After nearly a decade since the last entry in the franchise, Persona 5 marks the return of the spin-off franchise that Shin Migami Tensei spawned. Compelling characters, personal choices, and intense combat scenarios are all staples of the Persona series, and Persona 5 featrues all of these in abundance.
Persona 5 is a game best spent taking every day as it comes, as you would in life. Whether it’s working at a local flower shop, spending time with the cute girl you’d like to woo (on a side note, oh how I wish Yusuke and Ryuji were romanceable), or hey, even playing a video game. Persona 5 is bursting with activities and friendships to explore, in addition to all that dungeon crawling. To a newcomer, all of it could feel a little bit daunting. Luckily I’ve arrived with help. This isn’t a formal walkthrough—because honestly, deciding how to spend your day in Persona is one of its greatest joys, which is just living your life as you please. But I have some tips for all you lucky players that get to experience this vast, illuminating game.
While there are no story spoilers below, I do detail the skills unlocked through Confidants and more. But also if you want to go into Persona 5 completely blind, then why are you even reading this?
In this guide, we'll be running down various key aspects of Persona 5, including the aforementioned Confidants, and other critical areas such as the best side activities to undertake in order to boost certain stats for you in the game.
The Most Useful Confidants in Persona 5
Confidants are Persona 5’s version of Social Links. They take shape in the bonds you form with others, strengthening your Personas (the demons you summon in battle) that share an Arcana (essentially, a class) with them. There’s another bonus for taking the time to build a relationship with a Confidant though: each Confidant offers unique, unlockable skills as your bond grows. While every Confidant offers useful quirks, there are a few that I recommend prioritizing above the rest.
The Phantom Thieves (Ann, Ryuji, Yusuke, Makoto, Futaba, Haru) - VI Lovers, VII Chariot, IV Emperor, II Priestess, IX Hermit, III Empress
Your closest friends are your comrades in the Phantom Thieves, of course. By spending individual time with each character, you unlock special abilities in battle that will make things a whole lot easier. While, for the most part, everyone’s abilities unlocked are primarily the same (“Baton Pass” gives you the ability to chain attacks without using an extra turn with an ally if you critically hit an enemy to knock them down; also the ability for an ally to take a fatal blow in your stead; etc.). Though in the higher threshold of your bonds, they each behold a unique, useful battle-bound ability. Futaba, your support teammate that’s never on the frontlines, is especially good to focus on, because of the random bonuses of SP (magic), HP (health), and more she’ll offer in the heat of battle. Also, since maximizing every team member is obviously slightly unlikely, I’d recommend choosing who you like best of the team (both in terms of battling capability, and who you naturally drift to in terms of personalities) to focus on as well.
Sadayo Kawakami - XIV Temperance
Kawakami is your teacher who is driven to moonlight a seedy job for troubling reasons. Her story is not only one of the strongest Confidants in the game, but the benefits of being her friend in her time of need are also essential. Early on in her Confidant skill-boosting, you can call her to do your laundry, make coffee, cook curry, or even craft infiltration tools like lockpicks. By maxing out your Confidant with Kawakami, she’ll even help free up your time in the evenings after spending an afternoon in Mementos or a Palace (so instead of losing a day and night to infiltrating either, you only lose your afternoon and are free to do another activity at night).
Tae Takemi - XIII Death
Takemi was one of the first Confidants I maxed out, and I’m glad I did. She’s a local doctor in the neighborhood you reside in, running a small alleyway clinic. Befriending her nets you access to a medicine shop for stocking up on items for when you venture into dungeons. Additionally, you’ll get bigger discounts on the medicine, and eventually have access to buy incredibly useful accessories, like an item you can equip that naturally accrues your SP (which in long-winded Palace infiltrations is incredibly useful).
Toranosuke Yoshida - XIX Sun
Yoshida is a socialist politician you befriend during one of your part-time jobs, where you later find him soapboxing by his lonesome by Shibuya Station. The poor guy is having trouble, and that’s when you befriend him, believing wholeheartedly in his cause. Yoshida’s Confidant bond nets you a few ever-useful abilities, including being able to negotiate money and items from the demons you Hold Up in a dungeon, and eventually, recruiting Personas that are an even higher level than you currently stand (this is particularly useful later on in tougher Palaces and Mementos levels).
Yuuki Mishima - XVIII Moon
If you plan on traipsing Mementos regularly, then Mishima’s Confidant bond is vital. He’ll regularly send you additional targets to chase after in Mementos as your bond grows. In addition, you’ll also get the ability of permanent bonus EXP from battles, and the same EXP earned by your current party granted to all your teammates on reserve. Mishima was one of the first Confidants I ended up maxing out, and I’m glad I did.
