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Video Game / Shin Megami Tensei V

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"The God you cravenly revere is dead. [...] Order itself has crumbled. Chaos shall envelop the world... and from that chaos, there shall be a true rebirth—a wholly new future. All that remains is for me to sow the seeds that shall sprout into this grand reality."

Shin Megami Tensei V is a Post-Apocalyptic Urban Fantasy RPG, and the fourth Numbered Sequel in Atlus's Shin Megami Tensei franchise. Kazuyuki Yamai, director of Shin Megami Tensei IV, returns as the lead producer. SMT V is the first game developed by Atlus on the Unreal 4 Game Engine. The game had a simultaneous global launch (another first for an Atlus game) over November 11-12th, 2021 for Nintendo Switch.

You play as a third-year Ordinary High-School Student in Tokyo, Japan, who one day on his way home from school finds himself accidentally drawn into an alternate, After the End Tokyo overrun by angels, demons, and gods following the death of the world's Creator, called "Da'at". A pack of bloodthirsty demons soon attacks the protagonist after witnessing a classmate taken away by Angels, and in order to survive accepts the help of a mysterious god named Aogami. In the process, the two fuse to become a "Nahobino", a forbidden being that is neither human nor demon. Now, as the ambitions of gods and man clash amidst the horror of a dying world, the newly-forged Nahobino and his friends must decide what is worth saving, and prepare to sacrifice everything in its name. In a world without its Creator, which path will you choose?

Previews: Teaser, Announcement Trailer, Release Date Trailer, Gameplay Trailer, Story Trailer, Bethel Trailer, Nahobino Trailer, World in Ruins Trailer, Order and Chaos Trailer, Launch Trailer

Shin Megami Tensei V contains examples of:

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  • Actually Four Mooks: While you can see demons on the world map, once you enter in battle with them, extra demons teleport in to fight with it. This sometimes pulls in other nearby symbols, but just as often pulls reinforcements from thin air.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The fate of Da'at's inhabitants are uncertain in the "Create a World for Humans Alone" ending. Are the demons and gods of Da'at erased or killed when the Nahobino creates a new world solely for mankind or are they now cut-off from the new world? It doesn't help that the Nahobino is still a god watching over the new world, seemingly unable to communicate with anyone. Lucifer's words when the Nahobino takes the throne and the post-credits narration also suggest the Nahobino's new world may not last very long.
  • And the Adventure Continues: If you choose to destroy the throne, the world is not created anew and humanity must continue to fight on, with it being clear that many will perish, though the Nahobino remains hopeful humanity will win with newfound powers.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • If you're unable to recruit a demon due to your stocks being full or too underleveled, they'll automatically join if you speak to them again with an available slot or once you match their level.
    • If you have trouble locating all the Miman, a Cironnup near the final segment of each area of Da'at will offer to mark out the location of every single Miman for that area in exchange for a single payment of Macca.
    • A new inclusion to the game is that the player will find little colored bits of Magatsuhi scattered around the world. These are automatically picked up once you get near and can either heal small amounts of HP, restore small amounts of MP, or fill the Magatsuhi gauge. In addition, they respawn at a decent rate, allowing the player to avoid unwinnable situations where they have no money to revive their demons or heal.
    • Often if a higher level enemy gets the jump on you, they'll give you the chance to pay them to spare you instead of jumping straight into the fight and attacking you. This can be a life saver (though minibosses will give no such consideration).
    • For those who found it tedious to fulfill the conditions to net the game's hidden ending, there's some good news for you. So long as you completed the necessary steps required to unlock the ending in a prior playthrough, you will not be locked out of the ending on future cycles.
    • Physical demons like Kin-Ki or Siegfried are finally given more utility here with Dracostrike skills, which are elemental spells that scale to the user's Strength stat rather than their Magic stat, so physical demons don't have to rely on getting criticals for Press Turns anymore.
    • Some sidequests require you to defeat a Boss in Mook Clothing, but if you've already done so (they won't respawn), you can complete the quest rightaway.
    • If a treasure box contains an item but you're already at its carrying limit, you won't pick up the item but the box will respawn after a while, in case you wanted to double back to get more of it. This especially applies for Essences, which you can only hold one copy of apiece.
    • When selling items, relics are grouped together on a separate menu from the rest of your inventory, and the sell screen always starts on the relic menu to make it easy to sell it all at once.
    • Reverse Compendium Fusion shows every demon that can be fused using both demons in stock and Compendium, including demons that haven't been recruited yet.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The enemy AI tends to make a number of mistakes for reasons not quite clear. Bosses can often use attacks that you No-Sell, or become stuck in patterns due to their skill set. In particular, soloing some enemies and bosses can result in the AI unintentionally killing themselves, due to their patterns dictating what they are supposed to do, such as Odin being stuck in a loop where he will kill himself if you have have Reflect Physical skills due to how AI handles your party having just one character.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The demons roaming Da'at come in all shapes and sizes with some, like the elephantine Girimekhala and the golem Ouyamatsumi, dwarfing the teenager-sized Nahobino. Special mentions go to Lucifer and Surt, the former of which is just as big, if not even bigger than Tokyo Tower.
  • Audience? What Audience?: In a conversation between Cerberus and Hydra, Cerberus points out that their finally meeting only happened in the fifth gamenote . Hydra is confused by what he means by "game", with Cerberus telling it that it's not important.
  • Balance Buff: SMTV is notable for introducing a number of unique changes to the combat system of the series.
    • The most notable one is the introduction of the Essence system: upon either defeating a demon, recruiting it and raising it for long enough, or finding a chest in the field, the player is awarded an Essence of that particular demon containing all of its elemental affinities and skills. The player can then take this Essence and attach it to any demon they desire, which allows you to mix and match skills between any demon in the game. This is huge, since it allows you to tweak demons to perfection and drastically improve or alter their combat performance far beyond anything allowed in previous games. In addition, you can also attach these Essences to yourself to outright change what affinities you have or grant yourself new skills. This allows for some particularly powerful combinations of demons and skills, and careful use of this Essence system can produce demons that far outstrip even the Nahobino.
    • Items have received a massive general buff through a number of changes made to how they work. First, the skill that allows demons to use items has been made into a Miracle, meaning once you get it, every demon you recruit has access to your inventory. This means that demons can spend items to heal, buff, and attack elemental weaknesses regardless of their skills, which is very useful for optimizing press turns. Secondly, items like elemental shards and elemental gems are a great way to keep up damage in a boss fight after mana reserves have dropped low, meaning demons who run out of steam in a battle can still meaningfully contribute to the fight. Lastly, the elemental dampener items (which are sold by Gustave) completely nullify one attack of a specific element for one turn, making it possible for demons to cover their own elemental weaknesses in battle and even nullify the Magatsuhi attacks that enemies and bosses can do. All of this adds up to items being pretty useful in combat and especially so in boss fights. Of course, the devs are aware of their great utility, and you have pretty low caps for mid-battle items so that you have to use them wisely.
  • Befriending the Enemy: Much like the previous entries, if you want to recruit demons outside of the World of Shadows, you need to negotiate with them and get them on your side.
  • Big Bad: Played with. There are antagonists, but none of them are people you can't negotiate with — Lucifer only started this whole thing to destroy the objectively terrible Vicious Cycle of the Mandala, while all the faction leaders have an ultimately humanitarian end; Hayao/Tsukuyomi wants a diverse world where all gods and people can coexist, Abdiel wants to restore the old order which protected humanity even if she has to stop The Evils of Free Will to do it, and Nuwa is just sick of the whole thing and wants to stop demons ruling over humanity at all.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Played for Laughs with the Mermaid questgiver in Minato. She comes across as friendly and innocent, wanting to undo a curse that has afflicted the rest of her kind that had driven them homicidally insane. When you complete the whole quest and dispel the curse, she thanks you and gleefully says that now she and her sisters can go back to luring sailors to their doom with their enthralling songs.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Regardless of which ending you get, each comes with their own ups and downs and share one commonality: all your comrades and friends die, either by your hand, or by their competitors, and it is implied the Nahobino is eternally separate from the world.
