Diehard GameFAN Presents: Twenty or so helpful hints for Persona 4 Golden.

So, way back when Persona 4 came out, I put together a mini-strategy guide of sorts for the game, largely because the review itself was doing fairly well reader-wise and I felt that I could offer something of benefit to those who were still struggling with the game. With the release of Persona 4 Golden, I’ve opted to revisit that original guide and update it for this release, in hopes that it might be of benefit to players out there. Part of that comes down to being able to put effort into the guide before the game officially launches; while helpful hints a month or two down the road are fine and all, having some form of assistance day-of is infinitely more useful, I find, so since I’ve been given the chance to do this thing, I feel obligated to do so. Part of it comes down to the fact that people really seemed to enjoy the original, as well as my Corpse Party walkthrough (which is apparently the most read thing I’ve ever written, so I guess I did something right), so I figured this would be of benefit to people as a result. Part of it comes down to the fact that I still have the game on the brain, and rather than write a two thousand word essay on why Yukiko Amagi is the most realistic candidate, romantically, for the main character (I am way too analytical okay) I should write something people want to read.

Also, since I discovered that the Vita can take its own screenshots (for those who don’t know how, press the Vita and Start buttons simultaneously and VIOLA) it makes putting pictures into this damn thing so much easier.

Anyway, this is not a comprehensive strategy guide for Persona 4 Golden, and to the best of my knowledge, one does not and will not exist in printed format. You can still use the strategy guide released for the Playstation 2 version of the game, to a point; while several details are changed, most of the daily events are largely intact and the answers to the majority of the Social Link questions are still somewhat functional. However, if you don’t already own it, the guide is… prohibitively expensive at this point, retailing for sixty dollars new on Amazon for example, so that’s going to be a bit of a hassle. Either way, what this is intended as would be more of a helpful hints guide to give you some assistance with making progress to the best of your capabilities, so as to provide something of a road map to success. I do happen to have the original guide lying around, though, so if anyone out there has questions feel free to comment on the article or send me an email and I’ll do what I can to assist, because I probably won’t get tired of talking about the game anytime soon.

Anyway, let’s get on with it. Oh, and keep comment spoilers to a minimum if you’d be so kind, thanks.


1.) So, at this point in the original guide I stressed that it was in your best interests to play through the game twice to see everything there was to see in the game, which I will more or less stand by, albeit with less conviction. This still allows for the option to see the results of various conversational choices you were unable to see the first time around, such as directly asking Chie and Yukiko for their numbers (though I managed this with Yukiko in the first go, oddly enough, this time around), telling people certain responses that are more direct, and so on. It also allows you to fight Margaret as the secret boss towards the end of the game, allows you more time to screw around with maxing Social Links, and gives you the option to see everything you might want to see without having to worry about stat leveling and such. Since this allows for more focus on interaction and less focus on personal stat boosting, it’s not a bad idea to consider. That said…

2.) Maximizing your Social Links, in their entirety, in Persona 4 Golden in the first playthrough is not only feasible, it’s not at all difficult if you skip a lot of the optional hangout sessions offered and focus on sticking to a plan. How do I know? Because I did it, actually, so I can safely say it’s quite possible… even with a couple of screw-ups and without maximizing the opportunities available to me to the fullest, I managed to get all of the Social Links maxed out one day before the end of the game (though I had to miss the Christmas Eve event to do so, sadly), so if you pay attention to what I’m going to tell you here, you can pull it off easily enough, I’m positive. Now, in the original guide I mentioned that the best way to do this thing was to max out the Hermit S-Link as soon as possible and abuse the fox’s ability to heal your party inside the television to get dungeons done in one day, which is still a big deal to consider. Sticking to entering the TV during rainy days and making good use of the fox to heal up, especially if you’re grinding for cash, is a big boon to your cause and should help you accomplish the task. If you want to just do it easily, however, play on Very Easy difficulty. Seriously; I tested it out to see how much easier it was, and no joke, by the end of Yukikio’s Castle I had close to a million dollars and was ten levels over where I would have normally been. To put it another way: later in the guide we’re going to mention a common leveling spot I found that allows you to massively grind out levels if you’re bored and want to be maxed out, which still works as far as I could test in this game. I didn’t bother to spend much time on it, however, because I was Level 99 with all characters one dungeon prior by that point.

Seriously, if you want to just do the social stuff and aren’t concerned with the combat after playing through Persona 4 multiple times already, play through on Very Easy first and come back later for the challenge. You won’t be sorry.

3.) So let’s assume that you’re either interested in playing the game on a more challenging difficulty level, or you just want to know the best tools to get yourself into S-Link earning shape regardless. Well, Persona 4 Golden, as I mentioned in the review, now offers new books to read that can massively improve your results when attempting to earn personal stats, which are crucial to completing all the Social Links. There are now books that can double the amount of chapters you can read from a book per night (which can cut the reading time of four chapter books in half), books that double the bonuses you get from studying and taking on part time jobs, books that improve the results you get from eating Chinese food and more to help you grind out stats. Since you can buy any books that are on sale from the bookstore without worrying about missing anything, you can grab Expert Study Methods and double up on your Knowledge boosts early on to make life easier. From there, you can pick up English Made Easy (improves Expression boosts when translating), Office Work Manual (jacks up Diligence when making envelopes), Easy Origami (boosts Understanding while making Cranes) and Food Fight! (improves food boosts) when they become available for similar boosts. Hyperspeed Reading will also help a lot since it allows you to bang out two chapters of a book at once. Also, it’s worthwhile to save before doing any stat boosting exercises such as part time work, since you can gain more boosts through random events and reload if you miss them, and before eating at Aiya to ensure you get the stats you want from eating there. Finally, reading on rainy nights can further improve your stats, so, really, you have a whole lot of options for getting your stats massively raised up when and how you want.

