HomeTrending GamesUnforgiving In The Best Possible Way

Unforgiving In The Best Possible Way

Published on

ADVERTISEMENT


Shin Megami Tensei 5 is immovable from what it wants to be. This is a JRPG dictated by combat and exploration, imbued with a sense of challenge that wouldn’t feel out of place several decades ago. The genre has moved on since then, and Atlus recognises that, enhancing this sequel with a variety of improvements and a modern attitude that learns from the countless spin-offs it helped inspire. It’s an undeniable triumph, but it’s not going to hold your hand.

Persona has long usurped Shin Megami Tensei in the JRPG world, with hardcore followers often demonising casual fans because “they’ve yet to play a real SMT game” and fail to appreciate the legacy that made all of their virtual teenage romances possible. While part of me understands this perspective, it’s gatekeeping in a way that pushes people away for no good reason.

THEGAMER VIDEO OF THE DAY

Related:Chris Pratt Is Runing Everything I Ever Loved

By design, Shin Megami Tensei 5 is a less approachable game. It’s a harder, more uncompromising affair that isn’t afraid to kick you while you’re down and have you spend several hours picking up the pieces. You’ll need to grind for experience and find a way to conquer boss battles that threatens to reset your progress each and every time you fall victim to its barrage of attacks. I’m not talking about the endgame either – SMT 5 is an onslaught from the opening moments, knowingly deliberate in its morbid machinations.


Shin Megami Tensei 5

You play as an unnamed student attending high school in the bustling city of Tokyo. You’re a normal kid who makes friends with a handful of people as you go about your morning commute, attend classes, and head home ready to do it all over again tomorrow. But as is the series’ tradition, the apocalypse soon comes knocking as you find yourself transported into a parallel dimension.

Little is explained as you’re ambushed by demons, ready to forfeit your life until a mysterious being known as Nahobino descends from the sky, morphing with our protagonist to become a luscious twink with flowing blue hair. With a laser sword in hand, you’re now capable of fighting back against the demonic hordes to save your friends on the verge of being pulled into oblivion. This is a game drenched in mystery, made so much better by an oppressive atmosphere that wants to make you feel miserable and helpless. The playful jazz of Persona 5 is nowhere to be seen, replaced by a foreboding dread that punctuates the stunning visuals and sombre soundtrack. In relation to its contemporaries, SMT 5 is a breath of fresh air.

The narrative is intentionally vague, so don’t jump into this game expecting lengthy conversations and social links deepening the relationships between characters – at least not right away. SMT draws out its story beats with a slow and steady pace of deliberacy, preferring you to soak in the ambience of its world and draw your own conclusions rather than have the circumstances of the apocalypse spoon-fed to you.


Shin Megami Tensei 5

You eventually return to modern day Tokyo as you learn of an ongoing conflict between angels and demons, coming to realise that humanity is merely a bystander in an eternal crusade amidst celestial beings who view you as pawns. The end of the world is merely a passing trend to them, a change of scenery as the neverending metropolis is reduced to a desert of rusting vehicles and crumbling skyscrapers threatening to crush those beneath them at any moment. Humans don’t call this place home anymore, they’re all gone.

This subtlety is welcome, but it won’t be for everyone, especially those who prefer their JRPGs with character motivations that push the narrative forward. SMT 5 has such moments, but they’re few and far between. Part of me adored this approach: conversations with your classmates are focused on survival rather than romance, especially when it becomes clear that you’re not the only teengaer capable of summoning demons around these parts. It’s a compelling premise, and one that leans on its old school foundations to craft an adventure that will enthrall as much as it alienates – a mantra that is especially true once you sink into combat.


SMT 5 is a classic turn-based experience where your party consists of Nahobino and a handful of choice demons. You’ll take turns executing attacks until you emerge victorious or find yourself kicked back to the title screen. While this sounds simple, a number of mechanics help expand battles into something far more nuanced. The central strategy revolves around weaknesses. Every enemy has an elemental vice, something that can be exploited to deal critical damage and add a full turn to your rotation – it’s almost like a ballet where your footwork must always be one step ahead of the competition.


Shin Megami Tensei 5

So the key to victory is almost always finding this weakness and spamming it relentlessly, earning your team the highest number of actions before the tables eventually turn against you. With standard battles, this formula does grow tiresome, so I found myself avoiding combat when I could, but this is impossible given that grinding experience is paramount when the going gets tough. Boss battles and optional encounters are where this system really comes alive, since you must always be on your toes or risk being wiped out.

