In Persona 5 Royal, managing your time properly is the most important thing you can do during your first run-through. Knowing which activities give you the most optimal returns, as well as which allow you to see the most content possible, are crucial. While Royal does give players much more freedom with their free time compared to vanilla, it is still likely new players will be unable to see everything in their first playthrough.
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This list only considers activities that forward time after finishing. Early game options such as feeding your plant and doing the crossword in Leblanc, while nice free stat boosts, do not have to be weighed against other options since they can be done whenever.
11 Hang With Confidants
By far the most core element of Persona’s gameplay for many years, the confidant system progresses a side story with major characters, party members, and non-party members alike. By progressing a confidants rankings, you will be rewarded with key boosts either through gameplay for party members or a passive boost or activity for others. Some key confidant abilities are Temperance, which allow you to freely do activities like washing clothes, making curry or infiltration tools without passing time for a fee, and even returning from Mementos without losing your free time at night.
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Another is Chariot, who can trivialize grinding in the late game with an auto battle ability when facing lower leveled enemies. No matter who you optimize first, keep in mind that Councillor, Faith, and Justice must all be maxed out before the endgame in order to stay on track for the true ending.
10 Do Some Jobs
While they were a bigger part of Persona 4, the job system in Persona 5 Royal is still tied to a handful of Mementos requests necessary for hitting 100% completion. Other than that, it is a decent source of early game income when struggling to grab all the best equipment and staying stocked up on items.
While it has its uses, Jobs should almost never be taken on when there are confidants available to advance a rank or just progress to getting there.
9 Confidant Activity Requests
Occasionally, your confidants will text you about an activity outside their natural progression path. While these obviously don’t get you another rank in their confidant, they offer a nice side section of character interaction and can unlock a new location to visit in the future.
These confidant activity requests earn more progress to the next rank than the usual pre-rank interactions do. You also have the potential to receive a special decoration item to put in your room for the rest of the game.
A major part of Persona 5 Royal, Mementos is the evolution of Tartarus in Persona 3. Mementos is a long, traditional Persona dungeon that can only be advanced up to certain parts in between each Palace. It replaces the trivial need to return to old dungeons to grind like in Persona 4, and it allows for interesting narrative side content with Mementos requests, which involve the Phantom Thieves pursuing additional jobs outside the main story.
Mementos has to be cleared before finishing the game, and it is best served saving several Mementos requests at a time before being taking the dive in order to best min/max your time. The Temperance confidant allows you to return to Leblanc from Mementos and still spend your night normally for a fee, but it eventually becomes free once maxed out.
7 Big Bang Burger Challenge
Now a Persona staple, the food challenge in Persona 5 Royal is the Big Burger Challenge, which can be taken at the Big Bang Burger in central street. Each food challenge can be cleared by hitting a certain threshold of social stats such as Knowledge and Proficiency. If cleared, you will receive a solid stat boost to multiple social stats at once.
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Even if you fail, it will be a slight increase to Guts, which is one of the hardest stats to advance. While also not the most optimal activity, it can be done more cheaply during the night, which is also when fewer confidants are available.
6 Leblanc Coffee & Curry
Advancing the Hierophant confidant, Leblanc’s kitchen becomes available to you. Starting at rank 2, you gain the ability to make coffee which can boost any one character's SP by 30. SP will be hard to come by before unlocking the SP adhesive from the Death confidant later on.
Starting at Hierophant rank 9, you can occasionally find leftovers in the fridge in Leblanc, which allows you to make Curry which restores 30 SP to all allies instead of just one. Again, this is best done with Temperance later on, as you can gain the items from doing these activities without having to waste your night on them.
Early on you gain the ability to build your own infiltration tools for runs through Palaces and Mementos. Some of these are wastes of time—Goho-M immediately allows you to leave a dungeon, and Smokescreen helps you avoid enemy detection, both of which can be accomplished by just not playing recklessly.
The real key tool is the lockpick which allows you to open chests throughout the game. These chests contain some of the best items, including healing items, accessories, and even some of the best equipment for party members at the time they are available. Temperance can also save you time by either building tools herself late at night, or spending class time building tools. Toward the endgame, you have the ability to build the permapick, negating the need to ever spend time making lockpicks again, but this is largely good for a new game plus run.
4 Batting Cages
Possibly the biggest time waster activity, the batting cages are strangely difficult and don’t offer any serious rewards. Aside from an increase to Proficiency (which can be boosted for free by making tools), and some middling accessories, the only reason to interact with the batting cages is either for the achievement/trophy tied to it, or for progress toward 100% progression.
For the most optimized usage of the cages, it is best to save before attempting and reset until you have hit five of five home runs and advance the difficulty. You can also find the book “batting science” around June which makes hitting easier.
3 Darts & Billiards
Possibly the most important mechanic the game glosses over, Darts and Billiards are the best way to improve your party's ability in battle without increasing their level. Party members can be invited to darts at the arcade in Kichijoji which increases their baton pass rank after successful completion. The higher the rank, the more damage they deal upon using the baton pass mechanic.
Billiards, while not as strong a reward, can increase the technical damage done by teammates and can also guarantee a knockdown when hitting technical damage at max billiards rank.
2 Jazz Club
The Jazz Club in Kichijoji allows you to invite a party member and gain a significant boost to their Persona. On most days, the party member invited will increase in several key stats and possibly even level up. On Sundays, however, they can learn an entirely new skill through this mechanic.
These abilities are great status change effects, or even the ability to double the damage of the next attack done, which can make party members more flexible in their battle approach and free Joker up as more of a pure damage dealer. It also features one of the best tracks in the entire game.
1 Working Out & Meditating
A carry over from vanilla, the ability to work out either in your room at Leblanc or at the gym in Central Street increases your total HP by a small amount initially, but ultimately allows you to max out your total HP by the endgame. The new meditation activity in Royal, accessed by visiting the old temple in Kichijoji, does the same for SP.
The ability to use Chariot’s ability to quickly grind out a max level, along with the gym and old temple to do the same for HP and SP, will make the late game a breeze—assuming that’s the path you want to take.
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