Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Review


Shin Megami Tensei is a pretty interesting series. It’s the series that kick started the whole “monster” catching genre, and it’s a series that has had countless games released. Heck, even “Shin” Megami Tensei isn’t the original — there’s a whole part to the series that came out before it. (Not to mention the original novels the games were based on!) Despite all of this however, the series was anything but “mainstream” here in the West. If anything, gamers might’ve heard of the series in passing, but it wasn’t one you would see a lot of.

While SMT3 Nocturne on the PS2 gained a cult following, it was really games like Persona 3 and 4 (and the internet) that helped the series gain a bit more traction outside of Japan. But even then, the series still wasn’t “huge” with mostly a core fan base being the ones buying and playing these games. DS owners got SMT Strange Journey, 3DS owners would get SMT4, and fighting game fans got to see Persona 3 and 4 return in an Arc System Works developed sequel titled “Persona 4 Arena.” There was also the Devil Survivor games on DS and 3DS which were aimed towards Tactical RPG fans, so the series ultimately did have a wide reach and cover a wide verity of gameplay styles, but none of these games pushed the series to mainstream… That honor belongs to Persona 5.

After the release of Persona 5, things changed. The characters began appearing in crossover media everywhere, and the main character “Joker” even made his way to Super Smash Bros. More and more RPG fans caught wind of how great the game was, and many who played P5 found themselves wanting more. It made many of them want to try other Persona games, and also the greater SMT series as a whole. And that’s actually where Shin Megami Tensei V comes into play. After the explosion that was Persona 5, SMTV was the first new SMT game to release, and that meant it was the first mainline SMT to release to a wider audience in the West. More people had their eyes on it, and were more willing to play it. The down side was that it was releasing as a Nintendo Switch exclusive, while Persona 5 was originally a PlayStation exclusive, but those who had a Switch were more open to give it a try. Not to mention all of the long time SMT fans who had been waiting for it for years, who were finally getting a chance to continue playing one of their favorite series. Bottom line was, this game had a lot of people wanting to play it, and what ultimately released was… Kinda met with mixed feelings.

There’s no denying the original Switch version of the game had some technical issues due to the Switch’s hardware, and one gripe was the lack of story content within it. It was seen as a solid fun game gameplay wise, but it had room for improvement. And that’s where we are today!

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is the updated version of the original SMTV, but at the same time it’s also much more. Not only is it a completely upgraded version that was released on all major consoles and on PC (rather than being Switch exclusive), it also includes a full “second game” with it! Vengeance is to V as what Apocalypse was to 4. A game that builds off of the previous game to tell a completely new story — except in this case Vengeance includes the original V’s story as well!

So with all of that being said, there’s a lot to cover here. SMTVV (as I’m going to call it from here on) is NOT a simple game at all. There are a lot of systems at play, and a lot of in game terms that get thrown around a lot. Some of this can get a bit confusing at first, but I’ll do my best to simplify and explain things from here on. It’s important to realize exactly what SMTVV is before diving in, and I want to make it very clear from the start. SMT mainline is not Persona. Persona (1), and Persona 2 IS & EP? Sure — those games technically spun off from SMT if, but SMT 3, 4, and (especially) 5 are something else. So I hate to disappoint anyone who was hoping for another Persona 5, but this game is not that. Even so, I hope you continue reading this review, and maybe you’ll discover something that’s different, but you could end up loving just as much.

Anyway with all of that being said… Let’s finally get on with this review. (Sorry that got so long winded!)

The Two Stories:

The moment you start up SMTVV you are greeted with our nameless main character dozing off in class. During his dream he comes face to face with a mysterious girl, and is given the option to reach out to her. This is the moment the story can split, but your decision here isn’t set in stone yet. If you refuse her hand, you’ll continue down the “Path of Creation” storyline which is the original SMTV story. While the SMTV story has been updated with new content, it is still mostly the same as it was on the Switch. Choosing to take her hand however will set the game down the Path of Vengeance story, and is a (mostly) completely new experience.

