[Post-Mortem] Shin Megami Tensei V

Boy, do I have some opinions about this here SMT game.

Shin Megami Tensei V for Nintendo Switch - Nintendo Game Details

Where do I begin?

SMTV is a game of blessings and curses. I’ll start with the good.

The gameplay is top shelf.


Press turn is back, which is nothing surprising, but in addition, Atlus added an absolutely unprecedented insane amount of customization. There’s new physical skills, new magical skills(and a new tier, -barion), skills that let physical builds use their physical stat to inflict magical damage, meter(Magatsuhi) skills that allow for broken abilities to be used for an entire round(namely guaranteed criticals, full restores and revivals for the entire party, auto charge and pierce, etc), and best of all, Essences.

Demon Essences - Shin Megami Tensei V Wiki Guide - IGN

Essences are the biggest game changer since manual skill inheritance. You can get an item that basically contains all of a demon’s inherent skills, which can be freely applied to either the MC or the demons in his team at your leisure. This means you not only get to customize the MC however you like, any demon in the team becomes near endlessly customizable.

Pairing these two factors together, and this is the freshest, most innovative and widely experimental core gameplay has ever been.

Which brings us to the other big game changer… the world itself.

As you’ve likely heard, yes, SMT V is a full “open world” experience.


Sort of. There’s five major hubs in Da’at, which… are kind of different, but not really. One’s a desert, one’s a red desert, one’s a… white desert? You get the gist. Sadly, they’re mostly the same atmosphere with shuffled architecture and a different filter applied.


While repetitive, I give credit given where due: the open world is a joy to explore. The areas are full of massive buildings that you can either access from stairs, adjacent highways, or even stray ledges. There’s lots of nooks and crannies to explore, with little secrets and bonuses that reward exploration, namely the collectible “Miman” creatures that allow the MC to learn new skills and gain new items over time.

The trademark overworld map from 1/2/3/etc is also still present, though only in the “real world” that you only go to like five times.


Then there’s the dungeon. Not dungeons. Dungeon.


SMTV has literally one of note: and it has everything I wanted! Great design and aesthetic, platforming, interesting gimmicks, secrets to look for and explore, and… that’s it.

There is no final dungeon. There’s a massive world leading to it, and then a long tunnel with a few battles.

Shin Megami Tensei V Endings | How to get the best Ending and all others |  RPG Site

It’s a crying shame. Look at that architecture. It could have been a massive dungeon full of platforming and verticality. It SHOULD have been. But it’s not, and the game just leads you right to the climatic boss fights.

Then… there’s the story. God, where do I start.

From the get-go, the cover makes it look like there’s going to be all kinds of factions vying for control of Tokyo, since it depicts four demons and the MC.

There’s even a (very marketable) cast of humans! Surely they’re all going to be well fleshed out, have lots of dialogue, and massive impact on the plot, yes?

Meet the supporting characters of Shin Megami Tensei V - GamerBraves
Atlus Reveals SMT V Classmates Miyazu, Tao, Yuzuru, and Ichiro

Nope. They barely factor into the plot at all. After the introduction, hope you liked talking to them! You’ll barely ever see them again.

See this girl here?


This is Sahori. She’s an NPC who goes nuts, and murders a bunch of bullies with her demon partner after making a soul-sacrificial pact for power.

She is far more interesting than any of the major players shown above, and she’s only in the game for all of three scenes. Therein lies SMTV’s major narrative problem.

Shin Megami Tensei V details Shoei Yakumo, Nuwa, Abdiel, Negotiation,  Fusion, and skill / stat building - Gematsu

There are interesting characters here, and their designs are great, courtesy of Masayuki Doi. Sadly, it’s all surface. The duo above, Yakumo and Nuwa, are one of the more interesting narrative threads, and even they barely appear in the story.

SMTV has interesting ideas, in very broad strokes. This is a world in which Lucifer won. The armies of heaven are scattered and listless, and chaos runs rampant, but even Lucifer himself is nowhere to be found. There could be a ton of great stories told in a universe like this. A power struggle between warring factions of angels and demons, internal fighting, a return of the Divine Powers/Polytheist Alliance from IV, and on and on. V does almost nothing with this potential. Even when a group of the lesser deities from Egypt, Greece, Hinduism, and so on show up in the late game, they barely factor into the plot. They’re just bosses to be slain and obstacles to be stepped on. They barely factor into the alignment decisions if they even get to make an impact at all.

Shin Megami Tensei 5 - Boss Zeus [HARD] - YouTube

You make a choice at the very end, and do some extra quests if you want a “true” final boss. That’s about it. Again, sadly, this reeks of wasted opportunity. V feels rushed. They had a ton of interesting ideas, but the team lacked the time or maybe even the ability to properly utilize them.

