Photo via Atlus

All the Shin Megami Tensei Games Available in English

The Shin Megami Tensei series has always been the cool older sibling of the JRPG genre. It’s often darker, edgier, and more challenging. Despite its current success in the West, this series remained primarily a Japan exclusive until the mid-2000s. While more available worldwide, it can sometimes be a bit confusing to determine which Shin Megami Tensei games are available in English.

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In English, “Shin Megami Tensei” roughly translates to “True Reincarnation of the Goddess”. Its predecessor, the Megami Tensei series, never saw a single Western release. There’s a reason it took a decade for Western audiences to get their hands on a Shin Megami Tensei title.

As mentioned earlier, Shin Megami Tensei delves into much darker themes compared to its contemporaries, drawing heavily from various religions and mythologies for its character designs and storyline. During the early-to-mid 1990s, Nintendo had strict guidelines against religious imagery and adult themes on their consoles. While other JRPGs made their way with some censoring, Shin Megami Tensei had too much to modify, preventing localization.

During the early PlayStation era, Shin Megami Tensei, encountered similar issues with Sony. By the time Atlus could begin releasing Shin Megami Tensei games worldwide, it was already too late to effectively localize the older titles.

The mainline games consist of the Megami Tensei and Shin Megami Tensei titles. Other subseries, such as Persona and Devil Summer, are regarded as spin-offs. To avoid any additional confusion, this list will solely include the mainline titles.

Shin Megami Tensei Jack Frost All The Shin Megami Tensei Games Available in English
Image via Atlus

Here is the list of all mainline Shin Megami Tensei games according to English release dates:

  • Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (2004)
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine (2008)
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey (2010)
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV (2013)
  • Shin Megami Tensei (2014)
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse (2016) 
  • Shin Megami Tensei V (2021)

As an aside, there are two titles that are currently impossible to play conventionally as of this writing. Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine was an online game, and its servers closed in 2014. Additionally, Shin Megami Tensei, an iOS port of the very first game originally released in Japan in 1992, is now unplayable on current iPhone firmware.

While a couple of spinoff titles made their way westward prior to 2004, like the impossibly expensive Jack Bros. for the Virtual Boy, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne gave worldwide fans their first real experience with Shin Megami Tensei. It instantly became a cult classic, and helped make Shin Megami Tensei games stand alongside other titans of the genre.

Shin Megami Tensei V Update Patch
Image via Atlus

Where to start with the series:

The good news is that aside from Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, an epilogue to Shin Megami Tensei IV, the games are unrelated in terms of story. You can really play whichever game you’d like to start, assuming you have the hardware. Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, Shin Megami Tensei IV, and Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse are exclusive to the Nintendo’s DS and 3DS family.

Shin Megami Tensei V was released on the Switch, and Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne was remastered for the Switch, PS4, and PC. Both of these titles are great options to just pick up and start playing. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne may have aged a bit, but it is still very much a JRPG classic. If you’ve never played a Shin Megami Tensei game, I think it’s a great way to start. It’s how everyone started in the West back in 2004 after all.

While Shin Megami Tensei may not be a household name, there is a lot of love for this series. It’s also very rewarding to be a fan in 2023. You no longer have to worry about which games in the Shin Megami Tensei series are available in English. These days, it’s a safer bet that the West will see the new release.

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Cory Dinkel
Cory Dinkel is a freelance writer for Siliconera since 2023. An award-winning digital journalist, he has worked for local and national news outlets for nearly a decade. His favorite genre is the JRPG and he will not be taking questions during his "There is Not a Love Triangle in Final Fantasy VII" speech.