Persona 5 Efficiency Guide
Unlike most JRPGs (and games in general) Persona games have a hard limit on how much you can do in a given playthrough. That hasn’t changed with Persona 5, which places you in the shoes of a not-so-normal high school student who fights for justice in a supernatural world between studying, going on dates, and solving problems for a cast an ever-growing cast of side characters.
Once the game gets rolling, you can usually perform up to two activities per in-game day -- one before sunset and one at night -- over the course of a year. Typically, though, your priority should be hooking up with “Confidants.” Players of Persona 3 and 4 will recognize these as a new name for “Social Links.” Basically, to get the most out of Persona 5, you’ll want to spend as much time ranking up your relationships with side characters by spending your days and evenings with them.
As in the last two Persona games, these will allow you to level up Personas: the source of your avatar’s power in the combat-focused dungeon crawling sections of the game. Unlike in previous installments, however, each Confidant also confers a motherlode of unique convenience and utility upgrades.
So, the name of this particular game is to rack up as many relationships as possible, up to their maximum rank of 10, in the shortest time. Not only will you become stronger during Persona 5’s turn-based combat and see the widest possible selection of often heartfelt side stories, you’ll also unlock entirely new scenes, abilities, options, and activities not otherwise available in the game.
To help you make the most of Persona 5 from day one (both in the game and in real life) we’ve compile this handy-dandy, spoiler free collection of efficiency tips to get you started.
As noted above, Confidants are a major part of Persona 5 -- perhaps the primary focus of the half-dating-sim-half-dungeon-crawler. Three supporting cast members stick out, however.
These three Confidants don’t just provide combat options and quality-of-life bonuses; they ramp up the rate at which you can perform stat-boosting activities and interact with the rest of the game’s cast. So, if you want to see as much of Persona 5 in a single playthrough as possible, you should absolutely prioritize leveling up this trio first.
As with all of the Confidants in Persona 5, these relationships develop faster if you equip personas that match the “arcana” of the character. Takemi, for example, represents Death. If you have a Death persona in your active stack when speaking to her, you’ll receive a bonus to whatever dialogue options you pick that please her.
The Back-Alley Doctor (Takemi)
Tae Takemi is one of the first Confidants Persona 5 introduces. As her title implies, she’s a sketchy sawbones who aids the player. She’s also the source of all the game’s best (if not the most affordable) healing items. That might not seem very useful at first -- especially if you’re the sort of player who often eschews using consumable items in games. However, Persona 5 puts much greater emphasis on healing that doesn’t require your characters to cast spells than previous entries in the series.
Even with that in mind, however, Takemi’s true worth actually comes from one of her less ephemeral wares. Just a few steps into her storyline Takemi will offer to sell the protagonist “accessories,” as well as her usual drugs. These are equippable items that usually confer bonuses like extra health and resistance to certain damage types. Only through Takemi, however, can you buy the “SP Adhesive” accessories.
These grant regenerating SP, or mana, to whichever playable character equips one. Takemi sells three levels of SP Adhesives with different levels of potency, but if you can afford it be sure to grab at least one of the highest quality: SP Adhesive 3. You can then equip this to the protagonist, who has the useful ability to swap out different personas to cast the widest variety of spells. This will grant him seven SP at the start of every turn during combat.
Since the main character can cast the widest variety of spells in dungeons, he’ll also be the one you use to exploit enemies’ elemental weaknesses the most. With at least one SP Adhesive, you can keep that tactic up even longer, which means you’ll be able to stay in dungeons longer. Which, in turn, means you’ll waste fewer in-game days grinding for cash and experience points. You’ll also need the cash that comes with that grinding to make regular use of the next two priority Confidants.
If you don’t have the 100,000 yen needed to buy even one level-three Adhesive, ranking up Takemi a bit further will also cause her to cut her prices in half across the board.