4.) As I’ve mentioned before, you will require your stats to be as follows to max your Social Links: 5 Knowledge (3 for Margaret, the Empress; 5 for Naoto, the Fortune), 5 Courage (3 to progress with the fox, the Hermit, and Ai, the Moon; 5 for Naoto, again), 5 Understanding (3 for Naoki, the Hanged Man; 5 for Shu, the Tower), 5 Expression (between 3 and 5 for both Nanako, the Justice, and Ryotaro, the Hierophant; 5 to complete the Hermit S-Link), and 3 Diligence (for Sayoko, the Devil). I’m going to change up how you want to progress here, though, since you now have until February to max out all of your Social Links. Knowledge is seriously important, thanks to the boosts you get from being on top of your class in tests, but once you get to around Rank 3 you can slack off a bit until Naoto shows up as an available Social Link around late October unless you want to ensure you’re top of your class in every exam. Expression is the other “big” stat, since Nanako and Ryotaro Dojima are unavailable from November to around late January, and you need the stat for both of them. Courage can be ignored as needed until it becomes a must to recruit Naoto, as Ai and the fox are both routinely available late in the game, so you can deal with them as you see fit. Since Shu and Naoki are also available from January on, you can slack a bit with Understanding if you want as well. Honestly, though, you should really try to plow through these four stats as quickly as possible in the first few months, starting with Knowledge, then Expression, then Courage, and finally Understanding, so you can spend the rest of the year working on the links. With books and Chinese food on your side, you’ll likely be just fine. What about Diligence, you ask? Well, as before, you’ll only need to get it to Rank 3, so once that’s done, you don’t have to give a damn about it, and there are a few mandatory tasks you’ll have to complete that boost it (playing sports, building a model), so unless you put Sayako off until January or something you’ll be just fine.

As I’ve mentioned before, you can actually also use some S-Links to boost stats, as Strength S-Link offers nice gains to Dilligence, the Temperance S-Link offers similar gains to Understanding, the Sun S-Link does this for Expression, the Tower S-Link for Knowledge, and the Devil S-Link for Courage. Studying with one of your party members also increases that S-Link in addition to your Knowledge, which is also quite helpful when you’re trying to build your stats as quickly and efficiently as possible. That said, I never studied with anyone this time around and ended up doing just fine, so you can skip study sessions if you’d rather and still make the grade with ease, especially since there are so many other ways to improve your relations with others that you needn’t bother with events that could be put to more practical use.

5.) One thing you are going to want to abuse is the offertory box at the Shrine that pops up fairly early in the game (once you’re eligible for the Hermit S-Link, basically). This box is available at the Shrine any time it’s not raining, and you can make a small donation to gain some improvement on an S-Link without having to visit with them, at the cost of a time cycle (in other words, the rest of the day/night). “Well,” you might be thinking, “since I can’t use this when it’s raining, why in the hell would I bother with this?” The answer is, this can be used at night as well, and there are only four Social Links you can work on at night (four and a half if you count Adachi), each of whom has awkward schedules to say the least. Once you clear out an S-Link or two, you’ll find you have nights where you have literally nothing to do, so you can head over to the Shrine, drop some cash and improve relations with someone you can’t interact with normally at this time. Every S-Link is available here, as well, so if you don’t want to burn a day at daycare trying to move forward to the next rank with Temperance, spend a couple nights buying off the fates until she’s ready to move forward. Towards the end of the game especially this will be a big help, so keep it in mind.

6.) Of the twenty-three Arcana, six do not require you to have a matching Persona when leveling them: Fool (which levels up on its own), Judgment (which also levels up on its own), Star (which, again, levels up on its own), Death (which levels up every time you speak to the Social Link, no matter what), Hermit (which levels up by doing quests), and Empress (which levels up by fusing specialized Persona). These, as a result, are the easiest S-Links to earn, and as such, in theory should be easy for nearly everyone to get. Hell, three of them don’t even require you to do ANYTHING except play through the game, so at the bare minimum, you should be able to max those out easily enough, unless you go for a bad ending or something, but who would really want to do that anyway? HOWEVER, I do want to note that the Hermit Arcana has been changed slightly in Persona 4 Golden, as the fox’s final quest has been expanded a bit to be more difficult. In the original game, you needed only capture the Samagawa River Guardian, a giant fish that would impress the old man down at the river enough to allow you to complete the quest. Not so much now; this time you have to catch the Sea Guardian, a monstrous fish who lives in the ocean, and aside from being much harder to catch… requires a lot more effort. How much? Well, you’ll have to ride on your scooter four different days (thus burning four different actions, at the bonus of increasing your Courage) to learn how to drive to the beach on your own for one thing. For another, you’ll have to catch the Samegawa River Guardian, which not only requires you to burn a day (or night) fishing, but also requires you to learn the timing of the bug catching minigame or to watch Tanaka’s Commodities religiously to get the beetles (Inaba Jewel Beetles) needed to catch it. Then you’ll need to catch some Genji Beetles for the Sea Guardian, and spend a day fishing on the beach to catch the damn thing (so, yes, you’ll need to burn a total of six days to do this), which either needs to happen during winter or when it’s raining. So, yes, Hermit is a pain in the ass now, for the record.

On the plus side, if you eat the Sea Guardian it fills your SP gauge, so at least you can derive perverse joy from that I suppose.

