Persona 5 is probably the most accessible game in Atlus' series thus far. It's got plenty of small tutorials that ease you into each system, and a range of difficulty options cater to players of all skill levels. Having said that, though, Persona 5 can still seem rather daunting at times. The fact that the game runs on a calendar means that you constantly have to make efficient use of your free time, and a wide variety of intertwining systems are sure to keep you on your toes.
With all that in mind, we've put together this hopefully handy Persona 5 tips and tricks guide.
Meanwhile, if you're looking for more specific help with Persona 5, check out our other guides:
- Guide: Persona 5 Difficulty Settings - What Does the Difficulty Level Change?
- Guide: Persona 5 Exam Answers - All School and Test Questions Answered
- Guide: Persona 5 Social Links - Where to Find All Confidants and How to Rank Up Fast
- Guide: Persona 5 Romance Options - All Possible Girlfriends and Where to Find Them
- Guide: Persona 5 New Game + - How to Start New Game + and What Carries Over
- Guide: Persona 5 Best Ending Walkthrough - Good, Bad, and Other Endings
Take your time
Persona 5's loading screen message is bang on the money. The words "take your time" appear every time the game has to take a moment to prepare, and they're words that you should definitely take into consideration.
When it comes down to it, much of Persona 5 is about time management. Days are broken up into separate chunks (morning, afternoon, after school, evening, etc.) and you'll only be able to perform one action per period. This structure forces you to think about your actions and their consequences - if you spend time hanging out with Ryuji, for example, you'll have to wait until tomorrow to hang out with Ann. In the grand scheme of things, every choice that you make is an important one.
And so with that mind, it's sometimes best to just stop, weigh up your options, and take your time. Think about what you want to achieve, and carefully work towards that goal when you can. Your free time is limited in Persona 5 - use it wisely, and more importantly, enjoy it.
Live a balanced life
Building on our previous point, it's best to try and live a somewhat balanced student life in Persona 5 - at least during your initial playthrough. Ignoring your five social stats (Knowledge, Guts, Proficiency, Kindness, Charm) in favour of building social links, for example, is a lifestyle that can come back to bite you later on. Likewise, ignoring your confidants so that you can max out your social stats as early as possible will have lasting consequences.
Again, it's in your best interest to weigh up your options. When free time rolls around, think about the action that best suits your current situation and roll with it - just don't overdo things to the point where you outright neglect other aspects of the game.
Follow your favourite social links
There are 21 characters in Persona 5 that you can build social links with. Named 'confidants' in the game, these are the characters that you're able to interact with during your free time - although a handful of them will only feature during the story. Some are teammates, others are simply people who cross paths with the protagonist.
At first, you should try to unlock as many confidants as you can, as this ensures that a wide range of fused personas will get an experience boost upon creation. It also allows you to get a feel for what kind of passive skills each character bestows as you get to know them better. And, of course, it's a good way to work out which characters you want to get friendlier with in the first place.
Indeed, it's unlikely that you'll be able to max out all confidant ranks in one playthrough, therefore you should try to prioritise the characters that you like, especially as you near the end of the game. For what it's worth, we'd recommend getting all of your teammates to rank 10 if possible, since they're always going to be a direct part of combat.
Don't forget about special activities
Special activities can play a large roll in increasing your social stats. If you really want to increase a specific stat, for instance, there's usually an especially effective way to do so - you just have to make use of this option at the right time.
For example, bathing on Monday or Thursday evening will provide you with a larger Charisma boost than normal. So if you're eager to increase your Charisma, make plans ahead of time and ensure that your Monday and Thursday evenings are free. Studying at the diner when it's raining is another solid option - this will provide a bigger increase to your Knowledge. Try to adapt your schedule and consider special activities as you progress.
Don't forget about movies, either. Movies give you reasonably big social stat boosts, so make sure to check which movie is currently on show at the cinema before you commit to an action.
Always carry a book or two
Books are especially useful in Persona 5. They can provide you with social stat boosts, open up new areas on your map, and even enhance the effects of other activities. Even if you don't dedicate some of your free time to reading, it's worth remembering that you'll regularly get the chance to read something on the train to school.
So, where can you find some reading material? Your first port of call should be the school library. By talking to the girl at the reception desk, you can borrow books or return them. These books are based on the personas of your party members, and each one of them increases a different social stat when read. You'll definitely want to pick a couple of these up from time to time.
Your other option is to buy books from one of the game's two bookshops - the second store opens up later in the game. Books don't cost too much money, and they're ultimately worth the investment anyway. The selection of books that each shop carries grows as you progress through the game, so make sure to check in now and again.
Gifts can make all the difference
Increasing your social link ranks can take a surprising amount of time - especially if, during your previous encounter with a character, your dialogue choices didn't make them particularly happy. Fortunately, you can give your confidants gifts in order to quickly further your relationship.
