Persona 4 Vs Persona 3

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#1 Posted by coxlin (8 posts) -

Hey guys

Just as a general debate, which do you think is better Persona 3 or Persona 4 and why, cos even though I recently got P4, still keep going back to play P3

What's everyone elses opinion?


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#2 Posted by Fr0Br0 (3252 posts) -

I haven't played P3 so I can't really say. But I can say "have fun pasting that into all of your posts..."

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#3 Posted by BoG (5390 posts) -

I'm a 3 fan. It really comes down to the battles, which just had more depth in 3. Also, in an unusual turn of events for me, I preferred the single dungeon over the many in 4, though they were all brilliant in 4.

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#4 Edited by Coltonio7 (3214 posts) -

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#5 Posted by Red (6146 posts) -

4 by far. The story is much better, the dungeons are a lot more fun, much less frustration (but there still is plenty of frustration), and just gameplay refinement.

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#6 Posted by prinny_god (337 posts) -

I liked 4 alot more than 3

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#7 Posted by agent_lost (908 posts) -

P4 hand down, I'm not saying that P3 is bad, it a very good game. Basically I care more about the crew for P4 then P3. The character from P3 field cold, hard and somewhat soulless. Also that the theme for persona 3 was "death", compare to the one for P4 that is "friendship". And P4 has Teddie.

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#8 Posted by Luthorcrow (195 posts) -

The only thing I think PS3 had over 4 is the whole suicide gun to head thing which I still think they should have kept.  Thematical, art style, voice acting and just generally Japense weirdnes off the chart in 4.

The combat in 3 and 4 is dead simple the charm of these games are the details around everything outside of the Dungeons.  The lack of challenge is not a bad thing.  Persona always makes a nice, relaxing gaming experience.  I think of as the Yoga of gaming.
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#9 Posted by RHCPfan24 (8663 posts) -

BOTH. End of story. They are both special and worth playing. I can't decide, don't put this pressure on me (fine, P4).

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#10 Posted by coxlin (8 posts) -

I prefer P3 because it seems more, real. A TV world and a Teddy seem a more ridiculous concept then the the shadows appearing and the school turining into Tartarus (even though it still is pretty ridiculous). Also not a fan of the battle difficulty suddenly jumping in the levels of the castle and semms more repetitive when getting characters. Also the town in general in P4 semms a lot more dreary. Will probs continue to play both simultaneously but probs play more P3.

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#11 Posted by thuiscool (120 posts) -

Both are great games, but I liked Persona 3 better.

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#12 Edited by LiquidPrince (16907 posts) -

I like 4's atmosphere better. 3 seemed too suicidal. Ironically the biggest thing I liked about 3 was the evokers.

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#13 Posted by JohnRayJr (2 posts) -

Coming in a month late here.

I've played the hell out of both games, and for me P4 just ran off a cliff after a while.

By rights, P4 should be the better game, and it certainly looks that way on paper. The interface is brought up to date (inventory management, full battle control, faster movement around town, easier viewing of Persona skills, save point in town and in class, etc.). The dungeons are themed (kind of like Psychonauts) which, at least in theory, should add a lot of atmosphere to the game.


After a while it seems like a rushed job. You spend way, way more time in the dungeons in P4, and without the "great/good/tired/sick" system, you're encouraged to grind them out in concentrated bursts. It also takes much, much longer to walk from floor to floor in P4, with only one access point every 10 floors instead of one very five. The level of slog and repetitiveness strangles the atmosphere and then beats the lifeless corpse over and over again. I'd much rather go on fast, focused training missions in Tartarus, with it's cool evolving theme music and dark, maze-like quality. The fact that the new game+ in P4 doesn't carry over player level just adds insult to injury. In a new game plus of P3:FES, I can walk through 15 floors of Tartarus in that many minutes. In P4 I'm still looking at a couple of hours (to earn levels I've already earned - because THAT makes sense).

As a matter of personal preference (don't get your backs up, P4 fans), I found the "mystery" in P4 dragged out and dumbed down. It's just painful watching the characters rehash what they know over and over and over again. P3 doesn't have the greatest overall story, but a mysterious dark tower and a war with the shadows (with a few plot twists) made a great backdrop for the urban teen experiences along the way, which was the heart of the game. I also felt like the story in P4 was just flat out sloppy and unfinished. For a while they hammer away at the "big business" theme of Juness forcing all of the small shops out of business (it's in several social links, and for a while all of the "targets" are children of local shops) and after a while they drop it altogether. For what? A scooby-doo ending where a harmless buffoon becomes an evil mastermind, except that he isn't, he's just being manipulated by the great evil being who must periodically be defeated by mankind (or a spunky band of teenagers). Bleh.

