In the Persona Q series, much like the Etrian Odyssey system the game is based on, random battles involve your party and their opponents being sorted into ‘Rows’. The front row both deals and takes full physical damage, whereas the back row is reduced on both counts, both dealing and taking less physical damage. Happily this doesn’t influence spells – they’ll deal full damage from any row – so it makes sense to put your squishy spell casters on the back row. It’s not exclusive, after all you can position your team wherever you want, but in the majority of cases you’ll want those casters on the back row.
In Persona Q2 you’ll find yourself the recipient of huge amounts of party member choices, a lot of which fall into this ‘spell caster’ role, yet you’re limited to either 2 or 3 slots depending on your formation. Who should you choose then? Do your favourite personalities cut the mustard? Well today we’re going to drop some knowledge about the back row specifically, so scroll down a bit and prepare your eye glands to receive some prime Persona Q2 knowledge.
Persona 3 Protagonist
First up is the Persona 3 main character. As we mentionned in our original Persona Q article, he’s a character that tends to be a reflection of your experience with him. There’s no real semblance of character that translates between games, especially given that he’s a silent protagonist. Your mileage may vary from a character perspective, essentially.
Unfortunately he’s also drawn the short straw in Persona Q2. Where the P4 main character is actually given a name and some personality here, poor ol’ P3MC is relegated to anonymity. None of his previous experiences, especially with certain cast members, survives the transition well.
It’s a good thing then, that he performs exceptionally well in the back row of your party. At first glance it may not seem like he’s that great, especially when you see his low magic stat, but he comes alive when he unlocks his ability that boosts magic damage. Eventually he’ll be able to up his magic damage by up to 85% more than standard damage, which is huge!
If you’re reading this then we’re sure you’re aware, but Naoto hails from Persona 4, where she plays the part of a stoic yet deceptively deep character. Throughout P4 the player will learn more about her and exactly why she seems so shy and unassuming. Her’s is a satisfying character arc, and one that we’ve yet to see be replicated successfully since.
Yes, you’ve guessed it, outside of the detective shtick none of this exists in Persona Q2. She’ll pipe up occasionally with an investigative nod, question or jot of information, but outside of these she’s just another body.
In battle, if anything she feels a little demoted, certainly from her all conquering Persona Q position. Still, they didn’t completely gut her kit, and she still makes for a high quality back row choice. She comes equipped with some top quality buff/debuffs, mutli target Almighty skills and single target Kouha and Eiha abilities. She can even reduce her SP costs temporarily, and whilst this isn’t exactly world beating, on the whole she’s a great party member.
Those familiar with our Top 5 Best Characters list won’t be surprised by this entrant, nor the next. Mitsuru is a character that originated in Persona 3. There she plays the part of an ‘older sister’ to the young cast members, and she’s often depicted as the voice of reason in an otherwise rowdy bunch. Her own issues with trust are occasionally explored too, which lends to her already unique and interesting character.
Where she managed to get a fair amount of screen time in Persona Q, in Q2 she’s relegated to an ‘also ran’ position. She’ll rarely pitch in with some information or advice, but otherwise she plays second fiddle to the main stars of the show: The P5 cast.
In battle she’s seen significant improvement between handheld games, though this is perhaps mainly due to the increased prevalence of magic in Q2. She’s rather unique in the way that she can abuse the elemental weaknesses of your opponents, mainly through her passive skill, and she’s also quite adept at landing binds. On balance, she’s ideally suited for your back row.
A terrifically complex character, Akechi can be found in Persona 5. His story there spans the entirety of the game, the vast majority of which sees him on the opposing side, seemingly rallying against you. Things get a great deal more complex, both in story turns and personally for Akechi, but the cast and he eventually strike an unusual balance.
At a stretch we’d say that some of this translates into Persona Q2. He’s certainly brought to the fore, and his deduction skills are often relied upon, but intimations to his prior intentions are few and far between.
When it comes to throwing down with your opponents, Akechi plays very similarly to Naoto, only better. We say he performs better mainly because of two things: He has an AOE Bless attack, which is immensely useful throughout the game, and he comes with the best debuff in the game, Debilitate. Combined these make him an incredibly talented back row character, and he’s even incredibly talented when it comes to applying binds!
Fittingly our top choice for back row members is the main character of Persona 5, Joker. We suspect this was quite deliberate from the developers, especially the inclusion of a certain ability that we’ll mention, but we’re not complaining. In P5 he is the player character, which essentially makes him a silent protagonist, though we must admit the inclusion of a well detailed history does make him more interesting than the usual empty shell.
Unfortunately in Persona Q2 he is simply an empty shell. You’ll often be able to choose his responses in certain situations, including some very comedic options, but to say he has no personality here would be putting it rather lightly.
Alright we’re not going to sugar coat this. There are better options for elemental damage, better options for binding and better options for debuffing the enemy. He’s essentially promoted to the top of this list because of one ability: Rebel Vanguard. This, along with it’s eventual upgrade to Revolt, significantly increases the critical chance of an entire row of party members. Combine this with some very powerful front row users and you have a recipe for huge damage, destroying bosses and FOEs on your way to victory. Enjoy.
That brings our series of Persona Q2 articles to a close! We’ve pushed our way through both handheld titles an detailed our feelings on each and every character, over the course of 8 articles plus 2 lists of tips. Phew! Hopefully we’ve managed to help you out a little! As usual, throw some comments down below about your party choices!