Combat is a pretty big part of Persona 4. Even though there is a ton of story, there are also many battles to be had. This section will tell you the basics of the battle system in Persona 4 Golden.
Shadows are the main enemies in Persona 4 Golden. Normal shadows are represented by Black — and sometimes Red — blobs gliding along the floors of the dungeon. When you get close to one, you can see it on the minimap, represented by a red dot. Attacking one will start a battle with one of many different monsters. The monsters will depend entirely on the Dungeon and what floor you are on. Still, the monsters will be slightly randomized.
A secondary “rare monster” can also be found from time to time in Dungeons. These are in the shape of a hand with a head on top. If you can defeat these tough creatures, you will earn massive amounts of Money and Experience Points. Defeating them will not be easy. They are either resistant, immune, or reflective against all elements. If they are not defeated quick enough, they will escape, leaving you with nothing.
To begin a fight, a shadow must come into contact with the main character, or you must hit them before they hit you. To get a pre-emptive strike, you must whack a shadow with your sword from behind. Be careful, because this works both ways! Enemies can take the upper hand if they hit you first. In either scenario, when contact is made, you are taken to the battle screen.
Combat in Persona 4 Golden takes a turn-based approach, and is largely centered around strategy. Those new to this type of battle system will find it daunting at first, but it will become easier over time.
You have several options in battle:
Analysis – Analyze the enemy’s stats (can also be triggered by tapping L)
Tactics – Bring up the tactics menu. This allows you to choose whether or not you want to give direct orders to the rest of your party members. You can also choose what tactic each member should undertake (healing, offensive, defensive, etc). If not playing on easy, it’s best to direct them yourself.
Guard – Defend yourself. Protects against critical damage, and weakness exploitation. Use this if you know the enemy is about to launch a big attack!
Attack – Basic strike with your weapon.
Skill – Use a Skill that your equipped Persona has available. The HP or SP consumed is displayed next to the skill name.
Persona – Switch Personas (can only be done once per turn)
Item – Use an item in your inventory.
Escape – Run away! (Cannot be used in some instances)
When either side lands an attack, the hit indicator will show any factors that affect the hit.
These attacks inflict a great deal of damage and grant an extra attack with the “1 More” option.
These attacks strike an enemy’s weakness, knocking it off-balance and inflicting a great deal of damage. In addition, they grant an extra attack with the “1 More” option
If a character is immune to a certain attack type, those attacks will be nullified.
This indicated that an enemy has been knocked down and cannot do anything until it gets back up again. Once all of your enemies have been knocked down, it it time to launch an All-Out Attack.
This indicated that the enemy has a resistance against the attack’s element and the damage sustained from these attacks will be halved.
A large portion of the strategy comes from knowing elemental strengths and weaknesses. Each Persona has a set of strengths and weaknesses against the seven different elements, which you can find on the Persona information screen:
As you can see, the Succubus Persona is Weak to Light-type magic. On the other hand, Dark-type magic does not affect it. It is up to you to figure out what your Persona’s strengths and weaknesses are and use that to your advantage.
Likewise, Shadows have their own strengths and weaknesses, which you can find by tapping L during combat. This will bring up a screen showing the Shadow’s information, including HP and abilities it has. This screen will auto-populate strengths, weaknesses, and other facts for each shadow as you progress throughout each fight, so there is some trial and error involved.
There are seven different Elements in Persona 4:
Each can have one of five effect on a Persona. These effects are:
Damage is reduced
Damage does nothing
Damage restores HP
Damage is shot back at attacker
Damage is increased, and knocks down enemy
Later on in the game, a scanning system is implemented, and there is less emphasis on the trial and error aspect.
The “1 More” Option
The “1 More” system is unique to Persona and SMT games. It ups the strategy and thinking involved in combat. Usually, each character and enemy will get one action per turn. The “1 More” system allows for an extra action for that turn.
Any character or enemy that is hit with an attack that exploits their weakness is knocked down immediately. They also suffer more damage because it was a weakness that was attacked. In attacking the weakness, the attacker gets “1 More” action! If he or she chooses to exploit the weakness of a knocked down enemy, then that enemy becomes dazed and loses a turn. A dazed character or enemy will take even more damage from standard attacks than usual.
The “1 More” system introduces another level of strategy and forward thinking. Maybe you need to heal, but perhaps you can heal during the extra action, thereby doing some damage and healing in the same turn. The possibilities certainly open up. Use this knowledge to your advantage!
What allows you to get one more turn?
