Shin Megami Tensei V, everything you need to know about the new JRPG for Switch

Shin Megami Tensei V, everything you need to know about the new JRPG for Switch

Shin Megami Tensei V

In these very Japanese days of Tokyo Game Show there has also been a lot of talk about Shin Megami Tensei V, the Atlus-branded JRPG that will arrive exclusively on Switch next November 12: in fact, Atlus and Nintendo have been harassing us with images for months, trailers and short clips, so much so that the fandom also begins to look critically at potential spoilers, but the closer we get to the release date, the more the hype increases and the more numerous become the questions of those unfamiliar with the series and ponder to approach for the first time.

In particular, one of the most popular questions is the following: Is Shin Megami Tensei V a valid alternative to Persona? A question that is not entirely trivial; after all, Persona was born as a spin-off of Shin Megami Tensei, as we reminded you on the occasion of the recent anniversary, and the two games are very similar. In the next lines we will take stock of everything we know about Shin Megami Tensei 5 and we will help you understand if the game is right for you or not.


Shin Megami Tensei 5, the protagonist in the form of Nahobino Despite the similarities, Shin Megami Tensei and Persona are very different titles on the narrative profile. Both are focused on the paranormal misadventures of some high school students, but the approach changes completely: the plot of Persona develops day by day in a context that in jargon is called "slice of life" and depends on the gameplay mechanics represented by the calendar and the micromanagement of free time. This component in Shin Megami Tensei V is completely absent. The new title Atlus has a more traditional narrative development, in this sense. The protagonist - who we will name at the beginning of the game - finds himself catapulted into the Da'at, a kind of parallel dimension superimposed on ours in which demons and other supernatural creatures hang out. It will be one of these, Aogami, who will save him from certain death by merging with him and giving life to a new entity called Nahobino.

If at this point Persona was beginning to mark the story day by day, Shin Megami Tensei 5 chooses a more ordinary way. This does not mean that there is a lack of an important cast around the protagonist. Atlus has revealed that we will not end up in the Da'at alone, but together with some of our classmates: Tao Isonokami, who possesses psychic powers, is the best friend of the protagonist; Yuzuru Atsuta is an overprotective friend towards his sister Miyazu; Finally, Ichiro Dazai is an eccentric streamer. The party will then be foreclosed by Bethel, an agency that protects the world from paranormal entities, which is headed by none other than Japanese Prime Minister Hayao Koshimizu.

Our people will not only have to prevent the war between hell and heaven that has been unleashed in the Da'at extends to the real world, but also to discover who really is Shohei Yakumo, a mysterious demon hunter who has allied with Nuwa, an ancient and powerful entity who has set his sights on our plan of existence.

Shin Megami Tensei 5, Aogami in a scene from the trailer As you may have understood, the story of Shin Megami Tensei will be very dark and will deal with distressing issues such as predestination, death and the end of time. There will be no recreational activities that you can play with your schoolmates, no lighthearted gags or school exams. As in Persona, however, you will have to make choices during some dialogues that will influence the narrative in a much more significant way, determining the "path" that we will follow and the ending among the many foreseen. If Shin Megami Tensei 5 stays true to the series, in short, you will have to complete it several times to discover all the ramifications of the narrative.


Shin Megami Tensei 5, the maps are incredibly vast A ' another important difference that you will have to evaluate is in the structure of the game. If you have played one of the most famous Personas, that is, from the third episode onwards, then you will know that most of the time is spent wandering around the city, carrying out activities that influence the relationships between the protagonist and the supporting actors. You enter dungeons when the narrative allows it, and at that point you find yourself in intricate but confined environments that mostly result in masked sequences of rooms and corridors.

Atlus in Shin Megami Tensei 5 instead tries a different path which winks at the open world. The maps we will have to explore are gigantic and mostly outdoors: after all, the Da'at is the apocalyptic reflection of Tokyo. We will control Nahobino in the third person; we will be able to run at breakneck speed, jump and climb some ledges to look for collectibles and alternative routes.

Shin Megami Tensei 5, that demon wants to eat Nahobino During the exploration, Nahobino is accompanied by a sprite who speaks for him in the cutscenes that tell the story: the new title Atlus is an experience much more cinematic and sophisticated even than its predecessors, with a more accurate and engaging direction. By interacting with the humans and demons left in the Da'at, we will be able to obtain new aid or begin the fighting: as in the recent Persona, even in Shin Megami Tensei 5 the enemies roam the map and react to the presence of Nahobino, who fleeing and who attacking it. It seems that the enemies on the map will mirror those we face in battle even in size, so there will be areas full of giant monsters that can't wait to devour us. In some maps, moreover, we will come across the Abscesses, passages that generate hordes of enemies to be defeated: if we succeed in the enterprise, we will be rewarded with various powers and collectibles.