7.) Of the remaining seventeen Arcanum, five are of above average difficulty to max out, at the minimum. Devil is only available on odd nights, cannot be influenced by anything but normal visits and offertory donations, and requires Diligence of 3 in order to unlock, meaning you’ll be at that for a while. Tower is similar to Devil, but requires Understanding of 5 instead of 3 in Diligence, meaning that, yes, you are going to be earning that stat for a LONG while before you’re ready to earn that S-Link. Temperance is only available on odd DAYS, in addition to following the above rules, meaning you’ll have to devote time you’d normally spend unlocking other S-Links to unlocking this one, and further, YOU CAN’T WORK ON THIS S-LINK WHEN IT’S RAINING, unlike the other two S-Links, making this one, EASILY, the hardest and most annoying S-Link in the game to properly max out. This, you see, is why I recommend abusing the donation box, as this was one of the last S-Links I aimed for because of this. Hierophant is only available on odd nights, cannot be influenced by anything but normal visits, will not be available while victims are in the TV, and requires Expression of 4 to complete. Justice is available most nights, can occasionally be influenced by outside events, and requires Expression of 5 to complete. Also, both Hierophant and Justice drop out of being available early in November (Hierophant on the 2nd, Justice on the 4th), making them more time sensitive than other S-Links. They do return in January, should you screw up on one of them somewhere along the way, but if you stick to maxing them out before the Devil and Tower links you should be fine.

8.) Of the remaining twelve Arcana, ten are based pretty much entirely around your high school, and as such, are a little easier to level up than most. Scoring high on the four tests the game makes you go through will massively jack up your rank with ALL of those S-Links, meaning that you can improve your standing with up to ten people by passing one stupid test, which is pretty fantastic. You can also make lunch and share it with any of the school S-Links, meaning that you can spend an otherwise useless period of time boosting your standing with a school friend, which is worthwhile to do since you won’t need ALL of your nights to level the four S-Links that are available then (unless you’re leveling your stats at that time), and anything that improves your standing with one of the ten people that are in your classes should be considered to be a good thing.

That said, I made lunch all of twice for the school S-Links this time around, and bombed one recipe terribly, so believe me when I say you probably don’t need to spend the night making a recipe that might go over poorly when you have other options at night to improve these very same S-Links. Acing the exams is still worthwhile, of course, but you can avoid making lunches for the most part without it being a big deal and still turn out fine, as we’ll see later.

9.) Six of the ten school Arcana are, as you might have guessed, your party members, and as such, you’ll have FAR more opportunities to level up your S-Links with them than you will with anyone else. Aside from the above, you’ll also have all sorts of extra options for leveling these S-Links, including being able to pass the characters answers in class, being able to have study dates prior to tests, and being able to answer questions throughout the storyline that will also improve your S-Links with these characters.

Of the six party members you go to school with, Chie, Yosuke and Yukiko are the three easiest S-Links to level up, followed by Rise, Kanji and Naoto. The first three are in school for all of your exams and feature prominently in nearly all of the storyline advancing conversation sequences throughout the game, meaning you’ll EASILY have the most chances to level their S-Links. Further, all three are in your class, meaning that you’ll be given the opportunity to answer questions for them from time to time (with the winner of the “Junpei Iori Award For Never Paying Attention In Class” going to Yosuke, who seems to ask for your help on a weekly basis), which also helps a lot. Rise, being a potential love interest, will also frequently available for study dates and will respond well to flattery, which makes her pretty easy to level up as well, though since she’s not in your class, she’s somewhat more challenging to level up than the prior three characters. Kanji, though he appears earlier in the storyline than Rise does, doesn’t have as many storyline-based opportunities to level up his S-Link, and he’s also not in your class, meaning he suffers a bit in that regard. Naoto is pretty much the worst of the lot in this regard; aside from the fact that, as noted previously, you need to have maxed out your Knowledge AND Courage scores just to even START the S-Link, there’s also the fact that Naoto doesn’t appear as an S-Link until two of the four testing weeks are over, isn’t boosted by many storyline choices, isn’t in your class, and appears at a point where you’ll have, at most, two lunch periods to boost said S-Link before this option is unavailable. Of course, this is mitigated somewhat by the fact that the Fortune S-Link is exceptionally easy to boost, and can be done in as little as ten attempts if you have a Fortune Persona on hand at all times and answer all of the questions correctly, so there is that…

10.) Also of note, however, is the fact that the game adds in a substantial amount of options for how to work on your allied S-Links outside of the normal methods. You can now go out at night to the Shopping District, where you’re likely to see one or more of them (as well as some other random S-Links) puttering around looking bored; talking to them improves your S-Link rank and nets you a useable item, making it worth consideration if you’re sure an S-Link isn’t ready to advance. The offertory box can also help here if the S-Link you want isn’t available, for the record. You can also go out on bike rides with your party members and invite them to the movies, which can not only improve their combat capabilities in some respects, but can also improve their mood towards you if they enjoy the event (they usually do), allowing you added bonuses for doing so if no one else is available at the time. These events are a lot more useful on a second playthrough, but I managed to take everyone to the movies who wanted to go without it hurting my chances to max out everything, so keep that in mind as you go. If nothing else, Naoki, Ai and the Strength and Sun Arcana classmates also show up now and again in the shopping districts, so hey, bonus.

It also bears noting that, by going with your allies on a bike ride, you can either re-learn them skills they may have forgotten (by reflecting on the past) or learn them new, character-specific skills they may find useful (by thinking about the future). Some of these skills are… weird, to say the least, but in some cases this can be worth the effort.

11.) It’s also worth noting that leveling up the S-Links of your teammates is beneficial in ways unrelated to Persona summoning. As you level up your teammates, they gain new combat abilities, such as the ability to take a mortal blow for you or to help up stunned allies, but they can now also learn useful skills for their Personas every other S-Link level or so, making it doubly useful to get this done. Rise, on the other hand, learns Treasure Radar and Enemy Radar, which will allow you to see enemies and treasure chests on the map long before you come into contact with them, thus allowing you to plan out your route appropriately. She also learns all kinds of other useful skills as you max out her S-Link and level her up, to the point that by the end of the game she goes from being mildly useful in Persona 4 to being disgustingly useful here, but don’t take my word for it:

Anyone who remembers what she learned in Persona 4 is going to be a lot more impressed with this Rise, and with good reason. She can instantly scan enemies and learn their affinities, recover SP and health for the party after battle, and guarantee your escape from battle without using items as regular skills. Not only that, she can also occasionally jump in to boost your damage during All-Out Attacks and randomly cast status boosting or curing spells just because. In short, Rise is beast in this game and you want to max her out as soon as possible.

