Persona 5 Royal can often feel like an overwhelming time-juggling excerise, but high on your list of priorities will be spending time with Joker’s many confidants and building tight bonds with them all.
Sure, you can use a step-by-step guide of how to spend your time each day, but I reckon that rather takes the fun away from it. Instead, here are just a few tips to bear in mind which will bring the most success whilst still allowing you to spend Joker’s time as you want.
Why max all confidants?
There are plenty of reasons, mostly obvious, but a few that are worth pointing out:
- Access more of the game’s content
- Allows you to fuse the ultimate personas of each Arcana
- Hugely increase your EXP boost when fusing any persona of the corresponding Arcana
- Confidants grant access to special abilities that can be invaluable in battle
Remember that the sooner you max them, the more free time you have to hit the gym – once you have visited enough times, a normal trip to the gym (which can be done in daytime or evening) will boost Joker’s HP by 9 and SP by 7. With proteins, this is increased by at least another 2 HP and 1 SP. To put this in perspective, this is the equivalent of gaining around 3 levels in just one time slot! By the end of the game Joker can easily reach 999 HP and have SP pushing 700.
Always equip a Persona of the same Arcana
This is really important to keep those levels ticking along as quickly as possible. Having a persona of the same Arcana will grant some bonus music notes for some of your answers. This means if you pick the right choices, you’ll often fly through to the next rank without needing a wasted period of bonding in-between.
Even if you need to hit the Velvet Room to grab one from the compendium, it’s worth it. Get the cheapest one possible and keep it handy until you need to free up the space for the next confidant you are spending time with. It’s costly, but time is money.
Make sure you unlock the third semester!
The most obvious way to increase your chances of reaching everyone’s maximum level is to ensure you actually unlock the third semester, giving around another month of in-game time where most of the confidants from the initial semesters will still be available. To do this, make sure you tick off the following:
- Reach rank 9 for Takuto Mariku (Counsillor) by 17th November. Persona 5 Royal does a good job of warning about this time limit. As a little bonus, rank 10 is earned automatically on 18th November meaning you don’t have to waste time on it
- Reach rank 5 for Kasumi Yoshizawa (Faith) by 22nd December. This is the maximum you can reach at this point and shouldn’t be a problem
- Reach rank 8 for Goro Akechi (Justice) by 17th November. This isn’t quite as easy, because some of his ranks are locked until certain story events pass. To be safe, make sure you are hanging out with him whenever you can
- Refuse all deals offered by bad guys – this should be pretty obvious when it comes around
Finish the palaces in as few visits as possible
It’s best to clear each palace as soon as it’s available, but the most important thing is doing it in as few visits as possible, freeing up more time for confidants. This isn’t always easy, but with the following brief strategies it can be done:
- Palace 1 – this is hardest palace to complete in one go, so use all of the SP-healing items you have and don’t worry about saving them. It’s easy to sneak past enemies by always staying in cover, and I’d recommend generally keeping battles to a minimum. If you reach the treasure and still have a bit of SP, then fight a few battles to grind until it’s all diminished
- Palace 2 – you can’t complete this in one visit, but it is the easiest palace to complete in the shortest amount of time since the forced stop at the half way point will allow you to replenish HP/SP for the second half – there’s nothing you can do about this break so don’t waste any SP items
- Palace 3 – by this palace, you have two extra party members, and should have boosted your stock of SP items back up since you didn’t use any in the second palace. You still may need to use them, but the most important tip is to swap around party members – when one gets low on SP, switch to a backup member who is on full SP
- Palace 4 – as with palace 3, swap around your party members when two of them get low on SP. It takes two attempts, but unlike the previous palace where this was the case, you’ll need to fight the boss immediately after reaching the treasure – the ‘long’ part of the palace isn’t actually as long as some of the others
- Palace 5 – Now you’ll have three more party members and likely a decent amount of SP items, so use the swapping method and you should be fine (except for the infuriating boss, which has its own guide here)
- Palace 6 – Again, this infiltration is split into two, so there will be no problem reaching the point where the story blocks you reaching the treasure in one attempt. You can complete the second half on your next visit easily with regenerated HP/SP
- Palace 7 – this is a long, hard palace with a lot of tough fights. But if you’ve maximised Temperance, which you should easily have by now (see below) you’ll have a wealth of SP items to help you through it in one go. Swap around party members if you need to
- Palace 8 – This is also split up, so isn’t a problem. In any case, you should have all the confidants maxed, or close to it, and a mass of SP items by now
Max up Fortune and Temperance, and use them at every opportunity
All confidants are useful but when it comes to maximising time, these two are set apart.