Whichever you pick doesn’t truly matter at this moment, as the game will flat out tell you what you are doing, and want you to confirm your choice. In other words, it makes it obvious which story you are going down, and it doesn’t lock you into your choice blindly. If you reached out to the girl but wanted to do the original story first — you still can. 

Common Ground

Once your choice has been made, the next part of the story will play out the same either way. The main character is asked to fill out his personal information (which lets you name your character), and you are then given control of him after class. Apparently strange things have been happening around town lately, and students are encouraged to find someone to walk home with for safety. Multiple students are in the classroom to talk to, all of which provide extra context to what’s going on, but none of them are interested in walking home with you. So our poor main character decides to go home alone.

Or not!

A group of nice students calls out to the main character, and introduce themselves to him. The is a young man named Yuzuru Atsuta, and he introduces you to his sickly sister Miyazu, and their friend Tao Isonokami. The group of students have a quick exchange introducing themselves to the main character, and then they all set off towards the station. At this point the game opens up the “classic” SMT style world map, which lets you move a cursor around to talk to NPCs on the map. These NPCs provide a bit more context to the “creepy” things happening around town, but it’s not really clear what is happening until you arrive at the station. Once there the group finds that the station is closed due to a grisly murder, and that trains were shut down until further notice.

Instead of waiting for the trains to start running again, Yuzuru decides to go see if there is another way through, and leaves you with the other students at the station. Of course they are worried about him going off on his own, so they ask you to go check up on him… And that’s when everything changes.

The main character arrives at a tunnel close by the station, and quickly runs into yet another student. His name is Ichiro Dazai, and he’s goofing off recording himself exploring a creepy tunnel where monsters are said to reside. He acts like it’s a joke, but as he enters the tunnel the world begins to shake, and the next thing he (and everyone else in the area) knows… The world has become a wasteland.

Waking up in a desert, the main character witnesses an “angel” carrying Dazai off to “safety.” The scene is quite terrifying, and leaves the main character confused. He has no choice but to stumble his way across the sandy ruins of what appears to be Tokyo, when he too eventually comes face to face with the paranormal. This time it’s not an angel he comes face to face with however; it’s a demon.

“Young Man! Take my hand!”

Just as the demon is about to kill the main character, a “knight” with blue hair and silver armor appears before him and saves him. He then offers out his hand and asks the main character to take it if he wishes to live. Without any choice he does just that, and the next thing he knows the two are fusing together into a single entity — a “Nahobino.”

With their power combined, the Nahobino fights off the demons, and for the first time gets some answers as to what is going on. The blue haired man is named Aogami, and the main character learns that they are in a place called the Netherworld — a world where demons lie. Fusing together and fighting as a Nahobino is the only way for them to survive in the Netherworld, and unfortunately Aogami has lost large chunks of his memory so he can’t explain much more. By talking to friendly demons across the map it’s hinted that Tokyo was destroyed 18 years ago, but Aogami himself can’t remember how or why. So together the two set out on an adventure to figure out what is going on, and to hopefully reunite the main character with his newfound friends.

Things aren’t that simple though.

At this point in the story, all story paths play out the same. You get to talk to NPCs to piece together parts of the mystery, and story related tutorials play out. Once you reach the broken down train however, things split.

Creation vs Vengeance

In the original Creation Storyline, the main character reunites with Yuzuru, and learns that Yuzuru is working with a group in Japan to protect Tokyo from demons (so he was already aware of the situation). In the Vengeance storyline however, an additional character shows up along with Yuzuru. Her name is Yoko Hiromine, and she’s a young woman who has been gifted with the power of magic. She’s the girl the main character saw in his dreams, and at this point she decides to join the main character’s party. This alone causes a major change in the plot.