The Homeroom Teacher (Kawakami)
A short ways into Persona 5’s campaign you’ll have a chance encounter with the protagonist’s homeroom teacher, Sadayo Kawakami, outside of school. This unlocks her as a Confidant -- one you can only meet on Friday and Saturday evenings. She’ll also charge you 5000 yen per visit.
Kawakami is incredibly useful. While Takemi makes Persona 5’s dungeon diving more efficient, this teacher makes nearly everything else easier. A level one relationship with her unlocks a few bonus scenes at school where the player can read books, craft tools, study, or sleep. These are essentially “free” activities, in that they let the player raise social stats and/or prepare items without consuming one of an in-game day’s time slots.
Raising your relationship with Kawakami further also raises the number of these free time scenarios. More importantly, however, she’ll also offer to do several types of menial tasks on any night of a given week (not just on Fridays and Saturdays) for her usual 5000 yen fee.
You’ll be able to have her make coffee and curry (which restore SP in dungeons) and do laundry (which transforms mostly-useless dirty armor found in dungeons into potentially useful equipment, similar to “identifying” in Diablo games). To have her do either job, just interact with the kitchen or coffee maker in Cafe Leblanc, or the laundromat in Yongen-Jaya. “Call Kawakami” will be an option when you’re ready to do any such job.
Kawakami’s most useful skill, however, might just be her last. At rank 10, she’ll allow the player to do one evening activity on days where the party enters a dungeon. Typically, dungeon crawling consumes both daytime and nighttime opportunities to do activities. Calling Kawakami negates this for the evenings, free of charge. In fact, once your relationship with her reaches rank eight, she’ll waive her usual fee on all of her activities.
The Fortune Teller (Chihaya)
While not as variously useful as Kawakami, Chihaya Mifune’s best ability nearly outclasses every other Confidant’s in the game put together.
You’ll unlock Chihaya as a potential comrade at the same time Persona 5 opens up Shinjuku as a visitable area. Her relationship can only be developed during evenings when it isn’t raining. Traveling to Shinjuku and back, meanwhile, will also set you back a tiny amount of yen.
She’s worth it. Chihaya has the power of “divination,” which grants the player their choice of daily boosts for 5000 yen apiece. Her earliest buffs can increase the amount of money the party earns from combat and how much of a specific social stat you’ll increase by participating in activities. That can severely reduce the daily and in-dungeon grinds for a more pleasant, more efficient experience.
At level seven, however, Chihaya lets the player pay to increase raise their relationships with any Confidant in the game. This method doesn’t advance time the way spending afternoons and evenings with Confidants usually does. You can also only do it once per Confidant per day, and it’ll cost 5000 yen, but given that these side stories are much of the meat of Persona 5, it’s an absolute godsend.
It’s worth noting, though, Chihaya will only bring you closer to your Confidants. To raise their actual levels you’ll still need to interact with them at their available times. Still, it saves you the trouble of those story-free hangout sessions when Confidants’ relationships aren’t ready to reach the next level just yet.
With a couple notable exceptions, Persona 5’s teammates nearly all share the same Confidant skills as each other. They can learn to automatically cure allies’ status effects, randomly step in to follow-up the protagonist’s attacks, sometimes endure fatal damage, and a few other mostly-combat-centric tricks. We’ve included the teammates’ unique skills below, mostly for reference.
- Baton Pass: Unlocks at rank two. When you target an enemy's weakness or strike a critical hit you can "pass" an ensuing extra action over to any other party member that has Baton Pass.
- Follow-Up Attack: Party members with this skill will sometimes automatically offer to strike a critical hit on an enemy the protagonist attacked — assuming he didn't target their weakness or land a critical hit.
- **** Talk: Every teammate has a different brand of "Talk" skill but they all accomplish the same thing. If you fail negotiations with an enemy party members with this skill will sometimes step in and make the talks a success.
- Endure: Party members with this skill will survive one otherwise fatal attack per battle with one hit point remaining.
- Protect: Sometimes a party member with this skill will step in to take a hit meant for the protagonist during combat.
