Persona 4 Golden – Guide for New Players

This guide is mainly written for people who have played Persona 3 or 5 and highlights the differences in how to play this game compared to those other ones.

How To Not Waste Your Time

  • Above and beyond all other things DO NOT USE THE CAPSULE MACHINE OUTSIDE THE SHIROKU STORE. It can only be used on rainy days and it CONSUMES THE TIME SLOT without warning you that it will do so. Rainy time slots are rather valuable and better used for self-improvement and dungeoneering. The only reward for doing this is a non-recovery consumable item and a CHANCE at a chest key or two. This is the worst thing in the entire game.
  • Go to the bathroom in Yasogami High once a day. There’s a small chance of receiving a consumable item there such as an ointment or curse tape.
  • The square button, X button on Xbox controller or F button on keyboard is the quick navigation button. You can press this button literally anywhere to bring up fast travel options for your current location. It’s not as extensive as the metro map in P5 but it saves a lot of time. It can even fast travel you to your bedroom from the living room in the Dojima residents in case you don’t feel like walking literally 10 feet.
  • Much like P5, the vending machines in Inaba restock every week. For some reason the stuff in the country tastes better, and restores 10SP instead of just 5, so it’s a highly useful SP restorative especially in the early game. Buy 4 TaP soda’s from the central shopping district’s machine every week. DO NOT BUY ORANGE SMASH. Then proceed to the end of the street on the other end of town under the bike shop sign. You can buy 4 more sodas here. Buy Dr. Salt Neo’s which restore 5sp each BUT have a chance to reward you many more cans for free.
  • All dungeons in P4G can be completed in one day. No calling card needs to be sent and no additional time will be eaten up by completing a dungeon. P4 does not have the “Tired” mechanic of P5 or P3, per se. But if you go into the shadow world you will not be able to work, go out at night or study that evening. Going into the dungeon effectively consumes the night slot as well with no chance of mitigation. This is more or less a concession made so the effect on your free time is identical regardless of whether you complete the dungeon and see late-night plot events or not. The ideal time to complete a dungeon is on the last day it is available. You won’t get a big number on your screen telling you when the deadline is like P5, but if there is a period of 3 days of rain or more, that is the end of your deadline. Early morning showers do not count for anything other than flavor, although they will show up commonly on the forecast.
  • You’re going to want to get some points into Diligence before you actually try fishing, Diligence increases how many fish you can catch per day and only catching one or two fish for a daytime slot is a terrible idea.
  • Characteristics need differing amounts of points to max, Knowledge needs the most by far just like P3 and P5 and will consume the most time. Much like Mitsuru and Haru have high stat barriers to start, Naoto requires Max knowledge AND courage to even begin.
  • There’s a student on the third floor main building with an afro named Funky Student. He provides chest keys and knowledge bonuses for answering his quizzes correctly. You can safely get the answers wrong but you’ll have to come back the next day to try a different set of answers. He only asks 2 questions with 2 answers so this should take you a maximum of 4 days to complete.
  • The first thing you should do when you are booted back to the Dojima household is CHECK THE FRIDGE. It sometimes has flavor text and sometimes has opportunities to get stat points. These will sometimes consume the night-time slot and sometimes not, but is generally worth the investment. If you turn down the opportunity you will not get it back. So consider saving first.
  • Gardening is best done with as little to no time investment as possible. Plant the plants and then wait out the return. It’s rarely worth it to spend time maintaining the plants unless you need points for Nanako, in which case you can get points towards her while also boosting your plants.
  • If you get a part-time job at night, Dojima will let you go outside every night from then on, whether or not you’re leaving to work. Prior to this you have to “sneak out” when Dojima isn’t home in order to go outdoors at night.
  • The Fox is the biggest time saver in the entire game, he negates the need to return home for the day completely but his prices are high. Fox HEALS SP, NOT HP. So make sure you top up your health in some way before getting topped up by him so you don’t have to pay him again after healing with media or something. His prices are determined by the SP restored overall but are exorbitant to begin with. You’ll want to prioritize his link over others until you reach a point where his services become affordable. His final ranks require you to be a master fisherman so you’ll want to save the very last bit until the end-game when you have nothing but time.
  • Every Sunday Tanaka’s Amazing Commodities will be available to buy stuff from. This functions similarly to Tanaka’s Amazing Commodities in P3 or the Home Shopping Program in P5, but the items offered by Tanaka here are the real deal and generally offer better value and utility than the others, often with unique items like weapons and armor that you can’t get anywhere else. In P4G (but not in Vanilla) you can safely do Sunday Dates and other such events on Sunday itself and then go back to the TV in your room to make your purchase as it remains available for the follow 2 days.
  • P4G’s exclusive “Third Semester” content is gated behind completing Marie’s Social Link. You have until Christmas to max her social link before it is locked out. The game will be pretty explicit about this and Marie will be available more days in the late-game.
  • Similarly, you should know that while it’s advantageous to complete all other dungeons on the last available day, it is pretty much vital to complete the December dungeon on December 23rd. For no particular story reason if you beat this dungeon ahead of time, time will skip forward to Christmas, robbing you of VALUABLE calendar time.
  • It’s a little unfair, and it was even more unfair in Vanilla, but the True End of the game requires you to continue interacting with something even though the first few times you interact with it it returns the most generic possible dialogue telling you it’s unimportant. There’s… really no way to know how to unlock the True Ending without having read it online or stumbling around like a jackass until you fall dick-first into it. So keep in mind that as long as you still have control of your character, there’s still something you need to do. It’s a charming gimmick but… well, I’d call it a trick of Dishonest Narration.
  • A controller is recommended so you have enough articulation over your movement to get good sneak-attacks on enemy shadows. If you plan on using a Dualshock instead of a Xbox controller try turning off forced steam controller support to get the PlayStation button prompts back.