Going forward, the original Creation story eventually leads you back to the “real” Tokyo, and has the main character joining the demon fighting group that’s protecting Japan. The story then alternates between the Netherworld and the Real World, with some key choices eventually directing you down one of the game’s many different endings. 

In the Vengeance path however, on your way back to the original Tokyo you get attacked by a demon from a strange group calling themselves the “Qadistu.” These Qadistu members become a constant threat during the new story, and take the plot down a completely different route. While some of the early events still play out in a similar way (except now with Yoko taking part in conversations), there’s one key moment that changes everything. From that point on, the story diverges completely from what was in the original Path of Creation, and ultimately contains a lot more plot and character interactions. While in Creation you’re alone nearly the entire time, in Vengeance you are almost never alone, and that too changes how the story plays out.

To put it simply, the Path of Creation is a lot more lore and world building heavy, while Vengeance is more character driven, while also expanding on the lore and world. You do need to play both paths (at least one ending on each) to get a complete picture, but for anyone wanting to play only once… The Vengeance path is the one you want.

On the flip side, it’s important to note that there is one key event that happens in the Creation path that still happens in Vengeance. In Creation the main character is sent to one location where that “something” happens, while in Vengeance he’s sent elsewhere. So him not being there doesn’t change the fact, it just means he doesn’t witness it for himself. That means Vengeance players lose some context the first time through, but ultimately it won’t matter. (Especially if you plan on playing both paths.)

Whichever path you choose, there is a lot to the game’s story, but it’s not a story that’s in your face. This is not a game with countless hours of cutscenes and a lot of dialogue to read. Instead it’s a game with core story scenes, and a wide verity of NPCs and side quests that give you more insight into the world. Initially a lot of dialogue and cutscenes might not mean much to you as a new player, but as you advance through the game, and learn more about the world, it eventually makes more sense. 

Ultimately, as you play through the game multiple times to reach the different story paths, you’ll learn even more about the world, and that newfound knowledge will allow you to see previous cutscenes and dialogue in completely new light. 

What once appeared to be a few throwaway lines of dialogue in reality play a major role when it comes to future events, and that’s the magic of SMTV’s story. It’s a game made to be replayed over and over again, and each time through, you’ll learn something new along the way.

Welcome to the (Open) Netherworld:

The Netherworld is the main setting of SMTV, and is a bit different from past games in the series. 

The original SMT and SMT2 were classic first person dungeon crawlers. They featured and overworld map where you moved a cursor around to enter areas, but once inside the locations it changed to a first person view. From here you would walk around and step on each “square” of the map until you found the correct square to stand on to advance the plot. Usually by talking to the right NPC, or finding key items, or finding information that tells you where to go next. It was heavily exploration based, and didn’t hold your hand at all. SMT3 brought the series to full 3D, but again had a big focus on exploring dungeons and solving puzzles. SMT3’s setting was that of a wasteland, but the wasteland itself was a classic SMT world map, while the locations were either towns or dungeons. SMT4 flipped things and mixed “some” dungeon crawling, with a world map recreation of Tokyo, where each building/location within Tokyo was a dungeon like location to explore. It was more about searching the city and accepting job requests, and less about the actual dungeons. 

SMTV takes the exploration based gameplay of the previous entries in the series, but applies it to an “open world” instead of using a world map or dungeon format. The world is broken up into multiple maps, and each map has multiple zones within it. There are no loading screens within the maps, but thanks to the Netherworld being the ruins of Tokyo, ruined buildings, mountains, and other debris block your path. This is actually where the dungeon crawling element from past games come into play, as sometimes getting to your destination is a puzzle on it’s own. 

You might see an item you want sitting on top of a building, but how do you get to it? You can look at the sky view map option to get a better look at the area, but even then you can only see so far. Ultimately you might have to travel to the opposite side of the area, make your way up onto a highway system, run along said highway, jump off onto a ledge below, and then platform your way across other ruined buildings until you reach your destination. It can be pretty complicated at times, with some paths being flat out hidden until you uncover them. Of course, none of this would matter if the rewards weren’t worth it, but thankfully they are.