P3:FES really primed me to enjoy P4, and for a while that momentum kept me coming back to the sequel. Eventually that gave way and I started looking forward to the new game plus so I could skp all the monotonous dungeon crawling and try to experience the social links with fewer drawn out interruptions. But that was also a bust. P4 is a sloppy follow-up with a few interface improvements. The S Links often dive right off a cliff midway through - you can feel the designers phoning it in.

And don't get me started on the music. P3:FES has incredible music. P4 has something like half of the songs (or less) so you get tired of them much faster and they aren't as good to begin with.

Rant Off

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#14 Posted by Dan_CiTi (4837 posts) -

I prefer P4. I hated the dungeon in Persona 3(its not fun until you get to the very top w/ the final boss) its just a boring grind with generic enemies the whole time. I DO think the full moon sections are wonderful and interesting, but sometimes it feels like those will NEVER come. Also you have to grind a lot more in Persona 3, not just in dungeon but for characteristics.

The party is mostly boring or unlikable, except the guys can be fun.  Persona 3 also has this annoying system of getting your party members "tired" which was just annoying and restricting. The endless 200+ level dungeon was discouraging the whole game. I prefer the environment music in Persona 3 but the dungeon stuff in P4. There's lots of things I love about Persona 3, but Persona 4 just outshines it in too many ways.

Don't get me started on "The Answer". That shit is just a boring grindfest with no social links, just watch the cutscenes on youtube. Although those cutscenes are great.

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#15 Posted by Red (6146 posts) -

Yeah, P3 had some awesome moments. The story as a whole was probably better than P4's, but P4's was definitely a lot more interesting. My main problem with P3 is the horrible cheapness of the dungeons. You get 10 floors into Tartarus, and because you have the wrong persona equipped, you get knocked down. You can't move until the next turn. You can't change what your allies are doing, you can't do anything at all. During this turn you die, and you have to go AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL the way back. And although I did like the cast of P3 quite a bit, they just aren't quite as deep as P4's. The inability to Social Link with the majority of them sucks too.

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#16 Posted by LordAndrew (14601 posts) -

You could use that same technique against enemies too though, ensuring they never get a turn.

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#17 Edited by CommodoreGroovy (618 posts) -

Both games actually appeal to different kinds of people. Persona 3 was more of harry-potter-ish secret society where they had secret powers to save the world from shadows. Persona 4 was more of a Scooby-Doo-ish mystery novel where they wanted to thwart and eventually catch a TV Serial Killer. I actually enjoy the various backgrounds, it would feel old if Persona kept recycling the same story over and over.

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#18 Posted by Kombat (2296 posts) -

There have been sooo many threads about this at this point.  Persona 4 is more light-hearted and fun as far as I'm concerned, and the various UI and few gameplay improvements make it difficult to go back to P3.

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#19 Posted by GHT (172 posts) -

I'd have to replay P3 to really know, but all the additional conveniences they added to P4 make it hard to do that.

I was really excited when I saw Chihiro and Gekkoukan High in P4 though.

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#20 Posted by FantasyVayne (3 posts) -

Well, I guess I will state down the good and cons of Persona 3 and Persona 4 before I can make a judge... 
Persona 3 : 
 Good: -More playable characters 
             -More dungeon maps to explore 
             -Has more additional version ( Persona 3 FES & Persona 3 Portable) 
             -Protagonist can equip various weapon 
             -Character with cool-styling 
             -Use "gun" to summon persona, kinda better than Persona 4 
Cons:-Spending more time on training characters. 
           -Spending more time on Dungeon Explore. 
           -Unable to control other characters in fighting mode. 
           -Less skills and persona(s) than Persona 4. 
           -Have to strike down shadows one by one, unlike Persona 4 that you can strike the same mob with various skills until make all of them down and perform AOE(All-out Attack) 
           -OSTs are worse than Persona 4's. 
            -Worse image than Persona 4.  
(* I gave 8.5 of 10 in
Persona 4: 
Good:-Characters abilities increase as their social links level become higher. 
           -Less floors in a maps so it is more time-saving to go through them. 
           -Be able to spend time at night instead of being tired because exploring Tartarus Tower at midnight in Persona 3. 
            -Able to strike down shadow(s) with multiple target skills and perform "1 more hit" instead of striking them down 1 by 1 just to prevent some of them will wake up. 
            -Atmosphere in Persona 4 looks more bright,fresh and active. ( For me, it is better XD) 
            -Able to control other characters in fighting mode. 
            -Better image 
            -Better OST (Reach Out To The Truth and Pursing My Trueself).(For me), they are the best OST among all the games I played.  
            -Map switching button "square" makes maps exploring easier.
Cons:-Less characters than Persona 3. 
           -Less dungeon to explore. 
           -No additional version. 
           -Protagonist can only equips two-handed sword. 
           -Lots of copied persona(s) and skill(s) from Persona 3. 
           -Smaller city than Persona 3's. 
(* I gave 9.5 of 10 in 
It takes me long time to judge which one is better at first. But after I discuss with my friends, 5 of them(7 peoples) think that Persona 4 is better than Persona 3.
So, I PREFER PERSONA 4  ^_^ " ! ~

