Shin Megami Tensei V Beginner’s Tips — How To Survive The Minato Underworld
We’ll be blunt: the first area of Shin Megami Tensei V, the Minato underworld, is absolutely brutal. Sure, the rest of the game is hard, too, but you’re going to face especially rough adversity as you try to get on your feet and learn the ins and outs of being a Nahobino. If you can make it through the ruins of Minato and learn the secret of this bizarro Tokyo, then you’ve definitely got what it takes to conquer the rest of the game.
Fortunately, we’ve already battled through this difficult starting stretch of the game, and we’ve got some top-class tips for survival in this terrifying new world. Read on for some battle-tested advice from those who have walked the path of the Nahobino before you, and you’ll be more prepared than ever to take on Shin Megami Tensei V’s trials.
Raid The Vending Machines
You ever get lucky and find some quarters somebody left in the change door of a vending machine? All of Shin Megami Tensei V’s vending machines are like that–except instead of money, they dispense relics of the ruined world that once existed… which, ultimately, you’re going to trade for money anyway.
Every vending machine dispenses random relics that, when sold at the Cadaver’s Hollow, can earn you a pretty penny. It’s worth it to raid every machine you see–provided it doesn’t put you in too much danger, of course. You can also revisit vending machines after some time has passed to collect more goodies. Vending machines you’ve already found that aren’t dispensing products will look gray on your map, while machines with loot inside will appear white.
Most of the goods you find in the machines aren’t useful for anything besides being sold, though some can be used to complete sub-quests. Don’t bother hoarding that old junk for the future, though–it’ll be more useful now to simply sell it.
Complete Sidequests For Riches And Fame
Sidequesting in Shin Megami Tensei V is very worth your while. Each subquest gives a hefty amount of experience points for your entire army upon completion, and will often reward you with special items and Macca. Among the most valuable items that can be earned are Talismans, which permanently unlock special Magatsuhi skills usable by specific demon races. You’ll want as many of these as you can find!
Questing isn’t always easy, though. You’ll sometimes be tasked with fighting very tough monsters–foes that may be way beyond your abilities at this point in the game. Quests don’t have time limits, so if it feels unreasonably difficult, you should come back to it later. (One particular quest in Minato, The Gold Dragon’s Arrival, is impossible to finish until you are of a much higher level, so don’t worry about that one right now!)
Most of the quests are fairly straightforward, but sometimes you’ll find yourself in the middle of an inter-demon conflict, or asked to make a choice. Depending on how you respond, the quests can play out with very different results. For example, one demon may ask you to take down another, but you can instead opt to talk to and side with the enemy and kill the original requester! Depending on whose side you take, you’ll get different rewards and recruit a different demon (along with shifting the Nahobino’s affinity towards Law or Chaos). Think carefully before you make choices!
Get Rid Of The Abscesses ASAP
See that annoying pink fog on your map? At the center of that is a demonic abscess, summoning creatures from beyond, jamming your map view, and generally being a giant pain in the ass. Whenever you have a chance to take an abscess down, you should try to do it as quickly as possible! Not only will this clear up your map and reveal a lot of details that weren’t fully visible before, but each abscess destroyed will grant you the ability to learn new Miracles. Miracles are permanent upgrades that cost Glory to obtain, and they will be instrumental to your success.
When approaching an abscess, it will spawn a myriad of demons that run toward you and try to start fights. You will not be able to hold any conversations with demons spawned like this, so try your best to avoid them and conserve your HP/SP. When you reach the abscess, hit it with your blade to start a battle. You’ll fight an enemy (or set of enemies) that is slightly more difficult than a standard encounter, but not nearly as difficult as a major boss fight. You should be okay if you go in well prepared, but like any fight, always be ready to react if things start to go south. Once you clear the abscess, a new set of Miracles will be immediately available, so hop back to the Leyline and power yourself up!
Essential Early-Game Miracles To Make Your Journey Easier
The miracles unlocked from clearing out abscesses are tremendously beneficial, but in order to use them, you’ll need to spend Glory. Glory can be gained by finding Miman on the field, acquiring and using Glory Crystals, or touching an Amalgam, which looks like a polygonal silver apple. Amalgams are especially bountiful with Glory, so hunt them all down!
Once you’re chock-full of newfound Glory, you’ll want to go to the World of Shadows at a Leyline. From there, you can spend your Glory to activate Miracles. Every Miracle is permanent when activated, but be warned: Once Glory is spent, you can’t get it back.
There are lots of skills available–you should definitely consider upgrading the Nahobino’s elemental prowess and Magatsuhi gain if you have extra Glory to spend–but to make your struggle for survival in the early game as easy as possible, you should purchase the following Miracles as soon as you can:
Divine Amalgamation: This will allow the Nahobino to change their elemental strengths and weaknesses by using demonic essences in the World of Shadows. Changing elemental affinity will aid you greatly by allowing you to resist and nullify the attacks of bosses.
Demon Proficiency I: Grants all of your demons an extra skill slot to learn skills naturally, by fusion, or with essences.
Divine Proficiency I: Grants the Nahobino an extra skill slot. He’ll need to use an Essence to learn new skills.
