‘Persona 5’ tips: How to make the most of your time in Tokyo

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Persona 5 is absolutely massive, a 100-hours-long role-playing game with nearly endless choices when it comes to how you spend your time. Will you hang out with social contacts? Go shopping? Read a book or watch a DVD? Grind some combat? The choice is always yours, but it can be difficult to make.

Luckily, P5 is full of time-saving features and general improvements that make it the best game in the series. Use these tips to ensure you’re making the most of your time in Persona 5.

General tips

Do what you want

The best way for new Persona players trying to figure out what to do in Persona 5 is simply spend your time how you want. Hang out with the confidants you like, or who you think will provide the best benefits. Train up the stats you think will be important. There’s not really a way to waste time in P5, as almost anything you can spend a time slot on will wind up providing some benefit.

Check other players’ choices

If you press the controller’s touchpad at any point while playing (except in a dungeon) you can see how other players chose to spend that time slot. Use that to see your options and weigh your choices. This is especially helpful when a teacher asks you a question in class — though it doesn’t work during exams, when you’ll have to resort to old-fashioned Googling.

You can decorate your room

Once you start taking confidants out to various locations of your choice you might get unique items with which you can decorate your room. It’s a small but fun personal touch. Examine the empty shelf next to your bed to get started.

Social links

Check the map

By pulling up the map with R1, you can actually see which locations have confidants — there’s a little icon next to a train stop if there’s a buddy there. Even better, you can get more info about them if you highlight that stop and hit the square button, including who’s there and whether your link with them is close to ranking up.

Talk to new party members to start their social links

Whenever you add a new member to the Phantom Thieves, you have to actually find them in the world during the day and chat them up to activate them as confidants and start ranking them up. It’s easy to forget to do so, since, until you talk to them the first time, they won’t text you to hang out like the others will.

You can check the next confidant skill

If you navigate through the confidants section in the pause menu, you can actually see the next skill or perk that ranking up a confidant will provide, as well as what level you need to get the rank to. This can be useful when deciding what to do.

Grind social links

If you want to advance your social links, you’ll sometimes have to hang out with them even if your bond isn’t about to rank up. Luckily, there are some things you can do to make them rank up more quickly (indicated by the number of musical notes that pop out of their heads during the scene):

  • Have a Persona equipped that matches the confidant (you can check in the pause menu)
  • The dialogue options you choose matter — pick the right ones
  • Choose hang-out destinations that match the person (more important as the map opens up later in the game)
  • Buy all the gifts you can in the underground mall and elsewhere, so you always have options when it comes up (applies to characters you can romance)
  • If the confidant you want to rank up isn’t around, pray for them at the Meiji shrine (once you unlock it).

Save-scum

Save-scumming refers to the practice of manually saving your game before undergoing an important action or choice, then re-loading that save if something goes wrong. If you’re stressed about making a mistake while building up your social links, you always figure out the best destinations, dialogue choices, and gifts through trial and error.

Dungeons

(Almost) always go for the weak spot

As in past Persona games, combat revolves around discovering and exploiting your enemy’s weak spot. You should always go for the weak spot in combat, unless your foes are so much weaker than you that you can one-hit them with physical attacks. It can be tempting to try to save SP in random battles, but each time you needlessly draw out a battle is another opportunity for your main character to take a critical hit and to face a game over, potentially losing progress and wasting time.

Stat buff and de-buff skills aren’t useless

During average combat encounters you’ll almost never have to use skills like “rakunda” and “tarukaja,” which raise your allies’ stats or lower enemies’ stats. They can be invaluable during boss fights, though, especially as your teammates level up and gain souped-up versions that affect multiple allies or foes at once.

You can change party members at any time

As soon as The Phantom Thieves grow to more than four members you have to start juggling who’s in your combat party in dungeons. Luckily you don’t have to be at the entrance or in a save room to do so — you can do it right from the “stats” section in the pause menu by hitting square with teammates selected.

Buy SP accessories from the doctor

Ranking up your social link with Takemi, the awesome back-alley doctor, has some real benefits. At some point she’ll start selling accessories that let you regain SP — Persona ability points — every turn in combat. They’re expensive, but since there’s actually no way to buy SP recovery items in the game, these are invaluable for grinding dungeons. Equip one to your main character and consider the other party members as well.

Don’t horde SP recovery items

While you can’t purchase SP recovery items like soul drops and coffee, you will get a fair amount of them from combat, chests, and other sources. Use them in dungeons when you need a little extra push to make some progress. It’s possible to complete some dungeons in one sitting, though they get extremely long toward the end, and it can be worth it to not use up additional time slots.

If it seems like you’re going through your SP recovery items too quickly, rank up your bond with Sojiro, so you can make coffee and curry whenever you’re in the Leblanc cafe.

Let Mementos requests stack up

Early in the story you’ll unlock the randomly generated dungeon, Mementos, where various characters will send you to deal with more personal metaverse targets. Don’t rush in every time you get a request, but let them stack up so you have three or four every time you go in (don’t worry, they never expire). Battling through Mementos takes up the entire day, after all, and you want to be efficient.

Keep an eye out for Tetraja

Some Persona skills are more useful than others. “Tetraja” can block a one-hit-kill skill once for your entire party. It’s highly situational, but once in a while — like during a fight with a boss that likes to spam one-hit-kill moves — you’ll be glad you have a Persona with it equipped.

Rank up your party members’ social links

There are benefits to ranking up any confidants, but none more so than your fellow Phantom Thieves. The benefits during combat — from teammates automatically healing status ailments to taking a killing blow for you so you don’t have to face the “game over” screen — are invaluable.

Personas

Register your Personas

Every time you capture or fuse a new Persona it will be automatically registered with the twin wardens in the Velvet Room. However, you want to manually register Personas whenever you return to the Velvet Room after a long time questing with the same Personas. They’ll register at their current level and skills, which you’ll be thankful for if you ever choose to re-summon them. Make sure to tap triangle to compare the registered version with your current version.

Know how to interrogate Personas

Persona 5 features a new way to recruit new Personas: Negotiation. After downing all enemies in combat, you can have a conversation in which you have to choose the correct responses to gain the Persona’s trust. Despite how it may seem, this process is not random: Check your enemies’ personality type — it’s next to their name — before entering the interrogation. “Upbeat” Personas like jokey responses, “timid” ones like when you’re kind, “irritable” shadows prefer serious responses, and “gloomy” Personas like when you answer vaguely.

Experiment with fusion

Even if you don’t care about getting the specific Personas with the exact skills needed for the twin wardens confidant, it can still be rewarding to experiment with Persona fusion. Whenever you gain a few levels in combat try returning to the velvet room and making some new Personas. The “fuse by result” option can make this easier, especially when you select to “sort by level.”

Don’t be precious with your Personas

You’re making a mistake if you get too precious with your Personas — i.e. if you love a Persona so much you’re loathe to use it in fusion. A Persona may have great skills that you hate giving up now, but if you never fuse with it, its power will eventually be outstripped by your foes. You can always re-summon it from the twin wardens if you’re not satisfied with your newer Personas.

One final tip

Take your time

Whenever you’re stressed out about what to do next, take the loading screen’s advice and “take your time.” You’re likely to spend around 100 hours in Persona 5 from start to finish. Enjoy it.

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