    • The "restore God's will" ending sees the Nahobino sacrifice free will in order to provide eternal peace and stability to the world.
    • The "rebuild the world" ending gives all humanity the chance to make their own choices regarding ideology, but this naturally results in constant conflict and strife.
    • The "Create a world for humanity alone" ending is more sweet than bitter but has its own downsides: All your friends are alive again, the world returns to a pre-apocalypse state and no gods or demons will ever interfere again and the Protagonist is living a happy normal life Ö only itís a clone of the protagonist, as the Nahobino (the one we were playing as) is only allowed to observe the new world but heís not allowed to be a part in it. However, it's an Ambiguous Situation if he and the other Gods are still around and forced to observe only, or if the Nahobino himself is choosing not to intervene to keep up his promise. Regardless, while the Nahobino has restored the world, he has made it clear he is not above his own laws, and his glimpse at his clone hints of the normal life he could have lived.
  • Bookends: Twofold in the True Neutral ending:
    • When the protagonist first meets Aogami, he offers a hand so they can merge into a Nahobino. When the protagonist prepares to create his new world, Aogami offers his hand to his partner, this time to say goodbye.
    • The game opens up with a quick shot introducing the main cast walking through the train station. Fittingly, the ending shows the same scene, though Sahori and Ichiro are also present and a gold-eyed protagonist watches his human counterpart from afar.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • While you can test out random elements to check for resistances, you can also use a Spyglass, which reveals information about one demon, including their resistances. This is especially effective against Mitamas as it allows you to find their weakness immediately, netting a free rare item with zero guesswork. Spyglasses cost only an affordable 100 Macca at the shop and you can carry 50 of them at once.
    • The default Magatsuhi Skill, Omagatoki: Critical, is fairly basic and bland, but making it so every attack made is a Critical Hit is very useful for every demon that receives it, and can be a godsend when used correctly. Especially early on with skills like Bestial Bite, which deal extra damage if the attack is a crit.
    • Boon Boost only makes your buffs and debuffs last an extra turn, but this also means an extra turn without needing to spend the MP to extend your buffs. This also affects buffs and debuffs bestowed by skills like Golden Apple, Fairy Banquet and Accursed Poison, which are skills that cannot be used in quick succession (or are too expensive to do so).
    • The Magastuhi Wellspring Miracle heals the whole party for a small amount of HP and MP every turn if the Magatsuhi gauge is full. Useful for long battles or conserving MP-restoring items.
    • Puncture Punch is a simple physical attack with a built-in Pierce effect. Considering how the Mitamas have randomized vulnerabilities, this can be a major boon.
    • Toxic Spray is a single target Defense debuff that also has a high chance of poisoning. It's already pretty cheap to use by itself and being classified as an Ailment skill means you can rank it up using Miracles for a pittance to make it even cheaper. Meanwhile, Poison is surprisingly effective and can be downright deadly if you invest in the Poison-boosting passives, meaning the skill remains consistently effective through the entire game.
    • "Knowledge of Tools" allows demons to use items. This allows you to use elemental items to strike enemies' weaknesses, Dampeners to block enemy attacks, curative items, or others without using the Nahobino's turns.
  • Boss-Altering Consequence: Ishtar is empowered by 7 Magatsuhi channeling devices spread out across the region of Chiyoda, granting her a total of 8 Press Turns. For each device that is deactivated, her press turns are also reduced which of course means that she'll only have 1 Press Turn if you disable them all. Better still, if you shut off all 7 devices, it also prevents her from using Dreadful Gleam, a powerful Electric skill that pierces Electric resistances and may inflict Seal.
  • Boss Bonanza: The final dungeon involves a gauntlet of bosses - Metatron (who is technically in the room right before the portal that leads directly to the "final dungeon"), three Melchizedek, then Sraosha, then Alilat, then Nahobino Abdiel, then Nahobino Tsukuyomi, then Nahobino Nuwa (skipping whichever Nahobino you sided with), then the final battle with Lucifer (unless you decide to destroy the throne), plus potential sidequest battles with Zeus and Maria (as either herself on Abidel's route, Inanna on Tsukuyomi's route, or Danu on Nuwa's routes).
  • Boss in Mook Clothing:
    • Each area in Da'at has a giant demon which is considerably more powerful than any other demons nearby. The earliest one you'll encounter is in Minato, which is Level 48 whereas all the others are under Level 20.
    • The Yamata-No-Orochi. It comes across as a regular mook in the southern areas of Taito, except it's a level 72 enemy and you can potentially encounter it when you're still in your 50s. The level scaling mechanics mean it can slaughter your entire party in a single turn while taking only Scratch Damage, making the serpent tougher than any regular boss you fought up to that point. Worse, up to four of them can appear in a single battle at once.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • After you beat Vasuki, you're free to challenge Shiva, who comes at you at Level 96.note  If you do manage to beat him, you get the chance to fuse him as well as gain his essence. However, beating him means you're able to barrel your way through pretty much everything else in the game, except the Demi-fiend and maybe Lucifer.
    • For beating the game's ultimate DLC Superboss, the Demi-fiend, you get his essence. By the time you get this, there is literally nothing left for you to accomplish in the game, as you've beaten its strongest challenge.
  • Breaking Old Trends:
    • For the first time in the series (and the franchise as a whole), the fourth tier (severe) elemental spells have an official suffix (-barion) instead of a different name (though the usual names of the severe tier spells are still present, although as strong spells with a piercing effect).
    • Similar to Shin Megami Tensei Apocalypse, the Hama (Light) and Mudo (Dark) spells, which were previously Useless Useful Spells that either insta-killed a target or did nothing and outright didn't work against bosses, have been changed to now doing Light and Dark elemental damage. The Smirk system in Apocalypse doesn't exist, however, so the insta-kill effect is potentially triggered instead if the target is vulnerable to them. They also share in the (-barion) suffix naming scheme, albeit for third-tier spells.
    • Alice's unique spell "Die for ME!" is no longer the sole third-tier Dark spell, but is instead a medium multi-hit spell.
    • The previous games have often had a pattern in their Lawful, Chaotic, and Neutral heroes: the Lawful hero is a calm, collected and patient person who strives for peaceful options but ends up supporting a hurtful regime, the Chaotic hero is a brash but friendly person who puts personal strength above all and ends up becoming obsessed with power, and the Neutral hero is a kindhearted and valorous person who ultimately puts their faith in humanity. In this game, Dazai seems like the archetypal Chaos hero with his brash personality and desire for power, but is actually the Lawful representative following his Character Development into a more confident person and desire to follow God's will. Atsuta seems like a dead ringer for a Lawful or Neutral hero, but is, in reality, the game's Chaotic representative and is working to achieve the goals of Tsukuyomi. And lastly, Shohei seems like the Lawful or Chaotic hero of the bunch thanks to his stoic demeanor, hatred of demons, and his relationship with Nuwa, but is, in reality, the Neutral hero instead.
    • Normally, the mainline games have had an Apocalypse Cult of some kind as the representative of their respective faction. Here, there are no such cults to be had save for one centered around an Apsaras, and even then it plays next to no story significance whatsoever.
    • As usual, the game starts with the hero waking up, but he doesn't get a weird, prophetic dream, with those who wakes the hero up is killed. Instead, Tao has it.
    • Beelzebub is not a Superboss this time around. His Baal form is fought during a sidequest, and upon losing he implies Lucifer has prevented him from taking his Beelzebub form for undisclosed reasons.
    • It's also the first Shin Megami Tensei game that has it set in an apocalypse that explicitly has humanity dead and buried. The war that broke out in Da'at eighteen years ago wiped out humanity, forcing God to create a miracle Tokyo to help the demons acquire Magatsuhi from it as a wholesale.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Like the previous games, this game features paid DLC to grind for EXP, Macca, and Glory. In a twist, however, rather than being 3 separate maps, they're instead a toggle option to greatly increase the spawn rate of Mitama in the overworld, which normally spawn very rarely.
