After leaving a rumor filled school one day, you decide to pick a fight with some punks from another school... & start getting attacked by their "Personas", Or other self. After 3 persona are introduced, everyone faints & has the same dream of meeting a man with a white butterfly mask.
After waking, only you, a girl, & one of the punks seemed to have noticed anything during or after the fight & fainting spells, So you all decide to make a bet.
Rumor has it that anyone who calls their own number will have any wish granted by one called "Joker"... what better way to check (or ask) if the strange dream you shared is real?
And it Is true... One can have any wish granted...At a price. What happens if you don't answer fast enough? Your erased from all memory & become A life-less, Dream-less, shadow of what you hoped to be... (in short: you just died).
And it happens the Joker isn't content killing only the 3 who played his (her?) game, & It's got a special Revenge planed out just for you... but what did you do to make it so ticked-off? as far as you know, your "Innocent" of any crimes, So it'll let you off for now... at least until you remember your "Sin". (Yes, that Is a bad pun. just ignore it).
now here's the odd addition to the game play: RUMORS
The before mentioned Joker also seems to be able to make rumors become truth. Rumor starts that your school emblem is cursed, pretty soon all the students still wearing one are now bed-ridden or covered in bandages. If you start a rumor that the old lady at the ramen shop sells weapons if you order a special dish... she just says she doesn't... But get the rumor to spread some more, go back to the shop & say hello to a (FREE) sword, leather gloves, & a ...guitar case?.
Spreading or suppressing rumors has major effects in this game, so to keep favorable rumors around, you need to bribe the cops, & to get rid of ones that aren't too helpful, normally requires you to win a fight against Joker's peons.
Persona 2 is closer to the first persona then 3-4. Some of the characters are from the 1st game, & the old school in 1 is also mentioned. The graphics & maps are much the same as 1, but you can now walk diagonally indoors(like in 3/4).
Demons are harder to recruit. It has the first game's gauge (the box that shows if their happy, mad, etc.), but it now takes more encounters to recruit or get stuff from them. Negotiations also are a bit... different.
Example: you can have a character start dancing to impress a pixie... suddenly 3 lights come on, the background music starts playing a special tune,& said character will dance & start talking! (Its more time consuming... but still kinda neat).
Battles are also different: the demons don't just stay off to one side as you continually set them all ablaze from the other. they now come after you!(It's like the Devil Survivor game). So unlike 1,3, or 4, this may actually require strategic thinking (instead of just keeping track of weaknesses). Your people are now mingling in a crowd of demons, so you can try to surround one for a unified attack (the order & attacks you choose may get a special 2-on-1 Persona attack), or you can just concentrate on the one devil that's trying to get away. But spells that affect a area might not be able to hit that one + all the others enemies at the same time.(I'm sill going to set them all on fire somehow, Bwa-ha-ha!)
The game is so far, so good. But if your new to this series a little extra advice... or warnings(depends on you):
1) MAKE SURE TO GET THE SOUNDTRACK! After awhile, the music from the Persona games just keeps on playing over & over in your head, so just give in & play the soundtrack 24/7 too (the soundtrack to P4 is also great, play that one too=)
2) you may suffer urges to beat up pixies after hearing the battle themes. This is normal (at least I hope it is...).
3) When in doubt: set it on fire (It worked through most of Persona 3/4, & in Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne, Devil Survivor, & Demi-Kids. It'll work now too).
And 4) Wanting to use "Hee~Ho!" in everyday sentences after meeting a Jack-Frost, Pyro-Jack, Black Jack, King Frost, Or any other members of the snowman's family is normal... (& your family will eventually get use to it after 1/2 a year)... Hee-ho!