Review – Shin Megami Tensei V

Shin Megami Tensei V is the fifth installment in Atlus’ popular JRPG series. The game has received a lot of praise for its immersive graphics, engaging story and gameplay improvements over previous games.

Shin Megami Tensei is a Japanese role-playing video game series developed by Atlus. The fifth entry in the series, Shin Megami Tensei V, was released on September 20th for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Review - Shin Megami Tensei V

Three separate versions of Skyrim were released between the announcement of Shin Megami Tensei V and its release. There were six Call of Duty games published. A slew of fantastic JRPGs followed, reinvigorating and changing the genre’s fundamentals. Xenoblade Chronicles, Tales of Arise, Persona 5, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Nier: Automota, Dragon Quest XI, and, of course, Final Fantasy VII REMAKE, which marks the return of the king. Shin Megami Tensei V will be released in a universe other from the one in which it was announced. This, along with the build-up of excitement over the years, seemed to create an impenetrable barrier. Atlus, on the other hand, isn’t one to back down in the face of adversity, and Shin Megami Tensei V is the consequence of their experience. One of the most enjoyable games I’ve ever encountered. 


Deep bro.

A Persona analogy comes to mind while thinking about Shin Megami Tensei V. It’s just not the one everyone anticipates. Rather, the connection between Persona 5 Strikers and the main series. Strikers looked to be the game Persona should have been, as I noted in my review. It took the game’s basic mechanics and aesthetic and placed them in the ideal setting for them to thrive. And Shin Megami Tensei V accomplishes precisely that. It has all of the elements that distinguish the SMT series. The Press Turn system, Demon Fusion, the wonderful atmosphere, and the general concentration on exploration and fighting are all highlights of the game. It’s the new open world labyrinth architecture that ties everything together for a seamless JRPG experience. 

The tale is the most straightforward place to begin. Shin Megami Tensei has always prioritized meta storytelling above personal narratives. Epic battles between order and chaos, debates of religion and fanaticism, and a mature look at the world and how it works are all included in this film. Characters are more like walking stand-ins for a specific point of view or facet of society than they are persons. It’s something that may easily go wrong or come off as preachy. However, the series has nailed what they were going for most of the time. SMTV doesn’t modify any of this, and it’s perhaps the greatest of the series. As is customary for the franchise, the game starts in Tokyo. 


This is the game’s very first scene, and Atlus clearly understood what they were going with it.

The protagonist gets trapped in a tunnel collapse on his way home from school. However, when you wake up, you’re in a different Tokyo. One that has been long dead and forgotten, now known as Da’at, or the Netherworld. You are besieged by demons who now control Da’at after traveling into this wilderness. However, everything is not lost since you are rescued by an entity called as Aogami. The two of you then join forces to produce a Nahobino, a new entity. Something that is neither human nor demon, but exists somewhere between the two. From there, you wander throughout Tokyo, gaining strength, meeting up with classmates who have also fallen into Da’at, and learning about this wonderful new world and its secrets. It’s an epic narrative that effectively tells its plot via foreshadowing, mood, and subtle storytelling.

However, this is a Shin Megami Tensei game at the end of the day. Sure, a great plot, setting, and atmosphere are important, but they aren’t the major lure. The Demon Fusion mechanism and the Press Turn combat system share this accolade. And for V, these mechanisms have been fine-tuned to perfection. Starting with the Press Turn combat system, the user interface is clearly the clear winner. The system’s mechanics are largely the same as they have always been. Each combat begins with the same amount of actions as the members of your party. The basic gameplay is similar to that of any other turn-based JRPG, especially Pokémon. You receive an additional turn when you assault an enemy’s vulnerability, which is a unique element in this game. You may do this as many times as you have turns, giving you up to twice the number of action points you started with.


A great, clean, functional UI that retains some design character.

