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Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Review | SMT at Its Most Divine

94
Story
8
Gameplay
10
Visuals
9
Audio
10
Value for Money
10
Price:
$ 60
Clear Time:
80 Hours
Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is the ultimate gateway into the sinfully beautiful world of SMT. The story and gameplay reach near-divine levels of quality. However, as with many SMT games, the characters might not be the most memorable, and the pacing can occasionally feel off. Yet, these minor flaws are overshadowed by an experience that is incredibly fun, challenging, and addictive. Atlus has conjured a spellbinding response to critics of the original game, forging a near-masterpiece that delivers an almighty, divine experience.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is a re-release of the original SMT V with an all-new story, new features, and improvements. Read our review to see what this Atlus title did well, its problems, and if it’s worth the upgrade.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Review Overview

What is Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance?

Play as the protagonist, the Nahobino, in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo caught in a war between various demon factions and otherworldly forces inspired by different mythologies. The new storyline introduces a new slew of new characters including a new faction called the Qadištu or "The Goddesses of Vengeance" comprised of Lilith, Eisheth Zenunim, Agrat bat Mahlat, and Naamah. Also, the Nahobino will join forces with Yoko Hiromine, another magic user enshrouded in mystery in relation to the new storyline.

As the definitive edition of the original game, Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance will retell the events of the story but have a few additional "untold stories" set in the world. The game features an all-new route and ending in the form of Canon of Vengeance, along with the original game's Canon of Creation route.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance features:
 ⚫︎ Press-Turn Based Combat System
 ⚫︎ Over 200 Demons to Capture
 ⚫︎ All New Story Path Called Canon of Vengeance
 ⚫︎ A New Dungeon and Area
 ⚫︎ Saving Your Game Anywhere
 ⚫︎ New Game Plus feature Godborn
 ⚫︎ Additional Side Quests and Bosses

For more gameplay details, read everything we know about Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance's gameplay and story.


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Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Pros & Cons

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Pros Cons
Checkmark A Compelling New Narrative
Checkmark Combat and Exploration is Vastly Improved
Checkmark The Best Demon Compendium
Checkmark Godlike Music
Checkmark Most Characters are Still Bland
Checkmark Canon of Creation Remains the Same

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Overall Score - 94/100

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is the ultimate gateway into the sinfully beautiful world of SMT. The story and gameplay reach near-divine levels of quality. However, as with many SMT games, the characters might not be the most memorable, and the pacing can occasionally feel off. Yet, these minor flaws are overshadowed by an experience that is incredibly fun, challenging, and addictive. Atlus has conjured a spellbinding response to critics of the original game, forging a near-masterpiece that delivers an almighty, divine experience.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Story - 8/10

Canon of Vengeance vastly outshines the original story with a more cohesive and compelling narrative that deals with tragedy, deceit, and revenge. It's a beautiful tale that, despite some slow pacing at times, grips you like a snake and forces you to make some of the toughest decisions in SMT. Unfortunately, this makes the original story feel less interesting and worth playing by comparison.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Gameplay - 10/10

From combat to exploration, every aspect of this game has seen significant improvement. Small tweaks and additions not only elevate the gameplay but also redefine how you approach it, especially if you're familiar with the original. Beyond that, there's a wealth of new interesting quests, demons to encounter, and a vibrant world begging to be explored. Make no mistake, the classic SMT difficulty remains intact, but now it's refined, cutting out unnecessary challenges for an experience that feels both fair and deeply satisfying.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Visuals - 9/10

In the bleak world of Da'at, the game breathes life with its stunning art direction, creating captivating scenery and locales. However, the true visual stars are the quirky and beautifully unique demons, skillfully illustrated by the talented Masayuki Doi. Whether rendered in 3D or 2D, these demons are absolutely stunning. My only minor gripe is that I wish the game would adopt Persona 5's combat UI, where actions are mapped to a single button instead of using a traditional battle menu.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Audio - 10/10

I'm amazed at how they enhanced the already fantastic music of SMTV, but Vengeance surpasses expectations with even more incredible tracks. Each composition by Ryota Kozuka is a total banger that you'll find yourself jamming to both in and out of the game.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Value for Money - 10/10

The decision by Atlus to remove the original game from stores speaks volumes about their confidence in this version being the definitive choice. And rightfully so—it's clear there's no need to opt for the original Switch game anymore. Priced at $60, this game offers more value for your money than many AAA titles available today.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Review: SMT at Its Most Divine

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This year, Atlus has been on a remarkable streak with re-releases, following Persona 3 Reload in February. SMT V: Vengeance continues this trend as an absolutely divine re-release, offering the definitive way to experience SMT V and signaling a promising evolution for the series.

The biggest difference from the original lies in the addition of a completely new storyline called Canon of Vengeance. The game initially unfolds similarly to the original, with a new scene during school where you dream of encountering a girl in an unusual position resembling an egg, accompanied by voices questioning her existence.