The combat system

Shin Megami Tensei 5, the Nahobino summary screen Shin Megami Tensei V and the Persona series have a very similar combat system that revolves around a dynamic feature called Press Turn: basically, exploiting the vulnerabilities of enemies - for example, attacking them with an element they are weak in - you get a chance to act again before it's their turn. It is a strategic system that allows you to win some fights without giving the enemy a chance to react, but which can also backfire if we are not careful, since enemies can also gain turns by exploiting our vulnerabilities. The Megaten series - so fondly nicknamed by the fandom - is known for its brutal difficulty, and we expect Shin Megami Tensei V to be a challenging JRPG too. The player will have to form the team carefully, evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of each team member.

Shin Megami Tensei 5, Camael casts the powerful fire spell Agibarion Compared to previous titles, Shin Megami Tensei V anyway introduces some new features. The most interesting is represented by Miracles, a series of passive abilities that are divided into four categories and that we can exchange with Glory, a resource that we will find in the maps or by defeating certain enemies. Nahobino can equip Miracles to take advantage of their bonuses, or we can assign them to our demons and pass them on in the mergers that we will talk about shortly. The Essences, on the other hand, are the characteristic traits of some demons that we will find in the chests or that we can extort from the demons themselves through a conversation: they allow you to customize the protagonist and the demons, altering the elemental affinities or other parameters.

Shin Megami Tensei 5, a fight Finally, the Magatsuhi is a specific power that changes from demon to demon and that we can use only after having loaded the appropriate indicator to the maximum: this means that we must carefully choose the Magatsuhi to use, since it is an attack or defense ability so powerful that it turns the tide of battle.

We understand, in short, that Shin Megami Tensei V's combat system is rather linear, and perhaps more intuitive than in Persona 5, in which there were many more mechanics to take into account, but in the new JRPG for Switch, the preparation and micromanagement of the team and its abilities matters much more, which can really make a difference.

The Demons

Shin Megami Tensei 5, will we be able to recruit this Cait Sith? The Megaten series is famous for its characteristic of bringing together demons, angels, yokai and various religious deities in a single and disturbing imagery. Seeing Odin fighting side by side with Anubis and Metatron may seem strange, but it's one of those adorable quirks that Atlus has been riding for years thanks to a superfine and instantly recognizable character design. The franchise literally plays with all kinds of mythology, enslaving it to the player: it will be us, in fact, who will field these supernatural entities in battle, forming a team of four units, including Nahobino. Each demon, let's call them generically this way, has specific abilities, vulnerabilities to be considered and particular talents that can make a difference or weaken the whole group: for this reason it is necessary to recruit as many demons as possible in the manner of Megaten and Persona, that is ... chatting .

Shin Megami Tensei 5, Jack Frost is the iconic mascot of Atlus At the end of the fight, but also on the map during the exploration phase, it is possible to strike up a button with an entity and start a frenzied conversation. If you can keep up with the creature's reasoning - and some of them really give you a hard time - you could convince her to join your cause. If not, you will see it escape or you will have to fight it.

Shin Megami Tensei V counts hundreds of demons. If you have already played Persona 5, for example, you will recognize a lot of them, although the design may have changed: the demons of Megaten, in fact, are none other than the Personae in the spin-off series. And even here you can merge them in the equivalent of the Velvet Room, which is called the World of Shadows: in the presence of the entity called Sophia you can combine the demons you have recruited and consume them to generate a new creature that inherits some traits and abilities of its precursors. . Demon fusion is a fundamental and very special mechanic in which you will learn to invest your time to upgrade your army of demons and better prepare for each challenge.

Shin Megami Tensei 5, the combat interface So, yes, there is also a sort of collector component in Shin Megami Tensei 5. Finding all the demons is not only a strategic aspect of the gameplay, but also a fun way to dissect any content, especially since the most powerful entities are unlocked by merging up to six different creatures. And there are very few games that allow you to deploy the main theological deities, whether they are good or evil, as if they were pokémon at your service. In case it wasn't clear that Shin Megami Tensei V could also be a suitable JRPG for Pikachu fans. Though, in retrospect, perhaps it would be better to avoid giving grandchildren a game in which a penis-shaped spirit can be recruited.

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