Shin Megami Tensei came back with a vengeance, delivering a game that many fans, new and old, loved. The dramatic, hardcore turn it takes away from other titles in the JRPG genre makes the series unique, giving players who want a darker direction a story they can enjoy.
As with any game, you can't be perfect everywhere. A lot of fans are familiar with Shin Megami Tensei's style, allowing some leeway in certain areas. Such a respected series has stuck around for a reason, but that also leaves more room for error, or at least some light critique. From questionable choices to dated gameplay, fans are left scratching their heads as they wander through the netherworld.
6 Bare-Bones Main Character
Other Shin Megami Tensei titles have featured a lot of customizable equipment that set your character apart from the rest of the pack, giving you a sense of control over the design. Weapons and armor were a big part of what breathed life into the main characters, the only thing that set them apart from the countless human and demon representations throughout the story.
Finding items and loot also become more of a chore when you don't have an impressive sword or a stylish piece of armor waiting for you. The substitute in SMTV is numbered essences that leave a lot to be desired, even with the varied abilities they give to the main character. The linear paths of the game would have much more appeal with personalized rewards along the way, a milestone that shows your progress while making them more tailored to the player.
5 A Lack Of New Faces
Shin Megami Tensei has enjoyed a 30-year streak with more than that number of games, meaning they've gone through a lot of demon designs to get where they are today. Luckily for the production team, they had eight years to think up some new ideas for a debut on the eighth generation consoles and bringing the titles into the 2020s. Among the limited redesigns of old demons in the series, there were even fewer new demons.
Maybe they thought enough time had passed that the fan base would enjoy the nostalgia, a safe bet after eight years, but to have so few new faces was a letdown for many. It's not like they had a dramatically different story to offset the familiar faces, leaving it down to the improved graphics and an altered setting to satisfy.
4 The Difficulty Rollercoaster
Opinions vary among fans if the difficulty spikes and the ''throw you in the deep end'' attitude is a part of the SMT experience or poor game design. Some people enjoy the sudden gut check of coming across a super boss that wipes you out in one fell swoop, while others want a little more build-up before getting tested that harshly. Dramatic difficulty spikes also lead to grinding for experience and points, a tactic that the series hasn't employed too much before.
An unexpected challenge can be fun if it happens once in a while, putting you in your place and making you work hard for a reward. This isn't a new complaint about the series, supporting those that say it's part of the identity, a part that puts off certain players that won't be coming back for the next title.
3 Side Character Development
It's obvious that SMTV made the choice to leave the story a little sparse this time around, and that's for a series that makes the main character a mute. Operating in a world in which the apocalypse has already taken place, it makes sense that things aren't bustling with life. When there isn't much going on, it makes the characters that are there stand out, thrusting the spotlight on them and focusing our attention.
In this story, there isn't any payoff for your attention, none of the characters flesh themselves out as the game progresses. This is made even more obvious by the epic, world-altering things taking place in the background, making the empty personal level feel even more empty.
2 Unimportant Choices
Every other negative about the game can be explained away by some strange creative choice or religious inspiration, but the disregard of every choice you make up to the ending of the game is discouraging. Through the story you're made to choose between chaos and law, something the game emphasizes by dramatic zoom-ins and increasing choices.
You'll think that you're slowly shaping the ending of the game, nudging the conclusion towards one direction or another as you play, but in reality, it's all smoke and mirrors leading up to the choice before you enter the final dungeon. Whatever you choose is how things will end up on the other side and there's no punishment for switching sides.
1 Vacant Landscapes
Most of the regions you're going to explore throughout Da'at look similar to one another - vast and vacant stretches of abandoned land. Usually a dungeon crawler, this series has taken a sharp left turn into a semi-open world mix, giving players a more free experience with strange boundaries. You'll see a rolling landscape and feel like you could walk forever, only to be kept on a linear path for a lot of the gameplay.
Instead of letting you explore freely, you'll have to run through areas that can even feel cramped at times, creating a strange contrast. Games like Shadow Of The Colossus have presented us with equally or more desolate landscapes, but instead of creating an adventurous environment, SMT has somehow made the desert feel cold.
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