Persona games are among the most beloved JRPGs in the world. Now that modern Persona games are coming to PC, and the new Soul Hackers game is on its way, it’s a good time to take a look at the grander Shin Megami Tensei franchise – of which Persona is a spin-off. Strangely, the other SMT games were never able to capture the imagination and attention of westerners like Persona did. Regardless, many of them are just as excellent and innovative as the famous series. So, in this list, we’re going to take a look at some of the best Shin Megami Tensei games.
5 – Shin Megami Tensei – Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers
This eye-catching game takes place in a cyberpunk version of Japan, where a bunch of hackers and demons are fighting against a conspiracy. Many fans were disappointed by the upcoming Soul Hackers 2 being unable to recapture its 80s sci-fi cyberpunk vibe.
Not everyone’s going to enjoy Soul Hackers. However, those who do, tend to love it to no end. It is absolutely one of the most original ways in which the SMT franchise has expressed itself.
4 – Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
One of my friends once described Devil Survivor duology as the Fire Emblem of SMT. I don’t find that description too far off. Devil Survivor takes place in a typical SMT setting, where Japan is swallowed by a horde of apocalyptic demons. Now, it’s your and your comrades’ responsibility to survive – and decide the fate of that godforsaken world.
What makes Devil Survivor unique is that it’s a tactical RPG, much like the Fire Emblem series. It’s also far more open-ended than other games within the franchise, which increases its replayability.
3 – Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga
Those familiar with the SMT franchise are aware of its great usage of religion, mythology, and folklore. Unfortunately, despite developers’ attempts at representing many different cultures, most games focus heavily on Abrahamic religions and Japanese Shintoism. The Digital Devil Saga duology, however, makes great use of more eastern-oriented traditions. And, its narrative is among the most memorable ones, due to its unorthodox storytelling and ideas.
2 – Shin Megami Tensei V
Shin Megami Tensei V is the latest entry into the series, and one of the most challenging and aesthetically pleasing SMT games. The quality of life features and modern graphics also make it one of the best for newcomers. For better or worse, SMT V is designed so that even those who aren’t die-hard JRPG fans could enjoy it. This doesn’t mean SMT V is easy – but rather more accessible.
1 – Shin Megami Tensei IV
Shin Megami Tensei IV is a masterpiece, even if heavily overlooked by the fan base. Most SMT games have convoluted narratives, impossible to follow – or so dull, they have no chance to get your attention. SMT IV, however, goes above and beyond, telling a fantastic story that brings you to tears and makes you actually role-play as the characters to get the most desirable ending.
SMT IV nails everything the franchise stands for – and everything is well-designed and well-constructed. If you like challenging and meticulously designed gameplay, fantastic atmosphere, amazing art direction, great storytelling, and well-written characters, I highly recommend you to give SMT IV a shot.
Hope you enjoyed the list. Thank you for reading!