The World’s Collectibles

Before getting into the mechanics of the game, it’s important to understand that everything in the world is there to help you, and sometimes these items are key to actually surviving. “Relics” are vending machines scattered throughout the world that provide you with different items that can be sold, while golden sphere shaped treasure chests can be broken to give you unique items that can help you on your journey. These items can range from healing items, to stat increase items, to unique key items that unlock new abilities. They are for sure worth collecting, and often are placed in areas where you’ll possibly need the item the most.

Anther collectible is a little demon creature called a “Miman.” These Miman are hidden across the entire world, with 200 of them to collect. Talking to them provides you with a little bit of dialogue, and also grants you “glory” points to be used to unlock new abilities (more on this later). Collecting a set amount of Miman will grant you other rewards as well, so it’s always worth shooting for that next milestone.

Demon Navigators are friendly demons that will follow you around the open world, and can uncover Search Points. These Search Points can contain a wide verity of items, including healing items and upgrade items, or uncover special demons that grant bonus exp or items when you defeat them. They can also uncover the new “Magatsu Rails” which provide shortcuts to different parts of the map, or grant access to completely new locations. (These were added for Vengeance.)

Petrified Demons are also hidden across the maps, and are giant stone statue like monsters that grant large EXP boosts to your party upon finding them. They are worth finding, and a fast way to level up your party, but they can only be used once so you might not always want to use them right away.

Abscesses are giant red monstrosities that are hidden throughout the world, and summon waves of strong enemies to take you down! By killing the waves (or avoiding them) and fighting the final set of enemies, you can take down the abscess and unlock a new set of “Miracle” skills to learn (more on this later as well). They are a critical part of developing the main character, and something you don’t want to miss. Abscesses can be fought in any order, but the skills they unlock are tied to each specific one. So if you kill them out of order, you can unlock skills that you can’t learn until you have the previous skills unlocked first. There’s no skipping ahead.

The final type of collectible is actually the first thing you come across. Leylines are checkpoints that give you access to a wide verity of features, and allow you to teleport across the map. Originally SMTV only allowed you to save at Leylines also, but Vengeance introduced the ability to save anywhere making this saving feature a bit pointless. Even so, everything else the Leylines offers is crucial.

Collecting Demons & The Turn Press System:

Although the Vengeance path provides you with human party members, your main party is actually made up of the “demons” you come across in the Netherworld. Upon running into them, or hitting them with your sword, you will be brought into a turn based battle where you have two options. 1. Either attack and kill them, or 2. Talk with them and maybe get them to join your side.


Every demon has its own personality based upon who/what the demon is. To be clear, a “demon” in SMT isn’t technically a demon in the usual use of the word. Anything that’s from a religion or mythology or folklore is classified as a demon, with only some of them being “legit” demons. For example, you can run into the Sand Man, which isn’t a “demon,” but then you have things like the succubus which are. Knowing the history of these creatures can help you recruit them, as you’ll have multiple options of what to say when you talk to them. Say the wrong thing? The demon might attack and kill you. Say the right thing? Then you’ve got yourself a party member! Sometimes demons in your party might step in to help you as well, so that's always a nice surprise.

This is the core part to the game’s party system, but is also only the surface of the whole demon system.

Abilities and Stats

Each demon, as well as the main character, has their own set of skills and abilities. Each character only has so many skill slots open, and these skill slots must be used by all forms of abilities. Attack skills, buff skills, debuff skills, and passive skills — they all take up a skill slot. This means you have to balance out your party and spread out the abilities they learn, as sometimes having a passive skill can be more important than learning yet another attack. 

For example, if a demon is weak to electricity but can learn a passive skill that makes them resistant to electricity? There’s no reason not to give up a skill slot to unlock that. It’s worth it. On the other hand, what if that demon had really good attacks? Well, you’ll have to figure out what you can give up, and what you can delegate to another member of the party. It requires some planning, but thankfully the Essence system makes things a bit easier.