  • Brought Down to Badass: In V, it's stated that God forcibly robbed his fellow rival deities of their Knowledge, debasing them to mere lowly demons while leaving Him the sole "true" deity with any real power. This didn't stop a "treacherous snake" i.e. Lucifer from giving humans Knowledge themselves and kickstarting the Great Offscreen War that was Armageddon, pitting every former god against the Creator.
  • The Bus Came Back:
  • But Thou Must!:
    • In the cutscene leading up to the second fight with Lahmu, you will have two choices as to what takes priority- killing Lahmu or saving Sahori, whom Lahmu is possessing. No matter what you choose, the Nahobino will motion Tao to stay back as Lahmu absorbs Sahori and then attack him once he's done. The ultimate outcome- Lahmu is killed, but at the cost of Tao and Sahori's lives- is the same regardless of your choice.
    • In "The Destined Leader," a Kurama Tengu demands that you hand Amanozako over to him. If you say yes, Amanozako will protest and the Kurama Tengu will take that as a refusal. Regardless of what you choose, the Kurama Tengu attacks you alongside Zaou-Gongen.
  • Call-Back:
    • The game's premise, in which the world has been destroyed and needs to be recreated through supernatural means borrows heavily from Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. The concept of a "Throne" with which an entity can claim supremacy over the laws of the world similarly evokes elements from Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse.
    • Da'at's design as a ruined Tokyo covered in sand is very similar to previous versions of Tokyo after their respective apocalyptic events, mainly the Vortex World and Blasted Tokyo.
    • The Jouin U. Medical Research Center in Tokyo and the Tokyo Diet Building in Da'at both have Amala Drums.
    • The "Return of the True Demon" DLC serves as a recreation of the True Demon route in Nocturne with you receiving a Candelabra from a major NPC and then having to battle through the Fiends and another video game's protagonist to obtain the Candelabra they also hold, with the entire questline leading to the toughest boss fight in the game as well.
    • There's a relic called Old Magazine that's description says it's "An 18-year-old occult magazine full of articles on the supernatural", a nod to Hijiri's occult magazine Ayakashi Monthly that comes up a number of times in the opening of Nocturne.
    • During the parademonic summit between the Bethel branches, Koshimizu calls the creation of Da'at 18 years ago The Conception.
    • A sidequest earns you the "Lord's Sword" key item which invokes memories of the four Devas scattered across Da'at and opens up boss fights against them. They'll become powered up by several levels and have four Press Turns to fight you with.
    • Should you seek to destroy the throne of the Creator, Abdiel will specifically call you a "Proto-fiend" rather than a "Nahobino", referencing the Fiends and the Demi-fiend's role as world destroyers in SMT III: Nocturne.
    • To illustrate how Lucifer has consumed the Creator's knowledge and power, as the Final Boss he will use the Inferno / Hailstorm / Lightning / Tornado of God skills, all of which are skills YHVH had from Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse.
    • Lucifer's plans are a mirror of his scheme in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne: namely creating half-human hybrids with the strength to overcome the other gods and demons, and even the systems of the Great Will itself. He further serves as the Final Boss of all but one ending route as a Strength Equals Worthiness test, just like in Nocturne's True Demon route.
    • The Throne of the Creator revealed in the endings borrows heavily from the design of Kagutsuchi from Nocturne, a glowing ball made of identical geometries layered over each other. The construct that connects the Empyrean and the Throne, meanwhile, is a pillar with a circle on top, much like the Yamato Perpetual Reactor from IV which played a similar role.
    • The Reveal that all of the illusionary Tokyo is a false world brought as a miracle from God's death isn't actually the first time in the series a false world made by a Law deity came to be; Shin Megami Tensei II features the Lotus-Eater Machine world created by the four Archangels to represent what would be the Millennium Kingdom in it's ideal state while their bodies atrophied.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Completing 75% of the Demon Compendium has Sophia give you the Seed of Life key item, which does nothing but look pretty. It later becomes relevant in the final dungeon, where you can either unlock Maria, Inanna, or Danu based on which ending route you chose.
    • After completing Isis's request to kill Horus, she carries his head home with her. The head, along with the Winged Sun Crest from Amon's sidequest, turns out to be a vital piece of unlocking Khonsu's true power, enabling his transformation into Khonsu Ra.
  • Chest Monster: In the overworld, any notable treasure locations marked by a navigator will have a chance of being an encounter with demons.
  • The Chosen Many: Any human who possesses the Knowledge of a demon can merge with that demon to become a Nahobino and stake a claim to the Empyrean Throne. Over the course of the game, the protagonist and Aogami/Susano-o, Dazai and Abdiel, Atsuta and Koshimizu/Tsukuyomi, and Shohei and Nuwa successfully become Nahobinos, while Sahori and Lahmu and Miyazu and Khonsu have the potential but never realize it for various reasons.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: In addition to picking between warring factions, the game forces the player to confront this trope in its side quests. Every now and then, one side quest will direct you to defeat a demon, only for that same demon to try and convince you that the questgiver is deceiving and using you for their own goals. You then get the opportunity to either switch sides and take out the quest-giving demon, or stick with the original plan and fight away.
  • Continuing is Painful: There are no Auto Saves so the game highly advises to save frequently, especially if you plan to battle a challenging opponent. A Game Over will send you straight to the title screen and any progress that hasn't been saved will be lost. However, like the fourth game with Burroughs and Dagda, Aogami will inform you of a powerful presence ahead (ie: you're about to walk into a boss) allowing you to backpedal and save if you haven't.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Zigzagged in the Chiyoda arc. As the forces of Law ready themselves against Surt in his introductory cutscene, they burst into flames before getting within spitting distance of the fire giant due to how much heat he's putting out. Because of this, the Nahobino has to find an amulet that will let him get close enough to take out Surt without burning up. In the overworld, however, two Powers can be seen standing right outside a wall of flame Surt created with no ill effects.
  • Crutch Character: An odd late game example: upon entering the final zone, the ascended Tao joins your party. She has a powerful heal spell that is medium level in power, but also cancels any debuffs as well as raise all stats one tier. Aside from that, she has multiple powerful light spells and Megidola. She is a godsend early in the final area when you will likely be weaker than most enemies there, and continues to be useful all the way up until when she leaves you, right before the final boss.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: In prior 3D MegaTen games, the B button could be used to center the camera behind your character; in this game, however, it's used to jump, so the only way to center the camera is to press down on the right stick.
  • Defeat Means Playable: Defeating a boss unlocks it for fusion. Sometimes you need to complete the sidequest involving them as well. The final bosses are only unlocked after the credits, leaving them for New Game+.
  • Degraded Boss: Certain bosses, both from the main story and from sidequests, appear later on in the game as regular encounters.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • If you have certain demons in your party, they will jump in to initiate a special conversation with certain other demons.
    • In the "Goddess in Training DLC" after you defeat Artemis, Zeus' voice can be heard from the sky and encourages his daughter to do better and learn from the Nahobino's example. If you have Zeus in your party, he will appear himself and tell the Nahobino to look after her after giving her advice.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • There are a lot more demons with a unique move that will get outclassed later, but are fairly strong for the level you get them. In the first area for example, Mermaid's Stormcaller Song (3-6 weak Ice attacks) and Angel's Humble Blessing (slight HP restore for all party members) are easy to get skills that can carry you for the first few hours, simply because they are powerful, cost-efficient, and appear earlier than generic equivalent skills.
    • If you manage to collect 60 Mimans, which can be done by getting all the Miman's in the first zone, and a few in the second zone, Gustave gives you the King Frost Essence. Not only is it one of the earliest Essences with an element it can absorb instead of null, but it has mid-tier Ice, physical, and support skills, making it a powerful skill for the Nahobino to either take skills from, or take the elemental affinities for.
