Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Preview – Back With A Vengeance

By admin May1,2024

The 2021 release of Shin Megami Tensei V received a solid response from fans and critics. The Switch-exclusive title garnered an 8.25 out of 10 from Game Informer and an 84 out of 100 score on reviews aggregate site Metacritic. With Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance, Atlus hopes to take the well-liked entry to even greater heights; not only is this new version of the well-liked RPG making the leap to additional platforms, but it’s bringing with it new locations, new demons, various quality-of-life improvements, and an entirely brand new storyline. I recently had the chance to meet with Sega to spend two hours with SMT V: Vengeance to see how this definitive edition of the game is shaping up.

In Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance, you can take two completely separate paths, each lasting around 80 hours and containing different endings. The Canon of Creation is the storyline from the original game, while the Canon of Vengeance is a completely new path found exclusively in this new version of SMT V. In the Canon of Vengeance, you meet a new character named Yoko Hiromine, a mysterious girl with the power to fight demons. She can join your party, filling one of the slots typically reserved for demons.

My hands-on demo consists of two hours of gameplay. The first hour takes place in the school area and Bethel Japan. My first task is to search for Ichiro in the Diet Building. After finding him and meeting Yoko, the party touches the terminal to return to Tokyo. They’re greeted by Archangel Abdiel, who is unhappy with Aogami and the protagonist’s progress, but before Abdiel can exact his wrath, Tao, the Saint of Bethel’s Japanese branch, steps in to save them. After talking to the party and Bethel Japan’s director, Koshimizu, I lead the protagonist back to his dorm to prepare for the next day.

As the next day starts, I head to school, where Yoko Hiromine is introduced as a transfer student for the protagonist’s class. She later reveals it’s because she knows they’ll be working together, so she figured it would make sense to become a student in his class. As I head outside of the classroom, I witness Sahori Itsukishima being bullied. During the confrontation, she hears a voice asking her if she wants power. Miyazu helps Sahori, but she worries about the nature of Sahori’s injuries. Later on the rooftop of the dorm, Tao tells the protagonist that she wants to stop the bullying, but Yoko overhears the conversation and tells Tao that if she really wants to stop the bullies and help Sahori, she’ll have to kill the bullies. It’s a stark reminder that Shin Megami Tensei is not afraid to take dark turns in the story.

My first hour ends with Na’amah appearing in the train station and turning people to sand to collect Magatsuhi. This challenging battle requires you to overcome various status ailments, the least of which is not Charm, which debilitated my team on multiple occasions. It goes to show that despite being more playable by a larger number of players thanks to its increased number of platforms, Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance isn’t pulling its punches when it comes to the difficulty the vanilla version delivered.

After that battle, I move to the final part of my demo. The protagonist meets up with Tao at a temple in Shinjuku, an entirely new location for SMT V: Vengeance. After being transported to Da’at Shinjuku, Tao and Yoko join the party. Tao is best used as a healer, but she also brings light damage to the table. Meanwhile, Yoko is multifaceted in her offense, delivering fire, electric, and dark abilities. Because of that, Yoko very much comes in handy, as so much of the strategy of SMT’s combat is built around exploiting weaknesses. 

As I enter Da’at Shinjuku, an Angel greets the party, but rather than welcoming them with open arms, they’re viewed as intruders. Much of the storyline of this area is figuring out why the party is being treated as a group of hostiles, but also working to figure out how to get past the alerted Cherubim and Angels so you can reach your goals. I won’t spoil much here, but two characters from the vanilla version of SMT V appear with a plan, but it also seems extremely likely that the two have ulterior motives.

I spend the rest of my hour exploring the area, taking part in battles. On a couple of occasions, I am defeated in battle, requiring me to start at my last save. The fights are extremely engaging, requiring me to take into account status ailments, elemental weaknesses, and turn orders, but even with all the information handy (and a save file that seems loaded with recovery items), it’s still a challenging experience.

After an hour of exploring this new area, I relinquish the controller. I started playing the original Shin Megami Tensei V when it arrived on Switch in 2021, but I didn’t have a chance to push past the first several hours. With Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance promising new platforms, improved performance on all platforms (aside from Switch), and a ton of new content, it feels like the perfect time for me to jump back into the world of SMT V with this new version. 

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance arrives on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on June 14. For our thoughts on the original Shin Megami Tensei V, head to our review here.

By admin

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