Persona 4 Golden is usually considered the most lighthearted of the Persona games. After all, it has a vibrant yellow color scheme, plenty of comic relief, and J-pop music as its main soundtrack. But don’t be fooled. Beneath that cheery exterior lie not only murder and something sinister but also many moments that’ll leave you devastated.
In fact, all the humor makes the heartbreaking moments hit even harder. Plus, the game puts such a focus on spending time with the main cast that seeing them get hurt makes you feel hurt too. You probably won’t make it out of the game without shedding a few tears.
8 Saki’s True Feelings About Yosuke
This moment happens very early on in the game. At that point, you don’t know too much about Yosuke besides the fact that he’s a friendly guy who’s accepted you as a fellow transfer student and treated you to a drink. Seeing him interact with Saki divulges a couple of things: they seem to be friends, and he has a crush on her.
So when you have to watch him hear what Saki really thinks of him in the TV world – that he’s annoying and stupid and that she resents him because of Junes – it’s not only surprising but also hurtful. It’s the first taste you get of people’s secret feelings. Having it affect one of the first people to welcome you just hits the heart. At least he gets some character development out of it!
7 Later Ranks Of Nanako And Dojima’s Social Links
It’s obvious from the main story that Nanako and Dojima’s relationship isn’t as simple as one between a young girl and her dad should be. Though they obviously love each other very much, Dojima is somewhat negligent because of his job and grief over losing his wife. You get to delve deeper into that dynamic in their Social Links.
They appear in each other’s Social Links often and are pretty interconnected. You’ll need a tissue as they slowly open up to you, because they don’t hold back when telling you about their struggles. It’s one of the only times you see Dojima genuinely suffering emotionally and Nanako letting herself be angry at her father.
6 Valentine’s Day Confrontations
You won’t see the scenes if you’re a faithful boyfriend, but romancing multiple of your party members and rejecting their Valentine’s Day date requests will lead to them confronting you about it on Valentine’s Day. If you were expecting something comical, you’ll be in for a rude awakening.
None of them get mad at you. Instead, they’re just sad, and a couple of them even blame themselves for the situation. They make it clear that they know you’re seeing someone else, but they’re more upset with themselves than they are with you. The lack of pushback from them does a great job at making you regret your unfaithfulness. That’s not even mentioning the sad music that plays while it’s all happening.
5 Marie’s Pre-Boss Dialogue
Whether you love or hate Marie, completing her Social Link is one of the requirements to getting Golden’s best ending. With it comes an extra dungeon that works differently than any other one in the game. The main point of her Social Link is to find out who she really is. In her dungeon, she tells you that she finally remembers who she is: one half of a god who was unknowingly acting as a spy for the gods that wanted to bring fog into the world.
And now she’s sacrificing herself to stop the fog from engulfing it. What makes the whole scene especially sad is that you can tell Marie doesn’t want to do this, on top of the party begging her not to go through with it. The sadness and anger at herself in her voice really hit it home, and she even fights you to stop you from stopping her.
Nanako mentions her mom in the main story, and even moreso if you complete her Social Link. It’s obvious that she misses her and doesn’t completely grasp what happened to her. That’s why seeing the world her mind created inside the TV is brutal. It’s called Heaven, and Rise outright says it looks like a storybook version of Heaven.
Deeper in, you even hear Nanako’s voice saying she misses her mom and asking her why she went away. It becomes painstakingly clear that Nanako believes her mom is in Heaven but wants to see her again. Seeing any child struggle with the death of a parent hurts, especially if they’re your little sister.
3 The Climax Of Teddie’s Identity Conflict
Most of the time, Teddie is the biggest source of comic relief and shenanigans. You most likely can’t even stand him if you don’t like the trope where the character hits on everyone all the time, because that makes up most of his screen time after saving Yukiko.
But even he has his moments. His guilt over not being able to protect Nanako and his sorrow over discovering that he’s a Shadow make you feel for him. After all, finding out you’re one of the things you’ve been fighting this whole time and not being able to fulfill an important promise to someone you care about would hurt anyone. It’s one of the rare moments where Teddie is completely raw and real with you.
2 Nanako’s Death
The entire scenario of Nanako’s kidnapping and hospital stay is distressing to experience, especially if you love the character. But nothing can prepare you for the scene where she actually flatlines. Not only is it devastating because a small, innocent child has died, but every character’s reaction to it is genuinely heartbreaking.
She’d been trying hard to stay alive, but she couldn’t take it. Dojima falls to his knees, Kanji punches a wall, and all of them scream or sob into their hands. It’s enough to make you cry every time you watch the scene. And knowing there’s an ending where she doesn’t come back at all hurts even more.
1 Dojima And The Party’s Desperation
The heartbreak doesn’t end when Nanako succumbs. All this time, Dojima’s been saying he doesn’t care about what happens to him as long as she’s okay, and that he has no reason to live without Nanako. Watching him silently despair after she dies is rough, and it gets worse when he attempts to confront her kidnapper. He’s stopped before he can see him, but the implications of what he was going to do now that Nanako is dead are harrowing.
Then you have your friends, who literally start arguing with each other about whether to kill her kidnapper. The lighthearted jokes and bonding time are forgotten as you watch half the team want to throw him into the TV while the other half desperately tries to convince them not to do it.