Your other allies, however, got shafted a little this time around. While they do get some seriously badass skills to work with, none of your party members lose their elemental weaknesses this time around, and the only character who has no weaknesses to speak of is Naoto, who is Null to Fire, Repels instant death attacks altogether, and has no weaknesses otherwise. On the plus side, your allies can learn skills that triple their evasion rate to their weak elements, and now have additional elemental defenses (Yosuke Nulls Fire attacks late in the game for example) so there are some new bonuses here, but they will still be weak to some attacks. On the other hand, everyone now has three Persona levels they can achieve; one is granted by default, the second is earned for maxing their S-Link, and the third is earned in January if you’ve maxed their S-Link and talk to them before the ski trip sequence in February, which can convey extra useful skills and such. Keep this in mind when moving forward.

12.) Before we get into the combat capabilities of your party, however, let’s talk about the two new Social Links: Marie, who is the Aeon Arcana, and Adachi, who is the Jester Arcana. To say that these S-Links are… weird would be an understatement, so let’s get to it. Marie is available on totally random days during the week, as near as I can tell, for all of the time period from April-ish until November-ish, making her a fine fill-in S-Link if no one else is available. From about November-ish until January she’s available practically every damn day, allowing you to clear her out at this point if you don’t have anything else to do. From January on she’s basically unavailable, so you need to finish her off before then. If you do max out her S-Link, aside from the obvious benefits, you also unlock an additional mandatory dungeon in February, a mandatory scene on Valentine’s Day if you get intimate with her, and an extra ending scene post credits for the best ending. On the plus side, you basically almost can’t answer Marie’s questions wrong, as nearly every sequence is either worth something or nothing, though she does have a few tricky answers to her. On the minus side, you’ll spend a few days wasting time because she’s harder to level than your school friends, so, again, spend time abusing the donation box if you want to speed things up.

Adachi, on the other hand, alternates between being available on days and nights (the order is day/day/night/night/night/day from memory and the Japanese wiki) based on the level of S-Link you’re going for… but you can only level him up to S-Link Rank 6 through your own efforts. After that point he’ll auto level on his own during various plot-related events, and you can even see a special ending based on his S-Link if you follow the appropriate chain of events when prompted to do so (you’ll know it when you see it, trust me). As such, Adachi’s pretty easy to max out, though he stops being available in November or so, so keep that in mind.

13.) As a final note before we move on from S-Links, if you have the paper guide for Persona 4, you can refer to that for answers to the S-Link questions as most of them are accurate (well, as accurate as the guide ever was; the Naoto romance path is still messed up for example). For those who lack the guide or want to have some help with the Jester and Aeon links, run this page right here through your favorite translation service to make your life easier. The whole wiki has some useful information, actually, though most of it is borderline unintelligible even when translated, so keep that in mind. Also, for those who are curious: cooking recipes remain the same as far as I can tell, but all the questions in classes and on tests are completely different. I was able to find most of the answers through Google, however, and pressing Select allows you to reference the chat log in case the answer was mentioned in the lecture. Save before exams if you can, though, just in case.

14.) Okay, so let’s move on to discussing your combat teams again. In the prior game, I specified a set team build for dungeon clearing versus boss fighting, based on the strengths and weaknesses of your party members, but they’ve been rebalanced a bit since then, so more discussion is in order. For reference purposes, we will fill three basic roles in our party:

Magic Caster: combination healer and high damage spell caster, candidates are Yukiko and Teddie,
Brawler: heavy physical damage character with magical skills on-board, candidates are Chie and Kanji, and
Average Character: character who can be used for spellcasting, damage dealing or other random effects, candidates are Yosuke and Naoto,

With that in mind, let’s compare the characters at their top tier spreads:

YOSUKE

VERSUS

NAOTO

Statistically, Yosuke has the edge here; his stats all go into the seventies, save for Luck, which means he’s a damage dealing and taking pro, but his critical rate is poor, and he can be affected more commonly by ailments. Naoto, by comparison, has seventies in three stats, but an Endurance in the fifties (meaning more damage received) to compensate for a luck in the fifties (to add critical and reduce status effects). However, Naoto also has no obvious elemental weaknesses, while Yosuke is weak to Electricity, and while he can earn Evade Elec to mitigate that somewhat, no weakness is better than reduced weakness any day. By taking Naoto on bike trips, Naoto can also learn further elemental skills, and can potentially be a Swiss Army Knife of magic skills if one is so inclined (as Bufudyne and Ziodyne can be learned this way), while Yosuke can only use Garu-based skills.

Skill-wise, however, while Naoto has several useful skills, Yosuke more than earns his keep as the go-to boss killer here. Naoto can learn some stat-boosting skills, and comes with Agidyne and Garudyne ready to go, with Bufudyne and Ziodyne available, but if you want to keep the Hama and Mudo skills equipped you’ll generally have to ditch the useful stat boosts Naoto can learn to do so. Mind Charge is very nice for added damage, but Naoto is mostly going to be there for damage and little else with that in mind. Yosuke, on the other hand, gets Wind Amp and Wind Boost, making his default casting damage more useful than Naoto’s without Mind Charge, plus he can learn Youthful Wind, which jacks the Evade rate of your party and heals damage on top of that. Further, Yosuke can pick up some useful skills of his own on bike trips, including Medigo and Diaharan in this way, giving him even more options for you to play with. With higher default damage, stat boosting skills that are highly useful, and a higher capacity for damage tolerance, Yosuke takes the nod here as the go-to boss killer.

