I don’t think I’ve seen a developer hit a streak of brilliance as effectively as Atlus have over the last few years, but with Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance (which somehow improves upon the original game in every way), they’ve proven they really are masters of their craft.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance starts off simple enough, with the player going through their usual routine in modern Tokyo following a day in high school. You’d almost be fooled into thinking you were playing a Persona game based on the opening alone, but it doesn’t take long before things take a very, very sour turn involving a cataclysmic event and a battle between angels and demons. Wild, right? It’s not the sort of environment that a normal student would survive in, but the protagonist finds themselves merging with a demon entity that grants them the powers to thrive across this devastated Tokyo as they look to stop the evil threat.

If you played Shin Megami Tensei V following its initial launch back in 2021, you’ll be pretty familiar with the narrative of the game. However, in true Atlus fashion, this new release brings with it a revamped form of storytelling, with players given the choice of two tales to follow: the Canon of Creation, which follows the original game, and the Canon of Vengeance, which introduces new characters and events that take the adventure in a completely different direction.

It helps breathe new life into the game as a whole, especially for returning players who might have already experienced the Canon of Creation during the game’s initial release. Best of all? It completely re-invents the narrative, and whilst some aspects remain the same, you’ll encounter new characters, face off against new villains, complete different missions throughout your journey, and see the tale reach its conclusion with all-new endings. It’s impressive just how much is changed across the second story, with that alone making Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance feel like a meaty package that’s worth double-dipping into if you already played the original game.

“I don’t think I’ve seen a developer hit a streak of brilliance as effectively as Atlus have over the last few years, but with Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance, they’ve proven they really are masters of their craft.”

And more importantly? I think the new story is actually better. I don’t want to give anything away here, but its characters are more interesting, the twists are more shocking, and it feels better paced when compared to the Canon of Creation. Don’t get me wrong, they’re both great experiences (and I’d argue they each complement each other in their own ways), but Canon of Vengeance just stood out as a more refined and enjoyable experience.

There are plenty of other improvements brought with Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance, with the most notable coming with the visuals. The game’s original release was a Nintendo Switch-exclusive (which is where I initially beat it), and whilst it was certainly playable on the platform, there were clear sacrifices made to the visuals and the performance would often stutter when playing. Being able to play on more powerful platforms has made a massive difference to the visual experience, with the graphics now rich in detail and gorgeous throughout thanks to the slick aesthetic that really captures the desolate yet wondrous beauty of the world. The performance is top-notch too, with not a single drop from the silky smooth 60fps frame rate encountered whilst playing. The difference is night and day when compared to the Nintendo Switch, so much so that I’ve found myself starting the Canon of Creation story all over again just to experience it in this much improved form… it’s THAT good.

There’ve been a range of other improvements and additions that help make Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance stand out as a substantial release, such as being able to save anywhere when on the main overworld map, being able to initiate auto-battle for your party to deal with enemies, having an expanded selection of demons to face off against and recruit, being able to visit the ‘Demon Haunt’ area where you can interact with those that you have recruited, utilise an expanded skillset, explore additional areas and complete additional quests, and so on. Atlus really have gone all out in expanding the Shin Megami Tensei V experience for players, with a wealth of worthwhile extras included that don’t only make the game bigger than before but also much better to play.

Check out some screenshots down below:

And let’s not forget, it was already a great game in the first place, so all of these extras just feel like a juicy cherry on top of all of the RPG goodness. Whilst it does have some imperfections (specifically with the pacing of the Canon of Creation storyline), combat is still a strategically thrilling experience, recruiting demons and building your party is always satisfying, and seeing the tale unfold will keep players hooked in. Just be warned: it can be TOUGH as nails, with Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance not for the faint-hearted (even on the easiest difficulty).

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance Review

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance improves upon the original game in every way, with the new storyline, improved visuals, and countless additions helping it stand out as an outstanding RPG experience. The original game was already a treat thanks to its thrilling combat, captivating demon negotiations, and tense storytelling, but this REALLY ups the ante.

If you played the game when it originally released, the new Canon of Vengeance storyline alone makes it worth the price of admission. And if this is your first experience with Shin Megami Tensei V? Getting to play it with gorgeous visuals and smooth performance, improvements such as saving in the overworld and auto-battling, and having additional demons, skillsets, and more to embrace will ensure it’ll stand out as an unforgettable experience.

Developer: Atlus
Publisher: SEGA
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Website: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1875830/Shin_Megami_Tensei_V_Vengeance/