Sometimes after a well executed random battle in Persona 4, you will enter a mini game after the battle results screen where you have a chance to get extra rewards or even detriments depending on your luck and skill. This is what’s called Shuffle Time.
In the original Persona 4, Shuffle Time’s rewards were rather limited. You either got a new Persona, nothing extra, or a penalty where you lose the money and experience points you got from winning the fight. The mini-game was structured like simple card games, where you have to select the right one after it was shuffled in front of you to get the desired prize. This got more difficult the longer you played the game, but the chances stayed random and fair for everyone because it could not be manipulated for certain awards. What you could potentially get was randomized by the floor of the dungeon you were on, and you were only allowed one prize per Shuffle Time.
This all changed significantly in Persona 4 Golden. The prizes were expanded to include extra EXP, money, and other beneficial and detrimental effects based on the different Tarot Card Arcana. This wouldn’t have been so bad if the cards were still shuffled and laid face down to be chosen from. Instead, you get a set of cards face up, and you can pick a certain amount out of them. Some cards give you bonus chances to pick cards up, and if the player picks them in an order that allows them to collect all five cards at once, they get a Sweep Bonus.
A Sweep Bonus ensures that the following battle will result in another Shuffle Time event, where you can potentially get a Sweep Bonus again, and the cycle continues. Once a player figures out how to abuse this system, they can exponentially boost their EXP and money gains. This makes grinding for levels and spending cash much easier, and the player now can spend less time in a dungeon without being under leveled and broke. Persona 4 is all about balancing the time inside and outside of dungeons, and if the dungeon aspect becomes so easy, the player can spend even more of their free time boosting their social links and stats, further increasing their power.
This infinite loop of potential can destroy the later game difficulty, which is not quite balanced to take this strategy into account. A Persona game needs to have some kind of anti-grinding effect in place, or players can just power level to victory with little effort. Even if the solution is to make leveling slower after a certain point or more boring, that’s still better than just leaving such easy loopholes around to use.