Shin Megami Tensei V’s UI is what sets it unique from other games that employ the Press Turn fighting system. Any turn-based game’s user interface can make or break it, and SMTV’s is arguably one of the finest I’ve seen. It’s quite clean, with all of the information you want readily available or accessible through a button push. It reminds me a lot of Tokyo Mirage Sessions’ excellent UI, but it’s much cleaner and includes the wonderful animation that runs across all of SMTV’s UI menus and backdrops. I honestly don’t see how this technology could be enhanced more, and I can’t think of a better user interface to go with it. This is the kind of game that anticipates spending a lot of time with you and strives to make you as comfortable as possible. 

The MegaTen franchise’s distinguishing element is unquestionably demon discussions and fusion. It’s what distinguishes this franchise. During battle, you have the option of negotiating with your opponents. You must traverse a discussion tree based on the attitude of each demon in order to persuade him to join your team. After then, you personalize your demons’ moves, level them up, and eventually sacrifice them in order to summon more stronger demons. It’s similar to Pokémon, but with a lot more occult demon rituals. And it’s always been addictive, with a degree of personalisation and customisation that no other monster collector has ever come close to matching for me. And, once again, SMTV outperforms the competition. 


There are no bad answers in this game.

First, let’s have a look at the extended demon conversations. Talk is one among your fighting choices during battle, as it always been. After you’ve been chosen, you may pick a demon to bargain with on the field. Although you cannot recruit demons of a higher rank than you, you may still bargain with them. When you attain their level, you may add them to your party automatically the next time you encounter them. To win in this game, you must think 10 levels ahead. Anyway, after you start chatting to them, you’ll have to answer one or two questions correctly. The replies seem to be random, but they are determined by your attributes, the attitude of the individual demon, and the moon phase. You can fail, which may result in a number of outcomes. If you succeed, you may then pay them in macca, goods, or HP/MP in order to enlist them to your squad. It’s always worthwhile.

They become your slaves after they’ve joined your group and will do anything you want. They collect XP and level up as you face them, acquiring new moves in the process. They may also be altered using the Essences system, which is a totally new technology. Every demon has an Essence, which comprises a selection of their preferred moves. The accompanying moves may then be taught to demons using these. It’s a fast and simple approach to teach a particular demon the actions it’ll need to play the part you want. You may also personalize your Nahobino’s moveset by using Essences. Aogami Essences with Nahobino-specific techniques are also available. However, when it comes to Demon customisation in Shin Megami Tensei V, that’s not all.



Demon Fusion is a mechanism for combining demons. When you sacrifice two of your demon slaves in the World of Shadows and acquire a new demon as a result. However, there are certain guidelines to follow. There are particular sacrificial pathways for each demon, and not all demons may be sacrificed together. The demonic outcome isn’t necessarily more strong. But it’s the move inheritance that makes it always worthwhile. When you sacrifice two demons, you may give the outcome any of their movements. Not every action can be passed down, and variances in stats and elements will have a significant impact on usefulness. However, the amount of customisation is remarkable, and it may result in genuine powerhouses. The endgame of SMTV revolves on this feature, which involves combining the greatest stats and moves from younger demons sacrificed together to create super demons. It’s simple, distinctive, and defines the brand. 

A JRPG’s three pillars are storyline, fighting, and exploration. Exploration, like the previous two pillars, is something that SMTV accomplishes very well. Previously, every game in the series had been a dungeon crawler. The game’s focus was on large labyrinths that could be accessible through an overworld, which it excelled at. Shin Megami Tensei V, on the other hand, does not do this, and it is the most daring move this game has undertaken. In JRPGs, open world is still a relatively new acknowledged idea, with different degrees of success. There’s a Dragon Quest XI or Final Fantasy XV for every Xenoblade Chronicles. The environment doesn’t always seem worth it, and it might sometimes distract from other elements of the game. There’s always a price to pay, whether it’s for plot pace, dungeon design, or boredom.


In a single phrase, describe Shin Megami Tensei.

I had no notion SMTV was making this change when I went in. Especially after Nocturne, which is known for its emphasis on dungeon design. I figured it would be similar to that, but newer. I would have been quite concerned if I had known for the reasons stated above. And it would have been for nothing, since this open world ranks with Monolith Soft’s classics as the genre’s best. This isn’t simply open world done well; it’s done well in an SMT manner. The labyrinthine exploratory dungeon ideas of earlier games haven’t vanished; rather, they’ve been woven into the open world’s fabric. It’s exactly what Xenoblade Chronicles has been doing since 2010, and it’s about time someone else did the same. 