I will say that when V’s writing is strong, it excels. The tone of the Chaos ending was particularly enjoyable, raising genuinely philosophical questions about what living in a Chaotic world would really entail, and how successful the goal will actually be. It’s a shame the rest of the game’s narrative couldn’t rise to meet it.

In closing, the music should be made note of. The main composer of SMT IV, Ryota Kozuka, has basically taken over the main line series, which I am totally okay with, as his work for IV was nothing short of incredible.

I had high expectations for V, and… well, for better or for worse, it is a very different type of soundtrack.

Whether by design or by direction, SMT V has a very ambient, ominous score. By and large, it nails the tone, and fits the oppressive open world areas very well.

Sadly, with a few exceptions, none of the boss themes have the bite of, say, Divine Powers from IV: Apocalypse.

They are absolutely solid tracks, but anyone looking for a repeat of IV or its successor’s majesty will be sorely disappointed.

I wish the same could be said of the game itself. SMT IV was clearly the product of Kazuma Kaneko’s original design and ideas, as is clearly credited.

V has no such pedigree to fall back on. On the gameplay front, Atlus deserve lauding for the wonderful flow of combat and exploration, and for all the new innovation added.

However, they still have a long way to go if they’re going to fill the narrative shoes that Kaneko, Okada, and Tadashi left behind. Hopefully with this template in place, they can step their game up for the next go round.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Fan Translation: Preview (Colons)

This is kind of a long story. If you want that, read on after this.

If you don’t, uh, just watch this.

Still with me? Good!

Amazon.com: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner [Japan Import]: Video Games

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner is a spinoff of the SMT series. It was originally released for the Sega Saturn(wise choice) and then later for the PSP(tough call) and then never localized(thanks Sony. NOT).

What separates Devil Summoner from SMT? In a nutshell, Devil Summoners are basically the same as SMT’s protagonists: normal humans who work with demons. The difference is, Devil Summoners are more, shall we say, hands on with their demons. Demons tend to get more personality and have more influence in the story, and be more friendly with their summoner, not just tools for a job. (Especially in the Raidou games.)

Basically, Devil Summoner games are more ‘street level’ and character-driven. That’s how I like to think of it, anyway.

Devil Summoner (Video Game) - TV Tropes

Devil Summoner takes place in 199x, where a college student with terrible luck winds up having to save his girlfriend, the city, and maybe the world from the machinations of a Bible/Grimoire-wielding dark summoner hell bent on reviving a goddess and wreaking all kinds of the hades(props if you get that).

Sid Davis | Megami Tensei Wiki | Fandom

This brings us to a few years(?) back when on 4chan’s “SMTG” community, a user I’m fortunate enough to now-know as Fukuzatsu decided he was going to translate the game for the PSP.

At least, until he hit the worst of SMT walls: demon negotiation. It’s been hell on him.

Enter another Spanish team of savvy hackers, who’ve been making progress, namely https://twitter.com/megaflan/ and https://twitter.com/GriffithVIII , each of whom were kind enough to join up and make Fuku’s life(hopefully) easier.

I have to give special props to @NakuFox, who came up with the INCREDIBLE title screen, as seen in the video above.

So without further ado, here’s some screens.

Also, mad props to Marsh, the absolute madman below. He beat the game in raw Japanese, and his charismatic flow made the game even more popular than it was already.

SMT: DS was a huge success in Japan, and lead to its (IMO) vastly superior sequel, Soul Hackers.

A Status Update (or: in the name of all that’s holy, I swear nothing is cancelled.)


“Some people who don’t know about your Twitter might think all your projects are dead, though.”

“any chance of a blog post on how the EP translation is going along?”

“Is it alright to ask how the Devil Children translation is going though? (Also good luck with CCC)”
“e p p s p w h e n (actually did debisama happen? I’m out of the loop. I assume not yet)”

“Hi cj, is fate extra CCC english patch coming out?”

“Quick Question, is the Eternal Punishment project beeing cancelled or do you continue it? There has not been any update in quite a while”


You. get. the. idea.

So first things first, since I could fill the grand canyon with the requests for this and give E.T. a run for his money.


Yes, I know.


Fate/Extra CCC (PSP)


Unchanged. Not cancelled. Full stop. Do not pass go. Do not cut off Gilgamesh’s arm.

Actually, totally do that.



Persona 2: Eternal Punishment (PSP)

Moving along nicely! Making solid progress with the remainder of the editing. I can’t say a 2017 release is a given, but it’s damn possible, at least based on the text progress.

