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SMTV Beginner’s Guide – Polygon

Shin Megami Tensei 5 brings us back to the world of the Megami Tensei franchise (including the Persona Offshoot). SMTV combines elements from previous games in the series with the introduction of entirely new concepts.

In this Shin Megami Tensei 5 Beginner’s Guide, we will help you in the first few hours with the things we wish we could have understood sooner. We’ll help you understand the game’s fast travel, saving, and various seller mechanisms that you can find at Leyline Founts, explain how combat works, and talk a little about essences and demon fusion.

There’s a lot going on at Leyline Founts

No, seriously, there is a lot going on at Leyline Founts. Here you can quickly travel, go shopping, hand in miman and relics, heal your group, learn new miracles, perform demon fusions, etc. As I said, there are much continues.

The options available expand quickly the first time you visit. They include:

  • Chronicle deeds. This is how you save.
  • Leyline crossing. This allows you to quickly travel between leyline founts that you have previously visited.
  • Cadaver cavity. Gustave’s shop where you can buy and sell consumables. Here you also sell relics and get rewards for finding Miman.
  • World of shadows. Sophia’s realm, where you learn miracles (permanent, passive buffs), manage essences (a way to learn new skills and resistances) and perform Demon fusions. More on this below.
  • recreation. Pay money (Macca) to restore your party’s HP and MP.

Don’t forget to save on Leyline Founts

Leyline founts are your only save points. With everything else you do there, it’s easy to forget to save – “Chronic Acts” as the game calls it. If your protagonist falls in battle, you will be thrown back on your last save, so you can lose a lot of progress. Since there are so few save points, it’s important to save every time you can.

Don’t let anything else distract you. We’re very distractible so we’ve made a habit of saving first and then saving again when we’re done at the Leyline fount just to be sure.

Save some money (Macca) for healing

the recreation Option at a Leyline source heals a party member’s health and magic pool (HP and MP) completely, but costs you cash. For characters below level 10, you’ll see around 75 Macca or less each.

As tempting as it is to spend the money on consumables and healing potions (medicine), the recovery option at a leyline source also fully restores a character’s magic – something that no early game item does.

Save more Macca for recruiting

Your protagonist is not alone in the fight against the demons. You will fill your group with up to three other demons by recruiting them.

Recruiting can be as simple as talking nicely to them or as difficult as handing out large amounts of Macca, HP, and items. However, it’s almost always worth it as more allies make the battles easier. And these new allies will have new attacks and abilities, which is important because …

Combat is about exploiting weaknesses and getting free moves

For each round of combat, each side of a fight has a number of Press turn symbols – basically the number of actions the group can perform per round.

Combat is about exploiting weaknesses

Mandrakes are weak to fire and resistant to electrical damage.
Image: Atlus / Sega via polygon

Every enemy demon has a number of weaknesses and resistances to types (Affinities) of attacks and abilities. These are displayed as icons under the damage types. Every enemy has one management (No change), Exclamation mark (Weak), sign (Immune) or Half shield (Resistant to Close combat, Fire, ice cream, Electric, Power, Bright, and Dark Damage affinities.

When making an attack that the target is weak for – like the Agi skill (fire) in the picture above – the attack does not consume a push-rotate icon.

This means that you can receive a free promotion once per group member per combat round. Ideally, you would string a series of attacks from each group member exploiting weaknesses so that everyone in your group goes at least twice per round of combat.

It is important that the same mechanics also apply to enemy demons. So if they take advantage of your group’s weaknesses, they will also receive additional attacks. When faced with a weakness for a particular attack or enemy, you need to use essence.

Essences are essential

Through Shin Megami Tensei 5, you will collect Essences. (In fact, you’ll likely ingest a or two before you can even do anything with it.) Essences are like a distilled version of a demon’s attacks, abilities, weaknesses, and resistances.

Essence - Shin Megami Tensei 5 Instructions

You can use a Kodama Essence to teach Zan, Dormina, and Dia to another demon.
Image: Atlus / Sega via polygon

In the world of shadows at a Leyline Found, you can get through these essences Essence Fusion. With it you can teach yourself and the demons in your group new skills and attacks with new affinities.

You can also use Essence Fusion to transfer weaknesses and resistances from the demonic essence to your protagonist. This is of great help when facing enemies with strong elemental attacks (affinity) that you are weak to.

Don’t get too attached to your demons

All in all, your demons are disposable. You will fall in battle, or you can just find better ones as you progress. These are not so much members of your group as they are tools that enable additional attacks.

Do not hesitate to exchange them.

More importantly, you can perform in World of Shadows too Demon fusion. This takes two of your recruited demons (or a demon from your demon compendium) and combines them into a new demon type, usually of a (much) higher level.

This is a great way to make powerful allies. In fact, it’s worth constantly recruiting low-level demons just to use them as fusion fodder.

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