A wide selection of gifts can be bought from the various shops in the Shibuya Underground Mall. Some are relatively cheap, others are incredibly costly - so be sure to spend wisely. On top of monetary value, you also need to consider which gifts best suit which characters. Ann, for example, will love the cake that you can buy from the supermarket, but she may hate the black coffee mug. There's no huge penalty if you give the wrong gift to someone, but you'll obviously have missed out on growing your friendship, and you'll have ultimately wasted your money.
As such, you're better off only giving presents when you know that they fit the bill. Get it right, though, and you'll give that confidant rank a big boost.
Never ignore cover
Early on in the game, you'll be introduced to the cover mechanic, which basically lets you hide behind objects when exploring a palace. While in cover, you'll be hidden from enemies who don't have a direct line of sight, and you'll be able to leap out with a tap of the X button when a foe wanders too close. This leads to an ambush, giving you a distinct advantage right from the start of the battle.
The best part is that you can explore vast swaths of the Metaverse without actually leaving cover. Simply point the camera at another object and hit X to leap there at lightning speed. With some practice, you can easily use this movement to cover large distances without being detected.
Make good use of Mementos
Mementos is a randomised dungeon that opens up a little while into Persona 5. You can head into Mementos and attempt to reach its depths throughout the game, and doing so is well worth your time - even if it does mean that you miss out on other activities.
Because each floor of Mementos is randomly generated, you may end up finding some rare equipment or a strong persona during your travels. If you're on the lookout for more powerful gear to help you conquer an upcoming palace, it might be a good idea to fully explore each floor so that you don't miss out on any treasure chests.
Needless to say, Mementos should be your go-to location if you're looking to level up your party or personas. Because palaces disappear once you've stolen their treasure, Mementos provides an endless amount of experience points - just make sure that you and your allies are prepared for a potentially lengthy slog. Bosses in particular - the ones that you find after accepting requests - yield a lot of experience points and can even drop rare equipment or items, making them worth hunting down.
Be clever with party tactics
Most players will probably find set tactics that seem to work and stick with them for most of the game, but it's always worth considering what other fighting styles may bring to the table. In Persona 5, you can issue commands directly to your teammates, let them think for themselves, or give them broader instructions during battle.
Against tougher enemies and bosses, it may be best to stick with direct commands, as this allows you to have full control over both the protagonist and your party members at all times. Using direct commands, you can ensure that allies aren't wasting SP or attacking foes that you don't consider a priority.
However, when you're fighting regular enemies on easier difficulty settings, you can get away with letting the artificial intelligence fend for itself. Computer controlled allies are pretty smart; they'll exploit weaknesses and tag you in when they know you can deal a crippling blow. Broader commands can make grinding and casual exploring less time consuming, as you won't have to decide every character's action.
Don't stop fusing
Fusing personas is the most efficient way to increase the power of the protagonist. You may have a soft spot for a persona that you just collected, but the harsh reality is that personas gained near the end of the game are going to be much more powerful than those found near the beginning.
Personas only learn a set amount of skills naturally as they level up - and they level up very slowly. Once these skills have been learned, weaker personas outlive their usefulness, as ideally, you'll want to pass their best skills onto the next, stronger persona that you fuse.
If the levels of both your allies and your enemies are starting to outweigh the level of your persona, it's probably a good idea to head to the Velvet Room and get fusing.
Keep the combo going
Sometimes, offence is the best defence in Persona 5. Don't hesitate to down your enemies by exploiting their weaknesses when the time is right - an all out attack or negotiation is often the quickest way to end a fight with your HP intact.
Keeping your combo going is key to this approach. The Baton Pass ability unlocks for each of your party members as your confidant rank increases, allowing you to pass your extra turn to an ally upon hitting a foe's weak spot. Make good use of this, and you can chain hard hitting attacks together even against the most diverse of enemy groupings.
A great way to enhance your combo effectiveness in battle is to make sure that the protagonist has access to a variety of personas. With a wide range of skills, you can switch between personas depending on what type of attack you need. You'll likely drain away a lot of SP, but it's possible to win entire battles by yourself as long as you have the right personas and the right skills at your disposal.
Difficulty options are there for a reason
Persona 5 can be a difficult game at points. In fact, later on, it can be downright brutal - so it's nice that the release offers up four distinct difficulty settings. Unless you're playing on Safety, keep in mind that you can switch the difficulty level at any time outside of combat and cutscenes by heading into the config portion of the menu.
Some players will enjoy the challenge that Hard mode brings, while others will simply want to experience the story without having to worry about getting into trouble with seriously tough opponents. What we're trying to say is that the difficulty options are there for a reason. If you're really struggling or if you're hankering for more of a challenge, don't hesitate to change things up.