Rain Is Good

  • If it’s raining you generally want to do the Mega Beef Bowl. It’s pricey, but it’s a boost to 4/5 of your social characteristics. It does not improve expression, this is alright because expression takes the least points to max.
  • Rain also boosts your ability to Study or Read under any circumstances. You don’t get free reading slots in this game so you’ll need to read manually.
  • Rain allows you to buy good consumables at Sozai Daigaku, which is right next to the beef bowl place. Super Croquettes.
  • Rain spawns special reward enemies in the TV World.
  • Rain and Snow allow for the catching of special fish.
  • Rain deactivates most social links that would normally be available that day with the exception of the Sun social link. Consider rain to be near-exclusively self-improvement and dungeon time.
  • Rainy days provide discounts at the Shiroku Store.

The Equipment Shop Is Way Better Than In P5

  • Iwai’s shop in P5 was pretty lackluster but thankfully the legendary smith of Inaba, Daidara Metalworks has it’s own mechanics and gameplay loop.
  • Materials you gather in the Shadow World are exclusively for selling to Daidara, and rather than merely giving you a pittance of Yen (they actually pay pretty well compared to Iwai’s prices) selling Daidara certain amounts of materials will trigger an inspiration and he’ll create brand new equipment for you to use.
  • You still have to purchase material that he makes from the materials you sold him, but this allows the stock that he carries to level naturally alongside you and is generally more relevant to your current needs than anything from the equipment shops in P3 or P5. Check back often to collect your free money and see investigate anything he makes.

Shuffle Time

  • Absent from P5 is Shuffle Time. A game mode that changed between Persona 4 and Persona 4 Golden. Vanilla’s shuffle time was often a wash, the rewards rarely did anything more than put a Persona into your pocket, whereas the penalty for getting it wrong would literally nullify the XP, Yen and Items from the last battle. P5 replaced this system with the negotiation system owing to the enemies now being capturable personas.
  • P4G’s Shuffle Time is pretty cut and dried, you get a bonus for a clean sweep upon selecting all cards that are available, but many of these cards are basically worse than worthless. If you have to eat a really bad card to get a sweep, just don’t. Keeping a long chain of shuffle-times going can be highly profitable and save you time while grinding but it’s mainly RNG and it’s not worth dumping all your XP or Yen earned just to keep the sweep going.
  • Shuffle time is pretty much the only way to acquire new personas outside of fusing them or buying ones you’ve already acquired to fuse again. When a new Persona hits your personal inventory it is auto-registered in the condition it was acquired in, unless a better version of it exists in your compendium already.