Buffs to increase attack and defense are required while weaknesses are constantly exploited. Each demon playing an essential role in your party, the well oiled machine you’ve helped construct falling apart the second one of them is killed. Because SMT 5 isn’t very nice, you can’t just swap out for another demon in a pinch. It takes up an entire turn, so repopulating your party is a sacrifice in itself, leaving you open to punishment in the most vulnerable of moments. Like I said before, this game is vicious, and it will beat you bloody until you learn to play by its rules or walk away in resigned frustration.


Shin Megami Tensei 5

I eventually bested it, but there were a handful of times where I admitted defeat and turned the difficulty down – and then it kicked my ass again anyway. Few games can match the triumph of conquering a seemingly impossible battle in SMT 5. It’s fantastic, because you know you’ve taken the time to learn the method of recruiting demons and identifying weaknesses only for all of it to pay off. Then you soon realise another boss awaits around the corner for you to do it all over again. It’s not for everyone, and that’s okay.

Demons aren’t all bad though. Humanity has perished, so a number of docile creatures have taken its place on the streets of Tokyo. You’ll find many of them happy to strike up a conversation, warning you of dangers that await or potential quests to embark upon. Nahobino is an obvious outsider here, but he’s powerful enough to be exploited by those who seek to take advantage of his moral standing. Talking to demons is a huge part of the moment-to-moment gameplay, whether you’re recruiting them to your cause or paying them off so they don’t threaten to batter you. In a way, all of these choices matter.



Shin Megami Tensei 5

There are many moments where you can choose to side with angels or demons. Even if many of these decisions seldom impact the overall plot, it’s engaging to realise your presence in this world isn’t that of an almighty protagonist. You’re trying to survive like everyone else, and this outlook is reflected in the game’s harsh environments, the drive for its characters to make it back home alive and the world’s willingness to engage in brutality. Given combat can grow old, having these distractions and little secrets dotted across the game’s world is essential for progress, since it can be so easy to lose faith.

Shin Megami Tensei 5 is a punishing delight. It revels in its classic approach to combat and exploration, brought to life with a battered and broken vision of our world as it teeters on the edge of extinction. JRPGs of the modern era are often content to hold our hands and guide us through each new journey, but Atlus decides to punch us in the gut, steal our wallet, and sprint away as we try desperately to catch up. As I’ve said time and time again, this isn’t a game for everyone, but those who gel with its specific brand of masochism will find something very special indeed.


SMT5 review card

Score: 4/5. Review code was provided by the publisher.

Next: Shin Megami Tensei 5: Complete Guide


Cuphead Show
Cuphead’s Netflix Show Releases To A Rotten Score

Mugman and Cuphead can’t finger-snap their way out of the video game curse.

Read Next


About The Author



Read The Original Article Here

Disclaimer: “steamplayers.com is an automatic aggregator website that aggregates content from media around the globe. All the media and content are free to access on the internet. The content and media belong to the authors and respective owners. The content here is strictly for educational purpose only. The source link for all the content has been specified. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected] The content will be deleted within 24 hours.”

Latest articles

Superhero Fans Mourn the Hotly-Anticipated Sequel That Was Supposed to Hit Theaters Today

An Academy Award-winning superhero film that's beloved by followers was alleged to have a...

What is the Communication error code in Street Fighter 6?

While taking part in Street Fighter 6, there’s at all times the possibility you’ll...

Crash Bandicoot hypothesis is stirring round a pizza field – SteamGamers

Plus, Crash 4 is coming to Steam There is perhaps some Crash Bandicoot information in retailer for the tip...
ADVERTISEMENT

More like this

Superhero Fans Mourn the Hotly-Anticipated Sequel That Was Supposed to Hit Theaters Today

An Academy Award-winning superhero film that's beloved by followers was alleged to have a...

What is the Communication error code in Street Fighter 6?

While taking part in Street Fighter 6, there’s at all times the possibility you’ll...

Crash Bandicoot hypothesis is stirring round a pizza field – SteamGamers

Plus, Crash 4 is coming to Steam There is perhaps some Crash Bandicoot information in retailer for the tip...