p4gbanThings have been a bit quiet around here recently, mainly thanks to a couple of reasons. Firstly, not much in videogameland (if only that were a real place…) has caught my attention recently. With everyone looking to next generation consoles, much of what fills up column inches these days is rumour and speculation that won’t be confirmed or denied until E3 at the earliest. Secondly, it was my birthday a few days ago, so I’ve been too busy eating cake.

It’s also been a while since I’ve written anything about videogame music. I’ve recently started playing Persona 4 Golden after a few weeks away from it, and with the music occupying brainspace when I’m not even anywhere near my Vita, it seems like a good day to showcase some of this colourful game’s colourful audio.

Persona 4 Golden is an enhanced remake of the 2008 PS2 RPG/Social Sim hybrid that released on the Vita just a couple of months ago in Europe. To commemorate the remake a new opening was created, which does a great job of encapsulating the feel and aesthetic of the game.

As you can see, it’s upbeat, colourful and cheerful-sounding. I love that the presentation of the game is so at-odds with the subject matter; Persona 4 is a game about mysterious disappearances, grisly murders and people struggling against their literal inner demons, yet it’s drenched in neon colours and upbeat pop music. At times it reminds me of Sega just before they bowed out of hardware; bold, bright colours, happy music and most importantly a sense of FUN! Here’s the battle track, ‘Time to Make History’.

Like all good battle themes, it kicks the tempo up a bit in order to keep you pushing forward, but it’s just so damned catchy! I often find myself humming along as I’m bashing shadows’ faces in, and the track often takes up residence in my head long after I’ve switched the Vita off.

Much of the Persona 4 experience is dependant on the current weather. You find yourself checking the forecast daily to plan out the coming week, as some things can only be done on a rainy night, and thick fog often brings the body of a missing person with it. The music often reflects the weather, with different themes playing under different conditions, and the track that plays in the local town shopping district on cloudy days is another one that gets stuck in my head. Here’s ‘Heartbeat, Heartbreak’.

This song definitely has a bit of a ‘rainy days’ feel to it, at least relative to much of the rest of the soundtrack, yet it’s still got a bit of an upbeat feel to it; it’s not particularly melancholy, and you can still quite happily hum along to the tune.

While some may find the contrast between presentation and subject matter somewhat jarring, and others still may find the almost entirely upbeat feel rather twee, I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are a great many games out there that take themselves seriously (perhaps too much so), so I’m glad that Persona 4 Golden is content to offer dark subject matter in a shiny package and allow itself to have fun. Persona 4 Golden is definitely a game that has a heart.