The Persona Social Links is not only a means of strengthening your character by acquiring new Persona possibilities for yourself and your party members, it’s also a way to enhance the story by getting to better know and understand the people around you. It’s an enjoyable series staple. In Persona 5, however, the system is better than it’s ever been. Leveling up these bonds not only provides experience boosts while fusing and makes party members better, but now might also provide a stat boost in a much needed area or ability that improves your general quality of life.
First, the best Confidant relationship you can level up is the one with Sadayo Kawakami. She’s your homeroom teacher, as well as one of the more expensive people you can spend time with. That’s because a single visit with her costs 5,000 yen. The reason she’s so great is because she saves you valuable time. At Rank 1 of the relationship, you unlock a Slack Off bonus that occasionally lets you use one of her class periods to read a book, pay attention and gain Knowledge, make infiltration tools, or sleep and dream about a random social link to level it up. At Rank 3 and Rank 7, you can pay her 5,000 yen for housekeeping services that start out as doing a load of laundry or making some coffee, but eventually has her making infiltration tools or curry for you. This frees you up for an evening, but still gives you a valuable item. At Rank 10, you get Special Massage that lets you infiltrate a palace or visit Mementos, but then still have time to go out and do something at night after. Yeah, it’s helpful and you should max out her relationship as soon as possible.
Hifumi Togo is also important, though you need to get your Charm up to Suave before she’ll even talk to you. Even just getting the Rank 1 relationship is important, as its Koma Sabaki perk will let you bring in a back-up member of the party on the avatar’s turn. Subsequent hangouts and rank ups increase your Knowledge stator give you new abilities that bring in back-up party members for extra attacks and more escape options. The best skills are Narikin at Rank 7, which gives you double the reward money when you beat a battle in one round, and Togo System, which lets you swap party members at any time. Togo is an essential Persona 5 social link.
The third person you must build a relationship with is Tae Takemi. She’s the doctor at the clinic and one of the first Persona 5 confidants you can get close to. In fact, you should start working with her immediately, since you will need her medicine and the boosts to Guts you get for the clinical trials. You can buy fantastic medicine and HP/SP restoring accessories from her after getting the Rank 1 Rejuvenation, Rank 3 Sterilization, Rank 5 Immunization, and Rank 10 Resuscitation perks. Even better, at Rank 7 a Discount kicks in to help make those pricey accessories and miracle meds even more affordable.
From there, you should focus on party members you intend to keep with you the most in battle. Morgana will rank up naturally, so there’s no need to worry about him. Generally, boosting relationships with your allies will unlock Baton Pass, Follow Up, Talk, Harisen Recovery, Endure, Protect, and Second Awakening abilities. These allow you to switch to the character after hitting an enemy weak point with a skill, sometimes have a follow up attack trigger, get a second chance at a negotiation, occasionally have the character heal someone else’s status ailment, survive a hit that would normally kill them, protect your avatar from an attack that would kill him, and get the final form of their Personas.
Certain Persona 5 party members have additional skills that can help outside of battle, though. You’ll definitely want to get Yusuke up to at least Rank 7. That’s because he learns Duplication skills at Rank 1, 5, and 7 that let him make Skill Cards for you. Haru can be handy, if you want to do some gardening, as she lets you have a garden on the school roof at Rank 1, then learns Selective Breeding and Soil Improvement at Rank 5 and 7 that makes it easier to get good crops more quickly. Making friends with Sakura could have her heal you during a battle after Rank 1, maybe have a Mementos map after Rank 2, perhaps begin a battle with hold-ups after Rank 4, maybe restore SP in a fight after Rank 6, reboot treasure after Rank 7, and occasionally swap out allies who have been knocked out automatically at Rank 9. If these features matter to you, befriend these folks.
Of course, there are other Confidants that can prove just as important. You’ll want to get Yuuki Mishima up to Rank 3 or 4 for Mishima’s Enthusiasm or Mishima’s Desperation, to make sure back-up party members get a decent amount of experience from battles they aren’t participating in. This should happen naturally, so long as you’re keeping up with Mementos. Ichiko Ohya can be handy if you have trouble with stealth and Alert Levels rising. Her Rank 1 skill, Rumor-Filled Scoop, makes them increase slightly less and visiting her at the bar will boost your Charm stat. Her Rank 10 skill eliminates Alert Levels completely. If you have the 100,000 yen to spare, starting and getting the Chihaya Hifune relationship up to Rank 7 will let you get an Affinity Reading that allow you to get closer to any other confidant of your choosing at that moment.
There are plenty of confidants to befriend in Persona 5. All of them have their perks connected to them, but there are definitely some characters who stand out more than others. You really want to take the time to get to know these people. They’ll make your dungeon crawling experiences and daily life so much better.
Persona 5 is available for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.