Shin Megami Tensei V Tips for Survival

Shin Megami Tensei V has just released on the Nintendo Switch, allowing fans new and old to embark on a grueling journey through a hellish version of Tokyo against fiendish demons and all-too-powerful deities.

Whether or not you are a series veteran, have only dabbled in a few titles (such as the extremely popular spin-off Persona), or brand new to Atlus’s RPG franchise, the below tips will aid you in reigning triumphant.

Note the green exclamation mark above, indicating that the enemy is weak to the ice attack “Bufu.”
  • Exploit Enemy Weaknesses

The key to mastering combat in the Shin Megami Tensei games is learning to exploit enemy weaknesses. Nailing a foe with their weakness in SMTV will grant you a bonus turn, up to a total of four. Ensure you have a balanced team that can hit any weakness that you may encounter, and you’ll have a huge leg up on the competition. Don’t forget though that your enemies can do the same, so try not to compose your squad with demons that share the same weaknesses, or you’re almost guaranteed a Game Over.

  • Don’t Neglect Your Turn Order

While you can gain turns for attacking their weakness, in SMTV using an attack that an enemy can block will actually cost you two turns rather than taking away just one. Similarly, missing an attack will also cause you lose two turns as well. Thus, you’ll want to construct the turn order of your team of demons so that those that have the most appropriate skills act sooner, that way if you were to mess up at least your most powerful allies have already used their turn. It’s easy to forget about turn order in a game like this, but it’s always a good thing to keep in mind, especially when going into a challenging boss fight.

  • Save at Every Opportunity

The Shin Megami Tensei games aren’t easy, and are known for brutally punishing players for every mistake that they make. Entering into one encounter that you haven’t prepared for can spell certain doom for many a player, and because there isn’t an auto save feature, it’s back to the title screen upon defeat. Fortunately, SMTV is generous when it comes to save points, and even has a feature that’s acquired early on where you can instantly warp back to the last visited save point, should you need. Always save when given the opportunity, and don’t be afraid to warp back if you’re running low on health or mana; It’s better to be safe than sorry.

The mini map in the lower left hand corner reveals much to the player. Always pay attention to what it’s saying!
  • Keep a Close Eye on Your Mini Map

Every nook-and-cranny of SMTV‘s world has hidden secrets. Sometimes you’ll stumble upon valuables, be it in the form of vending machines or treasure orbs, or maybe you’ll encounter a side quest tucked away in a cave off the beaten path. The mini map displays much more information compared to similar games, and can point you to containers that need opening, enemy positions, quest givers, and much more. Learn to rely on your mini map for navigation, and remember to leave no stone unturned!

  • Don’t Fret About Finding All Miman

One of the collectibles that you can find in your travels are little demons called Mimans. For ever one that you uncover, you’ll be given valuable Glory (which you can use to buy miracles), and for every five you’ll receive a bonus gift. It can be easy to stress yourself out trying to find these little creatures–especially if you’re a completionist like myself–but don’t worry as there are maps that you can purchase that will reveal their locations to you. These are generally available at the end of every zone, and come rather cheaply compared to the rewards you can receive, so be sure to grab one so you can nab every one of these guys!

  • Revisit Vending Machines

Money, called Macca, is very important in SMTV. Not only do you need it to buy support items, but it can be used to summon registered demons, as well as to fully heal your party when you visit a save point. The best way to earn Macca is to find relics and sell them to the in game shopkeeper Gustave, and the best place to find relics are in the vending machines scattered across the wasteland. You may assume that if you’ve visited a vending machine once that you’ve gathered all that they have to offer, but you can actually return to these throughout the game to reap even further rewards! All vending machines replenish their inventory after enough time has passed and you have left their general area, so make it a habit of returning to them to scavenge for supplies. The game even marks each vending machine on your map once you’ve visited them once, and they turn a golden color when they are ready to be raided again, so it’s always easy to tell when it’s time to make a supply run.

The demon shown above still can learn Zan and Rakukaja. If you fuse them now, you may miss out on those abilities!
  • Learn all Skills Before Registering a Demon

Demons in the Shin Megami Tensei franchise aren’t like Pokémon: you cannot easily rely on a handful of creatures that you’ve acquired at the beginning of the game and expect them to carry you to the end. Eventually, you will need to fuse your demons into more powerful creatures. Every time you acquire a demon, you can register it so that it can be summoned again with the stats and skills that they have earned. It may be tempting to fuse them at the earliest opportunity, but it’s far better to wait until they have learned all their skills before you send them on their way. Consider registering and/or fusing a demon until they have learned their abilities, that way you aren’t missing out. Also, it’s not necessary to register them after they have learned everything they can; demons become more expensive with the more experience points they have, so if you are only using them for fusion, you may want to register them right after learning their last skill and then leave them alone.