Devil Summoner (PSP)

Well, I’m not involved in this, but as an intermediary for Esper, I can assure you it’s happening.

Devil Children: Red & Black Book (PS1)

I am involved in this! Well, as a tester and the editor. And EsperKnight is too. I can’t wait, and you best believe as a proud member of the Cult of Mirai, I will not let this go unreleased.

Sakura Wars (PC)


Translation is maybe 40% done. Stay tuned.

Shadowrun (Sega CD)


Just kidding. I have to keep lighting a fire under Esper for this one. It’s a bitch, let’s put it that way. But we’ll get there.

That’s all I got for now, hit me up on twitter or something if you’d like to know more, but probably not much to share  that isn’t here already, unless you want excerpts of Shikigami lore or EP PSP’s script or some junk.


Back to Disgaea 2. Ciao.

Post-Mortem: Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse




I love SMT, a lot. I’ve played, *deep breath*, I, II, III, Raidou 1 &2, Devil Summoner, Soul Hackers, DemiKids Red & Black, Imagine(far more than anyone should and than I dare admit), Strange Journey, you get the idea.

So of course I hit the ground running when Apocalypse came out.

Where does it stand in the pantheon, though?


Apocalypse has great IDEAS. The theme of a Polytheist alliance banding together to tell Lucifer and YHVH to go kick rocks? Brilliant.

The execution, not so much. The protagonist was deliberately given a younger appearance to lure in… you guessed it, the casuals. In addition, the theme of the POWER OF FRIENDSHIP permeates the entire game. You keep expecting a Social Link… Go? prompt to appear halfway through the game, it’s that blatant.

I’ll give Atlus credit, though. IV:A doesn’t rest on that theme too heavily. Some nasty, nasty things go down in this game. People die in horrifying ways. Tokyo is a twisted place.

Merkabah is a DICK. But it just gives the whole experience constant tonality shifts. Someone dies brutally, but your best friend is totally there with you! Your friends are with you, but Merkabah slaughtered every hunter in range of him with one swing of his Hama-wielding hand.

You get the idea.

Oh, and the DLC…


Let’s not go there. Apocalypse is a great game, and unlike its predecessor, rarely loses its fangs. It just every so often, sadly, reminds us of what could have and should have been had it committed to the full nine of a proper warring gods SMT experience.

Bears noting: the music is as good as ever. This is now my ringtone.

It may remain as such for months to come.

Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine – In Appreciation

SMT Imagine was an interesting experiment by Atlus. They oversaw it to ensure it would stay true to the series’ canon, while Cave(yes that Cave) spearheaded development.

Yes, Aeria Games(mostly known for crappy FTP MMOs) published this in the US. Yes, their translation was awful. (And mostly outsourced to fans on the MB, true story.)

And yes the combat is repetitive, ultra grindy, and leveling up is slow to the point of being obnoxious.

But let’s talk about what it did right.

Continue reading

Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers(PS1) Fan Translation officially cancelled

I know this might seem silly since we already have an official US release on the 3DS, but I still wanted this.

This project was originally started by Gemini(hacker) and Tom(translator) who were responsible for Persona 2: Innocent Sin’s PS1 fan translation.

Except this time, Atlus USA beat them to the punch.

It was suspected for a while that this meant the fan translation would get canned, and finally, from the project lead:

Pretty much dead at this point. EN2 will be my last patch released, will probably leave Little Princess to somebody interested and capable to give it the treatment it deserves. With the 3ds release I feel it’s kind of pointless and risky. Even Tom agreed that we forget it ever existed.

The translator’s thoughts:

1) As Gemini said, they’re a first draft and have not been checked in-game.
2) Anybody can start working with them, deriving translations from them, editing them and such, without consulting me.

If a hacker capable of working on it steps forward, then I’d be okay with collaborating with them… But I’m not going to actively push Gemini to hack SH when there is an official translation available, even if the official translation is “not perfect” (and nothing is perfect).

I wouldn’t say it’s completely pointless or risky to finish Soul Hackers… But there certainly is a cost/reward factor going here. Is the cost of the amount of work needed worth the reward of completing it? I can’t say that it is… I’d rather put the work I would have spent revising this into some of my other projects.

So why care about the classic version now that it’s officially been released on the 3DS?

Well, apart from the 3DS’ god-awful audio(you can barely hear anything in SH) and reduced resolution, there isn’t much reason to be honest.

Still, it’d be nice to play SH on a console. Also, the battles are like quadruple speed in the 3DS version.

Here’s how the OG looks, if you’re curious.
(Saturn version, spoilers!)