Collecting Essences

An Essence in SMTV is a unique item that can either be found, gained from side quests, or gained from using specific demons a lot. An Essence contains the traits and abilities of whatever demon it is associated with, and by using it you can actually transfer those abilities onto a completely different demon (or onto the main character)! This means that you can not only alter your main character's element resistances, but you can also freely change up your whole party's abilities as needed. Have a demon you enjoy using, but it doesn't know the attacks you want? Give it the Essence of a demon that DOES have those attacks/abilities, and you're set! It's an easy system to use, and although Essences are consumed upon use, they can easily be gained back with a little bit of farming.

But exactly how is all of this put into use during actual combat? Well...

Turn Press Battles

The Turn Press system is pretty unique. It's simple to understand, but it's something that needs to be mastered to complete the game. Basically at the start of a turn, you can take four actions. (One attack per party member.) If your attack hits an enemy's weakness, or if you land a critical hit, you gain an extra turn. If you manage to use your initial four actions to hit a weakness each time, then you can end up taking a maximum of eight actions in a single turn.

On the flip side, the enemies follow these same rules! If they hit your party's weakness, they get an extra turn, and sometimes there's special conditions where they can gain more turns based on their abilities. The key to avoiding this is to cover your party's weaknesses by bringing the right demons with you to a fight, so that you can resist the incoming attacks. If an enemy hits you with an element you are resistant to, or if you are lucky enough to dodge an enemy attack, then it'll actually take turns away from the enemy. Those four actions they could take at the start of their turn? They could possibly completely forfeit their turn completely if they mess up. And ultimately, that's what your goal is!

Again, the same applies to you as well. If you hit an enemy with an attack they are resistant to, then you'll lose some of your turn. Use an attack that hits multiple enemies at once and they are all resistant to said attack? You just gave up your turn completely. It becomes very important to know what abilities you should or shouldn't be using, but thankfully the game does record known weaknesses once you discover what they are. Yes it can take some trial and error, but this game is all about learning how the Turn Press system works, so that you can overcome any challenge in your way.

The Tools You Need

The thing about SMT games is the fact that you can never truly get stuck. In general knowing the mechanics of the game is how you'll win, while leveling up will only really assist you in unlocking new content. What demons you can take with you are tied to the main character's level, but having stronger demons isn't always the answer to winning in this game. Having one with higher stats will never outclass a demon that has the abilities and elemental resistances needed for a fight, and usually you can find exactly the right demon you need close by.

There's no denying that the fights in this game can become challenging. There will be fights where you might get killed within the first couple of turns, but that'll teach you nearly everything you need to know to come prepared. You'll see the elements the boss is using, you'll possibly know what they are weak against, and a little looking around the map in that general area is typically enough to find a demon (or two) that is resistant to that boss. Mixed with the items you can find laying around the map, and the Essences you've picked up, there's nothing actually holding you back from winning. It's just recognizing what you need to win.

Although, sometimes demons are better off being obtained another way, and that way can also help give you an edge...

Demon Fusion

Demon Fusion is one of the services offered at the "World of Shadows" that can be accessed via the Leylines. Here not only can you view past demons and register your current ones, but you can also merge two demons together to form a completely new one! This new demon can inherit abilities from the two that were used to create it, but there are sometimes limitations on what can or cannot be traded over. Using this system though you can often create a demon that has one of each elemental attack, or you can even transfer element resistances over to cover up a demon's weakness.

This actually becomes your main source of demons in the game, with a lot of the ones you find in the wild mainly being used to create new ones entirely. Of course this also means that sometimes harder bosses will expect you to come at them with demons you've created, so it's not always 100% clear on what you should be doing in a fight. But again, this relates back to understanding the game's mechanics, and simply checking what demons can be created from the in game list will help tip you off on what you may or may not need for the upcoming fight. 