Fusion: This Sh*T Used To Be Really Complicated

  • P4G introduced the revolutionary concept of being able to actually choose what skills your fusions inherited. Prior to this you had to save-scum the more gainful fusions or just shell out the big bucks to try it again and again.
  • Gallows fusion (sacrifice fusion in PQ) is not in P4G.
  • Triple Fusion doesn’t exist in P5 but it is a great way to clear pocket-space while getting stronger personas from trash personas. The rules of what you’d get from what were basically impossible to understand and Fuse By Result didn’t exist yet, so you’ll want to spend a lot of time in the triple fusion or even double fusion menu selecting the first two personas to fuse and seeing what you can get, then the first and the third, then the first and the fourth and so on. There’s a lot more meat in this fusion system than in P5 and you generally have more options for what you have lying around. Triple fusion makes the consolidation of many different skills onto one persona easier than you’d expect even if it is pricey.
  • Exclusive to P4 we have the Fusion Forecast. Check in on the velvet room to see what bonuses are available to fusing on certain days. It’s very easy to forget this feature even exists.
  • If you are trying to fill out the compendium there’s a nifty trick for filling in spaces. If you fuse two personas of the same arcana that are next to each other in level, the result will ALWAYS be the persona below that level in the same arcana. Using this you can reverse-engineer lower level personas that you may be missing using higher level ones, or even fuse higher level skills downwards in level.

How To Gain Friends And Manipulate People

  • Not terribly much has changed between P5 and P4G but there are still 2 instances in the game that you can break an S-link irreparably. To avoid this, you need to friendzone Ebihara the first time she asks to be your girlfriend, and avoid one HIGHLY SPECIFIC line of dialogue towards Naoto during her S-link. And if Ebihara asks you to go out with her on a Sunday, don’t. Just don’t.
  • Points gained towards someone before Rank 3 are actually worthless. You don’t need to have a matching persona. This is also true in P5.
  • Points earned when you already have enough points to rank up are wasted. Point values reset upon rank up so, say, having lunch with someone or spending a Sunday with them when you are already ready to rank-up is a waste of time mathematically. Points gained during a rank-up event are put towards the next rank however.
  • Unlike P3 there is no penalty for polyamory here. You can date all the girls at once and suffer no downsides.
  • Unlike P3 there are no hidden annoyance/loyalty timers. You can put an S-link on hold indefinitely and then return to it at your leisure.
  • Unique to P4 we have two social links with selectable characters. Kou Ichijou in the basketball team is considered an infinitely better social link than Daisuke in the Soccer team, regardless of your preference of sport. This isn’t a numerical thing, this is just how bad Daisuke’s writing is. Culture club allows you to choose between Band with Ayane and Acting with Yumi. I’m legally obligated to state that Ayane is numerically the correct choice here as she gives many additional points in many different stats, but I think you’ll be able to come to your own decision pretty quickly.

Combat Tips

  • Persona 4 works more similarly to P3 than P5 for combat but with important differences. The tweaks that have been made tend towards a less chaotic battle flow heavily favoring advantage and momentum which was eventually modified into the P5 battle system by taking this to the extreme.
  • Hitting an enemy that is knocked down will make them dizzy. Be advised this can also happen to YOU. Dizzy enemies skip their following turn in order to stand up. This differs from P3 where enemies that are hit while knocked down get to stand up for free whereas if they weren’t hit they’d skip the next turn. This mechanic is absent in P5.
  • Unlike P3, an “All Enemies” attack only needs to knock-down one enemy in order to trigger a Once More. Be advised this can happen against you too.
  • Baton pass does not exist here, in it’s place Follow-up Attacks are VASTLY more frequent and will happen nearly every battle. Chie’s Follow-up Attack straight up removes one enemy from the battle under all circumstances EXCEPT for Kanji’s Boss battle, in which case it deals fixed damage at a high rate.
  • Persona 4 only has 1 type of physical damage, 4 types of elemental damage and 2 types of… dichotomic damage? There’s no gun/pierce damage in P4 so it’s rarely used for knockdown intentionally, especially since this game does not have lucky/miracle punch. The four elements are Bufu, Agi, Zio and Garu and there’s no fixed weakness relation between these elements. None of these elements delivery secondary effects like they did in Persona 3 or 4, and Garu costs the same as the rest because of it. Technical damage is not a thing here.
  • Light/Dark are fundamentally opposed damage types here and they do not deal damage. Light/Dark attacks function ONLY as instant-kill attacks with low hit percentages. Most enemies that attack with one of these will be weak to the other. Bosses are generally immune to these attacks in all forms. Light/Dark have one spell each which deals Percentage based damage rather than instant death but these are highly rare and deal 1/2 of the target’s remaining health, so they are most effective against full health targets. Personas who are capable of inflicting these elements will either have a weakness to one of them or an immunity to both. Drain light/dark simply does not exist in P4G, as there would be no damage numbers to pull health from.

