The rules also seem to be "Save constantly" and "Hope you don't run into the wrong party."
I'm not sure what I'm doing differently than you are, but here's a short list of the types of parties I've encountered in P4 that have resulted in cheap deaths. All they need to do is attack first, either by an ambush or by just having high enough Agility to get the initiative.
- At least one monster has Atk+ buff; uses it on other monster(s).
- Multiple monsters with Confuse.
- Large number of monsters with moderate attack power.
- At least 2 monsters who use attacks that hit hero's current elemental weakness.
Which brings us to:
MarsDragon wrote:It's okay to have elemental weaknesses if you're pretty sure enemies won't be using it against you,
So I guess rule #3 is "know what's going to happen before it happens." I mean, how will I know what attack enemies are going to use before I encounter them? P4 seems to rely pretty heavily on learning by dying. You get wiped out and then you know which characters/personas not to use next time. Until you get two more floors up and have to deal with a whole new slate of enemies. Which is why you should probably Goho-M and save at least every other floor.
Then again, the last couple of dungeons seem less inclined to sucker-punch me than, say, Kanji's and Rise's; I don't know if the game's easing up, or if I've just gotten better at Fusions or something else that made me less susceptible to getting wiped out.
SMT4 (which is, at this point, the only other SMT game I've played; I started DSO the other night but I'm only through the first fight) is punishing in a different way; it lets you save anywhere and takes this as an invitation to really front-load the difficulty. Once you get the rhythm down (and build a respectable party) it's pretty manageable, but in the early going they stick you in a dungeon crawl with limited resources (including really low MP) and hit you with challenging enemies right upfront. In the early going, at least, it's not just an accomplishment to get to the next floor, it's an accomplishment to get to the next room.