Yes, just to reiterate again, the following will contain massive spoilers for both Persona 3 and Persona 4. Don't say I didn't warn you!
Yes, my long awaited (by me) rant on P3 vs P4! I've finally finished P4, so which camp do I fall into? Well, I'm going to compare a few random points between the series. For the record, I'm in the "Persona 3 is better" camp.
Persona 3 FES (The Journey):Finish time: 86 hr 1 min Final Level for MC: 85 Difficulty level: normal
Persona 4: Finish time: 68hr 47 min Final Level for MC: 83 Difficulty level: normal
Point 1: Final Boss: Winner: P3
I did not overly enjoy either final boss terribly, Persona 3's was way too long. It took me 1.5 hours (at least) to beat it, except I died and had to face it again! So, more like 3 hours. On the flip side, Persona 4's was way too short, it only took me 1 attempt and about a 1/2 hour. So, I'm stuck being annoyed by P3 for being too long although pleased with it being challenging and being annoyed at P4's for being neither long nor challenging. In that regard, slight every so slight nod to P3.
Point 2: Tartarus vs TV: Winner: Tartarus (P3)
The problem I had with Tartarus was Death's appearances, not being able to deny shuffles, and having the floors be small. The problem with TV world was that it was all you could do that day/night (unless Nanako or Dojima were available), you couldn't work on an S. Link and go to the dungeon like you could in 3. Next problem is not having your HP/MP restored for free back at the base. My next complaint is trying to hit enemies, in P3, I found it pretty clear that i was hitting them from behind, but in 4, i'd be almost on top of their shadow and swing and somehow miss, it made very little sense as to what the hit detection was. I also didn't like the floor layouts, which were way too big for my liking and had those annoying doors. Having different colors in Tartarus pleased me more than having different backgrounds in TV world. It's not that I didn't have qualms about Tartarus, but I have less problems with Tartarus.
Point 3: Shuffle: Winner: P3
Tough call, the shuffles were entirely different, the cards shuffled differently and choices were different. In P3, you can get a persona, more exp, more gold, a weapon, or some HP back from a shuffle. Shuffles were very common, seemed to be at least 1 out of every 3 battles for me. The problem was that you couldn't ignore them, but if you didn't care the results, you could just hit X a few times a breeze through it. In P4, you could get a persona, nothing, or a penalty that took away all EXP and gold from that battle. In addition, but only if you got a persona or nothing card, you could get a bonus spin of a random major arcana card sometimes, but these never appeared as often as I felt they should've either (both the shuffles themselves and the bonus cards). The plus side was that you could refuse either the shuffle or the bonus card. Still, I liked being able to get more EXP, so I have to give the nod to P3.
Point 4: Social Links: Winner: P4
Yep, P4 wins this one. In P3, it sometimes felt like your S.Links were in separate bubbles and didn't know each other whatsoever, but in 4, they would sometimes all hang out with you on the weekends, giving you points towards the next level for everyone you hung out with. The one problem with 4 was that since building up teammate S. Links gave you benefits, you were more likely to ignore everyone else, of the 4 other non party S. Links I completed, 3 of them were night only S. Links (Nanako, Dojima, and Sayoko) and only 1 (Yumi/Sun) was daytime, since I had to spend time with the teammates to get the full benefits and their S. Links occurred during the day, I had to sacrifice the other daytime links for the sake of the party. My favorite P4 S. Link was Sayoko (Devil), who worked at the hospital at night. My favorite P3 one was Maya (Hermit), the online player who turned out to be your teacher. But, since P4's actually had an effect on the team and people knew each other (schoolmates+Nanako at least), I'd have to say I liked 4's S. Links more.
.....to be continued!