    • If you go out of your way for it, you can fuse Idun at roughly early mid-game. Idun has the unique skill Golden Apple, a Healing skill that combines the effects of Mediarama and Luster Candy. At the point in the game you can fuse her, Luster Candy is still very far off, and having a skill that buffs and heals the party simultaneously does wonders for slot efficiency and utility, making Idun extremely powerful as a supporter. There is an enhanced version of this skill called Light of Order which also cleanses debuffs, but you get it relatively late compared to Idun and its user is a Guest-Star Party Member so you don't have access to it for 60% of the game.
    • A midgame quest leads you to face off against a berserk Amanozako, and if you beat this boss you get its essence. Bear in mind that the boss is supposed to be a late-game demon, so you get the likes of the severe-rank Zanbarion, Maziobarion, and even Mediarahan when you're about level 50. While the MP cost is high, they can easily save you skills for a long time.
    • Cironnup can be recruited at level 27, and learns the skill Cautious Cheer at 30. Cautious Cheer boosts both the defense and agility of the whole party at a point where most demons can only use single-target buffs and debuffs.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: One sidequest has a group of Lilim try to make their way to Tokyo so they can live better lives among humans, but a Principality blocks the way, firmly believing that they plan to do harm by virtue of the fact that they're demons. The Lilim even call you out on being just another Bethel lackey if you side with the Principality. Anyone who's suffered similar issues with immigration officers will know that feeling all too well.
  • Downloadable Content: There are seven in total; three that increase the appearance of the Mitama that drop EXP and Glory boost items, and four that pit you against Mephisto, Cleopatra, Artemis, the Fiends, and the Demi-fiend.
  • Dungeon Bypass: The final dungeon is a winding maze full of enemies that you are generally expected to try to avoid rather than fight. And there are multiple segments where the demons themselves serve as walls of sorts, theoretically forcing you to go in different directions than you'd perhaps want to go. However, all of these gauntlets and mazes can be fully ignored if you use repulse bells. When used, all enemies will completely ignore you until the next new moon. With about 3-4 bells, you can bypass the entire dungeon rather quickly.
  • "End of the World" Special: As is standard for the series, despite Tokyo being reduced to a sand-filled, demon-infested chaotic nightmare, the world can be reborn anew, this time around by reaching the throne of the now dead God, and it's up for you to chose the path you wish for it to take.
    Announcement Trailer: And within the throes of chaos, the world can be reborn, a future yet unknown. In a world without its Creator, which path shall you choose?
  • The End... Or Is It?: While "Create a World for Humans Alone" ending is meant to be viewed as Nahobino breaking the world out of the Mandala System by creating a world for humanity alone, the narrator ponders if a world can actually exist outside the Mandala as the camera zooms into the player's face who is having thoughts about the normal life he has cast away, implying that while humanity itself cannot bring back the demons and gods anymore, there is nothing stopping you from doing the same.
  • Everybody Lives: As far as humans are concerned, recreating a world for humanity has the Nahobino restore his friends and a human clone of himself to live in a world that he will oversee the order of as Top God, but cannot intervene on a personal level due to his own laws. It is also implied to happen in the law ending where the Nahobino restores what was lost.
  • Everything's Sexier in French: One unique demon conversation has Manananggal smitten for Loup-garou, a French werewolf.
  • Exactly Exty Years Ago: Downplayed. The false Tokyo was created 18 years ago, but some NPCs round it up to 20.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: In Japanese and Chinese, the protagonist's demon race after fusing with the mysterious fallen god is 合一神 (for "fused god"). In English the race is simply "Nahobino" for UI localization reasons.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The game features mythological figures from numerous cultures, including but not limited to Japanese Mythology, Chinese Mythology, Norse Mythology, Hindu Mythology, Egyptian Mythology, Celtic Mythology, Kabbalah, and The Bible.
  • Flash Step: The basic dodge animation for most demons is portrayed as one of these.
  • Flower Motifs: The protagonist's school uniform has a floral print on it. In the teaser, stylized flower petals also erupt as the main character and Tao are consumed by Daemons.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The three alignment leaders form this triangle when you fight them as Nahobinos, possessing normal elemental skills and unique skills. Abdiel is Fire with Purgatorium, Tsukuyomi is Ice with Moonlight Frost, and Nuwa is Lightning with Rising Storm Dragon.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Ichiro and the hero first enter Da'at, Aogami reacts to the hero even though Ichiro entered his range first, hinting that Aogami's looking for him in particular.
    • The game hints constantly at Aogami's true identity as Susano-o:
      • One of the very first allies you meet in this game is Amanozako, Susano-o's "daughter" in Japanese myth, who also has the same blue-colored hair as her "father" in this incarnation.
      • Your first boss fight after fusing with Aogami is against the multi-headed dragon Hydra, recreating one of Susano-o's most famous myths; defeating the multi-headed serpent Yamata no Orochi(who is also a demon in this game).
      • Many of your unique skills, including summoning a tsunami, creating a tornado, conjuring a massive magic blade, bringing down a bolt of lightning, and so on, are often associated with traditional symbols of Susano-o, as he is the Japanese god of the seas and storms who wields a legendary sword.
      • After defeating Arioch, a Bethel Agent will mention how similar Aogami and Koshimizu are. This is right before Koshimizu reveals he is actually Tsukuyomi, which signifies a connection.
    • Crossed with Interface Spoiler, unlike other Shin Megami Tensei games, none of the Amatsu are available or even appear in this game. Not only are Aogami and Koshimizu actually the Amatsu Susano-O and Tsukuyomi (and you can't recruit the latter), most of the Amatsu were even revealed to have been wiped out in Armageddon.
    • If spoken to at school, Miyazu will tell of a dream in which she meets a prince of a foreign country. Later on, in the Fairy Village, Miyazu will mention how she befriended Isis, who she says resembles foreign royalty. The fact that she describes Isis the same way as the prince of her dreams hints at her connection to Khonsu, another Egyptian god.
  • Forced Level-Grinding: Unlike previous Shin Megami Tensei games, there is a new level scaling mechanic that harshly penalizes you for fighting enemies of noticeably higher level than you. You will need to keep your party within at least a tiny handful of levels below your target at minimum, as the penalty's effects increase with greater level gaps to the point where levels matter more than stats if the difference is big enough.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the opening cutscene, the protagonist can be seen reading a book for a brief instance. A closer look reveals it to be the Man'yōshū.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Preta was always depicted as this, but the HD graphics make his junk look more detailed and brighter than before, having it full-on display.
  • Genre Savvy: After defeating Belial in Michael's sidequest, a Nebiros appears and demands that he stop fighting, because he knows the Nahobino has "the power of shadows" and would be able to fuse Belial should he kill him. This may be the smartest thing an SMT enemy has ever done, because this indeed denies you Belial's fusion unless you side with him.
  • Godhood Seeker: With the Creator dead, countless demons seek to take the God of Law's now vacant spot on the Empyrean Throne and become the new Creator. When Bethel disbands, each god in charge of its branches goes out to find the humans with their Knowledge so they can become Nahobino and make for the Empyrean throne. Notably, Khonsu is the only god among them who doesn't want to become the new Creator.
  • God Is Dead: Your first flashback into Aogami's memories after the first area in the game have Lucifer claim he just climbed the throne of heaven and killed God, before exploding into magatsuhi himself. Later on, it's basically confirmed that "the Creator" or whatever that represents the Great Will or God here is already killed by Lucifer from the get-go. Since Tokyo was upheld by the Creator alone through a miracle, it fades slowly before someone takes the emptied throne.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: There are 200 Miman hidden throughout Da'at, 50 or so in each area (barring Jouin High School, the Demon King's Palace, the Temple of Eternity, and the Pillar Empyrean.) Gustave gives out a reward for every five Miman brought back.
  • Gravity Screw: Downplayed. Some formerly normal skyscrapers now have disintegrated into floating blocks that stretch up to the sky. This is despite the rest of the world seemingly having no such issues.
