Persona 5 is a complicated game with a lot of working systems. It goes from being very scripted in the intro to offering you a lot of free time as you get closer to your first palace (the equivalent of a dungeon in this game). After about 20 hours spent with Persona 5, there are a few things that we wish we would have known before we started. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to be better than us.
Always listen to Morgana
This seems like a fairly straightforward tip, but seriously: Do not ignore the talking cat. Once Morgana makes his way into your life, he will drop hint after hint at you. Some of these are very clear instructions, while others are suggestions. Regardless, talk to him and heed his advice. If you find yourself struggling, you may not be listening to Morgana. He is great for telling you where you should be going and even how you should be fighting. It can be almost obnoxious at times, but press on. Maybe that 15th suggestion to heal your teammates is the one that will finally get through.
Most of the fights leading up to your first palace are tutorialized. However, once you have full control of your party, Persona 5 will not pull its punches. The goal in every fight should be to defeat your enemy before your enemy can attack you.
Use sleeping spells or knock all of the enemies down to finish them off quickly. The “1 More” system in combat is great, as it allows you to continue attacking after hitting an enemy’s weak point, but it can also be great for them. If enemies attack your weak point, they also receive “1 More.” This can lead to a disastrous train of events where a pack of enemies will hit you over and over until you die.
In Kamoshida Palace, there are several enemies that deal high damage and can attack your weaknesses regularly. If you don’t take these out in time, you could find yourself getting completely destroyed in one turn. This is why you want to start every fight as an ambush: It allows you to attack first (and avoid dying).
If an enemy gets the jump on you, it could be the end of your journey. Be careful, and don’t get complacent. Which leads us to our next point …
Study your enemies
You will find new enemies everywhere. Use different abilities on them. Experiment.
If you have the chance to just fight one creature early on in the palace (when they aren’t much of a threat), you can learn about their weaknesses. This is crucial to success. Now that you know their weaknesses, you can spend later fights comboing enemies into oblivion by using “1 More.”
If you don’t know an enemy’s weakness before you get to the harder fights, the risk that comes with experimenting increases. Take your time. If you keep encountering a certain enemy but can’t figure out its weakness, consider going back to the nearest Safe Room to respawn them. This way, you can keep killing early enemies and practicing against their tactics. Knowledge is power in Persona 5, and if you forget that you will struggle through the first palace.
Think like a Pokémon master
Before you can enter the first palace, you will learn how to capture shadows as masks. This means you can switch out your Persona at will, using the tool kits of your enemies against them. Upon entering the Kamoshida Palace infiltration, Igor will teach you about Persona fusion, which will allow you to combine the power of two Personas into one. To do this, you must capture Personas by talking them into joining your team.
Think Pokémon rules. The first time you come across an enemy that you haven’t captured, try knocking it down and talking to it. You only really want to get one of each, so capture each type, and take them to Igor.
By fusing Personas, you will be able to diversify your team. This will afford you more opportunities to attack enemies’ weaknesses. Just remember that you cannot create or capture Personas with higher levels than you.
Have designated roles for your party
You are the most versatile person on your team, so use a Persona that can both debuff the enemies, and use elements foreign to your team (for example, our main Persona had ice and curse spells).
Remember that items allow your teammates to preform certain roles. For example, we gave Ryuji a better bat that we purchased and strength gear that we found in the palace. This turned him into our go-to bruiser, who could deal massive damage as long as our other teammates were supporting him.
Morgana was extremely useful as a healer, as he didn’t have gear for damage in most scenarios. Ann’s fire spells (along with the Tommy gun that we bought her) allowed her to do some really heavy specialty damage, as well as put tougher enemies to sleep. Figure out what your style is, and build a perfect combat scenario around your friends and their skills.
Beware of the timer, but don’t fear it
Once Persona 5 gives you free time, you will have 14 days to infiltrate the palace and steal Kamoshida’s heart. No matter what you choose to do from here on out, it should be in service of success in the dungeon. You could go and buy items with the limited funds that you have, or you could jump straight in. Either way, you want to give yourself as much time as possible.
Saving the palace for last, it took us about three days to reach the treasure and another to beat the final boss. If you start earlier than we did and find yourself struggling in the palace, you can always take a day off to buy medicine or weapons, go to the batting cages or take a bath. Winning fights gives you way more money than working, so taking days off in between your infiltrations may be the best way to go.
Spend time with Ryuji
You will have several opportunities to hang out with Ryuji outside of school. While this does take up valuable time, it is for the best. Not only do you get to learn some of the reasons why Ryuji hates Kamoshida so much, but you will also strengthen your bond with him. Once you get his bond up to three — which is possible before you enter the palace — Ryuji will gain a small chance to follow up your attacks with one of his own.
This skill is rare, and we only saw it three or four times in our entire run of the first dungeon. But every time it came up, it saved us from what seemed like disaster.
Spending time with your teammates is crucial. And it’s just the nice thing to do. Not everything in Persona 5 is about stealing hearts and being Phantom Thieves.
Make time for your other confidants
Spending time with your party members is obviously helpful, but what about Sojiro and Takemi? Spending time with them — even when you have a timer — is totally worth it.
Stopping by the clinic to work for Takemi will net you some bonus stat points as well access to a bunch of new medicine to use in the Metaverse. Spending time with Sojiro offers similar benefits. In addition to slowly peeling away the crusty mystery that is your landlord, he will also teach you to brew coffee that you can take into the Metaverse. This coffee is one of the only ways to restore SP inside of a palace.
Always have a book on hand
Whether you go to the library at school or to the book store, be sure to always have reading material ready to go.
On the train to school, you will occasionally find a place to sit, which will afford you an opportunity to read. Most books take two reading sessions to finish, but once you’re through, you’ll gain different stats (depending on the book you just read).
Morgana is very particular about how efficiently you use your time, and nothing pleases him more than seeing you read on the train. Don’t miss the opportunity for free stats. Get a book.
Clean your room early
Sojiro was clearly not expecting someone to live above his filthy shop because it is filthy! Luckily, Persona 5 offers several compelling reasons for cleaning your room. It takes up your evening time (there isn’t much to do then anyway), but it will allow you to gain several new activities.
Cleaning off the desk by your bed will allow you to make infiltration tools for palaces. Cleaning off the right side and the book shelf will give you access to a plant that you can care for (which will give you some stat bonuses), a new book to read and a chair that you can use to do pull-ups (which will increase your maximum health). You can also buy a sweet CRT from the shop by the cafe, which will allow you to shop on Sundays. There are tons of reasons to keep a tidy room in Persona 5, so make this a top priority for your first few free evenings.