CHIE

VERSUS

KANJI

Well, in Persona 4 the big argument was usually down to two points: Chie has higher SP but Kanji gets better Electric boosts (and a pitiful pool to cast the spells from), and Kanji does higher base physical damage, while Chie gets Power Charge. As we can see, Kanji now has Power Charge loaded for bear, and with a much higher Strength stat to boot, he can do insane Physical damage to enemies, which should make him the defacto choice here. His Strength is massively jacked out, his Endurance makes him a tank, he gets two Electric boosts for when he has to cast spells (and he has more useful spells to begin with) and Primal Force is a beastly Physical skill. Seems cut and dry, doesn’t it?

Well, not quite.

Chie’s spellcasting capabilities are horrid normally, as she tops out at Bufula, a medium damage Ice spell that’s useful for tagging enemy weaknesses and nothing else, to be sure, making her higher Magic score less useful than it seems through standard leveling. However, she can learn multiple Counter skills to deflect Physical attacks (comparable to Kanji’s strength against Physical attacks) and she’s immune to Light type instant death. Further, Chie learns a few useful end-game Physical attacks (note that I have her equipped with God’s Hand and Agneyastra) while Kanji tops out at Primal Force and has nothing to compare to Agenyastra in his catalog. Chie also learns better bike trip skills than Kanji; while her Hama skills are likely to be overlooked, she can also pick up Bufudyne, thus negating her “crap magic user” role and giving her a decent damage output as a caster, varying her role in a way Kanji can’t touch thanks to his low Magic stat and SP pool. Kanji, by comparison… can earn group healing spells, which… be honest, you’re never going to pick them. You’re just not.

Also, one useful skill Chie learns in that list is Dragon Hustle: it’s insanely expensive at 150 SP, but it jacks ALL OF THE STATS OF THE PARTY for three turns as a payoff, making it a very useful early fight spell to have loaded up, though Chie doesn’t learn it until January or so when her Persona maxes out. Kanji’s final skill… to be honest, I had to go look up what it did because it was so uninspiring I didn’t bother; it’s a skill that has a “chance” to cause Down and Dizzy, which… be honest, you’re likely not going to use that either.

In the end, Chie’s more useful up to the point where Kanji learns Power Charge, which makes him the best choice for boss killing up to the point where Chie learns Dragon Hustle, at which point you can flip a coin and have a good character either way. You could bring them both into battle and have Chie jack up the party with Dragon Hustle while Kanji beats everything to death, of course, but that’s your call, really.

YUKIKO

VERSUS

TEDDIE

At first glance this isn’t a fair comparison: Yukiko has a much higher Magic skill (the highest in the game outside of possibly your main character), while Teddie gets a little more melee damage in trade off for less Magic skill, so that makes Yukiko the best choice here based on that logic. Teddie has a few useful factors in his favor, however. For one, Yukiko has two elemental strengths (Fire and Electric) while Teddie gets three (Ice, Wind and Darkness), giving him better elemental resistance out of the gate. Further, Teddie has some very solid healing and damaging spells, as well as stat boosts that (while I didn’t opt to equip them) can make him a useful support character in his own right. He’s certainly not a bad choice as a caster if you build him with a support role in mind, and he certainly gets more mileage out of his support skills than Yukiko does out of her new Mudo skillset.

That said, however, Yukiko gets two disgustingly awesome skills here that Teddie can’t touch: Salvation, which cures all status ailments and fully heals the party, and Burning Petals, a severe damage Fire spell that isn’t that expensive, making her a much better caster when overall per-casting value is considered. Also, she gets Divine Grace, which ups the effect of her healing spells, making her a better healer until you get to the /han suffix spells (which heal everything anyway), at which point Salvation still makes her the better choice. With Fire Amp and Fire Boost equipped (I had to ditch Fire Boost for some stupid reason somewhere along the way, sadly) she’s a better magic damage dealer than Teddie as well. Finally, Teddie’s max level skill, Kamui Miracle, is a slot machine sort of skill (think Setzer in Final Fantasy VI or that stupid cat thing in Final Fantasy VII), meaning that it’s basically useless unless you hate yourself because of its random nature.

Oh, and regarding their bike skills for a second… Teddie can learn support skills, physical skills, and evasion to physical attacks. Yukiko can learn effing Mind Charge. Do I… do I need to say anything else? I don’t, do I?

FINAL RECOMMENDATION:

Going with a party of Teddie, Naoto and either Chie or Kanji for dungeon clearing and a party of Yoskue, Yukiko and either Chie or Kanji for boss killing is still the best overall setup. Naoto comes with Wind, Fire, Light, Dark and Almighty loaded up instantly for weakness exploiting, and Teddie can hit Ice weaknesses, leaving either you or Kanji to hit electric weaknesses as you go. Further, Kanji would work well here with his Maziodyne skill, while Chie’s Agneyastra is good for Physical exploitation of groups. In boss battles, Yosuke’s more singular focus is good since most bosses aren’t strong to Wind, and he can act as backup healer when needed, while Yukiko can play battle nurse with her massive SP pool and heavy damage skills and healing arts. Chie can pull Dragon Hustle out to jack up the party early for big damage, while Kanji could focus on a straight Power Charge/Primal Force rotation to deal huge damage, and he can take more of a beating than Chie can. In the end, though, you have a lot more options this time around, so experiment as you see fit, because there really isn’t a “best” answer this time, which is a lot better, I think.

