Persona 5 is here, and it’s fantastic.

If you haven’t checked out this Japanese role-playing series before, this is a great chance to indulge in one of the most stylish gaming experiences out there. But Persona 5 and its 100-hour-plus quest can seem intimidating for new players. It mixes dungeon-exploration with social interactions in a day-to-day life. You need to succeed at both of them if you want to finish the game.

That’s why we put together these tips. They’ll help you get the most out of your choices and days, helping you become powerful while not falling behind.

Above: Take that!

Image Credit: Atlus

Always focus on exploiting enemy weaknesses

Persona 5 looks like a typical turn-based RPG at first, but while most random battles in a Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest see you swinging your sword until all enemies are dead, Persona 5 is mostly about spells. Every enemy has weaknesses, either to one of the game’s eight elemental types, physical attacks, or gun-based ones.

When you exploit an enemy weakness, you don’t just do extra damage. They’ll also fall to the ground, giving you an extra turn. If you can knock down all enemies, you can either do team-based attack that deals a lot of damage (killing most guys instantly) or negotiate with them, which can give you extra money, items, or more Personas.

So, the goal of each fight is to exploit every enemy’s weakness, knocking them down for an all-out-attack or negotiation before they have a chance to hit anyone on your team.

The first time you fight an enemy, you won’t know its weakness. So you’ll have to try out different attacks until one knocks them down. Once you do, though, you can easily see what that weakness is in the future during fights. So, when you’re fighting something for the first time, try out different spell, physical, and gun attacks until something works.

Above: Look out!

Image Credit: GameSpot

Don’t leave a dungeon until you have to

Persona 5 works on a calendar. Every day you have to decide what your character is going to do. This can include exploring dungeons, which you’ll have until a certain day to beat (or else it’s game over). Once you enter a dungeon, you can stay in it as long as you’d like.

Typically, that’ll be when you run out SP. That’s the resource that lets you cast magic. SP is incredibly important. You need spells to exploit those enemy weaknesses. If you try to win fights with brute strength instead, your team is going to take a lot of hits and lose a ton of health. Sure, you can use items to restore health, but they’re expensive. It’s more practical to use healing spells, which also cost SP.

So, SP doubles as your indicator of how long you can fight in a dungeon for a single day. Once your main character is out of SP, you’ll have a hard time getting through battles. Again, some items can restore SP, but these are even more expensive than the health ones. You can brew coffee at your home every night, an item that will restore some SP. But this is an inefficient way to spend your time when you could be building up relationships or increasing your personality stats.

Now, sometimes you’ll hit a roadblock in a dungeon that won’t let you progress any further that day. You have to do something in the real world during the next day in order move forward. When you hit these roadblocks, you might still have some SP. If you do, turn around and fight more enemies as long as you can before leaving.

Succeeding in Persona requires you to be efficient. If you go to a dungeon, you can’t do anything else that day.  You only have so many days in the game, so you need to make the most of them. If you’re going to dedicate a day to exploring a dungeon, you want to get the most of it as you can. Leaving without spending all of your SP is a waste of potential experience points, character, levels, and money.

Above: Planning your infiltration.

Image Credit: Atlus

Stealth is important

Persona 5 places a bigger emphasis on stealth than its predecessors. You can move from cover to cover, surprising enemies and gaining the initiative in battle. This guarantees that all of your party members can attack first. This is important. Again, getting hit makes you lose HP, and regaining that HP will cost you SP. You’d rather be using that SP to fight more demons.

Getting caught will also increase an alert meter. If this gets to 100, the game will kick you out of the dungeon, and you won’t be able to go back until the next day. That’s a huge inconvenience. Thankfully, it’s easy to avoid. The meter only goes up a little bit, and you can get back down whenever you successfully sneak up on an enemy and defeat them.

You can even make items that get that infiltration meter down, but that’s a waste of resources. Just be patient, use cover, and you’ll have no trouble sneaking up on the vast majority of enemies.

Above: Batting practice.

Image Credit: Atlus

Optimize your free time

When you aren’t exploring a dungeon, you’ll be living the day-to-day life of a Tokyo high school student. This includes going to school, hanging out with friends, and other activities. All of this will help your dungeon exploration, either by making you money, giving you access to new abilities, or letting you make more powerful Personas.

But some activities can yield better rewards, especially depending on when you do them. For example, you’ll learn that you can study harder on days when it’s raining. This will increase your intelligence stat more than normal. You’ll also find places that give extra rewards in exchange for cash. So, you could just study at home, but studying at a diner while ordering coffee will also increase your boldness a bit.

Always take advantage of activities that give out bonus rewards. Doing something that only increases one stat a little bit is not an efficient use of your time.

Above: The gang’s all here.

Image Credit: Atlus

Be mindful of what Personas you have when hanging out

Tokyo is filled with Confidants, people you can hang out with during free time. When you keep hanging out with them, you’ll increase your level in their corresponding Arcana. Each Persona also belongs to an Arcana, like Chariot, Death, Empress, and so on. Increasing your Chariot Arcana level, for example, will give future Chariot Personas you create a bigger experience point boost, helping them gain extra levels and become stronger when you make them.

But your Arcana level doesn’t increase every time when you hang out with a Confidant. You have to become closer to them first, a different, invisible meter that can be difficult to judge. If you’re about to hang out with someone and your avatar mutters to himself something like “I feel I’ll become closer to them soon,” then that means you’re about to level up that Arcana.

So, how do you get closer to Confidants? When you hang out with them, you’ll have a chance to talk to them by choosing one of three responses. Saying things that they like will make you closer. You can tell when you do this because little notes will pop out of the Confidant’s head, up to three (which means they really liked what you said).

But you can also become closer more quickly if you’re actually holding a Persona of their Arcana with you. This can help you save a lot of time, requiring you to hang out with them less before advancing in Arcana ranks. So always make sure you’re not hanging out with someone until you have the right Persona with you. For example, don’t spend time with the Chariot Confidant unless you’re holding a Chariot Persona.

If someone wants to hang out and you don’t have Persona of their Arcana, just go to the Velvet Room. This is the place in the game where you can not only create Personas, but you can also look at a compendium of every Persona you’ve ever registered and resummon them.

It’ll cost some money, but it’s worth it to help maximize your hang-out time. To save money, just be mindful of what Confidants you’ll probably be hanging out with. Keep Personas of those Arcanas with you, especially if you plan on doing a lot of hanging out and not much dungeon-exploring for the next several days.