Writing a Party Member Tier List, specifically a Persona based one, is never an easy task. These games try their hardest, and often succeed in getting the player attached to the cast members, making it all the more difficult to reduce them to a series of numbers for the purpose of a tier system. 8 of the 10 party members can be rotated in or out of the main party in Persona 5 Royal, and we’ll be damned if this wasn’t the hardest tier list we’ve ever had to write.
Evidenced by you reading this tier list, we did manage it in the end. By coldly ranking them by battle performance, we’ve managed to slot in each and every party member and somehow managed to find a bit of peace with our choices. Well alright, we’re sad to see some faces in the ‘B’ Tier, and a little annoyed by a face making its way into the ‘A’ Tier section. Look, we’re just happy we managed to write this damned thing alright?
As you might imagine, Joker Tier consists solely of the man himself Akira Kurusu, otherwise known as Joker. Any player having spent more than a few hours with Persona 5 will know exactly why he has his own tier above all others. As is the tradition in modern games in the series, his status as the main character allows him to equip multiple Persona at once. As such, he’s ultimately the most adaptable party member in the team, and the players ability to modify his load out by way of fusions, means that he can become tremendously powerful. Ultimately, he’ll surpass any other party member by a fair distance.
Haru tends to come as a bit of a surprise to many players. As a late entry into the party, she’s often set aside in favour of more established cast members. To do so is a mistake however, because she has some real strengths. Her Gun attacks will do significant damage, often with added critical chance, and her Psy skills keep her attacks relevant throughout the last third of the game. The remainder of her kit revolves around buffing both of these elements significantly, alongside the revered Heat Riser ability. All in, she’s a fantastic party member that will regularly contribute huge chunks of damage per round. Oh and Amrita Shower is tremendously useful too.
Ann’s strengths come from one thing: Her Magic stat. It’s very high and as such, she’s always able to deal significant damage with her fire spells. Along with this, she’ll have her ability to Burn enemies buffed, which becomes more and more useful as the game progresses. Her single target heals are appreciated if not wholly necessary, but it’s Matarunda and Concentrate that really propel her up the tiers. Give her a chance and she’ll deliver big damage. She also has one of the most useful ultimate weapons, capable of regularly freezing your opponents, leaving them ripe for Technical attacks.
Once upon a time, when Jazz Clubs didn’t exist, Ryuji was the ultimate in late game physical attackers. With the advent of Royal however, and the addition of said Jazz Club, Yusuke is our choice for the best pure physical damage party member. Grab him the Charge spell from the club and watch him shine. Well, watch him actually hit enemies, unlike a certain other blonde team members. Once his Persona is fully evolved into Gorokichi, he’ll also get Hyakka Ryouran, a skill that fully buffs the entire party. This is much better than Ryuji’s awakening skill, and thanks to Royal’s huge assortment of SP restoring items and equipment, even the 90 SP cost is manageable.
On first inspection, and indeed in directly comparing statistics, Kasumi doesn’t seem like the best party member going, nor even one that belongs in a higher tier. She has lower magic than your high performing spell casters, and less strength than your physical options. She’ll also start out with some fairly basic Bless and Physical abilities, with the only real highlights being Sword Dance and Ali Dance, the latter of which is admittedly very good.
Its upon her awakening and levelling up that things get interesting however. Brave Step is a useful spell, albeit hard to fit into your buffs/charge/attack rotations, but the real star is Masquerade, a super strong physical attack that hits the opponent twice. Give her some time and get her to this point, and you’ll be rewarded with one of the highest damage party members available.
Unlike Kasumi above, Akechi immediately makes his mark on your party, all because of one ability: Debilitate. It’s a skill that’s otherwise exclusive to Joker, at least outside of a Jazz Club visit on a specific date, and it’s truly a blessing that somebody else can cast this, freeing Joker up to begin the pain train as only he can. Combine this with his other benefits, namely some great AOE gun, almighty and curse damage, and he’s cemented his place in the higher echelons of your team. His final move, Rebellion Blade, is a fantastically powerful attack too, though we’ll admit it’s opportunities for use feel quite limited, especially against bosses.
Unfortunately, despite clearly being the best girl, Mokoto doesn’t match up well against the A Tier options. She’s a well balanced character, focusing mainly on Nuke damage and Heals, and in both regards she will perform well, but not incredible. Towards the late game, when everybody else gets some form of great ability to differentiate themselves, Mokoto gets an AOE Debilitate for 90 SP. This sounds great in theory, but in practice you’ll very rarely need to Debilitate more than a single target, and as such simply using the Debilitate spell is more efficient. All told, Mokoto is a well balanced character that can hold her own, but if you’re expecting anything spectacular, look elsewhere.
It may sting even more so than our tier choice for Mokoto, but Ryuji is unfortunately a B tier party choice for us. It’s not his abilities that let him down, in fact he has some of the best that the game has to offer, at least in terms of physical damage options, but rather his woeful accuracy. We’ve lost count of just how many times he’s missed a crucial attack, setting us back a round by failing to finish off an enemy. Yes, he has Matarukaja and Charge, and his final physical abilities can deal some massive damage, but it’s just never quite worth struggling through all those missed attacks. His final ability – Fighting Spirit – isn’t fantastic either, outside of a purely physical team.
As a party member, Morgana occupies a rather strange role. He’s the closest that any member gets to being a purely supporting character, which he achieved by coming equipped with the best healing spells the game has to offer. Wind spells are also his speciality, and a small selection of physical attacks means that he’ll always have something to do, but all of this is rendered null and void by the advent of one thing: Items. Persona 5, and Royal specifically, have an abundance of Item options available to the player, to the point where it renders a pure healing character obsolete. His ultimate skill is nice, and Salvation is a fantastic spell for sure, but neither of these are good enough that you cannot do without. Even on the harder difficulty levels, having a pure healer is overkill.
It would be unfair to place Futaba in a main tier alongside the others, after all she’s a purely supporting character that doesn’t take up a slot, and in performance terms she’s effectively superfluous. Her buffs are great to have and her heals are appreciated, but it’s impossible to rely on RNG and as such, any time she decides to interrupt it’s considered a novelty rather than a real boon. Those rare times when she casts Flow on every party member can be really helpful, but when it’s so unreliable it’s hard to rate her anything other than just.. Nice to have. In fact, the best role we’ve managed to figure out for her is to equip the accessory that increases money gained after battle.