Despite being one of the longer running JRPG franchises, the Megami Tensei series often gets pushed aside for it’s newer more hip spin off Persona. In November we finally got to see a new mainline Shin Megami Tensei game launch on a Console since 2003’s SMTIII: Nocturne. Let’s have a look at SMTV on the Nintendo Switch.
This current title sees you control a high-school student who starts to investigate some sighting of demons in a tunnel. Once in this tunnel an earthquake hits and you find yourself in an alternate Tokyo and things only get weirder from there. You find yourself near death you are fused with a demon and then your adventure really begins.
If you’re used to the franchise you’ll settle in quite quickly, but for newer players the main story points can be few and far between, which is a bit of a struggle when you’re drip fed. I found myself not really resonating with many of the characters due to this. You have no real connection with them with the lack of exposition, and the themes in the game didn’t really hit home as well as I’d have liked.
The game visually looks really nice, the style works really well on the Switch and doesn’t end up being too demanding. The game still struggles to hit a consistent 30fps but you’ll notice this less and less as you play through. The open world bits do see the main part of the frame drops so whilst you do spend a lot of the time in the open world, the battles are where your performance peaks.
The game does put you into open world sections for the majority, each of these contains your main quest line as well as sub-quests, collectables and “abscesses” which act as blocks in your path. These will usually contain a group of enemies you need to defeat before you need to move on. Obviously with RPG’s you have a giant amount of bosses you’ll need to face, there’s a great number in the main story and even more that you don’t necessarily have to fight but if you’re a completionist you’re going to see these eventually. The amount of content here is absolutely mad, probably at least 40 hours if you’re getting a good chunk of the game done, without looking at the alternative endings, side quests, collectables which again will give you a great amount of additional content.
Speaking of bosses, the demons come in all shapes and sizes, where from what I learn some are returning from the previous entries in the franchise and some are new and fresh, I did want to befriend King Frost but alas he was a sub-boss and it wasn’t meant to be. Each of the “normal” demons have unique things to say when you try and recruit, and some of what they say is quite humorous I vastly recall being called a weirdo by one of them. So I defeated it easily.
Combat did however feel quite nice, the combat system was fairly easy to use, and ended up being quite in depth. The game is quite forgiving if you do die, you’re able to resurrect your team outside of battle fairly easily and you can get back right on with your adventure. I felt early on trying to recruit demons was a bit more luck based but as I got deeper in I realised there are a few factors making me more or less able to recruit.
The game overall is pretty challenging the combat has a decent amount of depth, though the story is a bit weak compared to other titles in the genre. Looking at SMTV in an unbiased way, there’s a very well made RPG here. If you’ve not tried this franchise but played Persona, or if you’re going in totally blind you’re gonna be ok here. The combat was fine, no huge complaints about the combat system, the game visually holds up despite its performance issues, audio is all good. the main issues I found were with the big gaps of time between the story, which was a tad bit weak and obviously the Switch does struggle a bit with performance.