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Friday, July 5, 2024

Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance

Shin Megami Tensei V was a return to fundamentals for the series, for both good and ill - its relatively minimal plot and character development, the series' general punishing design and a heavy focus on party management were all brought back in fine form, and the surreal art style and heavy, moody music were quite a sight to behold.  However, it was hampered by its shoddy performance.  Being released exclusively for the Switch - a portable platform with considerably lower capabilities than dedicated HD consoles - and pretty poorly optimized besides, it made my system run hot basically all the time and had a terribly choppy framerate throughout.  Hopes for a patch to fix it never really materialized, but Atlus being Atlus, they did work on and eventually release an updated version a few years later.  Quite a substantial one at that - Vengeance features an alternate story mode with many plotline changes and new characters (though the original is still available to play too), several quality-of-life features like Magatsu Rails to expedite repetitive backtracking, new demons, new areas to explore, all the DLC content from the original packed in as well as some new DLC of its own, and extra features like the Demon Haunt that let you interact with your demons on a slightly more personal level.  Basically, it's a major improvement on the core game in every way.  Well, except one - they don't seem to have optimized the Switch version at all.  Performance is still just as choppy and GPU-taxing as ever, and may in fact be worse owing to the extra content they've added.  So, buy Vengeance on another platform if at all possible; I can personally confirm it runs perfectly on the PS5.

Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Sega
Released: 2024
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Playstation 5, XBox One, XBox Series, Switch