- Ultimate Awakening: This is the rank 10 reward for every teammate. It "evolves" their single persona into a new form with better resistances and new learnable skills.
- Harisen Recovery: This allows teammates to sometimes cure allies of status effects during battle.
You’ll sometimes “insta-kill” enemies when ambushing them from behind. This doesn’t grant experience, cash, or items like normal combat. It will, however, grant you a random persona from the pool of enemies in whatever area you happen to be at. This also seems to become more common the more over-leveled you are for a given dungeon or area.
Ann affects shadow negotiation, which is the primary method of acquiring new personas for the protagonist. She’ll automatically convince enemies who hold party members hostage to release their captives and increase the odds of negotiation succeeding in general.
Yusuke will duplicate skill cards, which can be used to grant certain personas certain abilities.
Makoto will provide additional analysis of enemy shadows -- like the spells the can cast, what items they’ll drop, and what kinds of damage they resist.
Since she isn’t an active party member, Futaba’s Confidant bonuses are entirely passive. There are, however, a whole lot of them that range from randomly conferring buffs during battle to scouting floors of dungeons.
Haru allows the player to grow vegetables. This works similar to brewing coffee and cooking curry at Cafe Leblanc, in that it gives the player SP restoring items, but doesn’t cause in-game time to pass. Instead, the vegetables need several in-game days to pass from other activities before they’re ripe enough to collect.
Morgana’s Confidant rank increases as part of the main story, so we’ve elected not to include their abilities here.
Non-Priority Confidants and Social Stats
The rest of Persona 5’s Confidants mostly confer quality-of-life improvements, are tied into the main story, or open up new activities used to benefit the player in some way. Whereas the “priority” Confidants should be ranked up as quickly as possible to maximize efficiency, these ones can be tackled in the order of whatever you think sounds most interesting or useful.
The one thing to keep in mind is that nearly every Confidant will require the aforementioned social stats to rank up: guts, knowledge, proficiency, kindness, and charm. Activities like fishing, eating at certain restaurants, reading books, and studying can all help build some of these stats.
However, just raising your relationship rank with certain Confidants will also increase those stats. Meaning that instead of “wasting” time doing activities that only serve to boost your character’s personality traits, you can often interact a certain Confidant instead to receive the same benefit while also pushing their story forward. We’ve marked these below so you can better understand which Confidants will help chain into speaking with other Confidants when the game demands a certain stat.
Sojiro: Found in Cafe Leblanc at Night
Allows the player to make, or ask Kawakami to make, increasingly potent consumable items that restore SP. Raising your rank with him will often increase the protagonist’s kindness.
Yoshida: Found in Shibuya Station Square at Night
Spending time with Yoshida will unlock new conversation options during shadow negotiation. He also sometimes increases the protagonist’s charm. Yoshida is also one of three Confidants who will not benefit from having a persona of his class, The Sun, equipped when speaking to him.
Shinya: Found in Akihabara Arcade After Attempting the “Cheater” Request from Mishima
Shinya unlocks gun-related abilities during combat. Hanging out with him will often raise your kindness.
Ohya: Found in the Bar in Shinjuku at Night After Meeting Her in the Main Story
Ohya reduces the “alert level” of dungeons and causes that same level to decrease more between days. Hanging out with her will sometimes increase you charm.
Mishima: Found in Various Places After Completing Side Missions at His Request
Mishima tasks the player to fight mini-bosses and investigate certain NPCs. His rank can only be increased after completing each of his new missions. He increases the amount of experience points party members earn in combat. He’s also one of the three Confidants that doesn’t benefit from having his arcana of persona, The Moon, equipped during conversations.
Iwai: Found at the Airsoft Gun Shop in Shibuya at Night
Iwai will offer to upgrade the party’s guns, sell new equipment at his shop, and discount his merchandise. Hanging out with him often increases your proficiency.