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#21 Posted by Asurastrike (2306 posts) -

I beat Persona 4, and then bought Persona 3. It's a lot rougher of a game, but it's still good. But overall I prefer P4.

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#22 Edited by PureRok (4273 posts) -

I prefer Persona 4. I can't get into Persona 3. The music (mostly) isn't as good, the characters (mostly) are boring, voice acting is meh, and general story just isn't nearly as interesting.
Persona 4's music is much more enjoyable, the characters are a lot more realistic and are easier to empathize with, the voice acting is better, and the story is a bit more interesting.
One thing I really didn't like about Persona 3 is how everyone else starts out knowing about things before the main character, while in Persona 4 everyone is learning about it for the first time together. 
I don't know, I try to like Persona 3, but I'm really having a hard time. I'm not even to the first boss yet and I can't play it, while I've beaten Persona 4 twice.
Edit: By "I'm really having a hard time", I'm not saying the game is hard, but that I'm having a hard time getting into it.

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#23 Posted by Shibbles (264 posts) -

Persona 3. I prefer the music, the art style, the story, and the overall ambiance more than Persona 4.

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#24 Posted by InfiniteGeass (2150 posts) -

I enjoyed Persona 4 much more than Persona 3. I just liked the characters, the music, and the overall story over Persona 3.

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#25 Posted by FrankCanada97 (4186 posts) -

I liked the atmosphere and feeling in Persona 4 more than in Persona 3.

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#26 Posted by CaptainObvious (2993 posts) -

Persona 4. Grew attached to characters.

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#27 Posted by Curufinwe (1344 posts) -

Both are great, but I prefer P4 overall.

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#28 Posted by scarace360 (4813 posts) -

P4 cause i love teddy and chie. But i havent finished P3 yet so maybe it could get better.

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#29 Posted by DukesT3 (2097 posts) -

They would shoot themselves in the head in P3!!! So P3 for me on that alone.

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#30 Posted by hai2u (320 posts) -

both are great but I prefer P3, mainly for the story, which in P4 was just terrible after adachi. 

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#31 Edited by AndrewB (7815 posts) -

A lot of what I love about Persona 4 over P3 are all related to the general polish associated with it being the sequel. For example, there's no doubt that Persona 4 has the better gameplay mechanics. Being able to control your party members directly is a huge help (even though I actually don't mind having them AI controlled in P3 because the difficulty does a fair job at taking this into account). Also, day-to-day activities, like town traversal and stat boosts etc. related to shops are a lot more streamlined and polished in Persona 4. The introduction of jobs you can do to earn both money and stat boosts is good.
Art direction and graphics, of course, go to Persona 4. The TV filters over scenes are done well, and it all fits in nicely with the general theme of the game. Of course, while the menu system is improved in places, there was still so much more they could have done to make it easier to do certain things without wading through multiple menus.
The point is, they had time to listen to and fix the problems that people had with Persona 3 between the two games.
But I personally like the music, story, and characters of Persona 3 better. I don't know what to say on that point to appease the crowd of raving Persona 4 fans on Giant Bomb. I was surprised, myself, when I had that revelation.  From the very first moment that I saw Junpei and figured out he would be my "Yosuke" character, I thought "well, he's no Yosuke". In the end, though, he grew on me. Sure, he was the stereotypical stupid kid, and it grated on me a little that they kept "going there." On the plus side, one plot point involving him that I thought the game kept foreshadowing in an overly obvious way ended up taking a different twist I wasn't expecting; though I'm not sure if things would be different had I not played the FES enhanced version.
Anyway, sure, not all of the characters are better, but comparing the two side by side, I'd say P3 has the most enjoyable characters. I liked the murder-mystery plot of P4, but ultimately I was more drawn to the crazy dark hour plot of P3. I can't really describe why that is, but it's true. There are also two particular moments of humor in P3 that stick out and trump anything P4 has to offer.
While the ending to P3 was a lot more depressing, it also had more of an impact. In fact, both of the endings ("true" and otherwise) do.
This is, of course, excluding the crap added in P3:FES. I never even bothered to play that mess, and I don't like to think of it as part of the official P3 canon. The stuff that happens and is said is so out of character to everyone involved, and definitely feels strung along to contrive a reason for the group to (minor *spoiler*).......... fight each other. 
Even the gameplay is butchered by the fact that there is none of the character interaction and social link stuff that made Persona 3 what it is. The combat is built on the idea that it should be insanely hard because it all takes place after you've beaten the final boss in P3, but the only reason I beat that game as handily as I did is because I was overlevelled with some of the most powerful Persona in the game.

