The story was IMO pretty original and lots of foreshadowing was thrown in the first few cutscenes. It does get better if you keep playing, as you get the nods to other games in there and see some, if a tad late, character development. Playing IS after that gives you a feeling of joy seeing some familiar characters and locales from P1.
I liked the story and characters because they feel like people you can relate to and they don't feel like they're trying too hard to be those cool, edgy 90s teens. I liked the story because it is an unexpected journey. It's a regular day at school when all of a sudden you and your pals do some voodoo ritual (dancing around with a chicken-type shit) and WTF a ghost AAAAAHHH! I AM MUTHA!@#$%^ PHILEMON, WHATS YO MUTHA^&*()_ NAME? PERSONA PERSONA PERSONA!
SOCIALLINKSSOCIALLINKSSOCIALLINKS! Going to the Hospital and visiting your sick friend put you at ease but make it even more shocking when all of a sudden everything changes, and there are demons running about wanting to kill you. When a character loses a loved one, you sympathize with them if something similar had happened to you. The voice actors really did a great job with what little FMVs there are. Yukino actually sounds like a tough chick and Nanjo really sounds like Akihiko a mature 17 year old.
Also, Liam O' Brien as Nanjo and Christopher Sabat as Reiji = EPIC WIN.