hour of raw gameplay footage from the early game, showing some exploration, dialogue, dungeon crawling, and combat.
Below you can find information on the game's configuration options, our impressions of the port, as well as some comparison images between Vita and PC.
If you're about to jump in to the PC version of P4G, be sure to check out some of our helpful guides like our full set of Persona 4 Golden social link walkthroughs, our school class and test questions and answers cheat sheet, our primer on raising your social stats in game and our guide to the infamously difficult Hardcore Risette Fan achievement.
Persona 4 Golden PC - Configuration Options
Before getting to PC graphic settings, there are a few other settings for the PC version not found in the Vita version worth mentioning. Firstly, the game now supports both English and Japanese audio tracks, which can be toggled at any time, as well as English, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese text languages. Accordingly, there is now a subtitle option for the game's anime cutscenes. This makes sense of course, given the multi-language support, but no matter what voice language you use, you can now see subtitles during the game's animated sequences. There are also individual volume sliders for character voice, background music, and sound effects - a setting oddly not present in the Vita release.
Being originally a Vita game, based on a PlayStation 2 game before that, Persona 4 Golden doesn't have buckets of graphical configuration options, but there is a decent array available that make this release more than just a straight port from Vita to PC. Resolutions are supported at least up to 4K (my monitor maximum), with a 200% rendering scale available on top of that, leading to extremely crisp models and environments. The game also supports unlocked framerates. As a PC game, there are also options for rebinding controller buttons to your liking, and the game is also completely playable with keyboard&mouse. I played using an Xbox 360 controller - a bit behind the times perhaps - but much of the game's UI reflected my choice of controller with Xbox-related prompts. A Persona game with Xbox button icons, imagine that.
As far as graphic options go, V Sync can be set on or off. Shadow quality can be set to low, middle, or high, or shadows can be turned off completely. An anisotropic Filter can be set to off, low, or high, improving textures across the board. Anti-aliasing can only be set to Off or On. It is a tad odd that it doesn't specify any further than that, which could mean it's something more simple like FXAA implementation. In any case, much of the shimmering visual oddities often seen in the Vita version, especially when the camera pans across an environment, is nearly eliminated on PC.
My PC set up is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 2080Ti GPU with an Intel Core i7-7700k CPU. When playing in borderless mode, I was able to achieve 100-120 frames per second with every setting set to its highest possible toggle. However, when the game is set to Fullscreen mode, it seemed to cap at 60 frames per second.
There are also 5 different contrast options that can be used, with 3 in the center set as the default. We've taken an image of each for you to compare below.
Persona 4 Golden - PC/Vita Comparison Screenshots
We've taken a few screenshots of the early game for both the new PC version and Vita version, which you can check out below.
The top image of each pair is the Vita version, captured directly from a PlayStation Vita. The bottom image of each pair is the PC version running at 4K and highest settings, contrast set to 3.
Overall, my experience with the PC port of Persona 4 has been quite good. I'm currently in the final dungeon of the original Persona 4, which is about 50-60 hours into the game. Running the game at high framerates, high resolutions, and short loading times was something that could only be achieved through emulation methods before today. That said, the game is still a PS2/Vita RPG at heart, so environments and character models are still pretty simple. In fact, seeing these characters models in 4K resolution takes a little be of getting used to initially, given their slightly deformed propotions compared to Persona 5. The game's animated cutscenes are also somewhat blurry when viewed at 4K, but they are fine and there's not much that could feasibly be done about that. For the most part, it's a very solid port.
I only have a few small hiccups with the game that hopefully can be polished up shortly after release. I had three crashes when trying to take a screenshot using Steam's built-in screenshot setting. That said, I've taken about 200 screenshots, with only 3 causing an issue, so it's not a major problem but something I wanted to mention here regardless.
Somewhat more annoying, is a weird effect whenever your party is about to perform an All-Out Attack - something you'll be seeing very often. While Persona 4 performed very smoothly throughout my playthrough, every time you are about to perform an All-Out Attack, the game hitches slightly as the prompt appears. This doesn't seem to be a PC performance-related issue, as this would also happen even when running the game at lowest settings, and instead might be inherent to the game itself. That said, considering how smooth the game looks now, the slight hitch sticks out. It'd be nice if that could be polished over in a patch, but it's not a deal-breaker either.
Additionally, while it's nice that the game now supports a Japanese voice track, the audio quality for it is noticeably weaker than the English option. Not meaning performances, but the actual recording quality has the voices sound muffled in comparison. I'm not sure if this was always the case for the Japanese versions of Persona 4, or an oddity here, but in either case, it is a tad disappointing.
It's also worth noting the Steam release uses Denuvo 3rd-party DRM. Some of Sega's Yakuza games on Steam also incorporated this DRM when they launched, only to be removed later, for what it's worth.
In any case, Persona 4 Golden is now on PC. For now, that feels kind of weird to say, but hopefully it is only the first of many Atlus RPGs to make their way to the platform. Not only for other Persona titles, but I'd love to be able to replay titles like Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, Digital Devil Saga, Raidou Kuzunoha, and others for PC. Let the speculation begin, I say.