  • Focus on Abscesses As Soon As Possible

Abscesses are powerful concentrations of demons that you will discover on your travels, and are represented by a swirling dark mass that can cover a large swathe of land. Most of these are optional, but clearing them not only clears up your map and decreases the amount of enemies in the area, but also unlocks new Miracles that you can purchase with your Glory. Each abscess is guarded by a powerful demon, so remember to save before attempting to clear it!

  • Not All Miracles are Created Equal

It can be easy to just go down the list of Miracles and buy each-and-every one as they become available, but that would be unwise. Instead, focus on Miracles that will give you the greatest benefit now. “Demon Proficiency” for instance gives all of your demons an extra skill slot, while “Divine Proficiency” does the same for the protagonist. This is extremely important to get early on so that you’re not tossing out skills as you learn new ones. “Divine Amalgamation” is also highly recommended, as it allows the player character to change their elemental strengths and weaknesses by using a demonic essence. This is crucial to surviving many boss fights, as you can make yourself strong against many of their skills and hopefully end their turn much sooner. There are also Miracles that increase your demon stock, and “Warrior’s Conception” and “Unforgotten Memories” will give your demons powerful bonuses whenever you fuse them, thus these are also recommended to learn as soon as possible.

  • Agility and Luck are Useful for Any Build

Whenever the protagonist levels up, you will gain a few points into some of your stats, as well as have the option of distributing a single point into the statistical category of your choice. Early on, you may not have any idea which stat will have the most benefit. If you have a clear objective of creating a character that mainly uses physical attacks, then Strength is best; likewise, using the myriad of magical spells calls for an abundance of Magic points. In my personal opinion, both Agility and Luck are the best places to put your extra points. Agility increases your accuracy and increases the odds for the enemy to miss you with their own attack, thus you’ll be far less likely to lose turns, and may even force your foe to give up some of their’s as well! With Luck, your odds of landing chance based attacks increases, so you’ll be far more likely to corrupt an enemy with a status effect. These stats are useful for any build and any situation, so consider buffing each of these categories as early as you can.

  • Take Note of the Phases of the Moon

You may have noticed that the game keeps track of the phases of the moon, which shifts as you play the game. This is noted at the top left of the screen, and will progress through eight stages, beginning with the New Moon, through Half Moon, to Full Moon. You might be asking yourself what this possibly means, and so I’m here to tell you! During a Full Moon, demons are far less likely to join your party, and will become more aggressive when you use the “Talk” command in battle. As such, it’s best to save your recruiting efforts for a time closer to a Nee Moon, which gives the best odds for success. Of course there are some exceptions, with a handful of creatures preferring the opposite. Additionally, “Fusion Accidents” occur much more frequently during Full Moons; these incidents result in unexpected demons to be summoned when you perform a fusion. While you may summon a rare, powerful creature that is several levels above your protagonist, you may also recruit a weak ally that is near useless, so be aware of the risk should you fuse when the moon is at its fullest.

  • Make Use of your Battle Items

If you’re like me, in every RPG you collect a hoard of battle items only to never use them. These battle items are extremely important in SMTV however, as you can use them to hit an enemy’s weakness and buy yourself a new turn when in need. You’ll be hard pressed to have a skill for every single situation, so don’t forget to reach into your item bag and use an offensive item when the time calls for it.

  • Use Spyglasses to Defeat Mitamas

Mitamas are unique monsters that you’ll find in battles that can give you tremendous rewards when defeated. Killing them is easier said than done though, as they are strong to all forms of attack save for a single weakness, and this weakness will change every single time you encounter them! To make this task simpler, use the “spyglasses” item to uncover what it is that hurts them, then take them out as quickly as you can. For your efforts, you’ll often receive a bounty in experience points and Macca, as well as relics and other rare items. You can even earn “Glory Crystals,” which can be used outside of battle to give you bonus Glory!

  • Save Magatsuhi for When You’re in a Bind

Magatsuhi are your special moves that you can unleash after building up your special meter; if you’ve played the Final Fantasy games before, think about their “Limit Breaks” and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Many gamers may be tempted to use these abilities as soon as they become available, but it’s best to save them for when you best need them. You’ll regularly enter a battle against a foe that you can’t hit the weakness of, thus saving a Magatsuhi attack to land critical hits and earn bonus turns is a great tactic. Other situations include thinning out large groups of foes that you can’t possibly eliminate in a single turn, or healing your team when they are dangerously low on health.

These are my tips for conquering Shin Megami Tensei V and surviving the tumultuous demon realm. Do you have any additional advice to offer players? Have any of these tips in particular helped you in your own adventure? I’d love to know in the comments below, as well as on our active Discord server!

Source: RPG Gamer

Josh Cornett is a lifelong gamer who enjoys games across all platforms and genres. He has gone by the alias of “Block” ever since college, when he was nicknamed “Blockbuster” for his extensive video game and movie collection. Currently, he reviews a wide variety of games on his Youtube channel, and talks about all things gaming related on his Twitter and Facebook pages.

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