Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance

Posted:  Jun 12, 2024
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
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SDHQ CONTENT SCORE: 
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Cloud Saves

Review

A copy was provided by SEGA/ATLUS for review. Thank you!

If you are a fan of JRPGs or just keep up to date on some of the most critically acclaimed games that are released, you know of the Persona series. This is one of ATLUS' flagship series that feels wholly unique thanks to its incredible art style, fantastic narrative, and addicting gameplay loop of fighting and training yourself outside combat. But, what many might not know is that the game is a spin-off of Shin Megami Tensei, which is another series that shares a lot of mechanics similar to Persona but with some differences to keep it unique. The newest entry in the series was released exclusively on the Nintendo Switch in 2021. Still, we have an enhanced version called Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance, and the improvements it makes only enhance the already fantastic game the original was.

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Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is the definitive version of the game, coming with tons of enhancements and more. The biggest draw to the new version is the brand new story called the "Canon of Vengeance." It's essentially a new way to experience the original story with some big plot changes towards the later half of the game, which we will get into later. We also have an increased level cap, new characters, over 40 new demons, new quality-of-life features (like auto-battling, skipping animations, and the ability to save anywhere), and more subquests. It's a significant improvement, similar to how Persona 5 got Persona 5 Royal, but it feels even more worthwhile here, considering we can still play through the original story.

The gameplay of Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance consists primarily of turn-based combat, running around an open world, and cultivating the strongest demons possible to be your teammates in battle. You will utilize different attacks and skills to take enemies down while finding their weaknesses to deal tremendous damage and get extra turns. Once you complete a battle, you will get experience for you and your demons to level up, which increases your stats and can get your demons new skills. If you enjoy Persona, you will enjoy this combat system for sure, but the game has a Pokemon-esque twist to it, which I adore.

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You can get new and more powerful demons in two ways: recruiting them during battle or fusing them to make new ones. To get the allies initially, you must talk to them and try convincing them to join your side. You will usually need to give them gifts, like money or items, and then they will join your ranks. As you gather more demons, you can fuse them into even more powerful demons with unique traits, more powerful skills, and a higher starting level with big stat boosts.

This is easily my favorite aspect of the game. I love getting demons and fusing them into significantly better demons that have specific skills that I need to use. It allows you to fine-tune your team to ensure it has the desired balance. I wanted my team to have skills that did elemental damage to all foes, which helped me figure out enemy weaknesses quickly. So, by fusing and inheriting specific skills, I created a team that could do devastating, widespread damage and heal our entire group when necessary. It involved a lot of trial and error, but it was awesome to see all the demon designs and find the ones that can have the right skills, with some unique ones sprinkled in, and be higher leveled to hold their own in future fights.

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Other than fusing demons, you can also infuse new skills and resistances into your character to power him up. As you level demons up, you get their essences, which allows you to inherit their skills or resistances to specific elements. You can also use a currency called Glory to upgrade different aspects of your character and demons, including how many skill slots you have, higher proficiency with specific elements or attacks, and how many demons you can hold on your person at any given time.

Without spoiling too much, the original story of Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance, called the "Canon of Creation," sees you become a demigod called a Nahobino and get embroiled in a war between angels and demons to determine the future of the world. It's an interesting story that kept me hooked as I was trying to figure out what was going to happen next. The new story, "Canon of Vengeance," changes some of the original story with new areas, a new ending, new characters, and more. It's an exciting change for those who have already played the game or if you decide to replay it with the new pathway. Since it is a new way of telling the story, the playtime is around the same, effectively doubling the story content (even if some parts are recycled).

And I love that I can choose between the two!

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The game takes place in multiple different areas, all revolving around the decimated Tokyo that has been replaced by a desert landscape filled with demolished buildings. It's beautiful and haunting, and this echoes across the other biomes that you can find, which all have some eery feeling to them (except for Fairy Village). This is exemplified by the fantastic soundtrack that complements the game with atmospheric toons when running around and pumping battle themes in combat.

While the new changes from the Vengeance edition are wonderful, some issues can still pop up from time to time. Traversing the semi-open world was tedious, and I got lost occasionally while trying to find my way to an objective. Some battles can also be a bit tougher, even when setting the default difficulty, so it can be frustrating. I would also consider speeding up battles due to how many you are bound to have, which should reduce some grinding fatigue you may endure.

Overall, Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is a blast, and it is awesome on the Steam Deck.