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#32 Posted by SmasheControllers (2951 posts) -

I love both but the true answer is P2: IS.

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#33 Posted by Nictel (2696 posts) -

I prefer the story and personal emotional involvement I felt of P3 over P4. Then again I think P4 made me laugh more.
If they implemented the girl protagonist and added content well. Then the P3 PSP version will beat all.  P3 with the P4 battle system = perfection.
I love both games for the fact that I always feel slightly embarrassed when I'm playing them when someone is in the room with me. Not because of the type of game but because I get reactions as "Is that a giant penis on a cart?" and "What the hell did they just say?!"

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#34 Posted by gakon (2010 posts) -
@AndrewB: I will forever prefer Junpei to Yosuke.  In fact, it is Yosuke who fails to live up to Junpei's legacy as your main main.  Junpei is your bro.  Yosuke can't bro for crap.  Yosuke has little bro-ness to him.  All he does the second half of the game is yell anyway.
As for my own answer, Persona 4 is a better game, but I've only played Persona 3.  I think P3's characters had potential, but they weren't as fleshed out as P4's characters.  Atlus did this in P4 by adding way more school events and longer Social Links so you could see more of each character and their personality.  The whole "Shadow self" theme also lent it self to character examination.
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#35 Posted by eroticfishcake (7856 posts) -
@gakon5: Guess you disagree with the term "Brosuke" then. Ha.
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#36 Posted by trophyhunter (6038 posts) -

p4 is better p3 is way way too loose

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#37 Posted by AndrewB (7815 posts) -
@gakon5 said:
" @AndrewB: I will forever prefer Junpei to Yosuke.  In fact, it is Yosuke who fails to live up to Junpei's legacy as your main main.  Junpei is your bro.  Yosuke can't bro for crap.  Yosuke has little bro-ness to him.  All he does the second half of the game is yell anyway.
All Junpei does for most of the game is skulk and complain and make it seem like he's going to turn against you. He's a little too submissive to be a true bro.
But like I said, there are those two key scenes that pull me in. One of those being the beach "mission," which had me actually laughing out loud for several minutes. That's where Junpei, and the game in general,  really turned a corner with me. I hope that's kept intact for Persona 3 Portable.
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#38 Posted by gakon (2010 posts) -
@AndrewB: Yeah, he does tend to not like you for being better than him.  When they're each at their best, though, I prefer Junpei anyway.
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#39 Posted by nVision (20 posts) -
@LooseChange said:
" They would shoot themselves in the head in P3!!! So P3 for me on that alone. "
no question
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#40 Posted by ch3burashka (6087 posts) -

All you people saying the stories were great are crazy. I admit that the general arc of each game was interesting and the unknown of who the killer/what Tartarus was kept me going, the ending battle of each was incredibly disappointing. I could totally see their intention: to use the gameplay mechanics players had gotten used to over 60 hours to metaphorically symbolize each main characters' true Persona and their true power in the face of overwhelming evil. However, all that translated to was the characters 'withstanding attacks'. It didn't really work, not for me at least, because I thought it was incredibly shallow and contrived. It was very anti-climactic. 
As for preference, the overall experience I thought was better in P4, mostly because of the mood. P3 was very much 'emo', and rightfully so, but I didn't enjoy the characters nor the setting as much as in P4.
That and Endurance Run.