Here, you're presented with the choice to reach out to her or not. Opting to reach out officially begins the new path, Canon of Vengeance, while declining continues with the original SMT V story, Canon of Creation.

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Newcomers need not worry; the game prompts you to confirm your choice of storyline, and you can start with either one as they are completely independent and don't rely on each other. Initially, both paths unfold similarly with a few new additions, but Canon of Vengeance truly begins to diverge and establish its own unique narrative as the game progresses.

The biggest issue for most players in SMT V was undoubtedly its lackluster story. Unfortunately, the original storyline remains unchanged with no additional scenes or dialogue to address its character and narrative shortcomings. However, Vengeance offers a superior storyline that delves much deeper into mystery, weaving in multiple shocking moments where your decisions carry significant weight.

Without giving away too much, this new narrative is incredibly satisfying. The introduction of Yoko is a great addition to the human cast; she's intriguing and likable, unlike some of the other human characters who, in my opinion, weren't as well-developed—though they were handled better in Canon of Vengeance.

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You’ll also be thrilled to know that the gameplay has seen significant improvements across the board and exceeds expectations. I was pleasantly surprised by how essential these quality-of-life features have become, enhancing every aspect from combat to exploration.

Starting with combat, the MegaTen team has managed to enhance the turn-press system to be even more addictive and enjoyable. For those unfamiliar, the press-turn system is a turn-based combat mechanic where each side has as many turns as they have party members.

Both sides can earn extra turns by exploiting enemy weaknesses or landing critical hits, adding a layer of strategy and challenge. They've managed to make this system even more engaging somehow in this game!

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One of the main issues with the original game was its unbalanced level scaling, which often resulted in artificial difficulty. Enemies felt disproportionately strong, making it challenging to inflict damage if they were just a few levels above your party. Thankfully, this game addresses that flaw by eliminating the problematic level scaling.

Now, you can focus on building your team with new skills and attributes rather than simply leveling up. Combat feels significantly faster-paced, thanks to the variety of Magatsuhi Skills you can unlock, and experience points are distributed more evenly, ensuring that backup demons level up quickly as well.

Fear not, SMT fans, this game remains punishing and will readily challenge you if you're unprepared or overconfident. The new boss fights are particularly intense, requiring careful strategy to overcome, especially when facing off against the Qadištu. One of my favorite battles was against Agrat bat Mahlat, who really kicked my ass a couple of times.

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When it comes to demons, the new Demon Haunt feature adds a whole new layer of depth and engagement. This safe space hub lets you interact with all your demons at the party, and they surprise you with new items, insights, and even skills from time to time.

It really changes the game, making demons feel like essential team members rather than just tools for fusion or fighting. I found myself spending extra time chatting with my demons, enjoying their quirky conversations, and collecting useful items.

It was genuinely tough when I had to fuse my Pixie, who had already reached her full potential with all her skills maxed out. What's even more amusing is that the demons often have more lively personalities compared to most of the human characters.

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Exploring Da’at has become a truly enjoyable experience with numerous improvements to the overworld and map. Everything is now clearly marked with legends, making navigation a breeze. There's also a wealth of new side quests and areas to discover, especially thanks to the new Magatsu Rails that lead to secret locations rewarding your curiosity.

The overall design of the overworld has seen significant enhancements, from the camera angles to dynamic area locations. Personally, the best quality-of-life improvement for me is the ability to save anywhere, anytime. This addresses a minor gripe

I had with the original game, where save points could be too sparse, particularly before challenging battles or pivotal decisions. Being able to save frequently now makes preparation much easier and enhances the overall gameplay experience.

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While Atlus has taken a somewhat unconventional approach by re-releasing games after a few years, such as Persona 4 Golden and Persona 5 Royal, they've once again succeeded with SMT V: Vengeance.

They've managed to elevate an already great game to an even higher level. I'm truly hopeful that this game receives the recognition it deserves, as it stands out as one of the best RPGs of the year and has the potential to be a Game of the Year contender.

Pros of Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance

Things That Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Can Improve
Checkmark A Compelling New Narrative
Checkmark Combat and Exploration is Vastly Improved
Checkmark The Best Demon Compendium
Checkmark Godlike Music

A Compelling New Narrative

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Canon of Vengeance easily ranks among my top 5 favorite SMT stories, alongside Strange Journey. It tells a gripping and intricately layered tale that really makes you question your loyalties and beliefs. Yoko, a new character introduced in this narrative, adds a lot of mystery and depth—she stands out as possibly the most interesting human character in SMT V, although that isn’t saying much as the others don't quite measure up.

The Qadistu also bring a captivating presence to the story, thanks to their striking designs and personalities. Naamah, especially, leaves a lasting impression with her powerful entrance and challenging boss battle. What’s more, the endings in this storyline are particularly more engaging and beautifully executed, as compared to the Canon of Creation.

