After a very bright, flashy, animated intro video, you will see the Title/Start Menu appear. Here, you will find a few options: selecting New Game will allow you to “begin your adventure,” you may “Adjust various options” in the Config section, or enter the TV Listings section where you can find myriad bonus content (like trailers for older Persona games) that will grow as you progress through Persona 4 Golden. If you already have a save file, the Load Game option will also be available.
Once you have selected New Game, you will be given the choice of 5 difficulty levels: Very Easy, Easy, Normal, Hard, and Very Hard. A blurb pops-up on the screen that tells you choosing one difficulty level over the other will have no adverse affects on the story, merely gameplay. The description for each encourages you to choose the easier difficulty levels if you just want to relax and enjoy the story, or choose the higher levels if you want a challenge.
In Very Easy mode, the amount of money and experience earned is greater per battle (about 5x as much). The damage received is decreased, and the damage you dish out is increased. You may also restart from the beginning of a fight or floor if you die.
In Easy mode, the amount of money and experience earned is normal. The damage received is less and dished out is greater. You may only restart from the beginning of the floor you are currently on if you die.
In Normal mode, the amount of money, experience, and damage is normal. You may restart from the beginning of the floor you are currently on if you die.
In Hard mode, the amount of damage you take is increased, and the amount of damage you dish out is decreased. The experience and money you earn is normal. You may restart from the beginning of the floor you are currently on if you die.
In Very Hard mode, the damage you receive is increased, and the damage you do is decreased. The experience and money you earn is lower than in normal mode (about 0.4x as much). You must load a save if you die.
Warning: You will not be able to change the difficulty setting on the first play through.
New Game Plus
After completing Persona 4 one time, you will be able to play it again under a New Game Plus. Simply save the game after the credits roll, then load the last save file. You will start the game from the beginning, but several attributes will carry over including:
Max Social Link Key Items
Persona Compendium Discounts
12 Persona Slots
Skill Cards in Velvet Room
Equipment at Daidara Metalworks
If you wish to start from scratch, choose New Game instead of loading the New Game Plus save file.
The difficulty settings can also be adjusted at any time in the setting menu while playing a New Game Plus.
The game begins with a short cutscene that depicts some kind of ethereal limo with a hook-nosed man riding within alongside a blonde woman. This is The Velvet Room, a sort of place not quite reality, but not quite a dream.
The animation ends and the elderly gentleman addresses you.
The Velvet Room
The man introduces himself as Igor and tells you that he will be assisting you. He mentions that only those who have been bound by a “contract” are summoned or may enter the Velvet Room.
You are then asked to enter your last and first name. Use the Left and Right Shoulder buttons to move between the two lines, last name on the top and first on the bottom.
Igor begins to read your fortune from some cards strewn on the table between the three of you. Igor says that there is an upright Tower and Moon indicating terrible catastrophe in your immediate future, hesitation and mystery surround you. He tells you that misfortune is coming your way and that you will soon enter a “contract” and, thus, you will be able to return to the Velvet Room.
Igor tells you that it is his job to help his guests. He turns to the woman next to him and introduces her as Margaret, who tells you that she will accompany you on your journey over the next year.
Igor forebodingly tells you that he’ll see you soon and another animated cutscene begins.
You, the Protagonist, are on a train bound for Inaba. You awaken — as if from a dream state — in a panicked sweat, experiencing a few flashbacks of the Velvet Room and a few images of the life you’re leaving behind– the last day at your old school, etc.
You receive a message on your phone telling you that whoever sent it will meet you at the Yasoinaba station when you arrive. The train ride scene continues until you come to a stop.