15.) In my original guide I recommended making a maxed out Lucifer to plow through enemies, thanks to Spell Master, Victory Cry, Bufudyne, Ice Amp and Mind Charge, and I’m certainly sticking to that recommendation. My current Lucifer, at Level 99, with some stat boosts, is in the seventies in all but Agility and Luck (and give him time for those), is weak to nothing, strong or immune to four elements, and carrying Megidolaon for wiping out annoying groups of enemies, so he’s not too shabby. This is not to say that, thanks to the ability to set your own skills, you can’t find some additional disgusting builds of Personas to make. I have an Isis with Mind Charge, Spell Master, Megidolaon, Salvation, no weaknesses, two strengths and seventies in all stats, for example, who often takes point at this point in my adventures, as well as an all but Physical immune Helel (he’s strong to Physical, just because) with Morning Star, Salvation, God’s Hand, Arms Master and Spell Master equipped for when I just don’t care anymore. The point is that Persona building is now amazingly interesting since you can pick and choose your skills, so if you find a skill you want, transfer that as far as it’ll go in fusion experiments to make as many Swiss Army Personas as you can manage; it’ll make life easier, trust me.

16.) Assuming you’re not going to play on Very Easy, want to build a high level Lucifer, and want to have some powerful stuff to carry over into a New Game Plus playthrough, you may be pleased to know that the leveling trick that was in Persona 4 carries into Persona 4 Golden intact. This trick may work earlier, but the first time it’s guaranteed to work is about the time you find Magatsu Mandala/Magatsu Inaba. There are enemies in the first zone of Magatsu Inaba called “Great Kings” that will be all too happy to endlessly spawn Free Bambinos forever and ever, and since Summon doesn’t cost anything, well, they’re entirely within their rights to do so. Since the Free Bambinos only attack with Physical skills, and the Great Kings don’t attack at all, you can essentially use this to your advantage by carrying around a Persona that Repels/Nulls/Absorbs Physical Attacks (I used Rangda, a Magician Persona), entering into battle with these enemies, setting the game on auto, and doing something else for an hour or so. However, Atlus apparently realized how easily abused this was, and responded by swapping out the Great King’s Valiant Dance skill for Megidola, which he will occasionally break out just for laughs. This isn’t terribly effective, however; Megidola can be blocked easily enough to reduce the damage, and simple math says that at thirty two SP per cast, an enemy with just shy of two hundred SP can only cast the spell six times before he’s all done with that. This isn’t quite as easily abused as before, sadly, but with a little patience you can still make it work for you. You can, again, also use this for building Level 99 characters and massive piles of cash with a little effort, it just takes more attention and concentration, so keep that in mind.

17.) Let’s move onto the new events that pop up in the game for a second, since they’re going to have some effect on how you progress forward. Now, the game now extends to February, as mentioned previously, but there’s a fairly obvious asterisk hanging over that which we should discuss real quick. For one thing, the game is only extended to February Tenth insofar as it relates to your ability to progress with Social Links; the Eleventh through the Fourteenth of February are mandatory events you’ll have to go through, and after that the game fast-forwards to the endgame. For another, you don’t get the time from the day you complete the December TV dungeon (the game fast forwards to Christmas Eve if you complete the dungeon before then) until about a week into January for various reasons, so you really only get about a month of extra free time to work with. Seems pretty good so far, right? Well, there are now a few additional events that pop up during the normal game time period, revolving around hanging out with your friends, which chew up about a week of time total throughout the year, in addition to the normal events that come up during the game, so we can scratch a week off of the calendar. Then there’s the fact that you’ll have to add five days to the Hermit S-Link (four for riding the scooter to make sure you can get to the beach, and one for the second fishing quest), thus removing those from normal use. You also have to spend seven of the newly added days courting your teammates in conversation to max out their Personas to their third level on top of whatever Social Link work you might have to clean up on, so there’s that.

Basically, to put it together in simple form: you get twenty seven total extra days from the moment you can start playing again in January to the moment your final exams start (yes, there is one more set of freaking tests you have to take, for absolutely no damn reason whatsoever since they benefit you in no conceivable fashion to speak of), which ends your Social Link leveling period. Subtract a week lost during the main campaign due to new events added into the game that you cannot skip or avoid, which leaves twenty extra days. Subtract the seven days you have to spend getting your teammates up to their third and final Persona forms, and you have thirteen extra days to use. Now subtract the five days you lose working towards the final quest of the Hermit Arcana, and you have eight days of free time left. Then subtract the (at a minimum) thirteen days you’ll lose maximizing Adachi and Marie and oh hey you actually have less time to max out all the Social Links than when you started.

So, I hate to beat a dying horse here, but remember when I said you should really invest in the books that double your social stat earning and using the offertory box at nights? Yeah, this is pretty much why.

18.) Also, while we’re on the subject of new content, let’s talk about the extra dungeon you can take on. As noted, to do this you have to max out the Aeon S-Link before January in order to be placed on the path to do so; doing this will open up the dungeon in February, the day before the Valentine’s Day event. The dungeon is mandatory once you unlock it; there’s no way to leave the dungeon uncompleted if you unlock the ability to tackle it, so it’s all or nothing here. On the plus side, you can visit town and buy gear and supplies if the need comes up to do so, and you can even visit the other dungeons if you wanted to take the opportunity to do things in the other zones before heading into this dungeon for some reason or another. This is a good thing, to be honest, as you’re going to want to be as prepared, since this dungeon is… weird, to say the least.

