Did you know that the Megami Tensei franchise is one of the most enduring JRPG franchises in all of gaming? The first game came out in the same year as the original Final Fantasy, both of which came out only a year after the original Dragon Quest. These days, most people know Megami Tensei primarily through the Persona series, though that backfired a bit when Shin Megami Tensei IV came out, as the mainline series is much more cutthroat compared to Persona.
Whether you’re already well versed in Persona or have never touched a game in this franchise, odds are good that if you go into the new Shin Megami Tensei V unprepared, there will be a few sucker punches in your future. To keep that from happening, here are some Shin Megami Tensei V beginners tips and tricks.
Shin Megami Tensei V Beginners Tips and Tricks
1. The Press Turn System
A mainstay element of mainline MegaTen, the Press Turn system is your first and foremost incentive to snoop out and exploit enemy weaknesses. At the beginning of your turn, assuming you have a full team of four, you get four moves shared by your whole party. Whenever you strike an enemy with an attack their weak against or land a critical hit, one of your move indicators will begin flashing. Instead of being used up, flashing moves are passed onto the next member of your party, and if they exploit weaknesses, more moves will start flashing. If all four members of your party can successfully exploit a weakness, they’ll all get to go twice before the enemy’s turn. This is how you can maintain pressure on a foe while also getting time to heal and buff.
However, this system isn’t just for you; if an enemy exploits one of your weaknesses, they’ll get extra turns as well, which is why you want resistances to their elements, as well as high agility for dodging. If an attack misses wholesale or is otherwise nullified, the team that launched it will burn two moves. It also bears mentioning that you only get a move for every member of your team, so if one of your demons dies, you’ll only get moves for the remaining three members on your next turn. You should revive them or put another demon in their slot quickly to get your full moves back.
2. Demon Recruitment and Fusion
In any non-scripted combat encounter, you can opt to talk to any demons on the opposing team in an attempt to recruit them. They’ll first ask you a question, and if you give a suitable response, you’ll move on to negotiation, where they’ll ask for things like Macca, items, or some of your life. Unfortunately, as is often the case, demons are fickle; there are no guaranteed right answers to their questions or haggling, so you’ll just have to make an educated guess as to what they want to hear. Just remember that you can’t recruit any demons that are higher level than you.
Once your demons have leveled up and learned some new skills, you can visit the World of Shadows through the Leyline Founts for some demon fusion. You can pick any two demons and fuse them into a stronger one, carrying over select skills from both in the process. Each demon has particular potentials for different abilities and elements, so with a little crafty fusing, you can create demons specced for all kinds of utilities. You should make a habit of fusing any demons that don’t have any more skills to learn, as the higher level ones have access to better skills and higher stats. Sometimes you’ll even want to recruit demons you don’t need for the express purpose of fusing them. It’s okay, they don’t mind.
New to Shin Megami Tensei V are the Apotheosis systems, designed to strengthen your protagonist. See, unlike your subordinate demons, you can’t fuse your protagonist to learn new skills and affinities; leveling up only increases your stats. Instead, you can use Essences of demons found around the world to enhance him through Essence Fusion. You can consume a demon’s Essence to teach your protagonist any skill that demon knows (barring certain Unique Skills). By unlocking certain Miracles, you can also pass on additional changes like elemental affinities. Think of it like changing your weapons and armor.
Speaking of Miracles, that’s the other half of Apotheosis. Miracles are passive abilities you can unlock to enhance your protagonist’s capabilities, as well as add entirely new capabilities. Miracles are divided into four categories:
- Supremacy: Abilities that affect demon negotiation and the Magatsuhi gauge, used for special attacks
- Doctrine: Abilities enhancing demon fusion and Apotheosis
- Awakening: Abilities that improve skill lists and leveling up
- Cosmos: Abilities that post the protagonist’s skill potentials, or how effective certain kinds of skills are
Miracles are unlocked through a secondary currency called Glory. Glory can be obtained in small amounts by discovering Mimans, minions of the shopkeeper Gustave, and in larger amounts from opening white Glory crystals found in the overworld. Remember to think carefully about where you invest your Glory, and to consider your personal playstyle before specializing.
4. Macca and its Many Uses
The primary currency used in the realm of demons is Macca. You’ll earn some Macca whenever you win a fight, and you can also find more in search spots and treasure crystals. You should also be on the lookout for vending machines, as they contain relics you can sell to Gustave at Cadaver’s Hollow for a tidy profit. Make note of any vending machines you find, as they’ll restock their relics periodically.
It’s absolutely vital you keep a few thousand Macca on hand at any given time. Besides the obvious use of buying combat items from Gustave, Macca is also needed to restore your team’s health at Leyline Founts. Additionally, when negotiating with demons, a common request will be for a few hundred Macca. Finally, if you want to summon up a previously held demon from the demon compendium in the World of Shadows, that’s another stack of Macca in the bucket. Basically, if you can’t afford to burn at least a thousand Macca at a moment’s notice, you don’t have nearly enough.
MegaTen games are punishing at the best of times. If your demons are killed, they can be revived, but if your protagonist gets axed, that’s an instant Game Over. Even if you’re in good standing, an unlucky encounter with a foe packing skills you’re weak against can end swiftly and painfully. There are no do-overs here; if you die, it’s right back to the title screen. As such, you should save your progress at a Leyline Fount at every available opportunity. Even if you don’t make a lot of progress, you should still periodically return and save, just to ensure you don’t lose anything important.
After you beat the first major boss at Tokyo Tower, you’ll be given a handy item called the Return Pillar. At any time in the field, you can use it to warp back to the last Leyline Fount you interacted with. The Return Pillar is a permanent item, so don’t worry about using it up; if you’re ever in dire straits, don’t push the envelope. Warp back to the Fount, heal, and SAVE.
That covers all our beginners tips and tricks for Shin Megami Tensei V. The game is available worldwide on Nintendo Switch as of November 12, 2021.