Home » Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance PC review – Emphasis on “rebirth”

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance PC review – Emphasis on “rebirth”

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance review featured image

While the Pokemon franchise has long been the most popular “collect creatures with different affinities and make them battle” franchise, Shin Megami Tensei always did it better. Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is a re-release of the game with a ton of quality of life fixes and a new, alternate arc. Free of the Switch’s weak hardware at last, it offers one of the best JRPGs you’ll find anywhere that’s even better than ever thanks to all of the improvements and a large amount of new content.

Not content to merely give us the same game, Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance‘s new story arc introduces brand new villains and a markedly different story path. This is still the tale of angels and demons battling it out in Tokyo, but now there’s a new threat in a group of four demonic women known as Qaditsu, plus a new heroine who’s very often present in the story. As such, the new arc has more human interaction, which can make things feel more interesting to some players. The story doesn’t even remotely try to reach the heights and level of depth of the Persona games, but pure gameplay is better anyhow in my opinion.

You play as a human who ends up fusing with an angelic android of sorts to become the Nahobino – a being capable of summoning demons and using strong magic. As in any SMT game, you can recruit any and all demons you meet in regular battle, as well as fuse them, all with the goal of building the perfect team in mind. The classic traits the mainline games are famous for are mostly here. The Press Turn system returns as you search for and exploit demon weaknesses. But, Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance goes a lot farther in regard to trying to make for an engaging experience for modern audiences.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance review boss fight

Most of the game takes place in large zones with plenty of exploration. Treasure orbs that you break open are all over, as are small creatures you can find for rewards including Glory, a currency used to purchase miracles. You’ll also find tons of side quests, demons to converse with, and more. There’s a breadth of things to do and the game does a terrific job of making it all extremely compelling. New to this story arc are guest characters. These are persistent human story characters that can be used in place of your demons if you so choose.

I personally prefer to have demons on hand so that I can be fully covered in regard to all the different weaknesses. I’ve always very much enjoyed figuring out how to take on each new enemy by hitting them with all the main elements and seeing how they react. Hitting an enemy weakness or getting a critical adds an extra turn to the attacker’s team. Similarly, missing an attack removes two turns. It’s a great system, although I honestly do like the one in the Persona games better.

I’m truly surprised at how much was done here to streamline the experience and make it more user friendly. For instance, you can now save anywhere. One could argue that this removes some of the tension which is necessary for SMT, considering that all it takes is a couple of unlucky actions to completely wipe your party out, but new players will no doubt appreciate it. There are tons of modern demons and the fresh arc even has entirely new places to explore, making Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance even larger than it first appears. You can choose which arc to play in the game’s opening minutes, so the original story is still very much present.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance review assemble team

As for other differences, some demons now have unique skills, you can get into consecutive battles much like in modern Persona games, there are new Magatsuhi skills that synergise based on what demons are in your party, tougher red enemies can now be found in the world, you can get rewards from your demons in a special area by speaking to them, the level cap has been increased to 150, and there’s a new difficulty unlocked by beating a special boss. Atlus has done so much additional work to make this already great game that much deeper and more interesting. It really can’t be overstated how much better this version of the game is, even considering the company’s past re-releases.

Despite all the new bells and whistles and admittedly lighter atmosphere (but not that light, mind you,) Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is still SMT through and through. There’s now an autobattle mode to make things go faster if you so desire, but it’s business as usual as far as putting your team together. One part I love about this series is how putting a good team together mirrors a constantly evolving puzzle as you do your best to make sure you have decently powerful demons that consistently learn new skills. The way you unlock more skill slots as the game goes really makes the gameplay feel like it continues to evolve. This is simply the most satisfying gameplay I think I’ve seen in the series, which is really saying something.

Between the terrific gameplay, all the new features, and the classic hallmarks on offer, Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is a truly wonderful JRPG that begs to be played by fans of the franchise. It’s been streamlined enough that players of all walks will be able to get into it, but still has the huge amount of depth that has made the series such an enduring favourite over the years. With a new arc containing so many elements to experience, even people who’ve played the initial release through still have plenty of reasons to head back to the Netherworld and get recruiting.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance SMT review

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance: SMT has its vengeance with this significantly improved and incredibly enjoyable re-release that manages to make sweeping changes while maintaining the core of what made the previous version so endearing. Andrew Farrell

von 10

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