I straight up cheated in P2 and EP for cards. Because for a first run through the game hell to the fuck no am I gonna grind for cards. I'll do it the next time through, but I honestly do recommend cheating a bit to get through the games the first time around. Not having to worry about cards means you can just build the good personae whenever the walkthrough says to, which frees up brain space to worry about learning the ins and outs of the battle system enough to make it work.
To be entirely honest I actually much prefer EP's battle system to IS'. IS has a couple of improvements over EP, like the ability to see turn orders and the emotion chart and a minimap, but EP's battle system runs sort of like FFXII's gambits. It's got too many options at first, but once you realize that it boils down to setting the best options for guiding your party through battles it becomes a much easier, albeit somewhat uninvolved process. It's not as bad as IS' fetishization of menus where every single thing requires you navigate the most user unfriendly menus possible to get anything done.
EP is the first and only time I ever found Demon negotiation even remotely acceptable as well, so there's that.
Recent Atlus related trademarks:
The biggest problem for me is that nothing is ever quick in this game. I constantly have to adjust my team and Personae to make sure I'm using fusion spells to rank them up and get mutations, but I also have to worry about demon conversations to get new cards for new Personae, and outside of that I need to manipulate the rumours for new stuff or take little sidequests to get spell cards, and all of this is so much unintuitive busywork where I'm jumping from guide to guide trying to make sense of it that it kills any of the enjoyment I had.
I really want Fusion Spells to come back, though, and as unlikely as it is I really hope the entire team gets access to the Wild Card in Persona 5, because one of the coolest aspects of the battle system was being able to modify your entire team on the fly even during battle.
Hmm, good catch. It'll be interesting to see if anything comes of this.
Interesting. How long does it usually take Atlus to make anything with their trademarks?