  • Great Offscreen War: A war that began well before the events from 18 years ago that kickstarted the main plot of the game. Beginning when Lucifer gave humanity the Knowledge taken from former gods, demons and the God of Law battled for countless years. Things came to a head when during a Conception Lucifer brought the war to an end and informed all in attendance that God Is Dead.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: The philosophies of Law, Chaos, and everything in between are portrayed as just that: philosophies that may be diametrically opposed, but which ultimately just have their own sets of pros and cons that make it difficult to discern which is actually morally right. It turns out that even Lucifer, who was responsible for the whole mess, had some valid points and did what he did to permanently free the world from the endless cycle of destruction and rebirth as dictated by the Mandala.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Getting one of the endings is a chore in itself, as you have to complete a set of requirements you might not pick up the first time around. To unlock the "Create a world for humanity alone" ending, you have to side with Nuwa and Yakumo and complete a series of sidequests, among of which involve the Fairy Village, Fionn, Amanozako, and Khonsu. The quests involving the latter are the most sensitive requirement as you have to spare Khonsu in order to progress that particular questline. Kill him, and you'll be locked out of the ending. Additionally, you must also kill the game's resident superboss Shiva. If Nuwa questions what the Nahobino intends to do when they reach the Empyrean Throne, you will have unlocked the fourth ending. If she doesn't show up, the "Destroy the Throne" ending will continue. On the plus side, you will not have to repeat those steps if you did all of them in a prior playthrough.
    • You get several dialogue choices throughout the game that seem to affect your alignment (such as the demon you side with in the "pick a side" quests), but this impression feels subverted when the ending you get hinges on the Last-Second Ending Choice. However, if your earlier responses don't match with the ending you go with, you get locked out of a route-exclusive Miracle and sidequest. The latter, at least, can still be taken but at an astronomical Macca price.
    • The DLC battle against the Demi-Fiend can easily become this. Unlike in Digital Devil Saga, the conditions for him to use Gaea Rage is actually avoidable this time around, and with some very careful playing it's entirely possible to completely prevent him from using this attack by exploiting his AI. However, none of that is written anywhere in the game, and you will actually have to take multiple trial-and-error attempts until you find out that specific condition where he doesn't use Gaea Rage to annihilate your whole party.
  • Healer Signs On Early: The first demon that can be recruited is a Pixie that can cast Dia.note 
  • Hostage Situation: After the Nahobino and some of his friends return from Da'at, the demon Lahmu invades and kidnaps some of your fellow classmates, forcing the Nahobino to return to Da'at in an attempt to save them.
  • Home Guard: Bethel is an organization tasked with defeating any and all demons from Da'at threatening to invade the human world, and align themselves with angels and other gods. As the game is set in Japan, Bethel Japan receives the most focus and is at the forefront of all conflicts the protagonist finds himself in.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: If you try to engage Ishtar as soon as her fight becomes available, she will have eight Press Turns per enemy phase, meaning that she can quite easily blitz through your entire party. However, a Decarabia you meet before her will tell you that she has devices set up to flow Magatsuhi into her to make her that strong, and destroying them will weaken her to the point that she will only have one Press Turn if you destroy all of them.
  • Humanity's Wake: All of humanity as it's known is effectively dead and gone in the Netherworld Tokyo. The calamity that destroyed humanity, a "war in heaven," broke out between the forces of Law and Chaos eighteen years ago and hasn't left a single survivor outside of the illusionary Tokyo you come from. This is especially jarring, as no matter how bad the apocalypse was, there was always humans to be found. This becomes a plot-point as God's dying act is to perform a "miracle" that creates a false Tokyo that the protagonists hail from as a wholesale, with it being left ambiguous whether it was out of good-will or just to have a readily-accessible supply of Magatsuhi.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The topic of the conversation between two NPCs (male students) the Nahobino can talk to at school centers around the possible addiction to mobile devices from one of them. The other one protests... while still looking at his phone.
    Male Student A: Man, you're always messing with your phone. You got an addiction?
    Male Student B: Shut up... oh hey, this looks cool.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Quite a few demons that are recruitable in Taito are strong enough to be brought to the endgame without any issues, and are only beaten out by the top-class demons.
    • Tao is a powerful Hama nuker and valuable support demon that remains relevant the entire way through Taito and a decent bit into the final dungeon. Her Light of Order is a better version of Idun's Golden Apple, she learns Megidola, and her own weakness to dark is eventually cancelled out by her native learning of Null Dark. Overall, Tao is one of the reasons why Taito isn't a complete dead end once you get there.
    • If you can complete her questline and recruit her properly, Amanozako is a strong multi-flavor nuker with specializations in lightning, force, almighty, and even a bit of healing. She has endgame-level spells and great stats for magic nuking, including a natively learned Almighty Pleroma. At level 76, she can be a valuable choice to rely on in random battles.
    • Fionn is an extremely strong and well-balanced physical fighter with specializations in fire and ice as well. His high stats, great skills, and efficient MP usage makes him very valuable as a frontline attacker throughout the rest of the game. While the endgame physically-aligned demons outpace him in raw strength, he can still hold his own against them quite well. Recruiting him is as simple as beating him in a battle in Taito, though his high level means you won't be able to get him right away.
    • Odin is powercrept by Zeus in pretty much every way, but while Odin is recruitable at level 77, Zeus is only obtainable at 86 and requires completing Demeter's questline. Thus, Odin is more easily accessible, and carries much of the same kit as a physically-oriented attacker with specializations into lightning.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • The Demi-fiend essence. Only available after beating him in a fight, and boy howdy is it a Bragging Rights Reward. Using it allows you to either add a number of powerful physical-damage skills that can only be used on the Nahobino, or null all elements.
    • Zeus counts as one, as an incredibly strong physical attacker with lightning specializations. He has sky high Strength and Agility, has three very powerful unique skills, and natively learns Impaler's Animus. He's arguably one of the best physical attackers in the game just based off his stats and the skills he knows, so tweaking him further with Essences can make him into a total wrecking ball.
    • Shiva, of course. While absurdly strong as a Superboss, Shiva retains much of his strength as a summonable demon. Amazingly high stats, nulls the majority of elements (and is only weak to one), natively learns Boon Boost EX and High Almightly Pleroma, and retains his signature Tandava attack. As an aoe nuker, Shiva is peerless.
  • The Imp: Daemon, a member of the Brute Race, is shown to look like a stereotypical imp-like demon: black skin, crooked teeth, red eyes, bat-like wings and wielding pitchforks.
  • Interface Spoiler: In the fourth area of Da'at, while Odin and Vasuki are unlocked for fusion after defeating them, Zeus is not. This hints that this won't be the last time you'll fight him.
  • Killer Rabbit: An Abscess in Taito has a set of demons who were encountered at the beginning of the first area of the game ó Slime, Pixie, Preta, and Onmoraki. At first, this is an odd combo to encounter at this point in the game... until you see that all four of them are at level 99. They also have two Press Turns each, making a total of eight. And unlike the Ishtar boss fight, you are forced to endure that amount of Press Turns per enemy phase. This will catch unsuspecting players expecting a simple fight off guard.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: As is tradition for the series, you will have to kill some of your classmates and friends. Some fall to demon possession, while others end up having incompatible views on what to do about the latest "End of the World" Special, forcing you to battle and kill them in endgame if you don't agree with their vision for a new world. And no, unlike in previous instances, you're all alone in this and have to take down basically anyone in your way.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness:
    • Ironically, this is the first numbered game where Yoshitsune actually has its Signature Move, Hassou-Tobi, which was previously popularized by its appearances in SMT spinoffs and the Persona franchise.
    • Just like in Apocalypse, Light and Dark skills deal actual damage to foes, although the instant-kill requirement will activate if it's hitting a weakness (of course, it still won't instantly kill bosses). This is to prevent them from being dead-weight in crucial encounters.
    • This is the first numbered Shin Megami Tensei game to alter buff/debuff mechanics. While buffs/debuffs can still stack, V buffs and debuffs are now similar to the system popularized by Persona, with stat changes being temporary and stat-altering spells being split up into single-target and multi-target variations.
