Shin Megami Tensei V Tips and Tricks Guide

It's a cruel world out there, but our Shin Megami Tensei V tips and tricks will help keep you alive in Da'at a little bit longer.

Whether you’re new to Shin Megami Tensei or you’re a long-time fan, there’s a lot to get to grips with in Shin Megami Tensei V. That's why we've put together this tips and tricks guide.

The early SMT V tutorials do a decent enough job of getting you familiar with the Press-Turn system and the basics of surviving, but there are a few additional tips that make life as a Nahobino much easier.

Look for Leylines

Leyline Founts are save points in SMT V. They’re also where you’ll access the World of Shadows for fusion, Cadaver’s Hollow, and recovery facilities. There’s no checkpoint system in Da’at, though most regions have founts scattered around fairly generously.

If it’s been a while since you found a Leyline, and you’ve ventured far from the last one, prioritize finding a new fount. That way you avoid backtracking both for recovery or if you die.

Save, Always

Anytime you’re near a Leyline Fount, you should save. SMT V also has no checkpoints, and there’s a good chance even random encounters will send you back to the game over screen. Frustration is inevitable in Da’at, but frequent saving takes some of the edge off, at least.

Nahobino the Explorer

You can just go to your next objective immediately, but you really should take the time to explore. You'll find golden starbursts marked on the map. Destroying them gives you items and, sometimes, essences. Each area usually has at least one that contains a new Aogami essence, which is how the Nahobino learns skills exclusive to his class.

Less common, but equally important, are the white glory clusters. You'll need these to acquire miracles, though they often take a bit of work to reach.

Toss a Coin to Your Cadaver

Spend money at Gustave’s shop in Cadaver’s Hollow. Lesser items such as Medicine or Amrita Soda are good to keep on hand for demon negotiation, but it’s also vital to have a few Dampeners on hand at any time.

These block a specific type of attack, such as force or electric, which reduces your enemy's turn count by two. It’s handy in regular fights should you get in a pinch and vital for most boss fights once you learn their patterns.

Likewise, keep a few elemental shards in your inventory. They might be weak, but they hit multiple targets at once. Never leave without a few Spyglasses either, so you’re never left wondering what your enemy’s weakness is.

Short on Cash? Respawn

The only things you should sell at Gustave’s are relics, the random items you get from vending machines. These tend to restock if you leave the area, so fast travel away and come back to get more; it's a great farming method.

There’s a Miracle you can get fairly early that gives you a higher chance of grabbing more Relics each time, and it’s worth spending a bit of Glory to get that.

Ignore Elemental Boost Miracles at First

Speaking of Miracles, your first priority should be to expand your demon stock and skill stocks. Demons and the Nahobino learn new skills fast, and erasing old ones isn’t always the best idea.

Elemental boost Miracles give the Nahobino extra affinity in a specific element area, which is fine, but hardly crucial, not when you can get significantly higher boosts in the right demon.

Think Before You Fuse

Fusion seems like the smart thing to do, but bigger demons with higher numbers aren’t always the best idea. When you arrive in a new region or a new section of an existing region, get into some fights (after you save) and see what demons you’ll be running into. Fusing new demons with weaknesses your foes can exploit is a bad idea.

Explore as well. Between items you find, quests you can take on, and the demons you can fight, you can usually get a feel for the boss’ elemental affinity ahead of time, the fuse accordingly.

The Essence of Life

Use your essences, and don’t stick with the Nahobino’s starting affinities, tempting as it may be. Unlike SMT IV, you don’t have equipment to alter weaknesses. You have essences, and you’ll usually end up with plenty of them.

Use essences with stronger skills to teach the Nahobino or demons those skills, and once you purchase the Divine Amalgamation Miracle, you can change the Nahobino's elemental resistances by absorbing affinities.

Essences from weaker demons are perfect for absorbing affinities, and covering your weaknesses for a boss fight makes life so much easier. 

Be On Guard

When an enemy gathers Magatsuhi, and you know you can't defeat them in the next turn, it's best to guard. Guarding negates critical hits, which means you're more likely to survive.

Drain Your Abscess

Removing the first Abscess is part of the story, but from then on, it's up to you whether you attack them. You should always find and destroy Abscesses. It clears the fog on your map, but beyond that, destroying Abscesses is the only way to unlock new Miracles.

It’s Okay to Fail

That said, you’ll probably fail at a boss fight or tougher mini-bosses more than once — and it’s okay. Each boss has a distinct pattern, and you usually discover it at the expense of seeing the game over screen a few times. Once you’ve figured it out, see where you can shore up your defenses, either with new demons or just by grinding a few levels. 

Pay attention to what attacks bosses use after gathering Magatsuhi as well. Using a dampener to negate it means no one takes damage and the boss loses a turn, and it frees you up to still attack instead of having to guard.

Hold Onto Your Gems

Elemental Gems deal heavy damage to one enemy, but you shouldn’t use them in normal fights. MP runs out fast in SMT V, and sometimes, using a Gem is the best way to move boss battles and other drawn-out fights forward. Shards are fine for regular battles since you can just buy more from Gustave.

Stat Check

Having demons that can exploit each element is just the start. Stat effects are highly important in Shin Megami Tensei V, and most bosses are vulnerable to stat reductions. Reducing attack or raising your party’s defense can literally make the difference between surviving and dying once again.

Fruitful Negotiations

In almost every case outside special fusions, it’s best to negotiate instead of spending money on the Compendium. Negotiation is random and sometimes frustrating, but even with the discount Miracles, Sophia’s Compendium prices are far higher than is practical. It’s much easier to just find the demon you want again and get them to join you.

It’s also worth speaking with demons above your level if you think you’ll want them later. Completing the negotiation process means you can speak with them again once you match or exceed their level, and they’ll join you immediately.

That's it for our list of Shin Megami Tensei V tips and tricks, but keep an eye out for more Shin Megami Tensei V guides in the coming days.

Contributor

Josh Broadwell started gaming in the early '90s. But it wasn't until 2017 he started writing about them, after finishing two history degrees and deciding a career in academia just wasn't the best way forward. You'll usually find him playing RPGs, strategy games, or platformers, but he's up for almost anything that seems interesting.

Published Nov. 11th 2021

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