Atlus Review Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance PS5 review Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance review

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Review (PS5) – The End Of The World Never Felt So Entertaining

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance PS5 Review. It’s been a long time since PlayStation fans got to experience the franchise that signaled a paradigm shift in the JRPG space. Shin Megami Tensei birthed the spin-off franchise Persona but has been locked to the Nintendo family of consoles since the franchise’s third release back on PS2. Now, Sony console owners can experience one of Nintendo Switch’s best and most brutal games in this updated version, which brings an entirely new campaign.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Review (PS5)

Welcome To The Apocalypse

The story follows your custom-named character trying to get home from school. The city is in a state of fear as murders have become too familiar. With the train station now a crime scene, the protagonist sets off to find the brother of a school friend, and during his search in a tunnel, the area suddenly begins to collapse. We awaken in the same Tokyo, now entirely in ruins and covered in sand.

As we head out into this new world, we are attacked by demons only to be rescued by a mysterious being who offers to help by fusing with us and becoming a being known as the Nahobino. The story’s premise isn’t anything spectacular for the franchise, but it keeps to its strong roots.

If you’ve never played a Shin Megami Tensei game, you’ll notice many factions that serve different purposes. The Nahobino is a forbidden race and plays a vital role in the story and how he is perceived. The world of Shin Migami Tensei has always been its most robust presentation.

Fantastic World Building

The world doesn’t follow just one type of religion or myth. Instead, it allows all of them to exist in the same world. In this case, the battle between God’s Angels and Lucifer’s Demons takes center stage, but that doesn’t mean you won’t encounter various beings and creatures from other religions and mythologies.

Characters like Loki, Shiva, and Anubis add a lot of context to the world but also show how these other religious figures fit into a world dominated by what we now know as Christianity.

It’s a great world to dive into and read about every demon you encounter to learn who they are and what mythology they belong to. You can play through the entire campaign initially released on the Nintendo Switch. Vengeance has a brand new story and an entirely new campaign just as long as the original, clocking in around 60 hours.

This new campaign follows the path of Chaos. Its story is something to behold as it shows how events could play out if you side with the other forces in this world.

The Apocalypse Is Brutal

Shin Megami Tensei has always been a difficult franchise, and Vengence is no different. You get to select difficulty settings, which is nice, but the game is challenging even with the easy settings.

The Chaos campaign, in particular, can be brutal to get through, and I can surmise that the game difficulty may be one of the reasons some people won’t finish the game, which is a shame because the latter sections are something to behold.

The game’s fantastic combat system kept me returning for hours and days. It may seem simple, but you’ll quickly realize its execution is much more than meets the eye. Your party consists of the Nahobino and the demons you can recruit. One of the better joys of the game is talking to demons during battles to try and recruit them.

Demon Negotiations And Fantastic Combat Are A Highlight

It’s not an easy task, and you have to learn the demon’s personality and their likes and dislikes. Some demons will jump at the chance to join you just from how you respond to them. Others can be greedy little blighters.

Demanding currency, healing items, your health, and magic points. Some even refuse to join you if you have a demon they don’t like in your party and demand you get rid of them first.

These conversations can be pretty entertaining, and some are downright hilarious, especially how the demons insult you. The writing is excellent, and I have always wanted to recruit as many demons as possible.

Unfortunately, you can only carry a specific number of demons in your party, but this can be increased with the glory you gain from finding it in the environment or helping little demons find their way home to one of the shopkeepers in the underworld.

Every Decision Has A Weight

The entire world has a win-loss reward system. To gain something, something of equal or greater value must be lost.

Combat is turn-based, and every decision could mean life or death. You can change party members on the fly, but it costs a turn, leaving you open to enemy attack. Utilizing enemy weakness is a key to survival. Still, it is also a double-edged sword as your party members may be weak to the enemy you’re attacking, and you risk them being taken out rather quickly.

It’s a battle system that kept me on my toes and forced me to think about every move I would make. You can set the battles to auto, but that’s a good way to end up dead rather quickly, and I found myself using it sparingly.

One significant aspect of combat is the Magatush gauge. This is a team-based action that provides various benefits. Some affect the entire party, while others only affect the same race. Angels are their race, while Beast is another race specific to any demon with animal characteristics. The game has dozens of races, adding another wrinkle to your party building.

