By Spencer . November 26, 2008 . 8:23pm
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 takes place in rural Inaba where there aren’t any coffee shops to hang out at night to raise your charm. In the evening phase you’re stuck at home since you don’t have a dog dressed with wings to take for walks and all of the dungeon exploring goes on after school. To make the most of your days you need to raise your five personality parameters at home. That’s right, Persona 4 has five stats or two more than Persona 3 to master. They are: knowledge, understanding, diligence, courage, and expression.
Let’s step inside the house and see what options we have to improve them.
There are some Social Links you can build at night, but those characters aren’t ready right now. Maybe I should get something to eat?
Sometimes the fridge has rancid leftovers. Eat them and you boost your courage, but afterwards you have to head straight to bed. Strangely, I haven’t seen any decent food in the fridge for dinner.
The fridge occasionally gets stocked with fresh food, but you can’t eat it at night. If Nanako, your younger cousin, fills the fridge you can cook lunch for the next day. When you bring your lunch to school you get to pick someone to spend lunch with and improve that Social Link. However, if you choose to make a lunch during the evening you aren’t guaranteed an edible dish. You need to select the right spices or cooking method to make something delicious. Select the wrong items and you get inedible fish bait. Since there isn’t any food at home tonight the only thing left to do is head to the bedroom.
The protagonist’s room in Persona 4 is more homely than the dorm room in Persona 3. There are objects like this couch that you can interact with. If you sit on the sofa you can read a book purchased from the bookstore in town. So far I acquired books that boosted courage, understanding, and knowledge.
Studying boosts knowledge too. You can get two knowledge boosts in the same round here if you look up words in a dictionary. This event seems like it’s tied to the weather system.
In town you can read a list of jobs posted on a bulletin board. A few of them are work at home positions where the protagonist makes origami cranes or helps translating documents. Diligence, understanding, and expression can be boosted here. You also get a small sum of money with most part time jobs and your salary increases if you stick to the same job.
At the start of the game the only job you can do is “make envelopes” which raises diligence.
Alternatively, you can skip building your personality traits and go to sleep early. If you do this you have dreams about your friends which helps Social Link progress.
However, you probably should focus using the evening phase to raise your personality traits in the beginning. Like Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 building traits helps you improve Social Links and unlock powerful Personae. You won’t be able to select some of the dialogue choices until you have enough courage or expression points. Also some Social Links require expression or courage to be at a certain level to progress any further. High diligence is used to get other part time jobs and there are some Social Links to discover there.
One neat change in the Social Link system is you can befriend all of your party members and building their Social Link has benefits in battle. When Chie’s Social Link is rank one she can take a critical hit for you. At level three Chie sometimes asks you to pass a turn to her after you knock an enemy down. If you do this she kicks an enemy out of battle with a Galactic Punt attack. Then at level five Chie can help a knocked down ally get back up if she knocks down an enemy.
It’s very tempting just to focus on Social Links with the Persona 4 detective squad, but there are other Social Links that build your personality traits while you’re leveling them up. Playing hoops after school builds diligence and your relationship with Kou who controls the Strength arcana. Going to the drama club increases expression and moves along the side story with Yumi who controls the Sun arcana.
But, if you want to build Social Links you won’t be able to enter the TV world since saving people from their shadows only happens right after school. Next time we’ll get into dungeon crawling.
Images courtesy of Atlus.