Overview :: Teenage Life

While all Persona titles have revolved around a school in some fashion, Persona 3 takes this concept to a new level. While you are a member of the S.E.E.S. club responsible for keeping the Shadows under control, you're still expected to keep up appearances in your every day life. It's up to the player to decide how he or she lives out every day: who they want to be friends with, what places they want to spend their time at, whether or not they feel like studying. You play as a so-called "silent protagonist", but you're presented with a large amount of choices.

Persona 3 takes place over a normal year and covers every day of the week. Each day is divided into sections: Early Morning, Morning, Lunchtime, Afternoon, After School, Evening, Late Night and Dark Hour. How many of these sections you actually have control over depends on the day, your choices and what's going on with the game's storyline. For the most part, however, you're given control over your character After School and make the most decisions between this time and deciding whether or not to use the Dark Hour to visit Tartarus.

Most of your additional time not spent in the Dark Hour will be used to advance relationships with other characters or to advance your social skills. It's up to you how you would like to approach this and it becomes obvious as the game advances which are best suited for you to use more frequently. You have to make decisions as to what you'd like to accomplish throughout various points of the day. Short of resetting the game, there is no way to undo these choices. Your main decisions during time outside of Tartarus and outside of story sequences will be based on one of two concepts: do I want to raise my Social Link with another character or do I want to raise my social skills?

Most of these decisions will take up an entire portion of the day. So let's say you want to spend your After School time with your friend, Kenji. After a scene involving him, the time will advance to Evening. At this point you can generally decide to go out (although your choices are more limited than After School), tell Mitsuru you'd like to explore Tartarus or simply go up to your room. If you go out or to your room, time will advance to Late Night. Here you will be asked if you'd like to go to sleep or if you'd like to study first. If you chose to go to Tartarus instead, time will advance to Dark Hour and you will be able to explore the tower.

One of the main things to take into account here is your character's mood. When Great or Good you can pretty much do anything you please. Anything below that can result in your character under performing, whether it's in his studies or in Tartarus. This is especially important to note within Tartarus as magic will not work as well on you, you're more easily damaged and your attack power will be decreased. It can potentially turn a winnable battle into a landslide for the opposition.

Persona 3

Mr. Popularity

Your social skills, which were mentioned earlier, consist of Academics, Courage and Charm. Each of these consist of several levels and are raised by finishing various tasks. You start out as a bit of a slacker, but over the course of the game you can become a suave, brave genius. Of course, reaching these levels takes time and requires some planning. Since you can (generally) only take care of one of these during any section of the day, you will often find yourself choosing between a few different options. It is important to note that visiting certain areas to raise these stats seems to advance them more quickly than others.


Academics takes the longest to raise levels in. Thankfully, it's also the one that you can do on a regular basis the most easily. What's the point of raising your Academics? It affects which people you can have deeper relationships with over the course of the game. There are certain areas that you cannot access without the proper Academic level and your overall skill will affect your score on exams that pop up every several weeks. Getting the best score in the school for these exams will reward you with popularity (Charm) and bestow you with some pretty nice items.

During school time, there are going to be sections that pop asking you to stay up during a lecture. If you stay up you will get a boost to your Academics. Studying at the Library can also prove to be beneficial and each night you don't go to Tartarus (or aren't swamped with something major, such as mid-terms) you will also be given the option to study before you go to sleep. Of course, if you're not feeling well, it's a better idea to just get some rest. Studying before you go to sleep if you're tired will simply cause you more frustration and make you feel even worse the following morning.

Also, keep in mind that leaving an offering at Naganaki Shrine can potentially give you an Academics boost. The more money you offer, the higher the chance of this happening to you. It is recommended that you visit before doing any other tasks during After School time because it will not advance the day. It is not possible to visit the Shrine in the Evening.


Charm also affects your relationships with others. It is thankfully far easier to raise up in level than Academics. Your best bet in raising this is Screen Shot Theater. Unfortunately, it is only open on odd numbered months and you cannot visit it every single day. Second to this, your best bet Ramen Shop. On average, areas outside of Paulownia Mall will be more beneficial to you, likely because they're only open After School and not in the Evening. During the Evening, your only choice is to grab some a drink at the coffee shop.

Charm can also be raised during other portions that you don't really have any control over. For example, there will be times when answering a question in school will raise your Charm.


Courage works much in the same way as Charm and is also more quickly raised. Your best shot in this case is visiting Screen Shot Theater on even numbered months, although, again, you cannot go daily even if you want to. During the day, Wild Duck Burger is a good bet. During the night, your only real option is to sing Karaoke at the mall.

You may also raise your Courage by braving to try the School Nurse's various concoctions. He will only offer these if you're tired, so don't bother visiting if you're in good status. This is worth trying when you can, largely because it doesn't advance the day.

Social Link

Social Link was briefly mentioned before, but it is an absolutely integral part to your success in the game. There is a Social Link representing each Major Arcana of the Tarot. Personae fit within each of these Arcana. By raising your Social Link for a specific Arcana, you will in turn raise your comparability with Personae that fit within it. Beyond the benefit of making friends and advancing plot lines, Social Links also bestow additional experience points upon fused Personae. So, for example, if you raise your Social Link to Level 3 with someone of the Magician Arcana, any Personae of that same Arcana you fuse will be giving an appropriate bonus within the Velvet Room. This is of special note because the bonuses are incredibly significant and will greatly speed up any efforts you were planning to raise their levels (generally, you can expect to learn at least one skill due to this alone). It's also the only way your character can access Personae beyond his level, as they are otherwise not fusable or attainable. Social Links with any single Arcana can reach a level of 10.

Persona 3

Raising a Social Link is essentially as simple as spending time with a person affiliated with the Arcana in question. However, you could imagine that having a poor relationship with this person might have a more adverse effect. You will be presented with various options and questions as your relationships with these people develop, some of which help advance the Social Link and some of which do not. It is not always advisable to give the most positive response, so the best recommendation would be to always keep the personality of your friend in mind when making a decision. If you've advanced the Social Link enough you will gain a level in it. This is signified by a "!?" symbol above your character and a voice telling you that you've advanced. While this will progress quickly at first, it will take a bit longer to reach the higher levels.

The problem here is that you will often be faced with choices that are incompatible. Obviously if you spend time with one person, you cannot spend time with another. There's also a chance your need to raise your social skills might interfere. Balancing all of this is essentially the key to the game.

It is also worth noting that some Social Links will not be accessible until others reach appropriate levels or until a certain social skill is high enough. Keep this in mind as you play.