Is anyone actually reading this stuff? Well, whatever, I need to rant anyhow.
First and foremost: Expert is rape mode. It’s like P3’s Hard mode, only the enemies even get smarter, and if they ever figure out one of your character’s elemental weaknesses, they’ll be hammering down on them for the rest of the fight.
Now, new and exciting mechanics which more or less all end up serving to ram you in the ass ever so much harder:
SP is now a death countdown to your doom, which you’re forced to decrease yourself, like a strange masochist death contraption. The thing is, you never get tired now, although Teddie suggests the TV world has the same effect as the Dark Hour on stamina, this never shows in gameplay. What does happen is that you no longer recover HP and SP when going back to the base area, so your exploration time is directly proportional to your ability to ration your SP as if it were water in the desert. Doesn’t help that SP recovery items are scarce and recover ignorable amounts. From the second dungeon onwards, there are ways to recover without exiting, but one of them requires a lot of luck and the other one costs a bloody fortune.
Your navigator, Teddie, some way or another manages to be both twice as annoying as Fuuka while being twice as useless. All he actually does, aside from pissing his pants and shouting “You’re getting raped!” while you’re getting raped, is “remember” enemy’s elemental characteristics. So you’ve first got to try elements one-by one until you find their weakness, if they even have one. I’m pretty sure he’ll be getting a replacement soon, but doesn’t make up for how annoying he is. Granted, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the Burning Beetle is weak against, but there are plenty of enemies that offer no clue whatsoever.
Hitting someone’s weakness has different effects now, on several ways:
First, getting knocked down makes you much weaker as usual, but you don’t waste a turn getting back up. However, if you get hit again while down, there’s the chance of getting “dizzy” which does make you skip the turn.
Second, you still get the extra turn for hitting a standing enemy with their weakness, but you get it so long as you hit at least one enemy. In P3, using all-target spells only gave you an extra turn if you hit everyone’s weakness at once, while now, just landing one is enough. This is actually very, very bad, because while you can certainly exploit this, so can the enemies. And they will do so much, much more often. Just a heads up: If the mages on the upper floors of the second dungeon EVER get a turn, your ass is grass. Which leads us to…
Getting player advantage is a nightmare. It’s much more difficult for a number of reasons:
*Shadows will ALWAYS know you’re there when you get into striking distance, so you only have a fraction of a second to land the blow.
*Your sword is pretty slow, so you have to time both the strike and range just right. And that’s the only weapon you can use now.
*Even IF you hit them right, there seems to be a slightly random chance of still entering regular combat, where the enemies might still go before you if they have enough speed.
*Shadows move SLOOOOWLY. Not when you attack, they’re lightning fast then, but when you’re hiding waiting for them to start walking away they move like fucking snails.
Even with accuracy of over 90, some characters seem to miss annoyingly often. I do not enjoy getting my ass rammed because Chie and Yosuke missed three times in a fucking row.
Shuffle Time seems to happen randomly now, and considerably less often, especially for weaker enemies. Also, in addition to Persona cards and Blank cards (Nothing happens), you get Penalty cards, which nullify all gains (EXP and GP) from the battle you just had. I don’t know if there’ll be money, EXP, healing, etc cards later on.
Finally, randomly after a Shuffle Time you might get an Arcana Change, which is a Tarot card that you can flip and see if it ends upwards or downwards, giving positive and negative effects respectively. These can be a blessing or a curse, depending on your luck. Upwards Judgment (Restore all SP) is probably the best you can get.