Divine Garrison I-IV: Increases your demon stock. More demons mean more options in battle and more resources for fusion!
Warrior’s Conception: Demons will get a stat bonus when fused. Fused demons are already superior to those recruited on the field, and this makes them even better!
Unforgotten Memories: Newly fused demons will get an EXP bonus. This can allow you to command demons of a higher level, and helps to fill out their skillsets more quickly.
These Miracles are the absolute must-haves for conquering all of Minato, but feel free to spend on other skills you find appealing, too. If you know you’ll be fighting an abscess soon, you may want to wait to spend Glory until its skills unlock.
Battle Techniques: Bring Out The Blockers
One of the most important things about combat in Shin Megami Tensei V is knowing that hitting a weakness or getting a critical hit grants extra turns. However, if you hit an enemy and they block, absorb, or repel a technique, you will lose turns. So, what happens when a multi-target attack is used, hitting the weakness of one combatant but getting blocked/absorbed/repelled by another? Then the failed attack takes priority over the weakness, and turns will be lost for whatever side is on offense. Resist towards a certain element will reduce damage taken, but will not incur a turn penalty.
Say, for example, you’re fighting a mixed enemy group. Two enemies are weak to ice, but one blocks it. If you cast Mabufu, you’ll hit the weaknesses of two enemies, but since one enemy blocked it, you will lose a turn and gain nothing. If, however, you are fighting against a group of two ice-weakness and one ice-resistant enemy, you will gain a turn with no penalties besides dealing reduced damage to the resistant foe.
Knowing how this works can be used to your advantage, particularly in boss fights. Many bosses and large enemies get multiple turns and can use multi-target attacks against your team. But if even one member of your team can block/absorb/repel their attacks, you can end their turn prematurely. If you know a big enemy is going to use fire-based attacks, for example, you will want to field at least one demon that nullifies fire. Then when they use their big, multi-target-scorching attack, it’ll be blocked and end their phase immediately! Later bosses will use several techniques across multiple elemental affinities, so assembling a party with diverse defenses is crucial to success.
In A Bind? Look For Famliar Faces
Battles in SMTV, especially early on, can be extremely rough. The enemies are mean, your skills are limited, and healing is at a premium. You can always try to escape, and thankfully, you’ll be given your odds of fleeing successfully when you highlight the Escape command… but even if that number looks bad, you might still have an option.
Whenever you use the Nahobino’s Talk command on a demon that is the same species as one already in your party (whether on the field or in reserve), the demons will immediately end the battle, and sometimes even give you Macca or items. You won’t get any EXP from these fights, but your hide will be intact, and that’s more important, right? This works almost all the time–except during the New and Full Moon phases, when the demons will either be too depressed or too excited to hold a conversation.
You don’t always need to have the exact same demon for a friendly rapport, either. Sometimes even demons of similar mythological origins will also get along similarly well, like Koropokkur and Cironnup. When you initiate a conversation for the first time with one in your party, you’ll see a special cutscene and be rewarded with special items. However, with so many demons in SMTV you probably shouldn’t rely on finding lost buddies too often.
Use Magatsuhi To Get Yourself Out Of A Mess
Still stuck in an ugly battle? You’ve got other options: both the Smoke Bomb item and the Trafuri skill can guarantee your successful escape from non-boss encounters. If you don’t have those, however, you’ve still got one last chance at survival: the Magatsuhi gauge.
It’s important to remember that holding onto a full Magatsuhi meter provides no benefits (that is, unless you have purchased the Magatsuhi Wellspring skill). Unless you’re specifically holding onto Magatsuhi to counter an enemy’s Magatsuhi attack, it’s best to use it whenever you need it. For example, if some random enemy mob ambushes you and has you on the ropes, it’s much better to pop the Omagatoki: Critical skill and blow through the enemy with a phase of repeated critical hits than it is to die miserably. There are plenty of ways to fill that meter back up quickly both in and out of battle, so if you’re in a bad spot, don’t be afraid to use it up!
How To Slay A Mitama
What’s that weird yin-yang looking creature you’ve found floating around, invading another enemy’s formation, or stumbled into while your demon companion’s been looking for treasure? It’s a Mitama, and whenever you see one, you want to kill it! Don’t even bother negotiating–it’s not interested in your conversation, and what you really want is the loot it drops: lots of EXP, Macca, or rare items, depending on which Mitama shows up.
The only problem is that Mitama are very tough nuts to crack! They have a random weakness in every encounter, and block all other attacks you throw at them. They’re also very likely to flee when it’s their turn, depriving you of all their sweet, sweet rewards.
You can try guessing their weakness–you’ll basically have two chances to guess correctly, since an incorrect guess will be blocked, and after the second block all of your turns will be used up. (If you’re lucky and they don’t flee, you can try again.) The easier way to kill them, however, is to use the Spyglass item on your first turn to reveal their weakness. (You can buy Spyglasses at the Cadaver’s Hollow, and it’s a good idea to keep a fair few of them onhand.) You can then swap party members and pass turns as needed until you have the opportunity to strike their weakness–one shot will usually do the trick. Then sit back and enjoy your rewards!