I think it’s fair to say that Shin Megami Tensei fans have been more than patient waiting for this game ever since it’s announcement during the Nintendo Switch’s initial presentation back in January 2017. Finally, Shin Megami Tensei V is here! 18 years ago, a war between angels and demons left Tokyo a desolate wasteland; using the last of their power, The Creator made a duplicate version of Tokyo to keep the humans safe. After accidentally discovering the destroyed Tokyo, it’s up to the player to throw their hand in the conflict between angels and demons in hopes of returning Tokyo to its former glory.
Shin Megami Tensei V switches things up by letting you explore a semi open world. The game has multiple large areas to explore, filled with hidden items, side quests and its own unique take on the typical open world exploration towers that reveal everything on the map in a wide area with demon nests that need to be destroyed. Combining all of these elements certainly makes for an interesting change of pace for the franchise.
The game adds skill affinities to demons which provides some extra depth to demon fusion and party compositions. Demons with a positive affinity to an element or skill type will increase its effectiveness and reduce MP costs while demons with a negative affinity will be less effective with those skills and they will cost more MP.
Building on the quality of life changes added to the franchise from Persona 5: Strikers, Shin Megami Tensei V now allows you to see every possible demon fusion you can create with all of the demons currently in your party and those recorded in your compendium. The game even lets you fuse those demons without needing to exit out of the fusion menu and purchase the needed demons from the compendium individually - this makes demon fusion a completely painless experience - a huge sigh of relief!
- Semi open world gameplay
- Skill affinities add extra depth
- Quality of life changes to demon fusions
I hope you like deserts because Shin Megami Tensei V is chock full of them! Most of the game’s explorable areas are in a deserted wasteland and it gets tiring very quickly. The annoying thing though is when you do catch a break and get to explore a new area, it’s always a tight and restrictive dungeon which makes you beg to be back in the desert again.
With a game this big, I’m not surprised that the performance would take a hit but I am surprised at how much of a hit it does take. The game never runs at a consistent frame rate and in some areas, all character models will animate at five frames per second unless you are standing directly next to them.
Shin Megami Tensei has a reputation for being pretty difficult. Heck, in Shin Megami Tensei IV, it was possible to be ambushed and curb stomped in the tutorial fight and be forced to start the game from scratch. So imagine my surprise when I proceeded through this game relatively hassle-free. For some, the easier point of entry is a positive but personally for me, I’m here for the difficulty. If I wanted an easier Shin Megami Tensei game, I’d play Persona.
- Lack of diverse environments
- Significant performance issues
- Difficulty not akin to what is expected from the franchise
Final Score: 8/10
Shin Megami Tensei V is an excellent entry point into the main franchise for those who have discovered it from Persona 5. That being said, while I was playing this, all it really made me do is want to go back to older games in the franchise. It’s a fantastic game but not exactly what long time fans would’ve been hoping for.
Thank you for checking out our Shin Megami Tensei V Switch review, thank you to Nintendo AU/NZ for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: