Shin Megami Tensei V is a JRPG that borrows from the established formula of its predecessors, but tries to add some interesting twists and new ideas. Ultimately it’s still more Persona than Monster Hunter, which means fans will get their fix with added depth and polish.
The “Shin Megami Tensei V Review: Original and Sinfully Good” is a review of the game. The reviewer gives his opinion on the original and the remake.
When you stub your toe in the morning, you know it’s going to be a miserable day. Others, a gruesome murder prompts you to take a detour on your way home, a tunnel falls on your head, and you awaken in a netherworld where angels have kidnapped your buddy and devils are attempting to consume your soul.
You do what any regular high schooler would do: you merge with a strange entity, develop magnificent hair, and control the universe to your desire.
At least, that’s what you do in Atlus’ dark and epic RPG masterwork Shin Megami Tensei V. Shin Megami Tensei V is harsh, enthralling, and sometimes startling. In terms of aesthetic and content, it’s a wonderful progression of the series.
Review of Shin Megami Tensei V: Original and Sinfully Good
Shin Megami Tensei V is thick and intricate, and it’s one of a select group of RPGs that’s difficult to put down. SMT III and SMT IV take a long time to get going, and even once they do, they move slowly. Only while you’re researching and polishing your ever-expanding array of pet demons does SMT V slow down between plot scenes.
Anyone who has read Philip Pullman will recognize the heart of the story. It’s a story about lofty, heavenly, and infernal politics, and you’re caught in the center, as you always are in Shin Megami Tensei. SMT V, on the other hand, has certain distinct characteristics in this regard.
RPGs with plots based on Western religion aren’t new, and Shin Megami Tensei’s blending of many traditions and beliefs isn’t either. The tale of SMT V follows a somewhat different path, and it is more likely to deviate from its own notion of order.
A monk who looks like he just walked out of Dragon Ball Z tells you the Buddha inspired him to defend you five minutes after watching Lucifer fall from heaven and say he killed God. Shin Megami Tensei V is shaped by a more dynamic combination of concepts than normal, and the story benefits as a result.
The typical plot pathways have also been altered. The law, chaos, and neutral routes all have apparent strengths and limitations, but they’re presented in a game-like manner to make choosing an affiliation more challenging. The alignments in Shin Megami Tensei V are more complicated and subtle. The villains are typically obvious, but the enemy of your adversary is unlikely to be your friend, at least not for long.
It’s also worth mentioning that this isn’t a cheerful game. There are no Phantom Thieves to rescue the day, and there isn’t much hope for repentance. Death, agony, treachery, and devastation are what you get instead.
What’s most amazing is how well SMT V mixes the main story with the many side stories. It covers a wide variety of issues, from bullying to the nature of strength and the role that everyone plays in achieving societal harmony. Thanks in large part to the outstanding supporting cast, almost all of them seem completely fleshed out.
Atlus took the criticism of SMT IV’s characters seriously and responded with a secondary cast that was much more fascinating. Your buddies exist as unambiguous markers for the conclusion you desire to attain in the previous mainstream SMT, and even to some degree in Nocturne.
The characters in SMT V play certain roles — the weak guy trying to be strong, the stoic, law-abiding student — and you don’t spend much time with them. Their activities, as well as your interactions with them, seem more natural.
This is due in part to the format of the plot. Things happen around the Mikado gang in SMT IV, and they respond in ways that match their established moral alignment. Being confined in an alternative Tokyo only serves to foster the growth of the ideals that everyone in SMT III had already developed in the real world.
In Shin Megami Tensei V, events occur that shape the characters’ responses and development in unexpected ways. Though it’s SMT and not Persona, it’s a far more personal and intimate narrative. Outside of the primary narrative, the characters and relationships don’t progress much.
The world-building of Atlus has progressed. Normal Tokyo consists of a few 3D locales and a few little symbols on a map, while the Netherworld is far larger and more developed. In the previous SMTs, exploration was nearly non-existent, but the netherworld is full of mysteries, valuable — and occasionally critical — treasures, and intriguing side missions to be discovered.
You have a thorough map to work with (thank goodness), but getting to some of the better secrets or devils isn’t always easy. There’s even some mild platforming. Of course, none of this is groundbreaking, but it’s astonishing how much these little tweaks have on making SMT V’s environment seem large, immersive, and even scary.
Knowing that an ill-timed leap or a mistaken turn may land you in a ditch full of murderous Valkyries or bring you face to face with a demon you shouldn’t confront for another 10 levels fills you with dread.