  • Last Disc Magic: As you enter and explore the final two dungeons, the game starts handing you the Essences of extremely high-level demons that you are likely unable to access barring excessive grinding. These grant you their high-tier skills without needing to fuse and grind them, getting you set for the final challenges of the game. Metatron's Essence, obtained at the top floor of the Temple of Eternity, stands out as an Essence with no elemental weakness.
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: Downplayed in regards to the normal routes as the alignment lock happens right before entering The Very Definitely Final Dungeon and you can choose all three choices regardless of your prior actions, albeit characters will have different reactions based on if your past alignment actions actually match your choice or not. Played straight in the hidden ending as right after the Tsukuyomi fight, you can choose to either Destroy the Throne like what would normally happen, or you can choose to instead Create a world for humanity alone.
  • Level-Up Fill-Up: The Miracles Empowering Cheer and Empowering Cheer II allow you to heal half of your HP/MP, and all of your HP/MP respectively, upon leveling up.
  • Lighter and Softer: Relative to the rest of the series. This time around, the Law faction is sincere in their desire to bring peace and prosperity rather than just keep the previous God in power. The Chaos faction wants the world to return to the way it was, just with a pluralistic choice of god to follow. And the neutral faction is actively trying to escape the Vicious Cycle their path usually is doomed to. Which is a stark contrast to the previous games (especially in IV and Apocalypse where Law and Chaos forces are In-Universe flanderized caricatures) where most sides tend to have ill designs for the human race or just returns things to a status quo that led to apocalypse in the first place.
  • Limit Break: When the Magatsuhi gauge is full, you can unleash powerful skills or buffs that can easily turn the tide of any battle. All party members get access to one that makes all of the party's attacks that turn guaranteed critical hits, and demons get a second one based on their race.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: All enemies defeated with Bufu skills and frozen and fall to pieces.
  • Lord British Postulate: The fully-powered Ishtar fight is meant to be seen as a Hopeless Boss Fight due to her ridiculous eight Press Turns and her unique skill Dreadful Gleam, highly encouraging the player to go out and destroy the devices that are giving her those powers. The thing is that while Dreadful Gleam does Pierce through resistances, the same cannot be said about her other Zio skills. And since hitting an enemy that absorbs or reflects elements gets rid of all of your Press Turns at once, just having one demon in your party that does that can mitigate her biggest strength.
  • Magic Music: This time around, the demon fusion happens when the Nahobino plays a set of mystical keyboards in the Cathedral of Shadows, producing an organ-like sound.
  • Masquerade: What exactly the current, normal-looking Tokyo is in this game. It's merely upheld because of a miracle by the Creator, and it has been destroyed 18 years ago by clashing forces of Order and Chaos. With the Creator also destroyed by Lucifer, it's a matter of time before Tokyo itself fades.
    Tao: If I told you the Tokyo you'd been living in this whole time was a lie...would you believe me?
  • Mercy Kill:
    • The Nahobino, following his death at Lahmu's hands and his resurrection by Tao, does this to Sahori both to put her out of her misery and kill Lahmu for good.
    • Two sidequests have you doing this to specific demons — a Succubus requests you put down her old friend Kumbhanda after he lost his sanity, and Isis requests that you bring her the head of her son, Horus, for the same reason.
  • Me's a Crowd: Ongyo-Ki, befitting their ninja inspiration, summon a group of doppelgangers to chase the player down upon seeing them.
  • Metal Slime: Mitamas return from the previous games as the demons that grant tons of rewards, except this time, they're significantly much more annoying to take down. They nullify all damage, resist Almighty, and only have one weakness that is completely random, which means you either land that weakness or they're gone. Rather than being exclusive to a DLC map however, they can spawn rarely in the overworld, and a paid DLC can considerably increase their spawn rate at a toggle, so you aren't forced to use it.
  • Multiple Endings: As is per usual with SMT games, though, unlike past entries, your alignment only slightly affects which ending you're aiming for - in fact, being a specific alignment locks you out of none of them.
    • Restore God's Order Ending: The protagonist decides to take up the posthumous will of the God of Law, teaming up with Abdiel and Dazai to bring it back. The Nahobino succeeds in taking the Empyrean Throne, restoring all those lost to the war between order and chaos, and resumes the old order the God of Law upheld, having humanity live prosperous through devotion, though the existence of free will is questionable in a world where humans do not think for themselves. Notably one where there are fewer negative side effects and the Nahobino seems the happiest, and even Lucifer admits the world will be freed to an extent, with the added bonus of it being hinted that the Nahobino has restored those who have been lost, which may include his allies.
    • Rebuild The World Ending: The Nahobino sides with Koshimizu and Atsuta's vision of creating a world where a myriad of gods share power and dominion over mankind. Humanity offers their faith in each god equally, choosing a life of diversity and building an ever-changing society in the process. But this world inevitably derails into one of eternal strife as warring ideologies between humanity's factions break out. While saddened, the Nahobino still sticks to his convictions of ensuring humanity's right to choose is preserved rather than be chosen for.
    • Destroy the Throne Ending: The Nahobino achieves Yakumo and Nuwa's goal of destroying the Throne of Creation. The world is not remade and the demons still present begin to war with humanity, kickstarting an age of strife which claims numerous casualties and destroys what is left of the old world. But with the Nahobino ascending themselves and the means to combat demons left behind, humanity has a chance to eventually win against hostile demonic hordes and claims the world for themselves. Nahobino doesn't appear to be as happy as he is on the Law ending, but remains pleased by his hope for the outcome of the ensuing bloody battles.
    • The hidden ending: The fourth ending that can be achieved by completing certain sidequests and picking the "Destroy The Throne" ending. After defeating Abdiel, Nuwa reappears to reveal that her and Yakumo's ultimate goal wasn't just to destroy the Throne. Instead, they sought to use its power to create a new world free from demons and gods alike. With this option now in mind, The Nahobino decides to claim his right as Ruler and sit on the Throne of Creation. As the new Top God, the Nahobino creates a new world mirroring that of the old but free from all gods and demons, including Aogami who passes away approving of the protagonist's decision. Every human character who died during the events of the game are now alive and well, living their normal lives to the fullest. However, the ending is one of the contradictions, as it can only be upheld by the great will of the Nahobino, who as the only Top God, has secured a position that the God of Law himself wished to be in. Thus as the Nahobino doesn't see himself as above his own laws, he must exist outside of this new world, instead letting a clone take his place who he observes from afar, possibly pondering of the life he could have had while he must maintain the paradox of a world without other gods and demons upheld by the will of a single Creator who cannot intervene.
  • Mundane Utility: For some demon recruitments, the demon will challenge the protagonist to a contest of a certain stat. One agility contest is over how fast the protagonist can text.
  • Mystical Lotus: The pocket dimension where you battle Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, is filled with giant lotus blossoms floating on the water.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The protagonist's half-human form borrows elements from the Masakado designs in Shin Megami Tensei II (particularly the dark ornamental armor with pointed shoulders) and Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne (particularly the long flowing mane of blue hair).
    • The Daily Demon trailers between #166 and #170 all show demons that Raidou could summon in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne.
    • Battle -Strength- is a remix of Fall'n Gods and Omega from Megami Tensei II.
    • Except for a Dark weakness added for the sake of balance, Cironnupís resistances are identical to those of Hallelujah, his summoner from Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse.
    • Koshimizu states that the Conception that created Da'at occurred 18 years ago, which is the length of time between the release of Nocturne's original release in Japan and V.
    • Another Nocturne reference is Decarabia refering to Ishthar's Magatsuhi-draining devices as a "Nightmare System", the same as Hikawa's device of the same function.
    • During negotiation, a Demon may tell you they're going to rip off your "mask" while yelling "show me your true form!"
    • Occasionally during negotiations, the demon will challenge the Nahobino to a contest, with the winner being which of the two has more of a specific stat. One of these is a dance contest determined by Magic.
