Persona 3 is very different from the preceding games in the series, to the point it honestly feels like the start of a different series entirely. Instead of a standard jRPG, it’s a kind of blend between a dungeon-crawling roguelike and a dating sim: By day you live as an ordinary high school student, take classes, and bribe your friends to get Relationship Points™; by night you fight monsters.
Unfortunately, while it’s better than the preceding games (and actually playable), it feels very much like a rough draft. This makes sense, since it was their first attempt at a lot of radically new mechanics, but I don’t think it aged well. I’d say the story is decent, but either watch a playthrough or the anime adaptation instead of playing it yourself.