Taking into account Persona 4's own share of horrors, don't expect a change of genre to do away with them.
Examples from the first game:
- The beginning of Mitsuru's story mode reveals that the Kirijo Group invented a device that installs pseudo-potential into people and establishes an imperfect miniature version of the Dark Hour.
The recruit fell to the ground with an agonized scream. A black, tar-like substance began flowing from his every orifice.
- The description how one of the recruits of Public Security is overwhelmed by his Shadow is reminiscent of similar scenes in Persona 3.
- Next he stands up, still vaguely humanoid, but almost entirely covered by the Shadow's ooze and with red-glowing eyes, before he transforms into a beast at whose side a mask seems to be stitched against. He gets better, but still
- Some of the "Reason You Suck" Speeches delivered to the members of the Investigation Team ostensibly by their friends are damn chilling. For example, Yu's lecture to Chie sounds an awful lot like Adachi's Motive Rant in Persona 4, albeit with it being directed to Chie rather than Adachi talking about himself, and it's not helped at all by Yu & Adachi sharing a voice actor.
- Yosuke running into Chie in his story mode, simply for the warped version of Chie happily deciding she's going to eat one of her closest friends. (Granted, this transistions into humorous territory since the comments can also be interpreted sexually, something which, in the manga Yosuke somewhat hints at, and the real Chie downright asking him if he's being a pervert when he tells her what happened, with a blushing bashful look.)
- In Aigis' story mode, Naoto gives a lengthy Breaking Speech to Aigis about how she's Just a Machine and she can never truly have emotion or humanity before they throw down. It's all just part of the illusion and it's followed by a sweet moment and a funny joke once the fight's over, but it's really hard to sit through, and Aigis almost seems like she's going to cross the Despair Event Horizon right there.
- The Malevolent Entity is nothing other than Paranoia Fuel for Nyarlathotep's return. Not only there has been drastic changes in the real world to be a mixture of Midnight Channel and Dark Hour, the news so far are that Aigis, Mitsuru, and Akihiko have been captured and crucified... which would mirror what Nyarly did to Eikichi, Lisa and Jun in Eternal Punishment, Shadow Aigis even holds a black butterfly. It turns out that he's something else, the destruction god Hi-no Kagutsuchi, and he can't manipulate reality like Nyarlathotep, instead having to make a destructive form for himself so he can destroy the world on his own.
- Labrys' Story Mode, which explains her backstory. More precisely, the part where Labrys forced to destroy her sisters from the 5th Generation. The scene is better described as a robotic version of Berserk-patented violence, with the highlight scene being when Labrys rocket punches an android's face until it shatters in close-up, complete with Machine Blood. Then comes the part where Labrys fights her surrogate big sister Unit #024, and she came close to regaining her senses before she's hijacked by the scientists. #024 was spasming in her hand before Labrys broke her neck, all while the scientists are applauding the entire display. Indeed, What Measure Is a Non-Human??
- More Nightmare Fuel courtesy of Fridge Horror: This is the 5th Generation of the project that means this happened four times before four previous generations of sentient robots were made to get to know each other, befriend each other, and then turn each other into hunks of scrap while researchers watched the whole mess like it was the greatest show on Earth. And you thought Adachi was a bastard
- You would think a cute Robot Girl with a Kansai Regional Accent like Labrys wouldn't be such a source of Nightmare Fuel, but she is. In one of the trailers it shows a cutscene of one Labrys punching in the face of another, causing a very graphic and close-up Your Head A-Splode. The fact that they are robots do not deter the scene from appearing very gruesome, perhaps because of their Ridiculously Human Faces. And then there's her Mortal Blow, which has her slashing her opponent many times with her axe until the opponent is on the ground in front of her. She looks down on them with a murderous look on her face as she retracts her Variable-Length Chain arm from high above her and slams it and the axe down so hard it shatters the camera, leaving no evidence of the body The best part, her Shadow is not this creepy.
- To make matters worse, we have the "Dark" Announcement Room stage. The background in the Announcement Room stage transforms into a red, hellish factory that has various android body parts hanging around or on the conveyor belt that leads to the incinerator and what seems to be blood running down the window. This is where Shadow Labrys is fought.
Examples from Ultimax
- In Ultimax, almost every character (except for Elizabeth, Margaret, Adachi, the version of Shadow Labrys who uses Asterius, and both versions of Sho) has a "Shadow" mode as a separate character, effectively doubling the roster. The bad news is that each shadow character has a new nightmare face to go along with them.
- Even the Persona 3 characters, who didn't face their Shadows canonically, get them. Shadow Junpei in particular sports a terrifying Slasher Smile that looks so out of place on a laid-back Nice Guy like him.
- The Shadows of the Investigation Team were nothing to sneeze at and it's no doubt that those of the Shadow Operatives are going to be just as bad, but Shadow Aigis is already shaping up to be the worst out of all of them, even having managed to eclipse the already fearsome Shadow Yu as the nastiest of them all. She is so psychotic, sadistic and violent, that she can and will try to kill everything in her path just. Even her fellow Shadows are unnerved by her and avoid her like the plague, knowing that given the chance, she won't even hesitate to try and kill them.
- Shadow Ken's Slasher Smile is unnerving, especially compared to how calm the real Ken seems to be. The fact that he is accompanied by Shadow Koromaru doesn't help either.
- Shadow Chie's Psychotic Smirk is even worse this time around.
- When Chie defeats Shadow Yukiko in the P4 story mode, her eyes turn white and she gives a bloodcurdling scream before disappearing. It's especially jarring because this doesn't happen with ANY of the other Shadows.
- Shadow Yu's making the most out of his first canonical appearance; he's sadistic, callous, loves to toss out Breaking Speeches like they were candy, and that creepy damn smile almost never leaves his face.
- Things are not looking up for the Investigation Team and the remaining Shadow Operatives in Ultimax. Aigis, Mitsuru, Akihiko, and Fuuka have been kidnapped; the Dark Hour and Tartarus have returned and are now affecting Inaba; and their Shadows have been manifested once more. What else can go wrong? Adachi is back. Thankfully, he's actually here to help you out.
Adachi: Mangle them! Magatsu-Izanagi!
- And just like last time, water becomes blood during the Dark Hour, explaining the red fog.
- Adachi isn't allied with Sho or the Entity, but he does give a warning at one point in Arcade Mode: "If you spend too much time fighting, you might not be able to return things to normal." When Tohru friggin' Adachi of all people is telling you to get it together, that should tell you how serious this situation has become. It turns out that the more you fight, the more Persona shards you create, allowing the Malevolent entity to actually go out and destroy everything.
- And judging by Labrys' Ultimax trailer, they only have an hour.
- Adachi has also been shown to retain possession of Magatsu-Izanagi.
- If you think that Adachi is terrifying already, then you haven't seen his instant kill yet. It drags his opponent into the Shadow World and has Magatsu-Izanagi cut them down as Shadows surround and watch them. Absolutely bone-chilling.
- Adachi constantly switches from calm to sporting terrifying expressions that match the Shadow-type characters in fear factor.
- When Adachi performs a super, the cut in portrait reveals that one of his eyes turns yellow◊ for the duration of the super. Considering what yellow eyes meant for him before, that isn't a good sign.
- Minazuki's Instant Kill is already one of the most terrifying things in the game.
- Not to mention his counter super move which blinds the opponent. Imagine fighting a insane psychopath and suddenly being blinded while he laughs manically and starts hacking at you with dual katana.
- Shadow Labrys is back. Not a copy, like the other Shadows, but the actual Shadow Labrys. One line in her trailer sums up how bad things have gotten: "I'm my own thing now, got it?!"Shadow Labrys: Persona, Asterius!
- which also becomes sadder as it means that the fight with Shadow Labrys in the manga was in vain because in that fight, Aigis was knocked down by Asterius (though she soon recovered) and Yosuke, thanks to Shadow Labrys' rant, almost waved the white flag while fighting her
- The fact that this is even more Paranoia Fuel to Nyarlathotep returning even if it literally isn't does not help either.
- The story mode reveals that the reason why Shadow Labrys is still alive is because her mindset was saved inside Labrys' black box used to store the data from the other Anti-Shadow Weapons, which not only allowed her to stay alive, but also allowed to develop a Persona. The idea of having an Omnicidal Maniac like Shadow Labrys inside your mind as an alternate persona that can take control anytime the situation lends itself is just frightening.
- Shadow Rise is back. God help us all
- Hi-no-Kagatsuchi, the true identity of the Malevolent Entity. He is the manifestation of humanity's selfishness and abandonment of connections with others. His ultimate goal is to burn the world to ashes, killing every single living thing on the planet until he is the only one left to rule it as its god. On top of this, he resembles a giant, flaming demonic monstrosity with freaky yellow eyes and menacing claws. In fact, when Hi-no-Kagutsuchi first makes his first proper appearance, he does it so by devouring Sho and giving out a rather unnerving Slasher Smile right after that. The other thing why he is terrifying is that he is a formless destructive god...that can somehow manipulate very well to trick the persona users to give him this form. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! He even does it without warping reality or the power of rumors unlike Nyarlathotep, with his only tool being emotional tricks.
- While it has elements of funny, Junpei ain't joking when he actually mentioned word-by-word that his encounter with fake Rise is going into his Nightmare Fuel folder. Imagine if you encountered your most favored idol or something, but then she acts really nasty, and nasty in the words of 'You are better off dead and you are all wastes of spaces'. If there is a candidate of Broken Pedestal, this would be it, and had Junpei not encountered fake Yukari yet, or the real Rise showed up right after
- The fake versions of the characters melt into black ooze when defeated. We don't actually see it, but the way the narration describes it makes it sound really disturbing, especially considering the fakes are made to look EXACTLY like the people they're mimicking. Imagine watching something that looks exactly like one of your closest friends melt... ugh. It's mentioned that the Malevolent Entity deliberately made them look as accurate as possible too, as if he wasn't already bad enough. And considering what he is, he probably wants the cast to see their friends die horribly.