    • One of the students mentions that the volleyball team is up against a school with a gold medalist for a coach, referencing Kamoshida from Persona 5.
    • Much like the IV duology, Matador and the six Book of Revelation Fiends form a fusion chain where each one is required to fuse the next strongest one among them. Daisoujou and Hell Biker are excluded as they were not in those games.
  • Nerf:
    • When the protagonist levels up, you only have one point to distribute yourself and the other three are distributed randomly, preventing you from allocating most of your points to one stat and raising it ludicrously high like you could in past instalments.
    • Charge and Concentrate no longer multiply damage by 2.5, the multiplier being closer to double instead. This makes them more for situations where you need a quick burst of damage in a single turn, rather than your best source of damage at all times.
    • Elements were formerly incredibly valuable for fusion, as they instantly shift a Demon up or down a "tier" within its Race. While they still work this way, they are now vastly more expensive than other Demons when summoned from the Compendium, making them less useful until very late in the game.
  • New Work, Recycled Graphics:
  • No Body Left Behind: Every living thing that dies fades away into Magatsuhi.
  • Non-Dubbed Grunts: Japanese demons with no speaking role in the game's plot (Neko Shogun, Azumi, the Four Devas, etc.) retain their Japanese language Voice Grunting in the localized versions.
  • Numbered Sequel: As the name suggests, it is the 5th main game in SMT franchise, though far from the fifth actual game in the series, between spin offs and sequels like Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey and Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, respectively.
  • Ominous Save Prompt: After defeating Metatron at the top of the Temple of Eternity, Aogami chimes in and outright tells the player to double back and save, as opposed to the usual Boss Warning Siren. That's because the next thing that follows is several lengthy cutscenes and a dialogue choice that determines the ending the player receives.
  • Omnicidal Neutral: While it's no longer played straight in the gameplay, Shohei is this ideologically - he straight-up says he wants to exterminate the demons and angels (as well as any humans he judges to be "parasites.")
  • Order Is Not Good: Double or perhaps triple subverted. While the angels want to bring back God, they don't necessarily believe in His The Evils of Free Will ideology, leading to them wanting to create a world where both He and free will can exist in unison. Unfortunately, Abdiel, the current leader of the angels, is the only one who still wants to bring forth God's will to the point that she chooses to become a Fallen Angel in protest to His orders - which also means she's the only one able to serve as a Law representative in the ending. On the other hand, the Nahobino appears to be the happiest in the Law ending with even Lucifer admitting that the world can still be freed, and as a chaotic Nahobino can choose the path with an implication that he has a gentler touch, leaves it ambiguous as to how much of Abdiel's extremism will persist.
  • Order vs. Chaos: As usual, the story's various factions are split over questions of freedom, safety, and free will. Abdiel's faction believes in bringing back God's order stronger than ever, creating a paradise where everyone can be safe and happy at the cost of giving up free will and solely worshiping the Creator. Bethel wishes to place a new Creator God on the throne who will allow all gods to exist and give humanity the freedom to choose who they worship, though it will inevitably lead to conflict between the many factions. Shohei and Nuwa meanwhile advocate for destroying the existing system, making it impossible for a Creator to recreate the world, but also making it so no god can control or harm humanity again. Or, once again, as usual, you can reject everyone's solution to Da'at, and seek to create a new world, but for mankind alone. In a twist, however, the protagonist's personal alignment doesn't matter; you can even recruit opposite aligned demons regardless of your alignment, just so long as you choose to realize their vision for a new world.
  • Overrated and Underleveled:
    • Some of the Special Fusions in this game fizzle out pretty quickly after obtaining them. For instance, Surt comes at level 62, and is a fire-focused demon with high magic and strength... only for there to be an easily-attainable, nearly straight improvement alternative to him in Fionn, who joins your party after you defeat him in Taito (expected level 66). Fionn hits harder, has a better spread of affinities and resistances, specializes in fire and ice, and has an extremely hard-hitting Unique skill, making Surt somewhat redundant once you obtain him.
    • Some Demons automatically join your party after or during certain quests. These Demons start out at their base level with no skill or stat inheritance, and are likely significantly weaker than they would be if you made them via fusion. Fortunately the ability to fuse them is unlocked at the same time, but this often means the "free" version is quickly discarded in favour of a fused one.
    • Hayataro is entrusted to you and unlocked for fusion after you embark on the Bethel route. However, at this point you're around level 75, but Hayataro is merely level 40 with skills that would be powerful for him but are long outclassed at this point.
  • Poke the Poodle: In an optional demon conversation, a Jack Frost asks the player's Black Frost how to be evil. Black Frost advises Jack to grab a carton of milk from the back of the shelf the next time it goes shopping.
  • Power Copying: Essence Fusion permits the Nahobino or any of his demons to inherit the innate skills learned by a specific demon using their essence. The Nahobino can also change his elemental resistances to match that of the demon whose essence he's using. However, this means that almost every demon in the game has a weakness to give the player a reason to keep switching the resistance spread for the occasion. It's only right near the final dungeon when the player receives Essence of demons that don't have innate weaknesses.
  • Promoted to Playable: Danu debuted in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse but wasn't playable, acting solely as an NPC. In V she returns as a fully recruitable endgame demon.
  • Put on a Bus: Mido, the Minister from previous games, is no longer in charge of the Cathedral of Shadows. Instead, a woman by the name of Sophianote  runs the show.
  • Real-Place Background: As with the other numbered Shin Megami Tensei entries, the game is set in and features multiple real-world locations from Tokyo, Japan. For instance, the protagonist gets transported to Da'at after going through the Takanawa Bridge Overpass, and the opening area has you heading first for Tokyo Tower, followed by the National Diet Building.
  • Redemption Demotion: Certain demons that were fought as bosses lose their unique skill when fused as allies — specifically, Ishtar loses Dreadful Gleam, and Khonsu Ra loses both Mesektet's Path and Heliopolis Dawn, though the latter is at least replaced with Trisagion (a similar resistance-piercing fire attack, but only targets one enemy as opposed to the entire party).
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming:
    • The small imp-like demons in the first three trailers are "Daemon", the Ancient Greek word for minor spirits.
    • The demon-infested alternate Tokyo is called Da'at, the central state of unity of the Sefirot in Kabbalah.
    • The protagonist's Half-Human Hybrid form is called the Nahobino, a play on Nahobi-No-Kami (直毘神), Shinto deities of purification that restore the world after a catastrophe.
  • Route Boss:
    • Several sidequests follow a formula: two demons are opposing each other, and each independently asks you to take out their opponent. In every case, you can only fight one of the two, while the demon you didn't fight joins you as a reward for helping them.
    • In the final dungeon, the two leaders of the factions you didn't side with will fight you, while the leader of the faction you did side with is skipped. Additionally, only the hidden Neutral path gets to fight the Final Boss Lucifer in his full three forms; he's limited to a single lower-level form in the Law and Chaos paths, and the normal Neutral path skips him entirely.
  • Same Plot Sequel: While the details are different, the game's story heavily mirrors the overall plot Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, with an Ordinary High-School Student becoming a Half-Human Hybrid after being transported to an Eldritch Location After the End Tokyo where various gods and humans seek to use an "End of the World" Special to implement their own vision for a new world. And meanwhile Lucifer, the one who planted the seeds that allowed you to become a Half-Human Hybrid, seeks to destroy the universal systems that create this particular apocalypse time and time again, becoming the Final Boss as a Strength Equals Worthiness test of your power to bring his dream to life.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • Early in the game you can come across a chest tucked away in the corner of the map. Grabbing it triggers up to five Slime demons to drop down and ambush you. You can see them standing by when you do this, making it obvious what will happen if you go for it.
    • The ponds in Ueno Park have valuables like chests and even a demon statue. Naturally, if you approach them, you'll be ambushed by Sui-Ki which were invisible up to that point.
  • Secret Art: Unique moves are seen across a greater variety of demons compared to previous games. These moves are also a cheaper version of their generic counterpart (if any) in exchange for being unable to pass them through fusion.
