If you haven't played Persona 4 yet, there's never been a better time. It's easily one of the best RPGs on the PlayStation 2, and a terrific follow-up to RPGamer's RPG of the Decade Persona 3. Persona 4 Golden is more than just a simple port of the original game that captured so many players' hearts. It's a full-fledged remake that includes new social links, new story events, and new gameplay mechanics that turn what was already a fantastic game into a masterpiece.
Persona 4's charm comes from its loveable cast of characters, a group of unlikely high school friends who get wrapped up in a series of grisly murders in their small, rural town. The original game had a number of minor problems, but almost all of these have been repaired and improved, creating a game that's almost a brand new experience. The original's lackluster ending has been expanded upon, creating a much more satisfactory resolution to the story, and a month and a half of additional playtime has been added to the end, including a brand new dungeon. Persona 4 Golden was so well loved, in fact, that it likely would have earned a place as RPGamer's Game of the Year, had its status as a remake not made it ineligible for the title. Needless to say, it is definitely our port/remake of the year.
Tales of the Abyss 3DS is an entertaining game, and being able to take the whole experience around in a portable fashion is a great boon. Namco Bandai clearly expended as little effort as possible in making any changes though, so anyone who drunk to satiation at the Tales of the Abyss well back on the PS2 doesn't need to visit it again. As ports go, it's a fine one, and worthy of being experienced by newcomers just as much as in 2006. Just don't expect any attempt to court veterans.
A surfeit of content has never been a complaint lodged against NIS America tactical games, but even the mammoth quantity offered by the original Disgaea 3, simply by virtue of existing on a finite Blu-ray disc, had its limits. NIS therefore sought to increase both the accessibility of the game and its ability to siphon hours away, and putting it on the portable Vita with even more content accomplished that goal nicely. It probably won't convert anyone staunchly against the series, but it delivers plenty of value for the money.
by Adriaan den Ouden, Mike Moehnke