SMT V was developed by Atlus to take full use of contemporary platforms, and despite minor stuttering issues and texture pop-in, it is well worth the wait. In previews and whatnot, you’ve only seen a small portion of what to anticipate from SMT V. We can’t show you the rest yet due to technological limitations, but suffice it to say that SMT V’s landscapes are stunning and go well beyond variants of wrecked cityscapes, though even they have remarkable diversity.
Shin Megami Tensei V has a lot of style, which helps. It’s not only in the post-apocalyptic chic aesthetic, but that’s a big part of it. SMT V has a more stylish vibe to it than Persona 5. The Phantom Thieves seem to be clever in their exploits, but it’s usually just on the surface. The big and scary demon summoning process between you and Sophia, Gustave the talking corpse and his creepy store, even the attacks — or rather, particularly the attacks — all have their own distinct flair in Shin Megami Tensei V.
Getting a new Nahobino move has always been exciting since they’re so amazing, and there’s even a set of unique animations for when you beat adversaries with a certain element.
The demons in Shin Megami Tensei V are a mix of the typical mythological and religious rabble, with a few new fiends tossed in for good measure, however battle is a little different this time around. The vicious Smirk mechanism, which provides random critical hits and may utterly derail a smart plan, is no longer available. It has been replaced with the return of Magatsuhi, the world’s energy, as well as a meter that steadily builds for both you and your opponent during fight.
A full Magatsuhi meter allows you to perform special attacks or make every strike critical, but your opponents have their own arsenal of lethal tricks under their sleeves. It’s a captivating system that elevates battle to a strategic and rewarding experience.
Atlus also simplified practically every facet of combat and demon control, with fusion and demon management being the most obvious examples. It’s almost difficult to return to SMT IV and its tight, complicated menus after this, but SMT V does recycle some of IV’s quality of life elements in a more accessible fashion.
Because the Nahobino’s weaknesses and strengths are no longer bound to equipment, you’ll regulate them by absorbing essence affinities. Essences are similar to Persona 5’s executions in that they allow you to teach existing demons new talents. It’s a little tweak, but it allows you a lot more control over how your party runs.
However, you must carefully evaluate affinities before selecting which talents are ideal, and the same is true for fusions. The strengths and weaknesses of the Demon and Nahobino have an impact on which talents are boosted and which are made ineffective, making fusion much more complicated than normal.
Because Shin Megami Tensei V is difficult, you’ll need to be active with your fusions and other parts of party management. It’s not unusual to suffer through an hour-long, two-phase boss encounter just to be sent to the game over screen by an unfortunate hit. SMT V, like Persona, ends if the protagonist dies, adding an added layer of strategy not just in masking their flaws but also in how you approach your defensive preparation in important battles.
Casual mode reduces the difficulty, but only little. Fortunately, SMT V allows you to change difficulties at any point in the game when the main menu is accessible. However, since the Safety mode DLC is available at launch, you, fortunate reader, will not have to deal with this issue.
In any case, SMT V never seems unjust. Combat has a pleasing rhythm, and even if you want to scream after losing so much ground, you know precisely what you need do better the next time.
The Bottom Line in Shin Megami Tensei V
- Story is fantastic.
- A strong array of supporting characters
- That post-apocalyptic swagger
- Combat is brutal yet rewarding.
- Fusion and management have been simplified.
- Fantastic world design
- Difficulty isn’t for everyone.
- If only the Nintendo Switch Pro was real.
Aside from a few minor graphical flaws, Shin Megami Tensei V is an excellent RPG, made even better by its many advancements over its predecessors. It’s harsh yet captivating, and it’s full of elegance. Perhaps more significantly, it features outstanding concepts that have been implemented to near perfection.
Since Atlus originally revealed SMT V during the Switch reveal presentation, it’s been a long wait, but it was well worth it.
[Note: The copy of Shin Megami Tensei V used for this review was given by Atlus.]
Shin Megami Tensei V is a game that has been around for quite some time. The game has received many updates and improvements over the years, but it’s still the same great game. It was originally released on the Nintendo 3DS, but now it’s available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Reference: shin megami tensei v platinum edition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Shin Megami Tensei is the best?
A: Shin Megami Tensei IV is the best.
Is Shin Megami Tensei 5 An exclusive?
A: No, Shin Megami Tensei 5 is not an exclusive.
Do you have to play previous Shin Megami Tensei games?
A: I am not aware of any requirements, but many people find that playing all of the Shin Megami Tensei games is a welcoming thing to do.
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