Its funny to see so many Persona 5 mentions. That seemed predictable to me. I have no interest and haven't played any of them but hearing the reverence for P4G on Giant Bomb you'd think that game was some unbelievable new thing.. To me it just looks like another weird JRPG. I feel like P4G was a lot of peoples first time or re-entry into the genre and they had crazy expectations for the next one. It just can't live up to what people have imagined (like nostalgia) in their heads P4G was, and if they went back and played P4G they'd be like.. "oh.. it was like this." I'm probably wrong though and people will tell me otherwise :P
Disagree. I played Persona 3 _after_ Persona 4: The Golden, and it held up. Sure, the systems were clunky, but I liked the characters and the world/setting a hell of a lot. Persona 5 just felt flat compared to either of them. (Hell, I'm psyched for the Persona 3 rhythm game to come out, just because I enjoy those characters in that world. P5D I'm far less interested in). I've beat P3fes twice, and P3Portable twice, but I'm dreading replaying parts of P5, which I think is telling.
Probably Persona 5. I'm only half way, but haven't touched it in months. Story is easily the most uninteresting, boring plot Persona has had yet, and that's saying a lot after 4 and it's spin-offs.
The big problem for me with P5 is that it hinges _everything_ on the main narrative, and it just isn't that great. You're on a tight schedule with the dungeons, and, unlike in P4, there's little to no character investment pushing you through them (it's not a case of "we must go rescue <party member>") so they end up feeling like more of an annoyance that has to be gotten past. The puzzle dungeons in the latter half of the game don't help either - they are incredibly tedious. At least in P3/4, you could just zone-out, get to the top, and fight the boss. Here, you've got to be paying attention to get through, but even when it does something interesting it repeats FAR too many times and just becomes boring (the Cruise Ship being particularly egregious).
It also feels like everything you do is in service of that main thread; there's no respite or downtime. In Persona 3 and 4, you had moments that were wholly unrelated to the overall picture (e.g. the school trip in P4, or the beach in P3), and there are social links that aren't tied to the central plot (e.g. daycare in P4, or the kid at the park in P3). You have some downtime, so even when the main story isn't particularly engaging, there are fun character interactions off to the side and you can take some time not really doing anything important. That's lacking in P5 - all of the story beats are part of the same narrative, most of the social links are tied in with it as well (and even when they are, it feels like they are only there to provide additional skills etc.), and the characters aren't as interesting (the way they are writing is just flat and come across as one-dimensional). It's wearing to not have that downtime, and the quality of the main narrative in P5 certainly isn't good enough to warrant that singular attention.
It doesn't help that the payoff to the main narrative is just uninteresting. For what should be a power-fantasy moment, the game just goes "here's a boss rush, and here's a monologue that might as well be carbon-copied from the ending of P4". There's no sense of payoff - it's just done.
There's _so much_ I love about P5 (the music, the style, and the combat are all fantastic, and some of the characters are good) that it might well end up being both one of my favourite games of the year, whilst also being one of the most disappointing games.
Oh man, you absolutely NAILED how I feel about Persona 5. Nicely done, and echo everything you've said. Great game, yet most disappointing for me of 2017.