Skip to main content

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is darker, harder, and smoother

Three party members stand side by side in Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance.
Atlus

Just when you think a game like Shin Megami Tensei V can’t get any darker, a new version comes for blood.

On June 21, the Nintendo Switch RPG is making a comeback with the souped-up Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance. The updated version brings the former Nintendo console exclusive to PlayStation and Xbox. Vengeance doesn’t just beef up the original’s visuals and performance, though – it’s bringing a whole new story path dubbed Canon of Vengeance. Fans of the original can dig into an entirely fresh narrative about angels and demons, filled with new characters and locations.

It isn’t a small morsel of new content either. Earlier this month, I played two hours of Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance’s new content. The story-driven demo teased an incredibly grim story about retribution that’s sure to spark some raw moral debates. Of course, that’s paired with some hard as nails RPG challenges that have already wiped the floor with me.

Out for blood

My demo was broken up into two hourlong chunks. The first was a more story-focused section (I’d only fight one battle at the end) that gave me an introduction to Canon of Vengeance’s tone and major players. The big addition here is a new character: Yoko Hiromine. When I meet her, I learn that my party found her in the wastelands of the demon-infested Tokyo. She was a student of St. Marina’s Girls High School, where some considered her to be a “saint” since she had the power to exorcize demons. She’s long since dropped out, but she signs up at Jouin High School to stay closer to the protagonist as they look to help Bethel Japan rid the city of monsters.

At first, I can’t get a read on who Yoko is. She seems like a perfectly polite, if chilly, student. It’s one sequence near the end of my first demo that clues me in to her dark side. One day during school, Tao Isonokami asks me to meet her on the dormitory roof. There, she tells me that one of her friends is being bullied. When she asks for advice, I tell her that the best thing she can do is be there for her friend and offer support. It’s a sweet moment … until Yoko butts in.

She has a much more extreme answer: Kill the bullies. It’s a shocking moment that freezes me in my seat as Yoko goes on a dark rant about how victims of abuse want to take revenge. Naturally, Tao and the nameless protagonist are both a little freaked out. That little sequence sets the stage for Canon of Vengeance’s pitch black story, which seems to deal with cycles of violence and punishment.

The protagonist runs through an open world in Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengance.
Atlus

I’d get another taste of that in the second hour of my demo. That half was more focused on familiar combat and exploration, as I ran around an open area filled with enemies and items to pick up. None of that is too different from the gameplay of the base game, but I get a few more story tidbits that intrigue me. Here, I learn that I’m hunting down the Qadištu, a cabal of demonic (or perhaps angelic) women. I learn that the group has been turning people into salt both in the Netherworld and the real world. It’s a biblical act, calling back to a story in which a woman is turned into a pillar of salt as punishment for looking back at the city of Sodom.

You can probably sense a theme here. Canon of Vengeance is all about people getting what’s coming to them — or at least what others think should come to them.

Aside from the new story content, Vengeance brings some tough battles. My first fight against a Qadištu warrior would go south quickly as it tore my party apart. I’d similarly get ripped to shreds by a wandering Mara, an enormous green phallic monster riding a chariot, in the second section. If you thought that creature was intimidating before, wait until you see it chase you down while towering stories above your party.

Jack Frost pulls off an ice attack in Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance.
Atlus

Performance boost

As a cherry on top, Vengeance comes with a serious performance boost on PlayStation and Xbox. I demoed a PlayStation 5 build of the game, which looked cleaner than ever and ran at a smooth 60 frames per second (the Switch version is still 30, though). If you never got around to playing the original when it first came out, patience has turned out to be a virtue. It feels more like a current-generation game now than something squeezed down to fit Nintendo’s limited tech.

At this point, I’m sure players already know whether or not they’re going to dip into Vengeance. It’s a no-brainer for Shin Megami Tensei V fans looking to dive into more story content. If you’ve yet to play it, though, Vengeance is shaping up to be a solid definitive edition that loads an already lengthy RPG up with even more content. Just be prepared for the grim journey it’s about to take you on. It’s pitch black down there.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance launches on June 14 for PlayStati0n 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

Editors' Recommendations

Topics
Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
Monark, a new RPG from former Shin Megami Tensei devs, gets a trailer
Promo art from Monark.

Monark is a new Japanese role-playing game by ex-developers of Atlus' cult classic Shin Megami Tensei series. Teased last week, the new title now has a trailer and tons more details released. An early 2022 release is confirmed via the release trailer and the official site.

MONARK - Announcement Trailer (PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, PC)

Read more
Shin Megami Tensei V release date accidentally leaked by Atlus
shin megami tensei 5 story leak

Shin Megami Tensei V looks like it's coming to the Nintendo Switch on November 11. The release date appears to have accidentally leaked on the official Japanese website for Shin Megami Tensei V.

Shin Megami Tensei is a long-running Japanese roleplaying game series by Atlus that is actually the predecessor to its hit series, Persona. Many of the games in the series are considered cult classics, including the recently remastered, Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne.

Read more
NYT Connections: hints and answers for Thursday, May 23
New York Times Connection game logo.

Connections is the latest puzzle game from the New York Times. The game tasks you with categorizing a pool of 16 words into four secret (for now) groups by figuring out how the words relate to each other. The puzzle resets every night at midnight and each new puzzle has a varying degree of difficulty. Just like Wordle, you can keep track of your winning streak and compare your scores with friends.

Some days are trickier than others. If you're having a little trouble solving today's Connections puzzle, check out our tips and hints below. And if you still can't get it, we'll tell you today's answers at the very end.
How to play Connections
In Connections, you'll be shown a grid containing 16 words — your objective is to organize these words into four sets of four by identifying the connections that link them. These sets could encompass concepts like titles of video game franchises, book series sequels, shades of red, names of chain restaurants, etc.

Read more