Experience And “Yu”

  • Because the protagonist CANNOT BE BENCHED he will always be ahead of all other characters in XP. You can compensate for this, and for the lack of bench XP by using “training weapons” available by trading in gemstones with Old Lady Shiroku at night. These weapons his like wet paper but provide bonus XP. Use this to catch up your benched party members or catch up your crew with your Main Character.
  • Very Hard difficulty will curb your XP gain, it’s not generally a good idea to select it unless you like grinding.
  • You can actually manually change your XP and Yen rewards but the game is pretty balanced, honestly. By the time you reach the dungeon in November, a variant of Gold Hand enemies will start showing up that you can grind into a paste for near-infinite XP if you know what you are doing.
  • The leveling structure per dungeon is highly well defined. The appropriate level to fight Chie’s shadow is level 5 and it’s difficult to not be there by reaching her. Yukiko’s shadow is geared towards level 15 and ALL DUNGEON BOSSES FROM THAT POINT WILL BE 10 LEVELS HIGHER THAN THE LAST. So multiply the amount of dungeons you’ve been in by ten, add five, and you have the recommended level for your current boss.
  • The Wand is a highly favorable result from Shuffle Time. Yen can be sourced elsewhere but XP is eternal.

A Really, Really, Really Specific Problem Regarding The Reaper

  • You can loiter in Persona 4 dungeons as much as you want and the Reaper won’t show up. This is because summoning the Reaper is the most asinine thing I’ve ever seen in any video game.
  • The Reaper will appear after opening 22 chests on a single day. You will know the reaper has appeared because you will hear the jangling of chains. He will not appear in the dungeon itself at all, but will be hiding in the next chest you open. You will still hear the rattling of chains if there are no chests on your current floor.
  • The Reaper is de-spawned from all chests by simply moving to the next floor, or the previous one. This is a good way to not get your ♥♥♥ handed to you when you are low level. However if you happen to be hunting the reaper for it’s sweet-sweet end-game rewards (all the best weapons and the best armor) then summoning him becomes a problem because THE REAPER CAN APPEAR WHEN THERE ARE NO LONGER CHESTS ON YOUR CURRENT FLOOR.
  • If you wish to summon the Reaper specifically for combat you MUST count how many chests you have opened, wait until the 22nd chest of the day and then leave it behind, search that floor for a SECOND chest and then open that one, then return to the original chest which will now contain the Reaper. Failing to insure that there are two chests remaining on a floor when you open the 22nd chest will cause the Reaper cycle to be SKIPPED.


  • Benched party members will occasionally appear in empty rooms in dungeons. If (one of) your current girlfriend(s) shows up in these rooms, be sure to talk to her, she will often gift you a high-quality consumable.
  • The Fox can also show up in these rooms and offer restoration at the usual cost. A fantastic time saver as it not only prevents the need to leave the dungeon but even to leave the floor you are currently on.
  • The TV listings on the main menu actually have a fair amount of content that opens up throughout the game. This includes a Trivia Game Show that is hosted by Teddie and despite being a little outlandish it can actually be considered canon, as if you win the entire set, you receive an actual trophy which appears in your in-game bedroom.
  • Also included is a set of extensive lectures from Mr Edogawa from Persona 3, covering the nature of Yungian Psychology and it’s relevance to the Persona franchise. P5 kinda plays mary-hob with the established facts with the introduction of cognitive distortions, but it’s a good baseline. Disclaimer: Yungian psychology is quackery that is currently studied now much in the same way that a chemist might study alchemy to reverse engineer the experiments of middle-age scientist.
  • Screenshots/footage of P4 Vanilla and P4G can be easily distinguished by looking at the dialogue box. Vanilla screenshots will have 2 rectangles, one brown and one orange. Golden will have 3, a brown, an orange and one yellow in the very back.
  • The protagonist is canonically named Yu Narukami, but before that name was in place he was called Souji Seta. This is a pretty much identical situation to the Ren Amamiya/Akira Kurusu situation.
Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 3021 Articles
I love two things in life, games and sports. Although sports were my earliest interest, it was video games that got me completely addicted (in a good way). My first game was Crash Bandicoot (PS1) from the legendary studio Naughty Dog back in 1996. I turned my passion for gaming into a job back in 2019 when I transformed my geek blog (Re-actor) into the gaming website it is today.

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