Hifumi: Found at Kanda Church at Night After Being Told About the Location
Hifumi adds passive benefits to combat -- usually by allowing the player to escape more easily. She also lets the player swap party members in and out of combat mid-battle. Hanging out with her will often increase the player’s knowledge.
Caroline and Justine: Found Inside The Velvet Room
Caroline and Justine’s relationship grants new ways to improve the protagonist’s personas. They’re also the last Confidant(s) who don’t gain any benefit from having their arcana of persona, Strength, equipped when speaking to them. The reason being that they don't actually rank up from conversations. Instead, they'll task the player to breed specific personas with specific skills.
Increases as part of the main story.
Increases as part of the main story.
Increases as part of the main story.
Hidden Tasks and Useful Tips
Finally, these are just a few useful, repeatable, and/or special tasks that make life in Persona 5 a whole lot easier or more efficient. They’re not as impactful as Confidants and their various bonuses, but they will have an effect on the rate at which you can ramp up your character’s abilities.
Plant Food: High, Medium, and Low
One of the very first places you’ll see in Persona 5 is the main character’s own bedroom. On the far right side is a houseplant. This is secretly one of the most useful items throughout the game as it allows you to raise your kindness stat, repeatedly, without causing time to pass. All you need is some plant food.
You can find some in Yongen-Jaya -- the game’s starting neighborhood -- but it’s better to buy it the more expensive variety from the underground mall in Shibuya. A flower shop at the back of the mall sells the stuff which, when applied to your houseplant, gives you two points in kindness. This can even be used on days when your character is “too tired” to do anything but sleep.
However, you’ll want to abandon this variety of fertilizer once Shinjuku opens up. The flower store in that part of town sells a “mega fertilizer” that raises your kindness by three points instead. Just make sure to check the plant every few days to see if it needs more food -- the sooner you begin the cycle of feeding it the more often you’ll be able to raise your kindness for “free” over the course of the game.
Another easy way to rack up stats that only costs money instead of time is the aojiru stand in Shibuya’s underground walkway. The kiosk will sell you a fairly expensive drink once every Sunday. It’ll only increase one social stat, by one point but since it doesn’t advance time like most such activities it’s still worth it. Unfortunately, you’re at the mercy of a rotating stock every week, meaning you can’t choose which stat the stand increases.
Watch TV at Night
Similar to the houseplant and aojiru activities, you can increase your knowledge without passing time by watching TV on the ground floor of Cafe Leblanc. When you return to the cafe in the evenings just interact with the set next to the staircase. On certain days it'll broadcast a trivia game show — which prompts you to answer the question before the contestants. If you get the it right you'll raise your knowledge by one point. It's not much, and it doesn't occur very often, but it's also completely free.
Neighborhood Vending Machine
Until you rank up Haru, Takemi, or Sojiro, SP restoratives are going to be at a premium. You can negotiate with shadows and hope they’ll give you these items, which are great for keeping you in dungeons for longer stretches of time, but obviously that’s not very reliable.
What is reliable is the vending machine sandwiched between Yongen-Jaya’s laundromat and bathhouse. It’ll dispense four SP drinks per week for a measly couple hundred yen. They don’t restore much of the spell fuel per use but it’s better than nothing. Plus, once you unlock Akihabara and Shinjuku, the vending machines in those areas will also sell you a few of the same drinks per week.
Check the Refrigerator
It’s not immediately obvious, but you can enter the kitchenette in Cafe Leblanc -- the one behind the bar where Sojiro is usually hanging out. This is where you can make SP restoring curry (or have Kawakami do it for you) on certain days where there are enough ingredients left over to do so.
Even when you don’t want to make curry, however, you should check the fridge. On some days it’s completely empty. On others you can make the life-affirming spicy stuff. Yet every once in a blue moon you’ll instead find a present in there from Sojiro himself. It’s always free, so you might as well take it.
Most of the locations in Persona 5 can be fast-traveled to using the in-game map. For some reason, however, there’s one location that isn’t always available this way.