- Persona 5 - Complete Confidant/Social Link Guide
- Persona 5 Fusion Beginner’s Guide - Make Powerful Personas
- Persona 5 Mementos and Requests Guide
- Persona 5 - How to Romance Other Characters
- Persona 5 - How to Negotiate With Demons
- Persona 5 - How to Get a Job and Earn Money
- Persona 5 - Test Answers for Every Exam, Class Questions, Midterms, Finals
- Persona 5 - How to Beat the Palace Dungeon, King Kamoshida
- Persona 5 - How to Beat the Museum Palace Dungeon, Shadow Madarame
- Persona 5 - Big Bang Burger, How to Increase Guts
- Persona 5 - Flower Shop, How to Gain Kindness and Yen
- Persona 5 - Using the Protein Lovers Gym to Gain HP, SP
The Best Social Stat-Building Activities in Persona 5
Tokyo is a big, big, big place. There’s places to be. Things to do. People to hang out with. Burgers to eat. There’s so much just permeating in the central area of Shibuya, that it’s hard to even imagine what bustles beyond it. But of all the things to do in Persona 5, social statistic building comes by perhaps the most naturally. There’s some easy social statistics garnered from bonding with Confidants, such as the Guts you get from spending time with Takemi. Answer questions in class correctly, and you’ll achieve +1 Knowledge (inevitably, this will likely be the first stat you max over the course of your playthrough). But there’s a few activities around Tokyo that are the most essential ways to build up your arsenal, to prove you are the most Charming, Gutsy, Knowledgable, Kind, and Proficient of them all.
Buying plant nutrients at the Flower Shop for Kindness (without wasting any time!)
When you’re first shuffled into the dusty attic of Cafe Leblanc, there’s a dead plant there. But, if you take care of it, the plant returns to life. At the Flower Shop in Shibuya, you can purchase plant fertilizer, and give them to your plant. This will increase your Kindness either by +2 or +3 and won’t waste use up any of your time. Careful though, you can only add plant nutrients once every couple weeks or so.
Reading books and playing video games
Reading books—either the ones you buy in Shibuya or the ones you rent from the school library—is a great way to build your social stats. What stat increases depends on the book, obviously, but typically they increase your stats from +3 or more the course of reading it. Video games, which you can buy in Akihabara later in the game after getting a CRT tv, operate in a similar way as books. You play them in chunks, though unlike books, you achieve social stats every time you pick it up from a checkpoint. Whereas with books, the stats you accrue only are given to you upon finishing the book (which is usually only two to three bookmarks, or rather, two or three chunks of time spent reading it). Also a pro-tip: always try to have an unread book on you, because during the rare instances where you grab a seat on the subway train, it’s a productive way to spend the rare, extra time.
Watching movies in theaters
Every month, at both your local neighborhood theater (after it reopens) and the one in Shibuya, a new movie will be playing. The movie will increase a particular stat +3, and can be seen multiple times. Though, as with all things, you will grow tired of it after a couple times, and be barred from seeing that movie again.
Big Bang Burger Challenge
On some nights, you’ll want to partake in the Big Bang Burger Challenge, a tough adversarial test to consume a very, very big burger (it’s literally the size of your head). Once all of your stats are on Level 2, you’ll be able to finish the burger, and get +1 stat on all of your social skills. For other instances, before your stats grow to another level again, you’ll fail to finish it, and get only +2 points towards Guts at the least.
In terms of everything else Persona 5 offers, like dungeon strategies and Persona fusioning, I’ll leave that for you to experiment with. During my playthrough, I found myself experimenting a whole lot with different Personas, swapping different Arcanas regularly to readjust and recent my playstyle. It may seem daunting at first—especially if you’ve never played a Shin Megami Tensei game prior to this—but Persona 5 does an extremely good job easing you into its unique language, making it probably the best Persona game for newcomers to the series. So experiment. Have fun with it. If you wish, ignore this guide, and find your own skills and Confidants to blossom on their own. Just enjoy your time while doing it (or don’t! I’m not one to judge if impeccably stylish JRPGs aren’t your jam).
Persona 5 will be available on Tuesday, April 4th for Playstation 3 and Playstation 4. You can read our full review of it below.
A stylish victory.
With Persona 5 quickly approaching in just a few weeks, we conjured a gateway guide to the games in the grim, grim, grim universe of Shin Megami Tensei.
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