Persona 4 is a game that I find difficult to talk about. It’s not that it’s bad, not by any means… in reality, it’s the fact that it’s good that makes it so difficult to talk about. Persona 4 has a huge fan base, and there’s really nothing I can say that hasn’t been said by the droves already.
Since that’s the case, I’ll just say this… I enjoyed Persona 3 a lot more than Persona 4.
That doesn’t mean I dislike Persona 4; not in the least. It’s a great addition to the SMT series, and does nothing to shame the series’ name. However, the story just wasn’t to my tastes. It was just a little too silly and over the top–you’d expect teenagers dealing with mysterious kidnappings and murders to be taking things a little more seriously. I understand the need for some comic relief… but it’s just too much. It’s the one area that I think P3 does far better than P4; and for me, that’s a big enough area to decide that it’s the better game.
Other than that, though, P4 does pretty great in other areas. Combat is the same as most SMT games; however, having all melee attacks under one category makes it a little more simplified. Also, P4 allows you to control your party members–a boon when compared to P3 and its sometimes frustrating AI. Dungeons are more interesting to look at (though fundamentally the same as the previous entry) and the difficulty is still cranked up high.
I can’t stress this enough: Persona 4 is a great game. So is its predecessor. Both are worth tracking down and playing some version of if you’re a RPG fan. Which one you like more seems to mostly depend on taste; while P4 has a few mechanical upgrades, the biggest changes are the mood and the story, and everyone has a different opinion on what they enjoy.