Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Ranking all Persona 4 Golden Party Members from Worst to Best


One of my all time favorite video game series is the Persona franchise. Persona 4 is one I logged many hours into, especially on the Vita with Golden. While I'll admit 5 is better, lately I've been remembering this title and felt like doing a countdown on it for fun. So, click "read more" and let the fun begin. Minor spoilers ahead.

Disclaimer: This is purely my opinion and I do not consider any party members to be bad just that some have better potential than others.

One thing I always want RPG's with party members to do is encourage both the use of them and give reason to regularly rotate them, or switch who you use. Sadly, Persona 4 does not achieve this. While no 2 party members are exactly the same, the only reason to switch them out is to potentially last longer before needing to leave the TV World and recover. But, since party members can only be rotated outside of dungeons than it is very easy to focus on 3 party members and cause the other 3 to become under leveled. (Something Persona 5 would fix.) So, with that in mind, let's go ahead and least every party member from worst to best in terms of usefulness in combat. This is strictly about their usefulness in combat and nothing about their characters.

Rise and Yu are the best but you have to use them so they won't be mentioned.

#6: Teddie

Teddie has an interesting story and someone who is easy to root for. He has one advantage over all the other party members in that his social link is automatic within the story and will max out on its own as long as you avoid the bad, neutral, or accomplice ending. However, this can also be a downside because you cannot max his link out any earlier than its scripted time. As a combatant, Teddie has 2 things he does, a healer and an Ice Magic user. Now, while being one of 2 party members that specialize in healing will automatically give him a function, one generally does not want more than one healer because they are the only party members that maintain their weakness. Given that the other healer, while a different element, outclasses Teddie in magic damage while doing just as well as a healer, and that even Teddies 3rd form special skill is a joke, he is not the best choice for players who want the best in combat team.

#5: Chie

This one hurts my heart to say because I love Chie, she is tied with Rise as my favorite love interest/character arc. But, I cannot let biases affect my choices. Chie's skills specialize in Melee skills and has only basic Ice Spells, with one better ice spell as a secret skill. Biggest problem is that she does not offer good coverage. Her ice skills don't advance like everyone else's elemental abilities, and while she may be best at melee, everyone learns melee and those skills are good for bosses but not super necessary with normal encounters. Skill, she is quite useful in the Hollow Forest.

#4: Kanji

Kanji is also heavy with Melee skills, but also has Electric spells that do advance beyond the first stages. His build can be described as part magic user part melee with the latter being leaned on harder. Biggest issue with him is that while having both ends of the attacking spectrum is good midgame, he does not really excel in either category past being above average. That being said, he is the best tank for a team because he can take the most punishment out of any allies. It's just a shame that trait is less useful in a turn-based combat system.

#3 Yosuke

Your very first ally and the most rounded. He has Wind element spells, some basic melee, and even some basic healing spells. Yosuke is the easiest one to fit on a team and also the easiest one to forget about. Not the most popular choice, but I think is really underrated as a party member. Give him a try, he can easily become the first party member whose persona evolves.

#2 Yukiko

Yukiko specializes in healing and Fire spells. It is generally a good idea to bring either her or Teddie onto a team in order to keep members alive, but she is probably the best magic user. (Not counting the main character but he is a blank slate that can cover any role potentially so he does not count.) While having the same problem as Teddie in not being able to remove her weakness, her great magic damage makes up for it. In Golden, she is the only party member that can learn an elemental spell above the grade of Heavy.

#1 Naoto

The brilliant young detective who has no weaknesses, and some of the best supporting skills. She specializes in Light & Dark spells which are instant kills and can also use Almighty spells which are the only attacks that no enemy can resist or reflect. In Golden, she was given a skill that gives the whole party immunity to 1 hit which is almost vital with the hidden bosses. While she is the lowest in terms of defense, the skills she brings to a battle are extremely useful and bringing her to the party can make any playthrough easier.

Writers notes, in case anyone wants to get upset about me using female pronouns, Naoto is not a transman, she feels the need to pretend to be a man because of sexism and social norms in her workplace as a detective.

Sadly, the 3 I consider the best are not a combination to take in Golden because you will not get any of the follow-up skills. 

Those are my personal opinions of the order in which allies are best. I have read the same topic with drastically different choices so I am sure your opinion will differ to. Let me just say once again that I do not consider any party member "bad". If you train up anyone then they will still be able to contribute plenty to your playthrough and there is not straight up "losing team". It's all about balance, which is more or less important depending on the difficulty setting and how the protagonist is built. Sure I put Teddie at the bottom, but it is very real that he could be the missing piece to a party depending on the others and again what skills/persona the protagonist is using. Until next time, this is Cendoo the Ghost Ranger, signing off.

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