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Shin Megami Tensei V announced - Switch Exclusive


HarMGM
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Yeah, I haven't taken enough time to really piece together my thoughts on this yet, but it really is fantastic. The gameplay/story balance is well-judged, it's aesthetically glorious (not just in terms of the apocalyptic world and demon designs; the music is brilliant as well), the demon dialogues are brilliantly done (particularly the occasional moments where one of your demons steps in and has a conversation with an enemy), and the difficulty is very well judged.

 

Also, collecting the mimans is surprisingly enjoyable — as someone who generally shies away from 'collecting things' in games (particuliarly open world games), the fact they're all hidden in relatively logical locations; that getting to them is often more challenging in terms of danger rather than needing bloody-minded scouring of a map; and that the rewards are meaningful (plus the dialogue somewhat revealing) makes them appealing to chase down. The only other collectable I can think of that came close to engaging me as much has been the agility orbs in Crackdown.

 

I do think SMT IV is still a more 'perfect' game — in terms of really focussing down on its ambitions; it's an oppressive, obtuse game in a way which supports its narrative better than SMT V's slightly more friendly approach — but SMT V's more accessible design, more open world, gives it much broader appeal, which is its own strength. SMT IV I hesitate to recommend unless I really know a person's tastes; SMT V I would recommend to anyone with an interest in JRPGs.

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Yeah I agree, it's probably the most 'friendly' installment in the series yet. Everything is very streamlined, but without losing the mystery and challenge.  It really feels like a lot of thought went into every little aspect, you can tell they spent a lot of time making it. I also love hunting the mimans. It really makes you spend time in an area, get to know it. 

 

So yeah, it's been a long wait but so far the game is meeting/exceeding my expectations. And they were quite high.

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This is exactly the kind of game that is going to appeal to about 12 people outside of Japan, but I'm also loving it. I've previously completed the original Strange Journey on DS which I adored; just such an evocative, weird, downright oppressive dungeon crawler with a dash of Pokemon. I've only just got to the second major area in this, but it's got that same sweet, inimitable, uncanny atmosphere. The music does a lot of the work, brilliant stuff.

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I love the music in the school bit, especially how it intensifies during battles :wub:.

 

I also like how more demons seem to have unique skills in this. It really helps to prevent them from becoming a list of skills/affinities with different skins. And it helps that they managed to really bring them to life in 3D, some are really wonderfully animated.

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Played a bit further, just killed

Spoiler

Loup-Garou

He's not particularly hard but first time I fought him he completely wiped the floor with me. In a typical SMT way I then, armed with knowledge, proceeded to fuse and form a party tailored to his weaknesses. He didn't stand a chance in round 2. Very satisfying :).

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Yep, every demon in the SMT games is an existing god/demon/fairy/folk character from various myths, religions and fairy tales; the visual designs and personalities may often have taken flights of fancy, but the names are very much not 'JRPG name generator' ones!

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Ah! I knew it was the case for the demons but somehow not for this guy. I feel unworthy as a fan now :(.

 

Edit: that wiki page is really interesting. And I love this art of him fighting the fire-breathing man of the Tuatha Dé Danann:

 

 

Heroes_of_the_dawn_(1914)_(14750481494).jpg

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I also had to do a double-take when seeing that name. And gave him a much more succinct name when I narrowly beat him and then Yuzu crashed and had to go at him again :coffee:

 

I've just sort of stopped playing at the boss after that fight. A combination of requiring to grind, being in the right mindset to do that and stability when playing it.

 

I still like the game, but it's not got its claws in me like IV yet.

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I am very much in the right flow. Setting up my party for specific bosses and then taking them exploring for a bit to gain some experience takes time but it's very satisfying. It doesn't feel like grinding so far.

 

Also playing it with headphones on, in the dark on my oled switch makes for a very immersive experience :wub:.

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I think I've given up on this:

 

Spoiler

I'm about 40 hours in and in Taito but feel like I'm severely underlevelled. I'm around level 58 and the bosses in this area are around level 70. It's a shame because I don't think I'm too far from the end and I was enjoying it. I just can't seem to get up the motivation to grind. 

 

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Had a look at the Nintendo Year in Review, and my word if it doesn't paint a picture of how much SMT made up of my Switch gameplay for the year:

 

image.thumb.png.d97ac634fea180547431c7388ea4c6a3.png

 

(November is 100% SMT, and is obviously missing out all the SMT V I've played in December; why they don't put out the Year In Review at the start of January I'll never understand)

 

Edit: though, actually, I've just realised it's wrong; evidently it doesn't track physical games from other regions, as I've 30ish hours on Great Ace Attorney from a bit earlier in the year that aren't showing.

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13 hours ago, Wiper said:

Had a look at the Nintendo Year in Review, and my word if it doesn't paint a picture of how much SMT made up of my Switch gameplay for the year:

 

image.thumb.png.d97ac634fea180547431c7388ea4c6a3.png

 

(November is 100% SMT, and is obviously missing out all the SMT V I've played in December; why they don't put out the Year In Review at the start of January I'll never understand)

 

Edit: though, actually, I've just realised it's wrong; evidently it doesn't track physical games from other regions, as I've 30ish hours on Great Ace Attorney from a bit earlier in the year that aren't showing.

I'm on about 160 hours in smt:v :ph34r:

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is GOTY for me. It's compelling, addictive and challenging.