On top of everything else going on, there's another system in play that can help give you an edge in battle. "Magatsuhi" is an energy source that plays a key role in the story, but also helps you out in battle. An energy bar at the top right of the screen shows you how much you have obtained, and it increases from either picking it up in the open world, or by doing specific actions in battle. Once the bar is filled, you can then use it in battle to pull off special attacks that give you an edge.

By default the main character has an ability that makes it so all attacks for the next set of turns will be critical. This is a very helpful ability, but it's only one of many! The others however, aren't as simple to use. Not only do you have to have the correct types of demons in your party to use these abilities, but you also have to unlock "talismans" to be able to use these skills. Talismans can be found throughout the game, with most of them being rewarded for completing side quests, so it makes doing the extra content well worth it. Others can also be gained by simply talking to the correct NPCs, while others are unlocked under special conditions. Either way, it's worth collecting them all, and knowing which ability is best to use and when.

Accessing the Leylines

As previously mentioned, Leylines were originally the only way to save in SMTV, but now their main use comes from the locations they can now take you, and what can be done at each of these places. They too become key to making it through the game, and it's important that you check back often.

The World of Shadows

Besides being used for Demon Fusion, the World of Shadows is where you can also resummon old demons you got rid of, or use a new feature called Apotheosis. Apotheosis uses the "glory" given to you from Miman and Amalgam that can be found across the open world, and allows you to learn "Miracles." These Miracles are "gift's from God" that provide you with a wide verity of passive upgrades. These upgrades range from having increased stats in specific elements, to unlocking key features like adding additional party member slots. These abilities help give you an edge both in and outside of battle, and are bonuses that should be chosen carefully. Although it's eventually possible to unlock them all, it's not something that will be done in a single playthrough.

Cadaver’s Hollow

Cadaver’s Hollow is the main "shop" in SMTVV. Here you can buy a verity of items to help you on your adventure, and even purchase Essences for a high price. The Hollow is somewhere you want to check often because the stock is constantly updating throughout the game, and it's where you can redeem your rewards for hitting Miman milestones.

Demon Haunt

The Demon Haunt feature is completely new for Vengeance, and adds both to the gameplay and to the story. At the Demon Haunt, your current party members (both human and demon) stand around the area, and are open to be spoken to. Some will provide you with extra lore or comment on current events in the story, but demons you've become close to by using a bunch can also give you rewards here. Sometimes the rewards are stat boosts to that demon's core stats, while other times the rewards are actual items you can use to help you through the game. Either way it's important that the Haunt be checked often, as you will constantly be getting something new there.

On the other hand, one of the more unique aspects of the Haunt is being able to talk to your other half. By sitting on a bench, you can speak to Aogami. While most of the time these conversations will just add a bit more to the game's story, the "event" discussions will reward you with free stat points as well. These chats happen after major plot points in the game, and after seeing them you'll be able to distribute an extra three points into whatever stat you wish. Normally you can only add one stat point per level up, so an additional three for just talking to Aogami is a pretty significant boost.

Returning to Tokyo

The final main aspect of the Leyline is using it to travel to previously visited ones. This means you can access other Netherworld maps, but it also means you can return to the original Tokyo as well. Here NPCs can be talked to throughout the game, with some special side quests opening up once in awhile as well. It's something worth checking from time to time, and not just when the game's story forces you to head back.

The Length and Difficulty

So, after fully understanding exactly what Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is, a lot of people want to know two things... How long is the game, and exactly how hard is it really?

Well, there's not really a clear cut answer to either, as the game can be as long as you want it to be, or as hard as you want to make it as well.

With the game having two full story paths, with multiple endings on each, there's a minimum of two playthroughs to see the "main" story. The Creation route splits off at one point where you're given choices to make, and you can technically make save files at these branches to reload to. Vengeance on the other hand tracks all of your answers throughout the playthrough, and then gives you an ending based on your overall choices. This means Vengeance requires two full playthroughs to actually do it all, while Creation can be reloaded to save some time. However, due to the game's unique NG+ system, where nearly everything carries into your next playthrough, you actually miss out on rewards by not reaching the end and making a clear save.