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#41 Posted by luce (4056 posts) -

P4 has a very special place in my heart so this isn't even a fair fight.

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#42 Posted by InTheEnd (274 posts) -

Initially I thought people seemed to prefer 4 over 3, but now that I've seen more talk about it, it's almost even. It seems obvious that people who prefer a lighter tone go for 4 and 3 for a dark one. But in it's defense; I wouldn't say 3 is about suicide or even as dark as some people have come to believe, it's more so about life and death as well as sacrifice. For me it's a tie, I just can't say one is better than the other, they both have their high points and low points. 

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#43 Posted by lord_canti (1688 posts) -

i like 4 more and not from the endurance run i watched that after finishing the game XD. i kinda didn't get that far in 3 it didn't grab me the same way.

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#44 Edited by gakon (2010 posts) -
@InTheEnd said:

" Initially I thought people seemed to prefer 4 over 3, but now that I've seen more talk about it, it's almost even. It seems obvious that people who prefer a lighter tone go for 4 and 3 for a dark one. But in it's defense; I wouldn't say 3 is about suicide or even as dark as some people have come to believe, it's more so about life and death as well as sacrifice. For me it's a tie, I just can't say one is better than the other, they both have their high points and low points.  "

I agree that it's not as emo as people like to call it.  Really, Persona 4 had a few profound scenes that beat out most of Persona 3, and yet it's called the "happier" game in tone. [edit] What I mean by that is not that Persona 4 isn't "happy", but that it reached both ends of the spectrum.  It was able to act serious and lighthearted at different points, which is part of what makes the game so great.
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#45 Posted by beforet (3421 posts) -

Mommy, daddy, please don't make me choose...
I guess if I had to choose...fuck. I just don't know man. I liked the overall feel of P3 but the pacing and dungeons of P4 were much better. I also kinda liked the AI controlled party mates but at the same time I am glad that P4 allows full control. I just don't know, man.

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#46 Posted by gakon (2010 posts) -

I'll always prefer having "Down" cause you or an enemy to lose a turn, which was core to some strategies in Persona 3 but changed for Persona 4.  So I'm disappointed that Atlus switched it back for Persona 3 Portable, especially when they're adding the ability to directly control party members.  It was always annoying to have your groupmates strike a knocked-down enemy and allow it to take its turn.

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#47 Edited by FuzzYLemoN (1609 posts) -

I love both dearly, but I enjoyed Persona 3 way more than 4. Everything about it was superior in my opinion... except lack of party control, of course... but P3P will fix that! :D

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#48 Posted by JB16 (825 posts) -

I haven't finished Persona 4 (only 20 hours in) but so far I like Persona 3 more. Of course my real love for persona 3 came in once I was 30+ hours into the game so who knows, I might like Persona 4 more in the end.

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#49 Posted by Superkenon (1678 posts) -

 After recently doing my second runs through both Persona 3 and then 4, I can safely say that I enjoy P4 more.  They're both outstanding games, and going through Persona 3 again was a blast, but then going through another run of Persona 4 afterwards was even more fun.  After playing them back to back, it's really easy to appreciate all the various gameplay improvements they made.  Everything just works better... from the menus to the battle system.  The upgrade is a treat.
The cast of Persona 4 feels more well-thought-out and developed by comparison... I think it helps that the main party is smaller, so there's more focus. I have good feel for each one of them, whereas there's some of Persona 3's cast that I never got much more than a vague understanding of, though I still liked them.  Granted I never played FES, so maybe that helps flesh them out more?  Well, whatever the case, I personally found P4's cast to be all-around more likable.

The music, setting, and art style of Persona 3 is also narrowly edged out by that of Persona 4's for me.

The ending is a different matter, however.  Without spoiling too much, I will say that I think Persona 3 came to a much better, if somewhat somewhat bittersweet, close.  The final battle felt more meaningful, even musically.  Although it was easy by comparison (I consider the True End to be P4's final battle, by the way).  Gameplay-wise, Persona 4 wins in this category too, but in every other way, Persona 3 wins in regards to its climax.

But I'm more about the journey than the destination.  Persona 4's journey offered a lot more in my humble opinion, so it's my favorite.  But I still love 'em both. 

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#50 Posted by championfetus (314 posts) -

I like FES more partly because i played it first and partly because in P4 I feel they sorta copped out with Nanako's miraculous recovery.

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