The dungeon itself is around ten floors, and by all indications the layouts are largely fixed, so if you can find maps online you can make use of them to make your life easier. However, some of the floors randomly remove Shadows from the floor themselves, instead making you fight if you break open a door, which removes your ability to get an advantage against the enemies on those floors. Further, and this is the really harsh part, the dungeon is fought under special rules. Upon entering the dungeon you can only use the equipment you’re given at that moment and whatever you find in the place, and all your items are stripped entirely from you (this includes chest keys so you’ll have to get new ones from Shuffle Time! if you want to open locked chests). Further, every battle costs you about half of your current SP once you complete it, meaning that you’ll have to keep leaving the dungeon for healing from the fox to make significant progress. The dungeon tries to work around this, to a point, by giving you lots of SP regenerating items in chests and from enemies as random drops, as well as accessories that regenerate SP each turn you’re in battle, but the offset isn’t high enough to matter. I’d recommend building a Persona with Victory Cry and a high level Almighty spell if you want to plow through the dungeon as fast as possible, and honestly, you really will want to do this thing, since you get no money or items for fighting in it. Yes, you read that right; even if you draw the Coin card in a shuffle you get no money from the majority of the battles in this dungeon, enemies drop no crafting items, and you lose all of the gear and items you get in this dungeon once it ends. You do, however, gain Experience as normal and other shuffle cards work as expected, so it’s not entirely without merit to go through the dungeon, but if you find it’s prohibitively expensive to do this thing with routine fox healing, you can always use items to replenish SP outside of the dungeon as well.

The boss of the dungeon is fairly weird as well, to be frank. The first form is basically just a gimmee battle that you can melee your way through, but the second form is resistant to all elements almost instantly upon starting the battle. The trick is that, as you progress through the dungeon, you’ll find various items that break elemental resistance, so you’ll have to come into this battle with Personas equipped with these skills and/or the items you’ve acquired that do the same through fighting in the dungeon. The boss is otherwise not particularly exciting; it might try to exploit your elemental weaknesses, but there are armors you can find in the dungeon that will improve your resistance to elemental weaknesses, and if you equip a Persona that has no inherent weaknesses you’ll be fine. Just be sure to heal up at the fox before entering the battle; the first form counts as a full battle, so you’ll start the final battle with half SP, just because the game is an ass sometimes, but otherwise it’s not a particularly problematic battle or anything.

19.) One thing I feel like I should also mention, partially as a general observation and partly as a warning, is that there are now four additional opportunities to spend time with your special someone in addition to the Christmas Eve event. The town festival, which originally offered a second day to spend with a secondary Social Link, now allows you to take your girlfriend out on this day, there is a day after New Year’s event that offers the same thing, the ski trip offers the opportunity to do the same, and Valentine’s Day is literally all about this. I say this is a warning, however, because I assume that there will be players who simply opt to enter into every romantic relationship that is offered to them so as to avoid having to play through the game four times to see every event there is to offer. The Valentine’s Day event will actively punish you for doing this thing, so if you’re intending to do so, I suggest you be prepared for this in advance, as otherwise you’re going to be in for a very rude surprise when the day comes. There is also a large asterisk attached to this, however: Marie, Ai and whoever you end up picking as your Sun Arcana do not affect this in any discernible fashion should you romance them, as Ai and the Sun character are non-factors in general and Marie will have a mandatory event no matter what you do. Either way, however, you’ve been warned.

20.) One thing I do want to touch on before going into the final “helpful tidbits” wrap-up is the Trophies attached to the game. Most of the Trophies are basically given to you for things you’ll do as part of normal functional play, such as completing plot specific tasks or fusing fifty personas and so on, but there are a few that are a little more complicated to complete. “Welcome Back”, for example, requires that you complete the February dungeon to unlock, which you can easily miss if you don’t get through the Aeon Social Link maxed out before January. “The Nose Doesn’t Always Know”, which requires a fusion accident, is likely to pop on its own, but if it doesn’t you’ll just have to keep fusing Personas until something screws up along the way. That said, here are a few helpful tips for those who want to max out their Trophy count on this game:

– Spend a battle defending and swapping Personas on the main character early on to nail down “Displaying Adaptability” because the odds are extremely low you’ll swap Personas five times in a battle on your own unless you’re playing on Very Hard and running five roles at once.

– Go to the shopping district one day when it’s raining to nail down “Seize the Moment” (you can only get Special Croquettes on rainy days), “Lucky Me!” (buy sodas from the vending machines to win a prize) and “It’s Working Today” (play the capsule machine outside of the pharmacy) in one shot if you’re lucky.

– Save before Nanako goes into the hospital, visit her by talking to party members who don’t have an exclamation point over their head after classes three days in a row to pop “Big Bro is Worried”, then reload and move on with your day if you’re aiming for full Social Link completion. It’s easier that way, trust me. Don’t give me that look, she’s a polygon character in a fictional world, she’ll be fine.

– “Compulsive Reader” not only requires you to read every book in the game, but also find every book in the game. You can get books from your Strength Social Link friends on May Twenty Ninth, July Fifteenth, and August Tenth, so make sure to hang out with them when they call you on these days if you want this Trophy. You also have to clear out several Quests, all of which are handed to you by the guy standing outside of the book store in the shopping district. The quests, for the record, are Eighteen (give the guy a Peach Seed), Twenty (feed the cat on the flood plain a fish), Thirty Four (give the guy Hard Boots), Forty (bring the guy three fashionable dishes) and forty-five (answer his questions about the books he gave you), which in turn earns you five books in total. You also have to eat at Aiya a whole bunch to unlock one book as well, and you’ll get a book during the second festival event, in addition to all the books you can purchase from the shop. Read all of these for the Trophy. I’d suggest reading “Hyperspeed Reading” first, just to burn the time down you’ll need to devote to this, but it’s entirely possible and helps your stats a lot as well, so there’s that.

– If you somehow manage to miss “Going Nova” before making it to the Magatsu Inaba/Mandala region, hit a Gold Hand with Megidolaon/Morning Star and bam, there you go.