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance - Steam Deck Performance

At the start of the game, Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance performed quite well on the Steam Deck. It couldn't hit 90 FPS, but it easily achieved 60. This changed as soon as we started to run around the desert wasteland that was once Tokyo. It could hold 60 FPS, for the most part, but it would spike when running through the world and heavily drain the battery. Being in battle was completely fine, but the bigger issues were outside of it. Regardless, the game is very playable, but I do recommend a couple of changes to get the most out of it:

Recommended Settings

While it is possible to hit 60 FPS with ease in most cases, I wished the battery drain could be lower. After testing, I noticed that the in-game graphical settings, which aren't many, don't affect the framerate or battery much. However, we have the opposite effect regarding resolution and framerate caps. These can completely change the battery drain and stability, making playing portable so much more enjoyable.

Compare
60 FPS 1280x800
50 FPS 1152x720 (Recommended)
\
50 FPS 1152x720 (Recommended)
60 FPS 1280x800

For the recommended settings, we will keep everything at default but change the resolution to 1152x720, the framerate to 50 FPS/Hz, and set a TDP limit of 9. All of these together bring battery drain below 14W at all times, with the average sticking to 12W. 50 FPS also keeps the game feeling very fluid while maximizing the battery life savings, which will give us around 4.5 - 5 hours of battery life total:

60 FPS Settings

As I said before, it is possible to play at 60 FPS, and most areas will work fine with the framerate, with some even having a sub 15W battery drain, but more areas will drain up to 21W, with some that have slight framerate drops. This was most common during battles after big attacks or running around in heavy areas, like the Fairy Village. Turning this down to 1152x720 resolution, the same as the recommended settings, does help a bit, too, making these drops happen far less.

We will need an unlock TDP limit to make sure the Deck can utilize the power it needs to bring these drops down as much as possible, too, so expect a much lower battery life here:

Quality/Battery Settings

If you want to maximize your battery life or play the game at the native 1280x800 resolution, these will be the settings for you. You can keep everything at default but change the framerate to 30 FPS and set a TDP limit to 8. This will reduce the battery drain significantly and extend your playtime by hours. By setting the TDP limit, we can stop some larger areas, like Fairy Village, from fluctuating too much. Without the limit, these settings could fluctuate wildly and go from 11W to 13W instantly, but with the TDP limit, it will stay at 11.

Accessibility

The settings allow us to change message speed, subtitles, sensitivity, which button is used to confirm and skip events, camera controls and minimap displays, sound bars, and rebind controls. You can also change how often certain enemies appear, animation speeds, auto-battle confirmation and type, and battle cursor memory.

The game does support 16:10 resolutions, but you have to choose 1280x720 or 1024x576 to enable them. Sadly, this makes the game look a little bit stretched, so I decided to stick to the 16:9 resolutions. There are cloud saves and controller support, but there are no HDR settings.

Conclusion

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is an incredible way to experience one of my favorite JRPGs. The additional content that this version provides enhances the experience exponentially while adding a new way for those who have already played the game to enjoy it. There are still some faults, but these are minimal compared to the intriguing story, pokemon-esque combat, and gorgeous world. The game does need some changes to get a stable, battery-saving experience, but once you set it, it's a perfect way to play!

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is the definitive edition of this amazing JRPG, and with some changes, it is amazing on the Steam Deck!

Content

Gameplay: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarHalf Star
Graphics: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarHalf Star
Story: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Sound: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Fun Factor: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarHalf Star

Build Score

Performance: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
VISUALS: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Stability: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Controls: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Battery: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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Let us know what level of playability you consider Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance to be. Help our community determine the viability of playing this game on Steam Deck!
Steam Deck Compatibility
Current Price: 
$59.99
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Other Builds
60 FPS Settings
SteamOS

Limit

60

Refresh Rate

60

HRS

NO

TDP Limit

No

Scaling Filter

Linear

GPU Clock

Disabled

Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

Ambient Occlusion: On

Anti-Aliasing: On

Resolution: 1152x720

Vertical Sync: None

Frame Rate Limit: 60 FPS

Projected Battery Usage and Temperature

14W - 22W

68c - 78c

2.5 - 3 hours

Quality/Battery Settings
SteamOS

Limit

30

Refresh Rate

90

HRS

NO

TDP Limit

8

Scaling Filter

Linear

GPU Clock

Disabled

Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

Ambient Occlusion: On

Anti-Aliasing: On

Resolution: 1280x800

Vertical Sync: None

Frame Rate Limit: 30 FPS

Projected Battery Usage and Temperature

9W - 12W

58c - 63c

5 - 5.5 hours

related Settings

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