10 Important Things to Know Before Starting Persona 4 Golden (2023)

The lack of modern amenities in Persona 4 Golden compared to that of Persona 5 makes it somewhat daunting for new players that are only familiar with 5. Given Persona 4 Golden was locked away on the PlayStation Vita for so many years, this is fairly understandable.

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Golden is also not quite as new player friendly with its explanation of mechanics. With the many quality-of-life changes made by Atlus in the 9 years between Persona 4 in 2008 vanilla and Persona 5 in 2017, there may be a number of things you find confusing. Hopefully, this list will put you in better hands long-term.

10 Avoid Spoilers

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I don’t know if there exists a more obvious tip for any piece of media, but this holds especially true for Persona 4 Golden. The game’s nature as a murder mystery means that spoiling yourself over the culprit takes away a lot of the punch of not just the ending, but the entire road getting there. Persona 4 may be one of the most spoiled games ever made.

The major plot points of the game have been discussed since even before the game was localized into English. Despite Persona 4’s legacy as the video game equivalent of ‘Snape kills Dumbledore,’ try your best to avoid any online discussion of the game until you have finished.

9 Fuse Everything

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The same advice I would have for any Persona game is to make sure you are fusing every Persona you come across. Obtaining Personas is a different process in 4 for those of you that have only played 5. Rather than the negotiation system, you will have the chance to add one to your party after finishing a random encounter.

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The same principle applies, however: don’t get too attached to any one Persona you have acquired, as most fusions will be an improvement over what you have now.

8 Post-Battle “Card Shuffle” Strategy

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Golden’s system for acquiring post-battle Persona or items involves a card system. Several cards will appear on-screen, and you will have a certain number allotted from which to choose. These cards can range anywhere from a new Persona to a chest key, added EXP, or even just a blank card. While you already know what each card will do, the real strategy is in clearing the board. In most situations, you will have to leave something desirable behind.

If you manage to clear the board, you will have an additional card to select in your next post-fight selection. Don’t be afraid to select some cards like half EXP or no money if you think the +1 will benefit you in the next run.

7 Farm Gold Hands

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Once you’ve spent a decent amount of time in Persona 4 Golden, you will run across the gold hand enemy. This enemy will run from you in the opposite direction and will occasionally hit a wall and be stunned. If you manage to attack it and initiate a fight, you can fight one for a massive EXP or money reward. These enemies have no weaknesses, so your best bet is to find items or Personas that improve your chance of landing a crit. Make sure to go out of your way to fight gold hands whenever you come across one.

6 SP Is Crucial

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SP is significantly harder to come by in Persona 4 Golden than in other Persona titles. Fortunately, there are a few options for you to counter this problem. The easiest is finding TAP soda in the vending machines in the central shopping district. Make sure to buy the maximum allowed, as there is a cap every week before it resets.

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The better long-term options are to find a Persona with the invigorate skill that restores SP after a battle -- and by advancing the Fox’s social link. In early May, the social link will start, and by helping NPC’s around town, you can advance the Fox and unlock the ability to find him in dungeons and restore your SP. The higher you have ranked him, the cheaper this service becomes, so make sure to help him as best you can.

5 Prioritize Combat Social Links

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The bonuses for advancing social links in Persona 4 Golden are largely not worth your time. Except for the Fox’s social link, the only real ones you should be working towards in regard to rewards are those in your party. Aside from the usual party member bonuses of taking a mortal blow for you and having a chance to cure a status ailment, they also have the benefit of learning new skills. These skills can range anywhere from increasing critical hit chance to having a higher tier elemental skill than is normally available at that stage of the game.

4 First Major Boss Is The Biggest Roadblock

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The first real dungeon boss in Persona 4 Golden is also possibly the hardest in the entire series. This has little to do with the boss itself, but rather the lack of options for you leading up to that point. The game’s system for acquiring and fusing Personas, as well as how little time you have had to build your team up by that point, make this a challenging fight. Do your best to grind what little you can before the battle, but keep in mind that once this part is done, it should be relatively smooth sailing in comparison.

3 Eat At Aiya’s On Rainy Days

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Social stats, in addition to blocking you from starting and advancing certain social links, also allow you to pick certain dialogue options. If you are hoping to advance through as many social links in your first run as possible, upgrading your social stats is unavoidable. 4 lacks the diverse ways to upgrade these stats that 5 does, but it does have an ace up its sleeve. On rainy days, there are far fewer social links available in the afternoon.


One benefit to this is the Chinese Diner Aiya. Located immediately north of the central shopping district, this event allows you to upgrade every social stat once on rainy days. Once all of your stats have reached a certain point, eating at Aiya will have a bigger boost for every social stat than just the one, helping you max out your stats more optimally.

2 Ask The Community

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A new feature added in Persona 4 Golden is the ability to see what other players are doing on any particular day. Once you have player control at the beginning of the day, activating the icon in the corner will show you what percentage of players did on a certain day. If you aren’t sure what social links are available, or if it's too early to be starting a certain dungeon, this mechanic can be very helpful.

Sadly, Atlus did not realize everyone just cheats on test answers yet, so that particular feature to this mechanic was not introduced until Persona 5. Hopefully what is offered by this mechanic should help you quickly see who is available on a given day.

1 Max Marie’s Social Link For The Best Ending

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New for Persona 4 Golden is Marie and her bonus dungeon at the end of the game. Even if Marie is most people’s least favorite character (dubbed ‘Poochie’ by fans for her habit of being forced into scenes with the entire party with her being the sole focus), much of the game’s additional content over vanilla is locked behind her social link.

She will appear outside the Velvet Room entrance in the shopping district. If you don’t see her outside the door, make sure to head inside and see if she is available anyway, as sometimes advancing her is tied to entering and asking about her. Her Social Link becomes unavailable around Christmas, so make sure to hit the max while you can.

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