It’s a little subway station in Shibuya that, during the middle third of the game, you can access from the map just fine. Most of the time, though, it’s mainly accessible by going to Shibuya’s station square, heading to the north exit, and going up the stairs therein.
The main reason to go there is a little, slightly hidden restaurant. Normally they don’t sell anything too potent there, but once every few days during the game’s first half you can get the extremely useful Melon Pan consumable. These revive downed teammates with full health during combat and offer a pretty good bang for their buck.
Brewing Coffee Makes Sojiro Like You
A lot of tasks in Persona 5 actually kill two birds with one stone. Case in point, brewing coffee and cooking curry at Cafe Leblanc yourself, rather than paying Kawakami to do it, won’t just net you a free item. It’ll also raise your relationship with Sojiro by a few points.
Like with Chihaya’s predictions, this won’t trigger any ranking up in the character’s Confidant rank. It will, however, bring you closer when he’s not quite ready for that all-important jump.
Fix the Laptop
At some point in Persona 5’s main story the thrift shop in Yongen-Jaya will offer to sell you a broken laptop. Make sure you pick it up. Being a broken laptop it’s useless at first. When you unlock Akihabara, however, you can purchase PC repair parts from one of that area’s shops.
Once you have both pieces of the puzzle, it’s time to sit down at your bedroom’s work desk and fix the dang thing. We won’t spoil what happens next. Longtime Persona players will likely get a kick out of it, though. For everyone else, it provides a very useful service as well.
Craft Tools on Calling Card Days
Every dungeon in Persona 5 will eventually require you to send a calling card. It’s a whole thing in the main story that we don’t need to go into here, although we do have one piece of advice.
Sending a calling card eats up both of your daily activities the same way that traveling to a dungeon does. You’ll be trapped in your bedroom -- unable to leave or do anything else that evening. That is except for crafting infiltration tools. For whatever reason, this is the one activity that sending calling cards doesn’t lock the protagonist out of doing before bed on those days.
Even if you don’t need lockpicks or other crafted items you should absolutely make some. The reason being that crafting infiltration tools also increases your proficiency. Since you can’t do anything else noteworthy on calling card days you might as well do that.
Persona 5’s various stores and restaurants are full of seasonal items, all of which can only be bought in certain weather, after certain story events, or during a particular in-game season. Rather than list them all here, we’ll just send you straight to the source: the pair of gossiping students standing in your homeroom every day after school.
The pair always stands in exactly the same place -- right next to the doors out of the room -- and always talks about seasonal items. More than that, they’ll only talk about seasonal items that are or are about to be available in in-game shops on your specific playthrough. So if you want to keep track of what goodies can be bought at any given time and where, they’re the easiest source of info.
You Can Check Confidant Progress from the Overworld Map
For our final tip, here’s something to make your digital social life so, so much easier than it would be otherwise. You can check which neighborhoods have available Confidants on any given day from the overworld map. More than that, you can see which Confidant is where and whether or not they’re ready to level up your relationship.
Just hit R1 on the PlayStation 4 controller to bring up the local map. Then hit it again to see the map of every city and neighborhood you’ve found so far. The ones with blue tarot card symbols on them have a Confidant who’s ready to speak with you.
Finally, if you select that area’s icon and press the square button, you’ll see the name of the Confidant and one of a few different symbols. A blank blue tarot card means they’re ready to speak with and grow closer to you but won’t level up just yet. A blue card with exclamation points means they’re ready to step up the relationship. A gray card with exclamation points means they’re ready to level up but are first going to check if you meet some secondary requirement to speak with them. Lastly, a blank gray card either means they’re not ready to level up yet and want to ask if you meet some extra requirement.
This is a pretty handy and quick way to determine who you want to hang out with for any given stretch of time. You can also couple it with Chihaya’s relationship boosting service to focus on only raising the opinions of Confidants who aren’t ready to level up yet.