Game Review: Shin Megami Tensei V

Available on: Nintendo Switch

Shin Megami Tensei V, as the name suggests, is the fifth entry in the series. And if you’re a fan of the Persona series, guess what, Persona is a spin-off from Shin Megami Tensei. The two games though, while part of the same universe, play very differently and are not to be confused with one another.

Shin Megami Tensei, for the uninitiated, is like a hybrid of a traditional JRPG and Pokemon. You have a party of characters that explore a world to uncover an extensive storyline. But unlike most RPG games, as you encounter enemies, you have the opportunity to capture/collect their souls, kind of like catching a Pokémon. And just like with Pokemon, your characters can summon the spirits of the collected souls to fight for you in battle. Characters earn experience like you’d expect from an RPG and with higher character levels you can collect stronger souls and unlock more abilities.

Given that this game is only on Nintendo Switch, the graphic quality is comparable to other Switch games but not as great as other consoles might be if the game were on other consoles. 

The game has a spooky element to it just by the nature of the storyline, of which I won’t spoil, and the music matches the world. That doesn’t mean that the game is scary and not for the feint of heart. The story involves demons and things of the sort but not in a terrifying or religious way.

Through most of the story, you freely roam around the world and can see the enemies that populate the zones around you. You can choose to engage those enemies if you want to fight/capture them or you can choose to evade them. Some enemies may attack you on sight while others may run away. There are secrets to discover, items to collect, and areas to explore.

Combat works like standard RPGs where it is largely turn-based where character’s turns are based on speed and their attacks/skills have a rating on them that determines how fast they can recover for their next action. Players have to be strategic about which attacks/skills they choose across their party while being aware of the opponents’ speed. There is a gauge on the screen that helps you see the attack order and how your selections will influence the next round.

There is a fair number of souls to collect. The exact number I don’t recall at this moment but it is a significant number that for completionists who want to “catch ‘em all”, to borrow from Pokémon, will find that the game can keep them busy with just that task for a good number of hours. The storyline isn’t an epic length that will take players hundreds of hours to complete but it is a solid length game even without the collecting aspect. With the collecting aspect, players can easily sink hundreds of hours into this game.

This is a good game to me. My son and I both bought a copy of this game and we both thoroughly enjoyed the game. Some of the fights were challenging. The variety of enemies we could collect almost made us competitive to see who could catch the most, the best, and rarest of souls. 

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