Best RPG of the year: Shin Megami Tensei V

Best RPG of the year: Shin Megami Tensei V

The Nintendo Enthusiast game of the year awards continue! This time around, the best role-playing game (RPG) of the year goes to the Nintendo Switch game that took us on the most memorable and impactful adventure.


  • Bravely Default II
  • Dungeon Encounters
  • NEO: The World Ends with You
  • Shin Megami Tensei V

2021 best RPG of the year winner: Shin Megami Tensei V

Square Enix unleashed hit after hit with its RPG lineup this year, including high-profile titles like Bravely Default II and NEO: The World Ends with You and surprises like Dungeon Encounters and Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars. Yet Atlus managed to trump them all with the critical hit that is Shin Megami Tensei V (SMT5), an incredible evolution of the SMT franchise, and it is our RPG of the year at Nintendo Enthusiast.

Shin Megami Tensei V retains the addictive demon-fusing and punishing difficulty that the franchise is known for, but Atlus shoved all of that into a much different kind of world than we’d ever seen before. Sure, we’re still waddling through the ruins of Tokyo as usual, but the rigid, modular maze dungeons are gone. In their place is a vast semi-open world with an incredible amount of exploration — especially vertical exploration through toppled buildings and canyons made out of collapsed roads. Shin Megami Tensei V is constantly enticing you with items and mysteries in the distance, but figuring out how to reach all those places becomes a brain-teaser of its own. Indeed, Tokyo itself has become an unorthodox maze dungeon in this game, creating the most organic and satisfying exploration in the series by far.

While Shin Megami Tensei V falls short with its sometimes nonexistent story, it excels to a ludicrous degree almost everywhere else. That’s why Shin Megami Tensei V is our RPG of the year in 2021 on Nintendo Switch at Nintendo Enthusiast.

(If you’re just starting or are about to start your journey with this game, be sure to check out our guides that will help you start SMT5 on a much better foot!)

John Friscia
Head Copy Editor for Enthusiast Gaming, Managing Editor at The Escapist. I'm a writer who loves Super Nintendo and Japanese role-playing games to an impractical degree. I really miss living in South Korea. And I'm developing the game Boss Saga!