I like all of these games a whole lot, but I have a weird soft spot for Vagrant Story. Xenogears is easily my least favorite if only because I came to it way later and laughed a lot at the translation and story.
Though I also did that with Chrono Cross, so whatever.
This is a wonderful writeup. I loved Nier and never had the patience to sit through Drakengard since the Japanese version is the one with the really crazy plot points/character bits. I can also confirm that the music in fact sounds like someone losing their goddamned mind - frequently playing multiple instruments either just a few cents off of each other or outright playing with a very minor key difference and hitting their accidentals intentionally to make it sync up. Not to mention the sampling ranging anywhere from .5 to a few seconds, the absurd production...
The fact that it works is incredible and boggles my mind. It's the soundtrack to insanity.
I'm not obsessed with massive, bloated overlong games. I'm not saying P4 was, or that the next game has to be short, but if the game is designed with a 15-30 hour playthrough in mind then I have enough faith in them that the Persona team will create a good, albeit smaller, game.