Hitting a Weakness through one of the seven elements.
Getting a Critical hit.
The basic stats we’re all accustomed to are the Persona’s Stats. These stats are entirely the Persona’s and will affect the person they are attached to. Of course, Weapons, Armor, and Accessories help boost these stats as well.
Indicates the effectiveness of a Persona’s Physical Skills.
Indicates the effectiveness of a Persona’s Magic Skills and Magic Defense.
Indicates the effectiveness of a Persona’s Physical Defense.
Affects a Persona’s Hit and Evasion rates.
Affects the possibility of a Persona performing Critical Hits and other things.
From time to time, Shadows will inflict a character with a [[Status Ailment]]. Status Ailments can also be inflicted on Shadows if a character has the right skill. Each Ailment has its own purpose.
Affected characters lose some HP with each turn.
Affected characters ignore Tactics and use only physical attacks. Their offensive strength is doubled, but their defense and accuracy are halved.
Affected characters are unable to attack for a turn. When a character is down, there is a 100% chance of becoming Dizzy if their weakness is hit or they receive a critical hit, and a 50% chance of becoming Dizzy if they are hit with a normal attack.
Affected characters are uncontrollable and may either defend, attack, do nothing, or lose money.
Affected character’s hit rate decreases and they may forget which skill they were going to use.
Affected characters lose SP for every action taken, and receive more damage from enemies.
Affected characters can neither change Personas (protagonist only) nor use Persona skills.
Affected characters may run from battle or do nothing at all. Characters who flee won’t return until the battle ends.
Affected characters cannot act. If the protagonist becomes unconscious the game is over. If other allies become unconscious, they will have 1 HP upon returning to the field.
If it so happens that all enemies are knocked down (which you can do by exploiting each enemy’s weakness), your party can perform an optional All-Out Attack. This is as cool as it sounds; the entire party runs in to do some heavy damage. After the All-Out Attack is finished, all enemies will no longer be down or dazed (if they had been), so think carefully if you wish to do an All-Out Attack. It may be more useful to use a specific Skill to finish the battle. It could be the shadow is resistant to Physical Attacks, making the All-Out Attack obsolete.
After building up enough of a Social Link with Characters, they will be able to do a Follow-Up Attack. This may be done after an enemy is knocked down, allowing another enemy to be knocked down or ejected from battle.
If both Chie and Yukiko are in the battle, and if the shadow(s) survive an All-Out Attack, they will perform a Twin Dragon Follow-Up Attack.
If both Kanji and Naoto are in the battle, and if the shadow(s) survive an All-Out Attack, they will perform a Beauty and the Beast Follow-Up Attack.
If both Yosuke and Teddie are in the battle, and if the shadow(s) survive an All-Out Attack, they will perform a Junes Bomber Follow-Up Attack.
After winning a battle, sometimes the “Shuffle Time” Option will appear. This allow you to select one tarot card from a small group of cards. These cards have various effects that can affect your Persona or your entire team.
Rare card adds 4 more tries
The EXP obtained from this battle is now 0 in exchange for 3 more tries.
Immediately ends shuffle time.
All cards on hand become different cards. Plus 1 more try
One card on hand disappears, and you get 1 more try
One obtained card disappears
The money obtained from this battle is reduced to 0 in exchange for 3 more tries
Obtained EXP increased. The more wands, the more EXP.
Obtained money increased. The more coins, the more money.
Partial HP/SP recover for the entire party. The more cups, the more HP/SP recovered.
The equipped Persona’s skill (random) becomes an upper rank skill. Ex: Zionga changes to Mazionga
The equipped Persona’s level increases by 1
The equipped Persona’s St increases by 1
The equipped Persona’s Ma increases by 1
The equipped Persona’s En increases by 1
The equipped Persona’s Ag increases by 1
The equipped Persona’s Lu increases by 1
One card on hand becomes an Arcana card
One card on hand becomes a Persona card
Obtain a chest key for locked treasure boxes
Obtain a skill card
The EXP obtained from this battle is halved in exchanged for 2 more tries
The money obtained from this battle is halved in exchange for 2 more tries
An item drop will not occur for this battle in exchange for 2 more tries
Enemies won’t notice you until changing floors or once the next battle ends
A Sweep Bonus is activated after all cards in the previous Shuffle Time were picked up. The Sweep Bonus grants the following benefits:
Shuffle Time is guaranteed to occur after the next battle.
The next Shuffle Time will start with 2 more tries to draw cards.
Persona Cards you already possess and cards with negative effects can change into different cards.