Shin Megami Tensei V Vengeance Review

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Review – Even Better the Second Time

One of the most notable JRPGs to grace Nintendo Switch a couple of years ago was Shin Megami Tensei V. The original review was favorable, though fell short due to performance issues. Fans hoped it would be released on another platform, and after some time that has finally happened with the release of Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance. This much-anticipated game is now available on a variety of platforms, along with new content for fans and newcomers alike to enjoy. Given their history of fantastic additions, is this another winner, or was once enough?

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance allows players to experience the original story, “Cannon of Creation.” Additionally, it introduces an expanded version titled “Cannon of Vengeance,” featuring a deeper storyline centered around revenge that follows new characters, and an enigmatic cohort of demons known as the Qadistu.

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In the Cannon of Creation story arc, players follow a young high school student investigating rumors of demons appearing at a nearby school. During an investigation, a demon ambushes the protagonist amidst an earthquake. After this incident, the protagonist awakens in a post-apocalyptic version of Tokyo overran by demons. Shortly thereafter, the protagonist encounters a mysterious entity named Aogami, merges with them to form Nahobino, a being neither human nor god.

As Nahobino, players navigate the ongoing war between angels and demons, aided by old friends and encountering both familiar Tokyo locales and unfamiliar realms of the Netherworld.

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Scary Foes

For those who have experienced Cannon of Vengeance, the core storyline remains familiar but diverges significantly with the introduction of the Qadistu. In contrast to Cannon of Creation, this expanded version delves deeply into character relationships, explores their beliefs regarding the conflict between demons and angels, and offers enhanced interactions involving the main protagonist. Unlike the original story where players solely control Nahobino, Cannon of Vengeance keeps things fresh with additional human characters to control.

In contrast to Lucifer and other primary antagonists from the original story, Cannon of Vengeance introduces the Qaditsu, led by Lilith—a quartet of demons with a singular mission: to ravage the world by harvesting Magatsuhi from humans, employing any means necessary to achieve their destructive goals.

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Familiar Faces

In terms of gameplay, the core mechanics remain largely unchanged. Fans of Shin Megami Tensei will appreciate the return of demon summoning, where players negotiate with demons to join their party, offer macca, or capture them to strengthen their roster for future summoning. Many familiar demons from previous Shin Megami Tensei games make a return, alongside new creatures inspired by Filipino folklore such as the Manananggal. As with all entries in the Shin Megami Tensei series, relying solely on starter demons is not viable, necessitating the continuous recruitment and fusion of new demons throughout your adventure.

In Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance players there is more than a new storyline. They’ll encounter, and have the ability to fuse or recruit new demons. There are also fresh missions and expanded areas to explore, enriching the game’s lore. Furthermore, numerous quality-of-life improvements enhance gameplay, including the ability to save anywhere, enhanced dialogue options during demon negotiations, new innate skills for Nahobino to acquire, chain battles that offer increased experience points, and an engaging mini-game where players identify demons by their shadows.

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Similar to its predecessors, Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is a turn-based RPG. Fans will find the core gameplay mechanics familiar, where exploiting enemy weaknesses grants additional turns. Given the series’ reputation for challenge, I opted to play Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance on hard mode. This choice not only tested my strategic thinking, but also prompted frequent considerations regarding which demons to employ. Additionally, it often necessitated stepping back to grind levels in order to overcome new challenges later in the game.

In contrast to Shin Megami Tensei IV, where movement is restricted, Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance offers players a somewhat open world to explore. Each area is expansive, brimming with secrets to uncover, including Mimans, demon essence, and valuable relics from your world. Expect to invest considerable time in exploration and demon hunting, which adds a refreshing change of pace. One particularly appreciated quality-of-life improvement exclusive to Vengeance is the Magatsuhi trail. When players discover a glowing red circle in the field, unlocking it reveals a trail that Nahobino can glide through, significantly enhancing travel speed and making exploration more enjoyable.

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A notable new feature in Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is the Demon Haunts, akin to a home base where Nahobino and recruited demons can congregate. As players progress, by leveling them up or using them frequently in battle, they may receive prompts notifying them that a particular demon is available for a chat. Engaging in these conversations at the Demon Haunts offers two benefits: gaining additional insights into the game’s events and receiving items useful for battles.

In terms of performance, I’m pleased that the game runs significantly better on other platforms like PC and PS5 compared to the Nintendo Switch version. On console, particularly on PC, players can enjoy a superb experience with the option to play at 4K resolution and maintain a solid 120 frames per second. Additionally, those using a Steam Deck or similar handheld PC can expect decent frame rates and graphics quality. Personally, I spent about half of my playtime on the Steam Deck and the remainder on PC, and I thoroughly enjoyed both experiences.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Review Verdict

Editor's Choice

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance: Overall, Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance not only meets expectations set by its predecessor but exceeds them with its expanded narrative, enhanced gameplay mechanics, and improved performance on new platforms. Whether revisiting the game on a different console or experiencing it for the first time, players are in for a compelling journey through a world teetering on the brink of chaos, where choices carry weight and alliances determine the fate of humanity. Mark

von 10

Editor’s Note: Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance was reviewed on PC, and a a copy was provided to us for review purposes. The game was tested on PS5 as well.

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