Gameplay, story and characters.

Fine. One last time.

Mechanically, Persona 4 a step forward and backward. Controlling your characters is nice, but there are a bunch of little annoying tweaks that made the game less interesting. A lot of the bosses were just damage sponges rather than actual challenges (like you would see in P3). The levels were more varied, but as far as what you did in them, they were completely identical (outside of their gimmick floors). I’d argue that Tartarus is a better dungeon because its floors are so small and allow you to advance quickly. The floors in P4 were mostly just big rat mazes.

I’m still not sure why most people I see are so unanimously on the side of P4’s story and characters. The twists were bad, and the characters basically stated their motivation baldly after you met them. I might have been a little more impressed by the shadow forms if it hadn’t already been done in Persona 2 nine years earlier. In it the characters met the worst aspects of themselves after they were developed, so rather than simplifying their personalities, it gave them depth and provided more insight into their motivations.

There’s a bunch of other stuff that I could complain about, but I’d have to delve too far into spoilers/minutia.