I enjoyed an hour with this game Monday night. I like this kind of RPG - the 100% turn-based battles, the adventure-game aspect when not in battle, the ability to control the camera.
I also like the way that the social sim aspects of the game feed into the combat abilities. By becoming a better, more rounded high school student and making friends, the player's character gains combat power.
I don't like so much persona fusion. It incorporates a bad game design, in that it not only encourages the player to paint himself into a corner, it virtually forces him to do so.
First off, the player cannot undo persona fusion, so if one gets a less useful persona, one cannot go back (except by reloading a game save). When fusing personas, the player can see the name of the persona and the names of its skills, but the skill names look like Japanese words (or maDe-up ones) and the game offers no way to view a description of them prior to fusion. So the player must do fusion blind.
I suppose the next time I play it, I'll keep a FAQ handy so I can find out what the fused persona's skills actually do. I don't consider that cheating.
I consider this a minor defect, however; I suspect that one can play the game and win through to the end without ever fusing personas, and I mean to play that way as lohg as possible. In any case, I'm still enjoying the weird story and interesting combat.