  • Sequel Escalation: Inverted when it comes to recruitable demons, with about half as many available as the IV duology. This is likely due to the game using 3D models, as opposed to IV's sprites.
  • Shop Fodder: Plenty of it, in the form of "relics" (ranging from soda bottles to video game consoles) acquired from vending machines throughout Da'at.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: A usual staple for the series, but Atlus Japan posts YT videos for a Daily Demon Showcase note  that goes into the lore of these demons.
  • Signature Line: "The God you cravenly revere is dead."
  • Single-Use Shield: The Dampeners are items that grant immunity to one attack of their corresponding element for the party, and they are very effective in negating a telegraphed, potentially dangerous attack from a boss. Attack and Magic Mirrors reflect a strength-based or magic-based attack for one party member. Each of these items also have a corresponding skill that can be learned and used by your demons.
  • Superboss:
    • Shiva acts as an optional level 96 boss who also regularly summons flunkies to his aid.
    • The end of the "Return of the True Demon" DLC puts the protagonist against the Demi-Fiend from Nocturne, who is a level 99 foe and regularly summons a fully kitted-out party.
  • Stealth Pun: The demon Idun is given a design that crosses Little Red Riding Hood and a Japanese Idol Singer, best shown with her unique move Golden Apple which changes the background to resemble a concert stage. Therefore, her idle animation of her dancing around is an Idol animation.
  • There Can Be Only One: There can only be one on the throne of the Creator, and only one whose will can remake the world. Even should you choose to align with Ichiro and Abdiel, Yuzuru and Tsukuyomi, or Shohei and Nuwa, one of the other two pairs will kill your allies while you are forced to take the others out, leaving only you to implement a vision for a new world.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: As is series tradition, the final battle between Law and Chaos apparently took place right next to the Tokyo Tower, and the game proper takes place in the ruins of Tokyo. However, it becomes a bit odd since this installment shows that Bethel has branches all around the world, so Tokyo isn't the only city left as is often implied in SMT games. So it's a bit odd that the final battle between Abrahamic deities took place in a country with a very low population of Christians, Jews, or other Abrahamic faiths. On top of that, apparently all of the humans with the Knowledge of major gods (Zeus, Odin, Abdiel, etc) embedded in their souls all happen to be Japanese as well.
  • Took a Level in Badass: While never quite portrayed as anything other than capable, insanely strong, or at least extremely influential in games where he doesn't appear fighting, this version of Lucifer was able to kill the God of Law on his own, something he was never shown being able to do in other installments. This is also the first game to portray his perceived "True Form", who serves as the Final Boss for most routes.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: The angels of Bethel, unlike most Law-aligned factions in previous games, have a more benevolent goal in mind. While they still wish to bring back God, they also want to retain humanity's free will, as they believe the two can coexist freely. This doesn't sit well with Abdiel at all, though even she respects humans - she just believes in The Evils of Free Will.
  • Transformation Sequence: Occurs in the beginning of the series through Magical Girl-style transformation when the protagonist and Aogami merges into Nahobino for the first time.
  • Trapped in Another World: Subverted. The protagonist was seemingly drawn from ordinary Tokyo to another, desolate version of Tokyo, but that is not an alternate world but the real Tokyo, and it's been destroyed 18 years ago. It just looks normal due to a miracle from the Creator, but even that doesn't hold long.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Empyrean, the pathway to the throne of the world's Creator, which is a pure white space with a tower made of cathedrals stuck together in Alien Geometries that ascends into the heavens.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • The Tokyo Tower Hydra, the first boss, is the part where the training wheels come off. Its attacks hit like a tank, most demons under level 18 are weak to fire (which Hydra specializes in alongside poison), and its attacks can hit multiple times and targets. You either learn to make use of multiple mechanics like guard, the magatsuhi gauge, elemental weaknesses and resistances, and press turns, or you die painfully.
    • The first encounter with Nuwa at the Diet Building makes sure the player has learned how to use Essence Fusion to change the Nahobino's resistances. She has a +7 affinity with Force and several powerful Force attacks, which the protagonist is weak to by default. Remove this weakness and the fight will be much more manageable.
  • Was Once a Man: Miman are what's left of Nahobino who couldn't transition to demons.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: Unlike the IV games which largely bucked this trend, V returns to the standard practice where, if the Nahobino dies, it's game over.
  • Weird Moon: Despite it not really being visible, especially in the starting area, the moon is still a present element of the ruined world and affects demons differently depending on the cycle, going through cycles in quick secession. Primarily it affects the ability to talk to them; some demons will go into a Despair Event Horizon when the moon is essentially gone and refuse to talk, while at full moons will be overly chatting and easier to talk to. Other times, the demons will be Drunk with Power on a full moon and cannot hold conversation, and are calmer on a new moon.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: For the first time in a Megaten game the game's overworld is not only fully visible but also completely open and fully explorable. However, as a callback to previous games, exploring Tokyo (not Da'at) has the player explore the streets from an extreme bird's eye view while represented as a simple player piece. There's not much to do here though.
  • We Used to Be Friends: The final act of the game has fissures erupt between those of Bethel Japan, who've spent much of the game working together to save Tokyo, and particularly between Dazai and Atsuta, the former of whom used to admire the latter greatly. In every ending, one of them eventually kills the other, or both end up being killed by the protagonist.
  • Wham Line:
    • In past Shin Megami Tensei games, the conflict was almost always between Lucifer and YHVH, or at least their proxies. However, at the end of the first area, Lucifer reveals that's not going to be the case this time around:
      Lucifer: The God you cravenly revere is dead. Slain by my own hand, that humanity might finally live unbound from their chains.
    • After Lahmu is defeated, Sahori calls the Nahobino and Tao over to her.
      Sahori: There's something I need to say... To both of you... Listen closely... (Sahori's eyes turn yellow and she smirks) You're mine!
    • After the Parademonic Summit, Dazai offers to find Abdiel's Knowledge for her, only to learn that he is her Knowledge.
      Abdiel: That won't be necessary. They're already here.
    • In the final area of Da'at, one of the Miman finally reveals what they are, which can be a surprise if you haven't found the clues.
      "You figure it out yet? Miman what left of those who no return to be Nahobino. Sad, huh?"
  • Wham Shot:
    • After the battle with Lahmu, Sahori seems to have been freed from Lahmu's influence forever, but then a shot of her face as she's delivering her Wham Line reveals yellow eyes and an evil smirk, showing that she's still under Lahmu's control.
    • At the end of the scene following the Parademonic Summit, a familiar voice tells Abdiel that if she wants harmony, she must bring it about herself. If you look closely at the shadow, you can identify the speaker as Lucifer.
  • Wolfpack Boss:
    • Several Abscess fights pit you against a group of different demons, each with their own moveset and elemental affinities all supporting each other to pressure your team.
    • The Kunitsukami in Chiyoda — Okuninushi, Sukuna-Hikona, Take-Minakata, and Ouyamatsumi — are all fought at once after you complete the sidequest to defeat Ouyamatsumi.
    • Uriel, Gabriel, and Raphael are also fought together in a sidequest near the end of the game, as a prerequisite to fighting Michael.
  • Year X: An ad for a smartphone seen in the introduction says it will come out in the year 20XX.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Since Devil Summoner, Angel has been commonly depicted as a winged blonde woman in bondage gear. The Daily Demon showcase videos show that their designs have been completely overhauled as androgynous winged figures in white robes who wear golden masks.
  • Your Size May Vary: While many of the demons are shown as being massive in the overworld, many of the larger ones shrink down when they are on your side and in battle. For example, King Frost as an NPC is large enough where Nahobino only reaches halfway to his padlock, but when he is on your side, Nahobino reaches up to his collar.


Video Example(s):


The God you worship is dead

After being stuck in a forever war between the forces of Order and Chaos for countless eons, Lucifer appears before the forces of Law and proclaims that the war is over - He has killed the God of Law and finally supplanted him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / WhamLine

Media sources: