Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance review

by on June 12, 2024
Reviewed On
Also Tested On
Release Date

July 14, 2024


As far as I’m concerned, Atlus’ Persona series is the gold standard when it comes to turn-based RPGs. Everything from the combat to the life sim elements just work perfectly for me, and I’d struggle to think of any games I’d rather play when I’m looking for a chunky RPG to sink my teeth into. These games are technically a spinoff of the Shin Megami Tensei games though, which is another series full of monsters and masterfully crafted RPG combat with a somewhat darker tone and generally harder difficulty. Although I’ve always appreciated these more traditional RPGs when I’ve played them, it wasn’t until Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance that I truly considered them all time greats.

Our teen protagonist is having a normal school day, commuting through Tokyo and chatting with school friends. At least until a gruesome murder blocks his path and he has to change his usual route. This leads to our hero getting caught in a cave in, and waking up in a totally different world. In this apocalyptic version of Tokyo strange and dangerous monsters roam the land, and gods and demons of folklore struggle to live in harmony. An ordinary school kid would have no chance of surviving in this wasteland, but fortunately something happens which will change his life forever.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance

A demonic saviour of this world with all sorts of powers decides to fuse with our protagonist, and turns him into a powerful being known as a Nahobino. Now with the power to strike down the demons who get in your way, you begin a quest to make your way back to the world you left, while also changing the world you’re stuck in forever. While not nearly as story focused as a Persona game, Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance has an incredibly intriguing setting that I loved spending time in.

As someone who has played a whole bunch of games in this series before, the thing that immediately jumped out as special about this entry is the exploration of the world. The wasteland environment feels just the right amount of open and sprawling, with all manner of secrets and side quests hiding around the corner of each crumbling building. There’s just as much danger as there is loot though, so you’d better be ready to fend off pixies and mothmen.

The combat in Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is just as well thought out and compelling as all the other SMT/Persona games, with a focus on hitting the weaknesses of enemies to take extra moves. Figuring out the weaknesses of each enemy and taking advantage of them is as compelling as ever, but that’s really only the basic level of combat. Alongside this you have all sorts of powerful buffs you can cast which really change the game, healing abilities when things go downhill (which they absolutely will), and special moves that ensure maximum damage and crits for extra moves. Even with all these at your disposal though you can’t win alone, and will need to recruit a few pals to survive.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance

Recruiting demons is nothing new for the Shin Megami Tensei series, but it’s just as good here as in past entries. Almost every monster you fight can be recruited by having a chat with them in battle, but they’re all looking for something different. Arrogant demons might want you to respond by telling them how intimidating they are, whereas kindly fairies want to know they’ll be teaming up with someone with good intentions. If you impress a demon accordingly they’ll come with you and can join your party of four, which as I’m sure you can imagine is better than fighting solo.

Just getting lowly demons from the open world probably won’t be enough to handle the toughest bosses waiting in the wastelands, and eventually you’ll need to fuse them together at the World of Shadows. Combining different demons and choosing which skills to pass down the generations is as entertaining as it is important for your success, and as long as your protagonist is a high enough level to control a new demon you’re free to combine all the best supernatural buddies to create the ultimate team of beasties.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance

You’ll need to make yourself stronger as well as your team, and this is done by either absorbing the powers of essences you collect to obtain new skills, or by spending glory on miracles. You’ll find this glorious resource by scouring the apocalyptic wastes, and you can use it to gain all sorts of hugely useful upgrades. Everything from extra move slots to boosted proficiency in certain elements can be obtained as long as you’ve got the goods to do so, and because of this you’ll want every bit of glory you can gather.

Now if you played Shin Megami Tensei V before this upgraded version of the game then you’re probably familiar with all this, but Vengeance has a whole lot more to offer alongside. The all new story route is entirely different to the original game (and we’re talking entire new characters which are properly integrated into both the story and cut-scenes), and can be chosen from the start as part of an early cutscene.

There are also huge new areas, new demons, the ability to save anywhere (which is just so helpful), and a whole lot more in this wonderful package. There’s even a new map option that lets you see a birds-eye view which can make exploring and collecting goodies so much better in certain areas. To call Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance the definitive version of the game is beyond an understatement, and it’s just a delight for both new and returning fans. The volume of new features, bosses, and everything else added makes this one of the largest “re-ups” that I can recall Atlus ever doing, and yes, that includes Persona 5 Royal.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance level cap

As Shin Megami Tensei V first released as a Switch exclusive, it wasn’t the most technically impressive game (both visually and in terms of framerate). Getting to play the game on PC has eliminated all of those issues, and if you happen to be a Steam Deck owner you’ll be treated to a silky smooth 60fps experience from start to finish. After playing the game on Deck I can’t imagine playing it anywhere else, so those of you lucky enough to have that lovely handheld will have a great time.

There aren’t many things to complain about when it comes to Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance. The story isn’t exactly revolutionary if you’ve played other games in the series, but the focus on combat means that’s not a huge deal. Some will also be put off by the difficulty of the game, but with the option to pick new easier difficulties that’s less of an issue than ever.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is a superb turn-based RPG that takes the series to new heights. The new additions to the game are both numerous and wonderful, the combat is as compelling as it ever has been, and the world is a joy to explore. RPG fans would be foolish to miss out on this instant classic, so make sure you don’t.


A phenomenal RPG with great combat
It's a joy to explore the open world
Loads of great new features in this version
Looks and runs wonderfully


The story is a little by the numbers
Tougher than most on the default difficulty

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is an absolutely wonderful RPG, with loads of new features that you'd be foolish to miss.