Comment: Shin Megami Tensei 5 brings familiar pain and new pleasure

When i wandered in the underworld Goddess Tensei 5, I met Mandela grass. This demon is not registered in my collection, so I tried to recruit them. My outstretched hand resulted in a match between a piece of rock, paper and scissors-during this time, Mandela wanted to know how the luck data of my character would work. It turns out that it is not by my side. “Too bad!” Mandela grass exclaimed. “Now I am going to kill you.”

In my time, I have experienced dozens of such encounters Goddess Reincarnation 5, The latest work in Atlus’ huge JRPG series. I helped Black Cream buy alcohol for a “high-end” underground club in Ginza. Kelpie is a creepy floating horse. It launched a texting contest against me to see who can type faster (alas, I lost too). A particularly prominent person came from a ghost who said he had a “big question” to ask me: “top or bottom?” Among the options “top”, “middle” and “bottom”, I chose the first one . “So you like to look higher, don’t you?” O’Neill said. “I like.”

Normally, it’s impossible to predict that the devil will be Goddess Reincarnation 5 Will propose the next one in the conversation. Some exchanges are frankly hilarious, while others are unexpectedly horny or strangely sentimental. These moments gave me a short respite from the constant hostility in the underworld.Overall play experience Patch 5 It is bleak, oppressive, and ruthless. Whenever I feel too comfortable, the game reminds me of where I am in this field: the protagonist may sound important on paper, but he is just another uninvited guest in the demonic twisted version of our world. Around the decaying ruins of Tokyo, which is long gone, the devil will not think twice before chewing him and letting him rot in the street.

Image: Atlus via Polygon

It has been a long time since Atlus revisited the world-five years after the release of “New World” Goddess Reincarnation 4: Apocalypse, Is the sequel to the last major entry in the 2013 SMT series. Patch 5Since it was released exclusively for Switch, its arrival also came after a long period of time without notice or related development updates-during this period People 5 It became a huge sensation and pushed franchising into the mainstream.

I am a person who has been involved in both series at the same time. In addition to recording ridiculous game time in all three rhythm game derivatives, I also like to spend more than 100 hours in the latest Persona game.But the memory that jumped in Goddess Tensei 4 Stay away from big screens and flashy menu screens without any prior knowledge people, Getting a simpler but smarter integrated experience in 3DS is something I still cherish.I have high hopes Patch 5, Although there are some shortcomings, but it is worth the wait.

If you are a newcomer like me, then I will break it down for you. In the “Persona” series, the story always has a turning point-an extraordinary disaster that subverts the world. After this, the game entered the climax battle with God, just like most JRPG situations. In addition, by then you have become accustomed to the company of the characters around you and become stronger with them month after month on the calendar. The Shin Megami Tensei game also starts with a similar disaster, but instead of giving you dozens of hours to save humanity, you are forced to live longer in chaos.

Therefore, the experience is much darker, but also free from the shackles of portraying the life of ordinary students of the protagonist in a modern environment. In SMT games, there is a significant pitch shift from the beginning.While in people The act of wrestling with the shadows is usually an evening activity, in Goddess Reincarnation, This is all your daily routine.

The protagonist of Shin Megami Tensei 5 is an ordinary student, at first

Image: Atlus via Polygon

This new entry puts you on the uniform of another ordinary student. He happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and suddenly he found himself in another Tokyo. There, Tokyo Tower and other attractions are not landmarks, but relics of past civilizations. A few years ago, angels and demons participated in a large-scale war, and the conflict continued. An unknown creature prevented the attack on the protagonist and encouraged him to accept assistance if he wanted to live. Both characters merge into a Nahobino, a presence that is neither an angel nor a demon, but its hair is indeed very good.

After a short tutorial, you have entered this world.The location of the next step is always marked on the map (this also applies to side missions, which run counter to the rather mysterious goals of the past Mounter Game), you can go there anytime.You can explore the area in full 3D Patch 5, Instead of switching back and forth from the main world view, there are only a few exceptions in certain sequences. It is a welcome change to rush through the ruins of the city and the vast area with full control of the character.

The battle is basically the same as the previous SMT games, focusing on turn-based encounters, and pay attention to using the enemy’s weaknesses to link additional rounds (this is also what the enemy can do to you). There is also the aforementioned demon negotiation, which allows you to recruit enemies to fight alongside you. Patch 5 Some interesting adjustments have been made to the system. If you happen to succeed in negotiating with demons at a higher level than you, they will remember this in the next conversation after you finally reach their level, which is helpful in practice and smart in a narrative sense.

The protagonist of Shin Goddess Tensei 5 is ready to fight

Image: Atlus via Polygon

Patch 5The most prominent combat feature is the introduction of Magatsuhi skills. These skills are powerful additional attacks that can be executed once the meter bar is filled (pass in turns, or upgrade by performing certain operations). It adds another strategic dimension to the battle, because figuring out the right time to use it is the key-especially considering that the enemy can also use these skills, and if you are not careful, you can reverse the encounter.

In addition to fighting, there are more quality of life updates. While roaming the area, you will now stumble upon a sphere that can charge your health, SP (magic attack mana), or Magatsuhi meter. The Return Pillar allows you to return to the last checkpoint you interacted with at will without any penalty (great for saving your game, restoring your team’s health for a small fee, visiting merchants or fusion demons). The loot is also quite generous; the companion character following you will point out the location of items that sometimes lead to battles, but more often they will not only grant you items.

Some of these additions really simplify the experience in the end.Player from people It is possible to accept them, but in the process, some of the mysterious nature of past SMT entries has been lost.I welcome all these updates; on the contrary, my biggest complaint Goddess Tensei 5 Bring your own platform. As I mentioned before, Patch 4 Take full advantage of the 3DS; its UI is very well integrated, and holding the console feels like an extension of the in-game menu.exist Patch 5, Although I did find the new interface compelling, it is more versatile. Coupled with the fact that the Switch is constantly striving to keep up in terms of performance, it ultimately feels more like a port, rather than a game built with the Switch in mind. Patch 5 Still managed to be a gorgeous showcase for Unreal Engine 4, especially in terms of animation, and it is a shame that the hardware tends to prevent it. It’s not unplayable anyway, but the dropped frames and slow texture loading are obvious enough to be annoying.

Some demon enemies with pitchforks in Shin Megami Tensei 5

Image: Atlus via Polygon

As a new work in the series, Goddess Tensei 5 A new story continues the transboundary nature of past entries. The fighting adds enough freshness, while retaining an attractive foundation that is hard to give up. The soundtrack has always been ruthless, not afraid to stir up battles with fast drums and heavy improvisations.

But the way the devil survives in this world has left the biggest mark on me. Despite performance issues, the larger area and new engine make some creatures truly breathtaking and scary. I never tire of seeing smaller character details, such as a demon sitting on the beach, acting like a bat in a cave, or swinging on a traffic light like a monkey. It makes people think that this is their home, and I am a trespasser.

Although I played as Nahobino, I rarely feel almighty. My small victory made me feel satisfied-guessing weaknesses, anticipating an attack that might destroy my entire team-because whenever I enter a new area, I know that the enemy will not let me off easily. If I am lucky, they will be willing to let me go in exchange for goods or money. But alas, this is not a world where luck is on my side.

However, this is a place I can’t wait to return to-and I don’t want to leave anytime soon.

Goddess Tensei 5 Will be released on November 11 Nintendo SwitchThe game was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using the pre-release download code provided by Atlus. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These will not affect editorial content, but Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links.You can find View additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.