Shin Megami Tensei 5, prev

Shin Megami Tensei 5, prev

Shin Megami Tensei 5

Announced together with Nintendo Switch in the now distant 2017, Shin Megami Tensei V has finally returned to show itself during the Nintendo Direct of E3 2021. But there's more: we now also have a release date, and that is the next 12 November 2021. The Atlus series has recently returned to the spotlight with Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster, which coincidentally has several traits in common with the chapter out in a few months on Switch: the last, in chronological order, dates back a full seven years ago on Nintendo 3DS, so the trailer we watched during the showcase, and the twenty or so games played during the Treehouse, showed us a decidedly new Shin Megami Tensei V from a technical point of view, but faithful to the tradition that popularized the series. Let's see how in our preview of Shin Megami Tensei 5.

Angels and demons

We are sure that many players have approached Shin Megami Tensei only after meeting Persona, despite the latter being born as a spin-off, Persona became more famous in the West much earlier. The similarities between the two Atlus franchises are many, but Shin Megami Tensei tends to be darker and more horror in terms of narrative, and in fact the fifth chapter begins with the protagonist, a simple Japanese high school student, who ends in a post-apocalyptic parallel dimension in which Tokyo has been destroyed for twenty years and has become the epicenter of the final confrontation between the armies of Heaven and those of the Underworld. To survive in this disastrous world, we will be forced to merge with an entity that will transform us into Nahobino, a semi-demon with incredible powers who will have to decide which side to take sides in the conflict.

Shin Megami Tensei V, a picture of the game. As Nahobino we will therefore have to explore various scenarios with labyrinthine but very evocative designs. In the trailer, we caught a glimpse of a good variety of locations including the sand-buried ruins of the city, towering over the remnants of torn down skyscrapers, but also snow-capped mountains, deserts and undergrounds.

The exploration takes place in the third person, with the enemies wandering well in sight on the map: contact with one of them will trigger the fight, but the enemy represented in the game area will be only one of those we will have to face in battle. The Shin Megami Tensei are very demanding RPGs, and so the most die-hard fans had feared that knowing in advance the enemy to face would be an oversimplification, but it will only be in part since we will not know who will accompany them until the battle has begun. . And at that point, it is not certain that we will be able to escape from a lethal ambush.

Shin Megami Tensei V, a screenshot from the game. The enemies seemed to have a very large range of aggression in the demo played during the Treehouse, but it could be due to the level discrepancy between them and our party; in any case, it is possible to go around them and escape, even in a hurry, until they get tired of following us.

The maps are littered with glowing orbs that we can collect simply by walking on them, and which partially recharge the team's Health and Magic Points. We will also find NPCs to talk to or objects to interact with, for example, mysteriously still intact vending machines that will guarantee us some useful consumables.

Nahobino can then generate an energy blade from his right hand that allows him to hit enemies and engage them with a turn of advantage, but if the enemies manage to catch up with him while he turns his back on them, they will initiate it clash. The combat system, in fact, is once again focused on the Press Turn mechanism so dear to Atlus that Persona 5 players should know well.

Shin Megami Tensei V, an image of the game. For the uninitiated, the Press Turn is a very simple mechanism: if we hit an enemy with the element or weapon to which it is vulnerable, our party gains a turn and can act twice in a row. Unfortunately, the same goes for the enemies, so you must always be careful about the composition of the party, in order to avoid facing demons that are too advantageous towards us. In combat, it attacks by opening the skill menu: historical spells such as Agi, Uncle or Bufu, which consume Magic Points, and physical attacks that instead draw on the Health Points of those who perform them return. By defeating the enemies you earn experience points and, at each level up, it is possible to distribute a series of bonus points in the main parameters of the protagonist: Strength, Resistance, Magic, Agility and Luck. The interesting thing is that not all fights necessarily have to end in blood.

Shin Megami Tensei V, a picture of the game. Sometimes the demons will just want to chat, and by choosing the right answers, which often may seem absurd but have their own perverse logic, it will be possible not only to avoid the battle, but even to recruit the enemy in our team. The collecting aspect, so to speak, has a strong strategic value, because at a certain point in the game we will learn to merge the recruited demons into increasingly powerful creatures that will inherit the abilities of their ancestors, and therefore we will have to work a lot to compose. the team we want or need to defeat the most powerful bosses.

A few more months

Shin Megami Tensei V, an image of the game. Unfortunately, the demo shown during the Treehouse told us very little about the new game dynamics: for example, we still don't know what the indicator called Magatsuhi above the portraits of the party members is for. Furthermore, the Japanese trailer is slightly longer than the one shown during the Western Nintendo Direct, and it allowed us to take a look at the new designs of many demons and monsters that appeared in the previous Shin Megami Tensei. In this way we were able to better appreciate the beauty of the character design and the artistic direction in the fifth chapter of the series, as well as the well-kept animations of each creature involved in battle, especially when it comes to performing the most powerful and spectacular attacks. We were particularly enchanted by the animations of the brilliant hair that grows to the protagonist after he transforms, and that naturally sways behind him after each movement.

Shin Megami Tensei V, a screenshot from the game. In fact, Shin Megami Tensei V completely abandons the first-person perspective that characterized the previous flaghsip titles: now the members of our team can be clearly seen on the screen, which in fact seemed to us a chaotic hair on the front of an interface that is very reminiscent of that by Tokyo Mirage Sessions.

The technical sector has made us a very good impression, net of an aliasing that is perhaps a little too marked. We will have to closely evaluate the performance of the game both in portable mode and in the Dock to understand if Atlus has done a good job, but on the gameplay we are absolutely optimistic: even the worst Shin Megami Tensei is a very high level RPG, and this fifth episode could be even the pinnacle of the series.

Nintendo Direct may not have convinced everyone, but Shin Megami Tensei V was certainly one of his highlights: we are really happy to have finally seen him in action, and we don't see time to get your hands on it next November. Atlus seems to have been working on another great JRPG that fans of the genre, and especially those who have enjoyed Persona, should really keep an eye on.


The combat system Press Turn The spectacular artistic direction DOUBTS Plot and characters to be explored We need to take a closer look at the technical sector Have you noticed any errors?

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