Combat and Exploration is Vastly Improved

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This game has finally addressed the original's combat issues by eliminating the reliance on leveling up to defeat opponents. There's less grinding and more emphasis on managing your Demons and Nahobino's attributes and skills. This change removes the artificial difficulty and tedium, rewarding players for creativity and strategic team management.

Leveling up is now smoother, providing more skills and attributes, and combat feels faster with more combo opportunities, especially with the new specialized Magatsuhi Skills that grant unique abilities to demons, encouraging synergistic team builds. Plus, a new level indicator on the map simplifies team building by recommending suitable levels.

Speaking of teams, the demons in this game are the best they've ever been. With a plethora of new demons to fuse and collect, the Demon Haunt in the Leyline Founts acts as a safe hub where you can bond with your demons. This interaction feels personal, as demons become more than tools—they're your buddies and comrades. Fusing them away becomes a tougher decision.

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While the game remains challenging, it eliminates the random and tedious grind from the original, which was more frustrating than fulfilling. Exploration has also been vastly improved with quality-of-life changes. The new Magatsuhi Rail system enables easier travel to uncover secrets and sidequests previously inaccessible. The enhanced map features better legends, landmarks, and a sky view mode for easier navigation.

The best quality-of-life improvement is the ability to save anywhere, anytime. This convenience is a game-changer, especially before pivotal choices or entering major boss battles. The developers have truly perfected the gameplay with added side quests and more, listening to player feedback. Once you play this game, you can never go back to the Vanilla version.

The Best Demon Compendium

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This game introduces a wide array of new demons and side quests, ranging from entertaining to deeply moving. Each demon is uniquely designed, with standout creations like Vouivre, a personal favorite returning from Soul Hackers 2. The game excels in portraying demons not just as creatures, but as companions and friends on your team.

The Demon Haunt feature enriches their personalities with special dialogue and interactions, fostering a deeper bond where bonding can yield rewards like items and stat buffs. Moreover, demons in this game are significantly more valuable in battle, capable of learning race-specific skills that synergize perfectly with your party and tactics.

Godlike Music

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Atlus never disappoints when it comes to their music. The Shin Megami Tensei and Persona series have always had incredible soundtracks, and the collaboration between Ryota Kozuka and Toshiki Konishi delivers yet another set of amazing tracks that deserve awards. I especially enjoy the new boss battle tracks, and the opening theme sets the perfect mood—I've had it on repeat.

Cons of Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance

Things Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Can Improve
Checkmark Most Characters are Still Bland
Checkmark Canon of Creation Remains the Same

Most Characters are Still Bland

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Unfortunately, one of the main criticisms of the original SMT V was its forgettable characters and their rushed developments. This issue persists in Vengeance, where certain returning characters still fail to be interesting in the slightest. However, the new additions, particularly the new villains like the Qadištu, stand out and are far more intriguing to me. Unfortunately, some of the old characters still feel more like vessels for the themes of Law, Chaos, and Neutrality rather than having their own developed personalities that enhance these beliefs.

Canon of Creation Remains the Same

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Without delving into spoilers, the Canon of Vengeance story takes some time to find its stride, but fortunately, the theme and overall pacing of vengeance are much more cohesive compared to the original storyline. Unfortunately, it's disheartening to note that the Canon of Creation story remains unchanged and still retains its issues. Here's something important to consider: I personally recommend starting with Canon of Vengeance first, then revisiting Canon of Creation in New Game Plus.

This way, you can breeze through any slower parts of its story. While it's unfortunate that the original release felt rushed due to Covid restrictions which caused problems, Vengeance delivers a much more satisfying plot and conclusion overall. It feels like the story the developers truly intended to tell from the beginning.

Is Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Worth It?

Yes, It’s the Definitive Way to Play SMT V

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Although I have a few minor gripes with the narrative, SMT V: Vengeance is undoubtedly a game that deserves high praise, almost like worshipping a deity. It excels in every aspect, making its $60 price tag a worthwhile investment. With two distinct stories, each providing over 80 hours of content, you're certainly getting your money's worth and more especially now that the original game is being taken down from stores.


Digital Storefront
Steam IconSteam Playstation IconPlaystation Xbox IconXbox Switch IconSwitch
$59.99

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance FAQ

Can I Play Canon of Vengeance First Rather Than Canon of Creation?

Yes, you can start with the Vengeance route first since both narratives are independent of each other and don't require prior knowledge to understand.

Do the QoL Changes and New Additions Apply to Canon of Creation Route?

Yes, besides the story route, every gameplay aspect in Canon of Creation has been enhanced from the original SMT V.

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Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Product Information

Shin Megami Tensei V Vengeance Banner
Title SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI V: VENGEANCE
Release Date June 14, 2024
Developer Atlus
Publisher Atlus, Sega, Nintendo
Supported Platforms PC(Steam), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Genre Adventure, RPG, Strategy
Number of Players 1
Rating M
Official Website Shin Megami Tensei V Vengeance Official Website

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