Persona 4 Golden is on PC right now, marking the first time the series has been available on the platform. Understandable, then, that you might not be familiar with this singular JRPG series, and it's unusual focus on not just monster battling, but also filling out the social calendar of a high school student recently moved to a rural town.
If you don't know your Chernobogs from your Belphegors (that's the one who sits on the toilet), we've rounded up a selection of handy tips that should make your first Persona experience a bit more manageable.
Don't stress about doing everything in one playthrough
Persona 4: Golden is an enormous game that will likely take you 80-plus hours to beat, but unless you strictly follow a guide, you're bound to miss something important. It's fine because Persona is a lot more fun when you give yourself the freedom to explore and try different activities instead of min-maxing every minute of the in-game day.
The one relationship you don't want to ignore is Marie, however. She was added in the Golden edition of the game and unlocks a special bonus dungeon and some extra important bits of story near the end. You only have until December 23 to max Marie's social link. That's plenty of time, but don't ignore her.
Complete dungeons as early as possible, with one exception
Generally in Persona games, it pays to get ahead of your deadlines. The earlier you complete a dungeon, the more time you have to work on your social links, as they'll be available more often after you've cleared that month's task. The above advice still stands, though: Completing a dungeon early will give you more flexibility for the rest of the month, but you're not going to be punished for taking a few extra days to level up and recharge if you need it.
There is one major exception: As soon as you finish December's dungeon, you'll warp straight to the end of the month. The best day to complete it is December 22, which will both meet the deadline and let you see the Christmas Eve event.
Repeat dungeons you've already beaten for ultra-powerful rewards
Every dungeon you beat in Persona 4 can be beaten a second time to fight an optional miniboss and get some powerful equipment for the main character associated with that dungeon. To do this, you'll need to talk to that character after you've moved on to the following month's dungeon, and you'll have the option to head back in.
Since you've already beaten the dungeon once, you should have no problem blitzing through to the end, where you'll now find a new miniboss to beat. After killing it, snoop around the room and you'll find a powerful weapon that'll stay relevant for at least a few months. Plus, this is a great way to farm some extra exp. Just be sure to not spend longer than a single day in each dungeon, since your time can definitely be better spent elsewhere.
It's okay to play on easy
Though Persona 4 is an RPG with an excellent combat system, there's so much to see and do outside of dungeons. Playing on harder difficulties will mean you'll need to spend more time grinding exp to win certain fights and dungeons might take more than one or two days to beat. That's time that you could spend hanging out with your classmates, working a job, or any one of the dozen other activities in P4G. Normal difficulty is challenging and rarely requires too much grinding, but if you'd rather focus what makes Persona unique, it's totally okay to play on easier difficulty settings instead. You'll still enjoy the combat, but you'll also have more time for everything else.
Don't get attached to your personas, fuse them
Fusing personas is the best way to dramatically increase the power of your party, so do it often and don't get too sentimental about your personas. When fusing, you'll also want to carefully strategize so that you have a persona for every situation and boss battle you encounter. That means having personas that excel at each of the main elemental damage types as well as personas that deal big physical damage when magic isn't an option.
One thing you'll want to watch out for is insta-kill spells like Hama and Mudo. These both belong to the light and dark elements and have a chance to one-shot party members. If your persona is weak to either dark or light and is hit with this spell, you're dead. So it's worthwhile to have personas with resistances to both elements just in case.
Do Aiya Diner's Mega Beef Bowl Challenge on rainy days
Bad weather isn't common in Persona 4, but when it does happen you might be confused as to how to spend your time since a lot of options won't be available. One of the best options, if you have the money for it and you've already completed that month's dungeon, is to go to Aiya Diner and take on the Mega Beef Bowl Challenge. It costs a whopping 3,000 yen, but just for attempting it you'll raise your Knowledge, Understanding, and Courage social skills. This is the only way to raise all three skills at once, so it's a fantastic time-saver.