- Persona 4’s cast of characters can easily be organized into tiers, with the best of the best in S tier including Yu and Yukiko.
- A Tier included Kanji, Chie, and Yosuke, who are all strong but a step below those in S tier.
- B Tier is composed of Teddie, Rise, and Naoto, and while they are weak links with some notable downsides, they are not unusable in battle or bad characters by any means.
While it may have been surpassed as the most popular title in the franchise during recent years, Persona 4 Golden has still persisted as a staple of the JRPG genre in the years since its release. Furthering the experimental style of P3 that helped to differentiate the series from its Shin Megami Tensei origins, the fourth game’s mystery-solving adventure provided an experience with a lasting legacy defined by its cast of characters. The updated release of Persona 4 Golden that followed and has become more available in recent years serves as the template for the modern takes on the franchise that have followed, as it used to be the biggest release of them all before P5 achieved mainstream recognition.
The update of Persona 5 Royal came with an entirely new party member, but the previous game’s own improved edition only came with a set of changes outside the playable team’s composition. The cast of Persona 4 has remained what is potentially the most memorable of the series regardless of this, with their presence felt even in the fighting game genre through the Arena spin-off. There’s an active discourse regarding just who the best party members are for filling P4‘s three slots at a time, but all of them are ultimately viable as Persona users in their own respective ways. While there’s a similar utility to the title’s available companions, there can often be a sense of hierarchy to how the community perceives the rankings of Persona 4 Golden‘s party members from an overall perspective.
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S Tier – The Best of the Investigation Team
Following the trend of the broader franchise, Persona 4 protagonist Yu Narumaki can be the most consistent damage dealer, or potentially any other role, in the entire game. With the series’ signature Wild Card granting the player access to a multitude of Personas rather than the few that the rest of the party has access to, he is capable of being developed and customized into the most effective character Persona 4 has to offer.
Likely to be the primary healer for most players, Yukiko occupies a spot that no other character can fill in battle. She has a focus on magic use in general, but players tend to find her at her most effective in the role of support rather than offense. Due to her value in healing, she pairs well with other party members while clearing levels and facing bosses alike. Yukiko’s Social Link the pressures of inheriting her family’s inn provides a compelling development alongside this, but it’s Yukiko’s place in combat that truly defines her.
A Tier – Strong Members of the Investigation Team
He might not always be seen as one of the top options of the party by players, but Kanji’s potential in terms of both damage and surviving in combat make him a seriously viable choice. His personal narrative concerning Kanji’s feelings around masculinity in P4 add up to make him an unexpectedly deep character that can often be overlooked in terms of the greater franchise. Kanji might become outclassed in the physical damage dealer role in the later parts of Persona 4, but his set of abilities can make him ideal for even boss encounters during most of the game.
With the power in Chie’s physical attacks over magic in P4, she can eventually end up doing some of the highest damage in the party during the late game. Her straightforward skills can end up lacking compared to others during the mid-game, but playing around her low HP can still make for some rewarding results. While she has a relatively iconic presence as a known Persona character, Chie is still a bit controversial among fans outside of battle.
It’s easy for some to see Yosuke as potentially the best of the entire Investigation Team due to his sheer versatility, but he ultimately doesn’t excel in the same specific areas as other party members. He has a compelling presence as the player’s best friend in Yosuke’s Social Link, which is likely to at least make him well-known to most players, but the fact that Yosuke is outclassed as a whole by P4’s endgame makes him a bit less appealing to use.
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B Tier – Solid, But Weaker Members of the Investigation Team
She’s appreciated by many fans for the quality of her Social Link and presence in the story, but Naoto’s function in gameplay is more limited than that of her peers. As much as it might fit the theming of her character, her kit of more specialized moves works far better on groups of weaker enemies than the likes of bosses. Her low Endurance can especially stand out as lacking alongside her reliance on magic, but Naoto’s specific purpose in Persona‘s party is something she’s good at fulfilling.
Where Rise ranks among the Investigation Team can vary wildly between players due to the fact that she isn’t properly playable like the others. She functions as a pure support character who can provide assistance from outside of combat, something that can be incredibly useful but also mitigates her presence as an actual party member. Rise can feel forgettable compared to the rest of the cast on a narrative level despite her popularity with fans, though her backstory involving struggling with her pop star career is still a good representation of Persona 4 Golden‘s strong themes at times.
In a similar vein to the other non-human party members, Persona‘s Teddie has a controversial reputation when it comes to his use in battle. He can feel like a lackluster option in terms of being a magic user, and his lack of a proper place in reality can make his automatically completing Social Link similarly fall behind compared to what other characters bring. Teddie still has a level of utility that helps with the synergy of the team, and he shouldn’t be underestimated as a party member, but he is less viable than those at the top of the list.
Persona 4 Golden
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An enhanced version of 2008’s Persona 4, Atlus’s Persona 4 Golden is a turn-based JRPG that blends dungeon crawling with social sim mechanics. Originally released exclusively for the PS Vita, the game was ported to PC in 2020 and will be coming to Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S in 2023.