Persona 5 Royal is a relatively easy game, with the changes to the battle system and gameplay largely reducing Persona 5’s challenge rather than adding to it (as discussed further in my full review).
This is with one notable exception – the boss of the fifth palace, Kunikazi Okumura.
The reason this can be such a troublesome battle is that the cheap mechanics come completely out of the blue, and if you’ve saved your game after entering the palace to fight him you might find yourself in a rather tough spot.
Okumura’s ‘Work Order’ move releases waves of gradually-stronger minions, with a couple of batches particularly infuriating. If you do not finish off all of the enemies within two turns, they’ll evacuate, which undoes all your hard work and requires you to fight a fresh set of workers from scratch. With the clock ticking down, this is incredibly frustrating.
Fortunately, he can be taken down with the right tactics.
For the sake of completeness, I’ll cover all stages of the battle and the way to take them down well within the 30-minute time limit.
Before the battle
Take the following steps before heading into the fight:
- Put Haru in your party – her psi attacks are crucial in the latter part of the battle and at normal party levels the boss is virtually impossible without her
- I’d suggest Morgana for one of your other members as his wind attacks are also very useful
- The fourth doesn’t really matter, but Makoto or Ryuji would be my choice as their attacks will be handy on the third phase
- Joker with a persona that has psi attacks (preferably Psio and Mapsio) or curse attacks, and a persona that has wind attacks (Garula and Magarula at least) – if you don’t have these already, check every possible fusion available and scroll through your compendium to find them
- Ideally, a couple of wind items and a couple of psi or curse damage items, particularly the latter pair – these will make it easier so if you don’t have them, it is worth crafting a few before you head in to steal the treasure if you still have the chance
Phase 1 – the little blue guys
The first set of workers are incredibly easy – they are weak to fire and wind and will likely be taken out with one multi-hitting attack of these elements. No problems here.
Phase 2 – the little yellow guys
Things don’t get much harder yet. The second phase is weak to ice and psi. Just use Haru or Joker to take them down comfortably with either. These guys have so little health it still doesn’t even matter if you hit them with other moves. They’ll go down without any trouble.
Phase 3 – the tall red and yellow guys
This is why I’d recommend Makoto or Ryuji. The third phase is weak to nuke and electric, and are slightly more difficult. They aren’t a huge concern and can be beaten without these two, but rather than waste time and SP whittling down their health with attacks that don’t strike their weakness, they are still best dispatched quickly.
If Joker has a nuke or electric persona, then obviously use these moves as well. On Morgana’s turn, it’s worth attempting Miracle Punch to get a critical hit, so you can baton pass to Makoto/Ryuji, hit them with another attack and finish them off.
It’s also a good time to buff up when they are nearly down, as the most difficult phases are about to come. Boost your attack with items or moves if you get a chance.
Phase 4 – the tall blue workers
This is where the challenge starts ramping up. They aren’t the toughest part of the fight, but don’t underestimate them. It’s best to be safe by using the most ruthless tactics.
They are weak to wind (and bless) which is why Morgana’s here. On his turn, do not cast Magarula. Hit the first three individually with Garula, and when only one is left on their feet, then use Magarula. This way, even though it costs more SP, three out of four have been hit twice. Once they’re all down, baton pass to power up Joker, who can follow up with a more powerful Magarula of his own, hitting them all again which will take off a lot of their health, and on Joker’s actual turn you can use another Magarula since they’re now all down (if Joker goes before Morgana, just do it the other way around).
You still have a full turn left to go and depending on how much health they have left, either do the same thing again or just finish them with a multi-hitting move to save SP.
If you have wind items, you can get the baton pass to maximum power by using one first with Makoto/Ryuji, handing over to Haru to toss another one, before using Garula with Morgana and finally a zero cost, fully powered Magarula from Joker, followed by another one (and of course, you’ll still have Morgana and Joker’s own turns to come). You shouldn’t need to go to this extreme, but it’s a nice option to have.
Phase 5 – the big green bastards
By far the most troublesome part of the battle, where strategy is very important. They are very difficult to take down with conventional means, so it’s time to utilise Haru and Joker’s psi attacks along with baton passes and if necessary, damage-dealing items.
They are weak to psi and curse, so it’s essential that along with Haru’s psi, Joker has access to individual and multi-hitting attacks of one of these elements.
The same basic strategy applies. If you engineer a fully-powered baton pass, which is only possible with psi or curse items, this can give you an important edge.
If you don’t have them, then the real damage is done on Haru and Joker’s turns. Again, resist the urge to cast Mapsio straightaway – cast Psio instead. Hit the first three individually, before finishing off with Mapsio. This way, again three of the four have taken two hits. If Joker has access to psi, then it makes sense to baton pass from Haru to Joker, or vice versa, so there’s a bit of extra power.
