How To Unlock Persona 5 Royal's New Palace And Semester (Spoiler-Free Guide)
P5R features 15 to 20 hours of new content, but you'll need to follow these steps in order to experience it.
Persona 5 Royal adds tons of new content, chief among them is the new third semester that also contains the ninth and final palace, all of which happen after the events of the original game. But it's possible to miss all those features entirely if you don't meet certain requirements. It's an absolute must to see all the game has to offer, and we've unfortunately seen some folks miss out even after investing lots of time into the game. So, here's everything you need to do to unlock the new content and get the full picture of the endgame, as spoiler free as possible.
The gist of this is that you need to rank up three separate Confidants (Akechi, Kasumi, and Maruki) to certain ranks before specific dates. Some of the ranks are gated by certain days and events, and if you don't rank them up by then, you'll miss out on extra gameplay and the new, major story arcs. P5R does a pretty good job notifying you of opportunities to level up these Confidants; they'll text you when they're available to hang out and there is some dialogue that highlights important dates. You may still overlook things as there are some specific windows of when to do them. We have everything detailed below.
Takuto Maruki (Councillor Confidant)
The most important Confidant you need to hit max rank with to get the extra semester and palace, is Shujin Academy's very own guidance counselor Takuto Maruki. Maruki joins the story after the first palace and is hired by the school to help the students through their problems. There's an automatic story event that introduces him, and since you and your friends have endured traumatic experiences, you're required to go visit him early on. From there you'll reach rank 1 with him, and throughout the story you'll see moments of your fellow Phantom Thieves receiving counseling from him as well.
Ranks 2 to 5 can be achieved immediately after that, and he'll be hanging in front of the nurses office on certain days after school; he'll also text you when he's available. Ranks 6 to 9 are then gated until after September 20. You can also do ranks 1 through 9 after September 20 if you choose since you won't be locked out if you wait that long. Rank 10 then happens automatically on November 18 if you have reached rank 9 by then. However, you will be locked out of rank 10 if you do not reach rank 9 by November 17.
It's also worth noting that Maruki raises your SP cap and grants abilities like Detox, Flow, and Mindfulness which are extremely useful. He's also a refreshing personality and you honestly should just meet with him regardless; he provides perspective for mental health, which will be very important by the time you reach the new content.
Goro Akechi (Justice Confidant)
In the original Persona 5, Akechi's Confidant arc was tied to story events and was unmissable, but in P5R you choose to spend time with him. You'll first meet Akechi in early June when you take the class field trip to the TV Station. This is an unmissable story event that kicks off rank 1.
After rank 1 he'll be in Kichijoji, the new area in Persona 5 Royal, to hang out. He'll be a catalyst to show you some of the new things you can do like play billiards and relax at the jazz club. You can achieve ranks 2 to 5 right after rank 1, and there's no time gate on them. However, his Confidant rank 3 requires you to have Knowledge and Charm stats at rank 3 before engaging.
Rank 6 is locked until a story event on September 3, and he'll be waiting for you in Leblanc. Ranks 7 and 8 are then locked until November 2, but you must complete both before November 18. A word of advice: make sure you're prepared to fight for rank 8, though you can always retry if you don't succeed. If you do all those things correctly, ranks 9 & 10 will unlock automatically as the story progresses.
Kasumi Yoshizawa (Faith Confidant)
Next, let's move on to Kasumi Yoshizawa, the new transfer student at Shujin Academy. You'll bump into Kasumi on the train early on, but you won't truly interact with her until the new park clean-up event on May 30. This is an unmissable story event, and you'll reach rank 1 with her and open up her Confidant route.
You'll notice that Kasumi only has five Confidant ranks which is different from everyone else. Ranks 2 to 5 aren't gated by anything and can be easily unlocked after you officially meet her--you'll find her hanging out in Kichijoji. You have until December 22 to do all of this so no pressure...but don't slack off, unless Kawakami says it's okay.
A Few More Tips
To rank up Confidants faster, make sure you're carrying a Persona with the same arcana as the person you're hanging out with--you'll receive more points for proper dialogue options. Oh and lastly, make sure to refuse any deal that would compromise your morals throughout the course of the story.
If you accomplish all these steps then you should be ready for the brand new palace, third semester, and everything that comes with them. When you follow through on the new final boss, make sure you have everyone's Baton Pass at rank 3 (which levels up by playing darts throughout the game)--trust us on this one.
For more on this extended version of the original RPG, you can check out how some changes were made in the localization process and get insight on how Persona's localization was done throughout the years. And I have you covered with a full, final Persona 5 Royal review in which it earned our highest score of 10/10; I concluded in the review, "Persona 5 Royal asserts itself as an unforgettable and empowering RPG that should be recognized as one of the best games of our time."
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