Atlus and Nintendo pull back the curtain on the Switch’s biggest RPG of 2021. Here are 5 things we love about Shin Megami Tensei V so far.
We’ve known about Shin Megami Tensei V for several years now. The game, which marks the latest installment in Atlus’ long-running JRPG series, was first announced way back in 2017 ahead of the Switch’s worldwide launch. However, it wasn’t until last week, during Nintendo’s E3 2021 presentation, that we got our first substantial look at this hugely anticipated sequel. Now, after poring through the latest trailers and gameplay footage, we’re finally starting to get a feel for what the game is all about. And from what we’ve seen so far, it looks like it’s shaping up to be a worthwhile entry in the Megaten franchise.
Here are five things we love about Shin Megami Tensei V so far.
1. The Nahobino
The SMT series has no shortage of cool character designs. After all, few JRPG protagonists are quite as iconic as Shin Megami III: Nocturne’s Demi-Fiend. Of course, this is thanks in no small part to the efforts of series artists Kazuma Kaneko and Masayuki Doi, who’ve gone on to craft a stable of unforgettable characters and demons over the years. The latest protagonist, the Nahobino, is no exception.
In SMTV, players assume the role of a seemingly average high school student from modern-day Tokyo. However, shortly after being suddenly transported to a post-apocalyptic netherworld, he fuses with the mysterious Aogami to become the Nahobino, a Forbidden Being. With flowing blue hair that trails behind him and a wicked energy sword that emits from his fingertips, the game’s protagonist makes a strong first impression. Nimble and deadly, this enigmatic being looks like a memorable addition to the Shin Megami Tensei universe. And I can’t wait to learn more about him when the game releases this holiday season.
2. SMTV Seems To Give Players More Room To Explore
The Shin Megami Tensei series is near and dear to my heart. However, I must confess that the generally linear nature of its dungeons and overworlds (if you can even call them that) has always bothered me a bit. I want to investigate and get immersed in the world. However, that’s hard to do when a game confines you to claustrophobic corridors or lifeless map screens with bland icons. Thankfully, at least if what we’ve seen so far is any indication, it looks like Shin Megami Tensei V finally addresses this longstanding gripe of mine.
Earlier this week, during Nintendo’s Treehouse broadcast, we got our first real look at what it’s like to explore the game’s setting of Da’at. And, at least from what we can tell of this early footage, it looks like the sense of scale has been dramatically increased. Watching the developers navigate the churning dunes and ruined roadways of this nightmare version of Tokyo reminded me of a post-apocalyptic Xenoblade Chronicles. With a good mix of wide-open areas and branching paths, this new locale looks like it’ll be a blast to traverse. And if that makes for more immersive dungeon-crawling and a world with a greater sense of presence, then I’m all for it.
3. Finding Beauty In Desolation
Of course, size isn’t everything. While the game’s environments seem to be larger than ever, they also look magnificent too. Shin Megami Tensei V‘s world is one of extraordinary contrast. Once-bustling office buildings emerge like silent sentinels from sandy dunes. Lifeless subway trains rest on deserted tracks at their final destinations. We’ve seen visions like this before in SMT games. Take Nocturne‘s world map, for example. But our view of the demonic apocalypse has never been quite so intimate.
As eye-catching as it is, the world isn’t the only thing that looks great about SMTV. From the revamped designs of familiar demons to the flashy effects for your various abilities, developer Atlus genuinely appears to be raising the bar for the series despite the Switch’s lack of raw horsepower.
If the more wide-open outdoor environments look this good, I just can’t wait to see how the interior environments fare. And if the colossal golem that capped off the Treehouse broadcast is any sign of things to come, the bosses are likely going to be spectacular to behold.
4. The Gift of Gab
Fans of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise will feel right at home with many of SMTV‘s core gameplay mechanics. Exploiting elemental weaknesses once again nets you extra turns in battle, and you can fuse demons to create even more powerful allies to join your cause. However, what has me the most excited is the return of Demon Negotiations.
This isn’t a new feature by any means, mind you. After all, Demon Negotiations have long been a staple of mainline SMT games and many Persona titles as well. Still, it’s good to know we’ll once again be able to haggle our way to victory by chewing the fat with Da’at’s demonic denizens. In past games, these exchanges have always been both unpredictable and often hilarious. And learning each demon’s personality traits to get the upper hand in these discussions can be quite addicting — and even quite tense if you’re trying to cajole a creature who’s much more powerful than you. After all, one wrong move can cause your inter-dimensional peace talks to collapse. And when they do, you better be ready for a world of hurt.
That said, I just can’t wait to charm my way through SMTV’s entire bestiary.
5. Goodbye, Randos
Last month, I decided to revisit Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne through the recently released HD remaster. Many of that game’s mechanics remain as rock-solid as they were when the game debuted in 2003. However, I say without any sense of hesitation that random encounters aren’t one of them. Maybe it’s because I’m older now and as a parent, my time is much more limited these days. But man, it’s hard to imagine how I dealt with them back in the game’s heyday.
Thankfully, SMTV follows in the footsteps of its 3DS predecessor, Shin Megami Tensei IV, allowing you to see the enemies on the field. Not only is this handy for anticipating what you’re about to go up against, but it also gives you a fighting chance to avoid encounters altogether if you’re in a hurry and just want to make it to the nearest save point.
Again, this isn’t Atlus reinventing the wheel. But getting confirmation that random battles are indeed a thing of the past is worth celebrating. At least, as far as I’m concerned, and it further cements my love for what’s quickly become my most anticipated game of 2021.
Shin Megami Tensei V is currently in development exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. The game will release on November 12, 2021.
In case you missed the release date trailer, you can find it below:
So, are you looking forward to experiencing Atlus’ next epic this holiday season? If so, you might want to make some room on your console ahead of time. Out of what we’ve seen so far, what has you most excited about the game? As always, we love to hear what you think. Be sure to let us know in the comments below.