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[Preview] Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance

Posted on April 30, 2024 by in Previews, Switch

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance preview

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is certainly one of the more interesting games I have had the chance to play in recent times. It is the definitive-edition of the original game released in November 2021 for Switch. The new version will include all the DLC, but even more significantly, a brand-new story campaign. I admittedly did not have a ton of experience with the franchise until SEGA recently gave me a chance to go hands-on with it for our preview, but this game’s unique story, atmosphere, and solid turn-based elements made it obvious why it’s so well loved by its fans.

The original game was already gorgeous on the Switch, but it has never looked better than what I saw during my preview – which I’ll mention was on the PS5. Overall, the graphics were just incredibly crisp and allowed the art direction to shine. While there was never a jaw dropping vista moment like in games similar to Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the graphics just shone in their general clean nature. This can also can be said with the frame rate, as I did not notice any of the issues that were present in the original version once Switch. Once again, this was just on the PS5, so I cannot verify if the same performance quality will be consistent on all platforms or even throughout the entire experience.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance preview

Obviously beyond technical upgrades, the biggest addition to Vengeance is a brand new story. The additional content continues to unfold the interesting and complex world of the post-apocalyptic Tokyo. From early on the new story does a great job hooking you in by setting up numerous mysteries and plot threads that are begging to be cracked open. Chief among these was a new character named Yoko who, while friendly, has a past cloaked in mystery. One of the more common complaints I heard about the original Shin Megami Tensei V was that it lacked a strong narrative, which I can neither confirm or deny if that will continue to be the case, but there was certainly some promising setup in place.

One of the things that impressed me the most throughout the two-hour demo was the balance between gameplay and story. A common issue I have with a lot of RPGs is I get stuck in cutscenes for too long and end up just itching to get to the gameplay. This was not an issue I experienced will going through the early stages of my session, and especially during the second half of my preview. The cutscenes were there, and long enough to drive the narrative along but not so much that I started to feel antsy to get back to the action. And when there was an elongated cutscene, it was usually balanced out by an equally hefty gameplay section right afterwards.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance preview

As for the gameplay itself, I could not tell much of a difference between it and the original release of Shin Megami Tensei V. Essentially, if you were a fan of the original version’s gameplay you will not be disappointed. There are some small quality-of-life adjustments throughout to make battles and exploration easier, but unfortunately, this is one of the corners where my naivety shows up as I would not have enough experience with either version to nitpick differences. Also in terms of difficulty, SEGA requested everyone play on one of the easier modes for the sake of progression, so I will also abstain from making comments on that front as I do not have a fair assessment.

The last thing I will touch upon is the design of the demons. Shin Megami Tensei of course has been famous over the years for its extremely detailed, unique, and interesting designed demons. I can very much confirm that stays true here, with some incredible designs unlike I have ever seen. Sometimes I felt like bumping into an enemy just to see their designs up close. The only thing stopping me from doing so was my desire to make it to the next part of the story and figure out more about the world I was exploring.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance preview

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance preview

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance seems like it’s truly a unique experience. As a newcomer to the franchise, it was approachable and feels like it could get me into the series. But based on my research from before I attended the preview, it seems like it will have a lot to offer long-time fans as well with its improved story, graphical upgrades, and characters. While there might still be some stuff up in the air that could make or break it in the end, like the quality and depth of the full story, based on the preview I would say this is a very promising definitive edition of the original release.

I also recently got the chance to try out Super Monkey Ball: Banana Rumble ahead of its launch. You can read my impressions here.

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