One Slip Up, Or Bad Decision Can Lead To Disaster

The Magatush gauge, once used, allows you to heal the entire party and make all your attacks critical hits regardless of enemy weakness. This gauge can mean life or death for the party and the enemy.

Your enemies can also utilize their own Masgatush gauge, and when they do, chances are if you don’t take them out before they attack, you’re looking at a game over screen. You can fill this gauge through combat and find various particles to build it up quickly as you explore.

Currency is very sparse, but it’s required to do many things, such as purchasing much-needed items, registering your demons in a compendium if you wish to release them and summon them later on, and even fusing demons.

Fusing Demons Is You’re Best Course To Survival

Fusing demons also costs other demons. If you love the demons you have collected, it may be hard to let them go, but it’s almost a must if you wish to progress. It may be hard if you’ve become attached to a demon who has been helpful for so long on your journey, but there comes a time when you must sacrifice them to gain a much more powerful demon.

Demon Fusion makes a return and is just as captivating to use. Vengeance allows you to look at the demons you can create through reverse Fusion. It’s a great option because you can see the demon you can make and then select it to see what combinations can be fused to create it.

When you do Fusion, you can select any unlocked skills from both demons to put into your new demon. This is one of the few ways to unlock attacks and spells for characters that aren’t specific to using those spells.

You can also do this by completing quests and finding demon essence in the field that allows you to use the essence of demons and invade a demon you already own with the powers of another demon without having to do Fusion. This can also be done for the Nahobino.

A Beautiful Apocolypse

The world is brimming with demons. You’ll get to explore four primary locations outside of the desert; each one is equally as fun, and there are plenty of enemies to battle and hidden paths to unlock. Side quests are plentiful and offer great rewards, some of which include the demon to your party providing the quest.

The world features Layline Founts. These are used to heal your party and access shops like the demon shop to buy items and the World of Shadows, where you can fuse demons. Laylines are also used to fast-travel other laylines, which is a great help. It’s also where you can save your game.

Vengeance brings with it plenty of additions and quality-of-life improvements. Most importantly, it allows you to save your game whenever you want. This is a big help due to the game’s difficulty, so you won’t have to lose hours of progress when you are defeated.

There’s also over fifty new demons to recruit, three new games, and multiple difficulty modes to tackle, increasing the level cap from 99 to 150. One fun addition is some quests where you can play as demons as you try to complete side quests.

These aren’t combat quests but more information-gathering exercises. Many of them made me laugh as they delved into demon society and how they live and behave when other demons aren’t around.

A Haunting Rock Soundtrack Fits The Game Perfectly

Visually, the game holds up pretty well, and the transition to HD has been solid. Though the demons look great, it’s clear this game was built on inferior hardware, and not everything has gotten the same love. Regardless, the overall package looks great, with the magic attacks in particular really shining.

The soundtrack is excellent in its own way. You won’t get the bustling soundtrack of Persona here but rather a more haunting rock score to fit the world of doom and gloom you’re in. The voice work is also a highlight, as are the many recognizable names for anime fans.

My only issue is that the protagonist is silent, which can lead to awkward moments when he’s asked a question, and the game moves on to a response to his answer that we never actually heard.

Overall, Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is the best in the franchise. Getting its story going may take a while, but it hooked me from start to finish. The best part is you can play through it again with a different path that plays out entirely differently. It’s like getting two significant JRPGs for the price of one.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Vengeance, from its engaging combat system to demon recruitment, fusions, and exploration. What I appreciated the most was that everything I did and every decision I made, from what to spend my currency on to what demons I took to battle with me, had weight to it.

With the release of Vengeance, it’s clear that Atlus is looking more and more like the new king of JRPGs, and everyone else will have to play catch up.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance on June 14, 2024 for PS5 & PS4.

Review code kindly provided by PR



The Final Word

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is a brutal experience where every decision you make feels impactful. The world is brimming with personality, and the demons are fun to talk to and play with. Vengeance has a lot going for it, and the quality of life improvements make it one of the best JRPGs released on the PlayStation 5.