– “Hardcore Risette Fan” is going to take a while, as you have to hear two hundred and fifty unique lines from Rise in battle. This means you’ll have to swap party members frequently, never fast forward battles, scan enemies constantly, try to get afflicted with every status ailment known to man, and so on to make this happen. On the plus side, Kamui Miracle is likely to afflict you with all sorts of nasty side effects sooner or later, so you can use that a lot to try and get some of the less common comments from Rise, if nothing else. You’ll likely be at this one a while, though, so maybe make a save at the last dungeon and just spend some time grinding for the comments if you’re that interested in doing this thing.

– “Thorough Bookkeeper” does not require you to summon Izanagi No Okami, so as long as you’ve summoned every other Persona in the game and maxed all the Social Links you can blow this out with enough cash and patience in one playthrough. There are a few random special Personas who can only be fused a specific way, however, so if you’re stuck missing someone, see if you have Ardha or Alice (the only two Personas who have specific restrictions to be summoned who do not show up on any summoning lists); if not, that’s likely where you’re messing up.

– Lastly, you can only complete “One Who Has Proven Their Power” and “The Power of Truth” in a second playthrough, for obvious reasons. Just remember that, as all the rest of the Trophies can be earned in your first go-round.

21.) Finally, as with the last guide, we’ll sit down and go through a brief rundown of important points you may want to consider as you play along that don’t really merit their own numbered bullet points.

– Now, as I’ve mentioned before, the Reaper no longer waits until your second playthrough to spawn, so you can expect to start hearing rattling chains and ghostly noises as early as Yukiko’s Castle in your first go-round. As you might expect, The Reaper is a disgustingly powerful enemy, to the extent that the game feels the need to warn you about fighting him well in advance, by telling you several times not to open the chest he’s hiding in before allowing you to do so. The Reaper is around level eighty two or so, casts spells that remove all of your element boosts, and spams high-damage elemental skills that will wipe out your party pretty damn quick, even if you ARE carrying around one of the best Personas in the game. You’ll basically need to use Debilitate on him to take him out, as even if you’re around his level or higher he can hit for hundreds of points of damage and takes multiple actions in one go, so the less damage he can do, the better. He can also cast Megidolaon in addition to various elemental attacks, just to screw with you, so you’ll want to be prepared with Trumpeter or another Persona with Debilitate on hand, as well as some elementally sound, high-damage Personas, to stand a chance, and you’ll want to be sure you’re keeping the Reaper nerfed every chance you get.

– And speaking of uber-powerful bosses, then there’s Margaret. I’ve not gotten to her yet in Persona 4 Golden, but from general research, Margaret now gets two actions per round instead of the normal one, meaning that she gets to her Round Fifty “9999 damage attack” much faster (in twenty five rounds), but otherwise she’s basically the same as she ever was. You can still bring your whole party to fight her, and she still doesn’t punish you for having Null/Drain/Repel stats on your elemental weaknesses, so you can still basically just bring a Persona into battle that’s immune to everything and have at her. Further, there are Persona Skills that allow you to get up from death, and Rise also offers support skills that can bring you back from death, so even if Margaret’s high damage spells take you out, you can have a couple chances to get back into the fight without too much effort. Since your allies no longer gain elemental resistance to everything, however, it can be beneficial to bring your main character, or your main character and Naoto (given the lack of weaknesses) into the battle to clean house, especially if you spend a lot of time leveling a Persona with stat boosts and such. You may also want to consider grinding out Skill Cards to apply to Personas you find useful so as to modify their base resistances if you can’t build a Persona with the resistances you want, as several of the Drain/Null/Repel effects that exist can be copied into Skill Cards easily. Wrecking the Reaper to get the best possible gear you can beforehand is also worth considering, though there are some useful pieces of gear you can get from raiding the last few dungeons for crafting material and from the Gold Chests in said dungeons anyway, so that’s not a requirement.

– For those wondering if anything has changed insofar as what’s carried over in New Game Plus, the answer is yes, though only one thing of any significance. Your social stats remain at the level they were at in the prior session, you carry over your money and any Social Link items you’ve earned for maxing a link, your Persona Compendium remains at the level it was at when you completed the game, and you start off being able to hold up to twelve Personas at one time. New this time around, however, is the retention of your Skill Card roster, so any Skill Cards you turn over to Marie remain in the list, available for purchase as you need. You also carry over any costumes you’ve found or purchased in your prior session, for those that care about this thing. There is one interesting change to what carries over, however: Diadara retains his inventory from your prior session, meaning that if you spent a lot of time grinding out dungeons to fill out his stock, all that gear is available to you from the start, no effort required. This basically means you can start out with your entire party being disgustingly overpowered instead of just your main character, which is hilarious for the wrong reasons. Oh, you can also change your difficulty level on the fly in a new cycle, so if you start on one difficulty and find it too easy or hard you can flip between the others as you see fit.

– Finally, make sure you make good use of the garden next to your house whenever possible, as you’ll get a lot of really useful stuff for very little effort from this. It burns no time to grow and harvest the plants in the garden so you won’t be losing anything by doing so, and several of the plants you can acquire are very useful. You’ll likely find that you won’t want to invest in every possible type of plant available, but Tomatoes (replenish SP), Wheat (open Gold Chests), Daikon (acts like Goho-M), Cabbage (Hiranya), Eggplant (Homonculus) and Melons (single person Soma) are extremely useful and require little effort to grow. Make good use of this fact and harvest them like crazy until January, at which point you can then dig up bugs in the garden instead, which you can abuse if you’ve not caught the Sea Guardian by this point, since it means no more bug catching minigame if nothing else.


Well, that about wraps up what I have to offer you at this point. If you have any questions or need specific help, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page here or send me an email and I’ll do what I can to help you out as quickly as possible. Otherwise, good luck and kick their ass!

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