The reason why I ask is because I'm frustrated with 9 of them and don't plan on maxing them all. I'm currently up to December and I have quite a few that are not maxed and having trouble with, especially the Quest-driven ones like Margaret's and the fox's.
So far, the only S. Links I've maxed out (besides the automatic ones like Fool & Star) are ..... Yosuke (Magician); Yukiko (HP); Kanji (Emperor); Dojima (Hiero); Nanako (Justice); Chie (Chariot); Naoto (Wheel); Athletes (Strength); Nurse (Devil) and Shu (Tower).
Margaret, Rise, the Fox, Saki's Bro, The Old Lady, The Daycare Mom, Ai, Ayane and Marie can all go to HELL, for all I care.
They're annoying as sin and their S. Links are such a chore. Plus I have no interest in dating any of these women, even Rise who annoys me to no end, especially her narration during the battles.
So if I don't max out these S. Links by the time the game ends, do I miss out on anything big!??!!
Maxing out S LInk generally only benefits for allowing you maximum experience bonus during fusion and the ability to fuse the top tier Persona of that arcana. There are some events that implement additional scene/dialogue if you have their S Link maxed, such as texts from your friends at school or words of inspiration.
Aside from that, some do have "significant" effects. The main ones that people generally agree on are party member's S Links, since doing these enhances their Persona, which can make battles easier.
The other is the Aeon S Link, which unlocks an optional dungeon AND the flag towards the Golden Ending.
The other, which is more of an upgrade of a typical S Link, but not as "important" as your team's S Link or the Aeon's, is the Jester S Link. Maxing this one out does not change too much of the True/Golden End path, but you do get some extra dialogue. It also unlocks a new Bad End that is obtainable only via maxing out this S Link. --- ~~~PSN: YukiSeraph Persona 4 Golden: http://i.imgur.com/Ui84Q.gif
Also, to add to Margaret's S Link, by maxing hers out, aside from the optional boss in NG+, you can get the blue clothes, which can be done on your first play through. --- ~~~PSN: YukiSeraph Persona 4 Golden: http://i.imgur.com/Ui84Q.gif
Anyway the Aeon social link is pretty much the only one you really have to max or winter is skipped. Jester to rank 6 by the time it starts to auto rank (before the events that lead to heaven) adds some really interesting scenes and an awesome max persona. And Party Member s-links make your party members stronger and give you a scene during winter with an additional powerup if you max them out before. (Rise becomes pretty much broken when she maxes all the way out.)
Those are the only S-links that change things if you max them out.
1. Marie for optional dungeon and golden ending 2. Adachi for accomplice ending 3. Margaret for optional boss battle in new game plus 4. Naoto if you want to see a girl who looks like dood in a school girl uniform.
the rest can be ignored.
The only thing you'll really miss out on is the "Legend of Inaba" trophy if you care about trophies. if you dont, then all is good.