On top of this NG+ system, there's a new mode where the entire world gets set to level 150 as well, which is basically a mode that fully relies on the game's mechanics to survive. It's great for challenging long time fans, and those who have done everything else the game has to offer, but it can be made easier thanks to difficulty settings... Which actually applies to the rest of the game as well.

Playing on normal isn't too difficult overall. Yes you'll run into challenges, but there's nothing you can't overcome. If you do find it to be too hard however, there is an easier setting that can be switched to to make things more manageable. It doesn't make the game so easy that you won't have any challenge, but it'll lessen some of the load that normal has. If that still isn't enough though, there's an even lower difficulty setting that makes it so you can basically one hit kill every enemy in the game. It ensures that everyone can beat the game, but also technically can be used for farming or future playthroughs. On the other hand, the harder modes WILL require nearly perfect knowledge of the game, and will require that you do most of the extra content to get tools that you need to survive.

As for the extra content, the game is loaded with 90+ side quests, hundreds of items to find and collect, the whole Miman system, and other hidden things to find. If you were to fully explore every map doing everything, the game can easily take 100 hours or more in one playthrough. My first playthrough of the Vengeance path took roughly 35 hours, and that was with me doing a little more than half of the side quests, and uncovering most of the maps, but not collecting every single thing. I ended the first playthrough with 120 Miman out of 200, and really only had to do some grinding in the final dungeon when I found myself to underleveled to recruit the new demons. That was actually a pretty fast first run, and could've easily taken double that time if I wasn't saving extras for my future playthroughs, or if I wasn't already familiar with SMT in general.

That being said, the claims of Vengeance being a "full new game" with a "80 hour long story" really isn't off the mark. A playthrough of the Vengeance path could easily take more than 80 hours to complete, and most of it's content is in fact brand new. Sure, you're doing more of the same things from the base game, but the story is completely different, there are full new locations, and a lot of other extras and side quests hidden around that are brand new. It really is a game of it's own, and is worth it for both players of the original, and newcomers.

The Light and the Dark

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is a solid JRPG. It's core mechanics are flawless, with a large verity of demons to recruit and add to your party. The game is jammed packed full of lore, and it is loaded with content. It's a game that's actually two games in one, with multiple endings, and a lot of new features that greatly expanded it from it's original version. Pretty much every downside to the original has been corrected here, and it has something to offer RPG fans of all skill levels and interests. That being said, it's important to understand what type of game this actually is. It's "issues" actually come from people maybe wanting it to be something that it isn't, and that's not really the game's fault.

For example, this is not a dialogue or cutscene heavy game. It's a story heavy game, sure, but the story isn't told through 30 + hours of cutscenes like many games out there. Those who expect something like Persona 5 especially would be let down, as SMTVV is not the same type of game. The open world aspects can be a bit frustrating at times as well, and those who prefer the traditional dungeon crawling gameplay may be let down to hear that there's only a handful "standard" dungeons in the entire game. The open areas serve as a replacement for the dungeon crawling in this one, with traversal being a puzzle itself. Personally the only thing I wish were different is the addition of the second Nahobino form that was advertised along with Vengeance. It's a really cool form, and it can't be brought over into NG+ with you. It's exclusive to the Vengeance route, and that's just sad...

None of this makes the game bad though! Nor can you blame the game for any of it. SMTVV knows exactly what it is, and it embraces it's gameplay to the fullest. It's a long game with hundreds of monsters to collect, in depth party customization, and plenty of reasons to keep playing even after the credits roll. It's a game that JRPG fans shouldn't pass up, but only if they know what they are in for. Don't play this game expecting something it's not, and love it for what it is! A great JRPG.

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