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Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Review: The Metalocalypse with a New Twist

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is the revamped, multi-platform extension of the original Shin Megami Tensei V, first released in 2021. The game builds on the original’s foundation bringing a multitude of improvements and new features to the overall experience.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Review: The Metalocalypse with a New Twist

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Players choose between the original route and the new “Path of Vengeance,” which introduces an alternate storyline with new plot threads, characters and battles.

Unlike the original there are no convoluted choices or ideological sides to pick, you simply follow the Vengeance route to its conclusion.

Completing the Vengeance-specific campaign took approximately 60 hours, focusing on new content and sidequests. This route doesn’t drastically change the core game but offers a refreshed narrative.

The story starts similarly, with you, a high school student in Toky, becoming a Nahobino, a demigod with supernatural powers.

As Tokyo crumbles, you battle to determine its fate. While the initial segments mirror the original, two changes include a new group of demonic antagonists, the Qadistu, and a new ally, Yoko Hiromine.

Yoko Hiromine is available as a playable character influencing the story. Existing characters like Tao also receive expanded roles.

Although the Qadistu members serve more as plot devices than fully developed characters, they introduce a fresh adversarial dynamic.

SMT’s unforgiving turn-based combat remains intact with an emphasis on exploiting elemental weaknesses and demon management.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance ramps up the difficulty leading to more frequent and unavoidable defeats, challenging players to master the combat system.

The core gameplay loop of negotiating with demons recruiting them into your party and fusing them into more powerful forms continues to be a highlight.

On PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S, players enjoy higher resolutions, improved frame rates and better draw distances, enhancing the game’s appeal compared to the original Switch version.

A new hub area, the Demon Haunt allows players to interact with demons in their roster, receiving items or stat boosts. As the story progresses, players can also earn free bonus stat points for their main character here.

The new bird’s eye view feature makes navigation easier and the addition of Magatsu Rails provides shortcuts and faster traversal, reducing the tedium of exploration.

The ability to save anywhere is a welcome change, preventing the frustration of losing progress due to sudden defeats.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance retains all original sidequests and introduces new ones in the newly added region. These sidequests vary from tough miniboss battles to item hunts and minigames.

SMT games are renowned for their dark, sinister vibes and Vengeance maintains this tradition with its depiction of a destroyed Tokyo ruled by godly powers. The game’s art direction and demon designs contribute to a unique sense of dread and coolness.

The soundtrack, a mix of synth-infused metal and ambient tunes enhances the atmosphere. The new battle theme is engaging.

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Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is no longer restricted to the Nintendo Switch, allowing it to harness the power of other platforms like the PlayStation 5.

The game runs at a smooth 60fps on PS5, an improvement over the original Switch version which often experienced performance issues during gameplay.

While the game’s art design remains stunning, character models and environments haven’t seen a drastic upgrade in detail compared to other current-gen titles.

The visual focus is on artistic elements featuring a mix of angels, demons and apocalyptic landscapes.

A new narrative path, the Canon of Vengeance is now available alongside the original Canon of Creation. Yoko Hiromine, a new character from a neighboring school with exorcism training and a personal vendetta, is a central figure in this new storyline.

She makes an early appearance, assisting the player during a battle against a new demon, Glasya-Labolas, in the Tokyo ruins.

The Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance storyline introduces a group of powerful female demons, the Qadištu, each with unique motivations that impact the game’s narrative.

While the Canon of Vengeance introduces new elements, the storyline initially follows a similar path to the original, visiting the same locations.

The major narrative divergence occurs later in the game, which might be repetitive for returning players but offers exciting new twists.

New guest characters such as Yoko and other plot-essential figures join your roster temporarily, bringing unique skills and combat abilities.

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They don’t occupy demon slots, can use items from the start and add utility to combat situations. These characters lack the customization options available to regular demons and come and go as dictated by the plot.

The Demon Haunt is a newly accessible area via leylines, allowing you to interact with your demon allies and build bonds through conversation and gift-giving.

Demons may offer gifts or receive stat boosts and new skills, making it a valuable feature for those invested in demon management.

The Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance’s exploration has been improved with more detailed maps and the introduction of a bird’s-eye view to help navigate complex environments.

Magetsu Rails, shortcuts that enable quick travel across different areas reduce the need for repetitive platforming and make backtracking more convenient.

Demon NPCs that assist in finding items and exploring the map can now be recruited and utilized outside of specific story events.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance introduces a variety of Miracles, which can be toggled on and off after acquisition, offering greater customization for the Nahobino.

The Magatsuhi system has been enhanced with new skills and special abilities that require specific conditions to activate.

These skills can impact combat such as removing enemy Press Turns, which is crucial in the game’s strategic turn-based battles.

Demons now possess unique “innate skills” that enhance various aspects of gameplay from skill to negotiation tactics. These new skills streamline combat and demon interaction making the game feel more engaging and rewarding.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance feels easier on standard difficulty due to new features like innate skills, Miracle buffs and more frequent item drops.

The ability to save anywhere and the enhanced utility of guest characters contribute to a more player-friendly experience.

The New Game Plus mode offers the “Godborn” difficulty, which is designed to test even the most seasoned players.

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