Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance review – A welcome return to Da’at

Noelle Corbett

Nearly three years after releasing Shin Megami Tensei V as a Nintendo Switch exclusive, Atlus is bringing the Nahobino’s adventure through Da’at to more platforms with an enhanced release.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance being a rerelease with new content won’t surprise fans of other Atlus titles – after all, the last three Persona games have received at least one enhanced and expanded version. However, while those titles added a bit of content to the middle or end of the storyline, SMT V: Vengeance brings with it an entirely new path, essentially containing two games in one package.

That means whether you played the Nintendo Switch release or not, there’s plenty of content here to enjoy. Though Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is still, at its core, the same game, its additions and improvements make it the far superior way to experience the adventure.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Key Details

  • Price: $59.99
  • Developer: Atlus
  • Release Date: June 14, 2024
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One & PC

Traveling the path of Vengeance

As mentioned, Shin Megami Tensei offers two distinct paths – each of which will take you around 80 hours to complete. First, there’s the Canon of Creation, which is the original SMT V storyline. New to this release is the Canon of Vengeance, with the main difference being the impact of the new character Yoko Hiromine.

I’ll confess I did not have 160 hours to spare to play both of Vengeance’s storylines for this review, but I did play the original release when it launched back in late 2021. Having said that, I do feel the new Vengeance path is the superior storyline.

First, the similarities. Both Canons center on a normal high school student who finds himself in Da’at, a post-apocalyptic alternate version of Tokyo. He’s saved by the mysterious Aogami, fusing with him to become a Nahobino – a rare and forbidden creature that’s neither human nor demon.

Here, the Nabohino learns of a long-running war between angels and demons, as well as Bethel, a demon-fighting organization that seeks to protect humanity and keep them out of the conflict. They’ll meet and work with other students who have ended up in Da’at for one reason or another.

As in past SMT games, this all culminates in the player deciding how to remake the world, with several different endings available in each storyline.

What really sets Vengeance apart is Yoko, a mysterious girl players meet early on in Da’at. Yoko adds a fresh perspective to the game, starting out as pretty cynical, especially where other people are involved. Despite that, she bonds with the player and their friends, particularly the more traditionally good Tao Isonokami.

Yoko’s presence really helps flesh out the game’s cast, addressing an issue I had with the original release. Initially, I felt that a lot of SMT V’s human characters went underutilized, and the interactions between them felt pretty surface-level.

Vengeance’s new cutscenes and character interactions make everyone feel more multi-faceted this time around, largely thanks to Yoko’s impact. She’s constantly forcing the player and their allies to see situations from a different perspective, which perfectly suits the philosophical SMT franchise.

That’s not to say the writing is without fault. The first half of the game follows pretty similar story beats, so if you didn’t like the original SMT V, Vengeance likely won’t win you over.

There are also some annoyingly repetitive parts – including one quest where I thought I’d close the game if I heard the phrases “fortune teller” and “large crow” one more time.

Overall, Creation is still enjoyable – and I’m personally happy to have played it if only to be able to compare it with Vengeance. It’s worthwhile for any diehard SMT fans, but if you are only going to play one of the paths, let it be the Canon of Vengeance.

A smoother experience in Da’at

Though I did enjoy the new Canon of Vengeance storyline, what stood out even more were the little ways Atlus has improved the experience this time around.

Shin Megami Tensei games are notoriously punishing thanks to the Press Turn combat system, which makes it possible for players or their foes to dominate with a mix of strategy and luck. That makes the ability to save anytime outside of combat a crucial quality of life improvement.

The original SMT V only allowed you to save at leyline founts, and while these are strategically placed and not super rare to come by, I for one remember losing hours of progress after getting caught off guard by a strong foe or an unlucky turn while exploring the world.

Speaking of traversal, Vengeance also makes it much easier to explore Da’at thanks to new rails scattered around the maps. Many are shortcuts that make it easy to return to leylines from remote areas (and vice versa), while others unlock otherwise inaccessible areas.

Plus, while some are clearly placed, others need to be found with demon companions, providing all the more reason to explore every nook and cranny of each map.

Vengeance also helps address some of the game’s repetitiveness. The option to skip or speed up cutscenes is handy if you’re in a rush, replaying the game, or retrying a boss battle, and separating the Auto-Battle options into Auto-Attack (where characters use their basic attack) and Auto-Skill (where they’ll target enemy weaknesses) is helpful for grinding.

All these changes make for a better gameplay experience overall, something that’s just as important as the new Canon of Vengeance.

The Verdict — 4/5

It should come as no surprise that Vengeance is still, at its core, Shin Megami Tensei V. Its new storyline, characters, and quality-of-life improvements will be refreshing for returning players, though likely not enough to sway anyone who didn’t care for the original release.

For those who weren’t able to play the initial Nintendo Switch release, though, Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is a step up and the ideal way to experience the Nahobino’s story.

If you click on a product link on this page we may earn a small affiliate commission.