There are three things that distinguish Monolith Soft worlds, and they’re all present in abundance here. Verticality, exciting exploration, and a vibrant environment. Verticality is used to make the world seem larger and more complicated. The movement mechanism is crucial to achieving verticality, and SMTV’s is equal to the task. You’ve got a sprint (which serves as a kickass slide down slopes), a sleek extremely high leap, and absolute fluidity. They develop a really excellent feeling system that is completely capable of navigating the complicated environment. So you’ve got a fantastically complicated planet with a fun-to-navigate mobility mechanism. But none of this matters if exploration isn’t worthwhile or the planet itself isn’t vibrant. It, thankfully, does both. 


The game is packed with allusions to everything, and it’s all done well.

There is always something new to discover. Glory is a new currency in SMTV that you may get from a number of places throughout the globe. There are a group of Korok-like creatures known as Minmans, as well as very profitable Glory Caches. In the World of Shadows, you spend them to purchase Miracles, which provide you everything from a larger party to greater element affinities for the Nahobino. For an SMT game, a clear relationship from exploration to power and utility upgrades is ideal. That’s not all; there are a slew of side missions, secret riches, and relic caches to be found, each of which is a major source of macca. There’s so much to gather, all of it helpful, and the environment is well constructed to make finding everything both entertaining and challenging. And there’s always a reason why you’re on the lookout for something. There is no unused space in this room.

But it’s the way the world feels that truly knocks it out of the park. It all boils down to the open world demon animations and the soundtrack. There are no random encounters here, and it would have been simple to accomodate that with a DQXI. Allow monsters to just wander around the globe, and that’s all. It was constantly dull, lifeless, and antiseptic. That is not the case here. Monsters have their own distinct movement, idle, and running animations, which adds a lot of life to the area. They also produce sounds. I went across a chamber full of Slimes early on, and the squelching noises they made as they jiggled on the sands amazed and sickened me in equal measure. And this ranges from fairies fluttering through the woods to huge foes roaming and soaring across the globe. The level of attention to detail is incredible, and it never stops.


But that hair…

If I haven’t said it clearly enough, I am a huge fan of this game. It’s obvious that it was made with love and devotion, and it shows in every detail. The fighting system, demon fusion, demon motions, and the open world’s overall concept. And none of this even comes close to addressing the game’s core issues. The plot, the universe, and the mythology, as well as how it all fits together. It took an eternity to get here, but it was well worth the wait. It’s not the game I thought it would be, or was worried it would be, and it’s all the better for it. I’ve already invested a significant amount of time on it, and this is just the first of many. There are several endings to attempt, as well as the pure joy of sprinting about a beautifully designed environment while engaging in the greatest turn-based combat available.

Most other developers would be ashamed of the level of attention and detail placed into each demon, the enormous open environment, and every part of the UI. Then there’s the amazing physics of hair.

Every part of this game has been meticulously developed and crafted, from the perfected Press Turn fighting system to the labyrinthine open environment.

The music and voice acting are as wonderful as we’ve come to expect from Atlus, but it’s the stunning and ambient demon noises that take this game to the next level.

It’s addictive in a good way, challenging without being impossible, and features a fantastic tale and setting that relies on mood and foreshadowing rather than exposition to propel the storyline along. 

Final Score: 10

The Nintendo Switch version of Shin Megami Tensei V is now available.

On Switch, the game was reviewed.

The publisher sent a copy of Shin Megami Tensei V.

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Shin Megami Tensei V is a game that has been in development for a long time. The game was released on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, with the PC version coming out later this year. Reference: shin megami tensei v review reddit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Shin Megami Tensei series good?

Which is better Shin Megami Tensei vs persona?

A: Persona is a horror game, while Shin Megami Tensei has more of an open world.

Can I start with Shin Megami Tensei V?

A: No, you cannot start with Shin Megami Tensei V. You need to first complete SMT IV before being able to start the game.

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