The fortune teller, Chihaya, has an ability at rank 5 called the affinity reading, which can be done once a day and will boost a confidant’s bond without the need to spend time with them! This costs 5000 yen and although you will never actually level up a rank, it is definitely worth your yen – use the affinity reading every day, and you will hopefully never have to spend wasted time with a confidant.
To see who best to use the reading on, you can press R1 to check the map, and by pressing square you will see “Up!!” next to any available confidant who is ready to increase their bond with you. Do not use the affinity reading on them, as it’s a waste of money. Instead, use on confidants who do not have the “Up!!” signal – sometimes, immediately after using the affinity reading you’ll see they are now ready to increase their bond. If not, do the same again the next day until the bond is ready to grow.
The money reading is also important – always do a money reading before infiltrating a palace or hitting Mementos. It costs 5000 yen but even one all-out-attack victory against a treasure demon will pay this back and then some.
At rank 10, you can pay 10,000 yen for a special bond reading that will highlight the best answers during any confidant event and allow you to deepen the bond as much as possible. Yes, you can use a guide to learn the right answers, but since this is actually allowed within the game it doesn’t feel like cheating.
As for Temperance, your homeroom teacher, this will free up time for other things. At rank 1, you get an occasional free period of time in class to make tools or read. At rank 5, you’ll get even more of these opportunities. By rank 6 you’ll also be able to get coffee and curry made for you without spending your own time – these boost SP and make it far easier to get through palaces in one go.
Finally, rank 10 allows you to go out at night after visiting the Metaverse. Since our tactics here are to spend as few in-game days as possible in the Metaverse, this isn’t a gamechanger, but still gives a nice time boost.
Prioritise money in Mementos
Collecting stamps for Jose will give you the option of increasing EXP, items or money whilst in Mementos. Though the temptation will be to opt for EXP, it’s actually better for the confidants above to have a lot of money at your disposal. Grinding is incredibly easy within Mementos even without the EXP boost, and having a bigger pool of cash will serve you better for the Fortune confidant and summoning the relevant personas from the compendium.
You should only visit Mementos a maximum of twice per month (preferably once) so it’s important to make this count and only leave when you are completely depleted and have beaten all of the available request targets.
The more you boost your social stats without wasting time, the more slots you have for confidants. Here are the main ways you can increase your stats without wasting precious time:
- Always have a book handy for the train (or free time in class unlocked by Temperance), and read the Speed Reading book as soon as it’s available from library, which only takes one session to read and doubles your reading rate
- Solve every crossword puzzle when there’s a magazine on the last Leblanc table, to grab a free knowledge point
- Examine the TV every time you’re in Leblanc – sometimes there’s a game show on, allowing you to answer a quiz question for another free knowledge boost
- Care for your plant – at first, the best plant food you can buy is in the Underground Mall in Shibuya, but a better one is available when Shinjuku is unlocked, giving you 3 kindness points every now and then – remember to check the plant regularly and Morgana will occasionally prompt you to give it nutrients
- Visit the stall at the Underground Walkway in Shibuya on Sundays for a 5000 yen drink that’ll boost a social stat by one point
- Sit on the couch in Kichijoji for as long as possible to gain some free guts
- Ask about everything at the information booth in Kichijoji to snag another knowledge point
- Examine the chalkboard after school and draw the Phantom Thieves logo, which can earn a guts point
- Get answers right in class – you can use the network feature to see what answer the majority of players went for, and in my experience it’s always an overwhelming majority in favour of the correct answer!
Increase confidants gradually
Though you may want to max up your favourites as quickly as possible, outside of the ones mentioned above, this actually isn’t the most advisable tactic.
The more confidants still open, the more chance you will always have one available at any given time. If you take a lop-sided approach and max a bunch of confidants too early, then sometimes you’ll leave yourself in a situation where no-one below max rank is available to hang out, effectively wasting some of your time.
I would lean towards the confidants that rank up your social stats as well (Eg, Death increases your guts, Sun increases your charm) but generally take a pretty balanced approach.
Read my Persona 5 Royal review here.