If you have psi or curse items, your turn may want to go like this:
- Makoto/Ryuji – throw a Psycho bomb, baton pass to Morgana, throw a Psycho bomb at someone else, baton pass to Haru, Psio on the third enemy, baton pass to Joker, fully charged Mapsio on them all – at this point they’re all knocked down, and then another Mapsio on Joker’s bonus move
- Joker – Mapsio on them all since they’re already knocked down
- Haru – Mapsio on them all since they’re already knocked down
- Morgana – use an item to increase Joker/Haru/the party’s attack, or heal HP/SP if needed
Obviously you’ll need to adapt the turn depending on who goes first. That’s four Mapsios, one fully baton-charged, in one turn. Even this may not beat them, but you’ll have a whole turn to finish them off – again, with individual Psio attacks on three, Mapsio on the fourth, and then another Mapsio after they’re all knocked down.
If you don’t have the items, then I reiterate that between Haru and Joker you follow the pattern of using individual attacks before multi-hitting moves. Your other party members should be boosting attack power or reducing the defence buff that Okumura can annoyingly put on one of his minions.
You can still get three Mapsios and a few Psios in there per turn, and across the two turns you have, should be able to do it. Although Mafreila and Magarula may not do a lot of damage, they are better than nothing if needed to finish them off.
There are other ways to win, but this is the most efficient which requires the least preparation – since the difficulties of this battle come with no real warning and like me, you may be stuck in the palace with no chance to grind in Mementos.
Another possibility is that if Joker has access to Concentrate on one of his personas, it’s worth using it on his turn and baton passing to him once Haru has individually knocked them all down (using, of course, three Psios and a final Mapsio). Then unleashing a super-powerful Mapsio from Joker which will hopefully see them off.
Note: Joker’s attacks in this section can be swapped for Eiga/Maeiga (curse).
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Phase 6 – Executive Director
The executive director may look big and ominous, but he isn’t as difficult as the previous phase as the two-turn window to beat him no longer applies.
Don’t get me wrong, you still need to be careful. Stay healed up, buff up attack and defence as needed, and just hit him with your most powerful moves. He doesn’t have any weakness so there is no special tactic here outside of inflicting with forget and using technical attacks if you can.
The only thing to be aware of is his Big Bang Order, which you’ll see coming a turn in advance when he charges up. This is a strong attack which can take you out if you aren’t on high health – when it’s coming, forget attacking – heal, buff defence, reduce the director’s attack, and if you haven’t got Joker’s HP over 300, guard to make sure he doesn’t fall.
It’s an attritional part of the battle but not hugely difficult if you just rinse and repeat.
Phase 7 – Haru
Haru is easy, as she will shortly be ordered to self-destruct. Rather than trying to beat her before this, you’re best off healing up and making sure you withstand the explosion. You’ll have two whole turns to get yourself in order. Take your first turn to use healing moves, and guard on your second turn. If you want added peace of mind, you can buff your defence, but there isn’t actually any need and your party should easily survive as long as they’re on about half health.
Phase 8 – Okumura
Okumura finally has no-one left.
He has pitifully low health and can easily be finished off. The only thing I’ll say is if the countdown is running low, just skip through the dialogue and use Rush to put an end to him as quickly as possible.
Otherwise, if anyone ended up KO’d, revive them before finishing the battle.
And like that, the most irritating part of the whole game is done and dusted, allowing you to snag the treasure and escape with your sanity intact.
If all else fails, change the difficulty
We know these tips should be enough, but if you are still having trouble there is one more option. Change the difficulty… by putting it up to Merciless. This can be done before the battle by selecting Config within the System section of the pause menu.
No, this isn’t a joke. On Merciless difficulty, you will deal three times as much damage from weakness hits, technical hits and critical hits. This actually makes it far easier to defeat the green workers at phase 5. However, the triple multiplication works both ways, and enemies generally inflict more damage, so you still need to be very careful and take particular care of Joker. Ensure he stays healed at all times, and don’t take any risks – you won’t need as many turns to take down the workers so you can afford to sacrifice an extra one to heal and buff defence where necessary.
The hardest phase on Merciless is probably the Executive Director, who doesn’t have a weakness. When you are not hitting weaknesses, your normal damage dealt will be decreased so it’s more advisable to go all out to inflict status ailments. Forget, Shock and Freeze can all be inflicted, and also have the bonus of impeding him from using his Big Bang Order.
Once the Director is taken down, the same tactic as before applies to Haru – heal up, buff up and have Joker guard. Once you survive her detonation, you can breathe a sigh of relief and simply set the difficulty back to normal (or whatever you chose) once you have access to the menu again.