Nintendo Switch Review: Shin Megami Tensei V

Can you feel the Tensei-ion?

The ambitions of god and human clash amidst the horror of a dying world. Neither human nor demon, the newly forged Nahobino and his friends must decide what is worth saving… and prepare to sacrifice everything in its name. In a world without its Creator, which path will you choose?

I have to admit I haven’t played a game in the Shin Megami Tensei series before, but I have played Atlus’ other famous RPG series Persona which itself is a spin-off of SMT anyway. Both share a lot, but they are also very different from each other, there’s no building up relationships or anything like that in Shin Megami Tensei V, but that’s because it’s a very different type of game by tone alone. You aren’t just some kid at a school, you’re a demon/human hybrid…

The story itself is full of bleakness and plenty of mythology and other undertones, resulting in a plot that captivated me from start to finish. Combat is interesting as you can recruit demons you fight to your cause but once they die in battle, they can’t come back so deciding what demons you want to add to your party, as well as keeping them alive is essential to your success. It’s a delicate balance and one that works well and the great news for traditional JRPG fans is that combat is still turn-based.

From what I’ve gathered, past games in the Shin Megami Tensei series have had numerous dungeons to go through. This fifth entry ditches that in favour of more of an open-world area, something that I can imagine might divide fans of this long-running series. Still, the open world itself is nice and bleak, making a perfect setting for your demon/human to explore.

There are a few technical issues to be found like framerate drops and you can see that the Switch is sadly struggling to run the game at times. As a Switch exclusive (at least for now) it’s surprising to see it not fully optimised to reduce any drops in performance, especially for a series that hasn’t had a new entry for a considerable number of years. Voice-acting is decent overall, while the soundtrack is impressive and matches the grim atmosphere.

The Verdict

Shin Megami Tensei V is a great RPG that took me around 40 hours to beat and its definitely a game I will remember for a long time, but the framerate issues were problematic at times and I know that not everyone will be happy with the open-world direction the series has gone in. I personally loved it despite the issues and if you can overlook them, then you will too.

Score: 8.0