It sometimes happens that you become totally surprised at how incredibly good a game is. Games where you initially thought "This seems like a good game" and then gets totally knocked out by how good it actually is. Last time it happened to me it was with Shadow of the Colossus, and now it has happened again.
I came for the first time in contact with Shin Megami Tensei series when I played Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call. The fact that it seemed to focus on older players instead of the teen group most other Japanese role-playing games seemed to focus on, was a surprise, a positive one. You felt that you didn’t have to suffer with the annoying teenage hero, but got something more adult (though the hero was a teenager), and that is what makes Shin Megami Tensei special. It doesn’t treat us like 15-year olds.
In Persona 4, you play as an unnamed protagonist who moves from the big city to his uncle in the quiet little village of Inaba. He begins his new life in Yasogami High School and meets with a few friends who will follow him through his adventure. One day he hears a rumour that if you look into a turned off television at midnight, on a rainy night, you shall see your soul mate. It doesn’t take long until horrible things start happening in the form of murder victims that are hung upside down from telephone poles and roof gutters, and it seems that there is more to the so-called Midnight Channel than meets the eye.
To say that Persona 4 is an ordinary Japanese role-playing game is a lie, straight through. The game mixes usual RPG elements, such as cave exploration, with a bit of Pokemon collecting (but not as cute) and a huge chunk of dating simulator. When you encounter enemies you fight partly with a weapon and partly with a so-called "persona”. As the protagonist, you have ability to change your persona to the personas you get by cave exploring or personas that you get by fusing two or more personas with a mysterious man named Igor.
The combat system has been improved from the already very good combat system in third game to almost perfection. You may, as usual, attacking an extra time when you get a critical hit, or if you use magic that the enemy is weak against, and can thus finish a battle without getting any damage at all. Meanwhile, an attack from the rear from the enemy to make your life short, if they happen to have magic that you’re weak against. As usual, it's game over if your protagonist dies, which is something that makes you put down the controller for a while. But not for long, because you are so curious about what will happen. What is new with the battle system is the fact that now you can block and thus prevent a critical hit or a weakness from making you fall down. This makes the fighting tactics become even more fun. The difficulty has also been lowered, from the outrageous hardcore level of difficulty that often accompanies a Shin Megami Tensei game, and is making the game more mainstream. However, there is still a expert difficulty for those who feel that they haven’t had enough.