First playthrough finished in

Spoiler

95 hours.

 

Time for some New Game Plus.

 

On 13/12/2021 at 00:32, grungekid said:

I've taken the Nahabino balms but I have like 59 grimoire. I'd need to get my Nahabino levelled up to be able to use those though. How close am I to the end? Trying to decide if it'd be a shame for me to just quit at this point if I'm not that far.

Well, if you really want to know...
 

Spoiler

quite close to the end as Taito is the last major area. If you're not interested in the side stuff then there is only 1 major mission to tackle.

I was stuck in the same way you were for a bit. Pushed through by battling the lvl 72 Orochis in the area with some lightning attacks and a bit of luck. They give you a fair bit of exp but hit pretty hard. Gospel items should be able to get you up a few levels if you have those.

 

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Very much enjoying this as well. Apart from the awful save system, tonight I did a load of stuff, beat one of those red eye things, levelled up a bit, pushed the story along a bit. However while I was doing that I picked up some items for a side quest thought oh I will hand that in on my way to the save point, the npc was like thanks for that but now I am going to have to beat your head in with my op fists and kill you all in 2 hits, so now I gotta do it all again, sigh. Good job it’s fun to play.

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To be fair, the save system in this is not bad at all compared to older games. Because of the speed of the main character and the fact you can avoid enemies a savepoint is usually not further than 30 seconds away. I usually start to get nervous after 15 / 20 minutes and just make a quick detour to the nearest one.

 

Contrast that with going through some grueling dungeon in SMT III for more than an hour with random encounters and enemies that can one hit kill you, no way to go back and not knowing when the next save point is coming up. 

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  • 5 weeks later...

Can any fans of the Shin Megami series tell me a good starting point for playing the games? I’ve got a DS / 3DS so wanted to play the earlier games in the series before giving V a go. I’m not 100% sure on the timeline as a couple seem to be duplicated,

 

Also from videos I’ve seen, and I know literally nothing about the Series, am I right in thinking it’s a lot like Persona? (Which would very much be a good thing)

 

Thanks guys

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My personal favourite is Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne. It's a ps2 game but it's available on the Switch. 

 

The core gameplay is like Persona without the school and social interaction stuff and more focus on dungeon exploration. The atmosphere is great, really nails the post apocalyptic, weird, mysterious setting. It's pretty unique and the thing I love most about it. 

 

Gameplay wise it's pretty hardcore: random battles, infrequent save points and high difficulty can make your life hard. This is part of the experience, but it can be a little frustrating sometimes so you should be aware before going in. 

 

Other than Nocturne you could play SMT IV or SMT IV Apocalypse. I only played the latter and while I enjoyed it, it didn't really have that atmosphere that makes me love Nocturne. 

 

In fact I reckon SMT V is probably a really good starting point, it has a lot quality of life improvements over older titles that will ease you in. It's also really really good. 

 

Edit: also the stories are unconnected so you're safe to start with V in that sense. 

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9 minutes ago, Sane said:

Gameplay wise it's pretty hardcore: random battles, infrequent save points and high difficulty can make your life hard. This is part of the experience, but it can be a little frustrating sometimes so you should be aware before going in. 

 

And if it becomes too much you can lower the difficulty in game. Which is what I've done because I'm icredibly shit at SMT when compared to Persona for some reason.

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@CovisGod At the risk of repeating Sane's post (I was partway through this when it was posted so figured I'd finish ^_^ ), that's a trickier couple of questions to answer than you might think! Last question first: yes and no.

 

Persona is a spin-off of SMT, so they do share some major similarities: primarily, the whole demon compendium and fusing mechanic, and the "Press Turn" combat system, where player and enemy elemental strengths and weaknesses can lead to extended/shorter turns, so exploiting the enemy and protecting your own vulnerabilities is crucial.

 

However, Persona takes massive influence from visual novels, and is much heavier on dialogue than SMT; meanwhile the life simulation aspects of Personae 3 onwards are completely absent from SMT. Funnily enough, though, all the SMT games skew heavily towards branching stories, where your decisions determine the ending and (generally) where/who you fight come the end of the game.

 

As to which to begin with — honestly, probably V, but it's not entirely clear cut. V is definitely the kindest SMT to date: far easier to save the game, far less punishing in terms of demon recruitment, and the open world making retreats to a save point after a difficult combat far easier. Those alone make it the most accessible starting point.

 

It's also probably the least verbose game in the modern series, however. In terms of writing, III probably has best characters in the series, and remains reasonably accessible. The two IV games on the other hand have the most challenging (but satisfying) dungeon crawling, the most opaque setting and really go all in on the series' "characters as ciphers for philosophical aspects" aspect. They're actually my favourites in the series, but I don't know I that I'd recommend them as an intro.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Because I'm an impatient sort I bought myself a Switch to play this. I'm loving it - about 40 hours in, and noodling around obsessively with fusions. Great music, especially the set-piece battles. Like the open world, expansive enough to enjoy exploring but not overwhelming or stuffed with markers and collectibles. I have to say though, the performance is frequently abominable. Characters and demons looks great, but the environments sometimes astonishingly poor. Like, PS2-level at best, and the framerate can take such dives it almost becomes a slideshow for a second or so. Bring on the PC version jeez.

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  • 4 months later...

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