Essence is an early item you’ll pick up in Shin Megami Tensei V. Essence items allow you to transfer skills between demons and teach your party new attacks. In this SMT V Essence guide, we’ll explain how Essence works and how you’ll use it to strengthen your party of demons and your protagonist.
Essences are like a distilled version of a demon’s abilities — their attacks, skills, weaknesses, and resistances. You’ll probably pick up one or two Essences before you can even do anything with them (which makes them even more confusing). You’ll need to progress to the second Leyline Fount where you unlock the World of Shadows before you can use it.
Inside the World of Shadows at any Leyline Found, you can make use of these Essences through Essence Fusion (which is under the Apotheosis option).
Essence Fusion is a way to take the abilities of one demon — the one named in the name of the Essence — and add them to the abilities of another or to the protagonist.
For example, Kodama Essence allows you to teach Dia (a healing skill), Dormina (a Sleep affliction skill), or Zan (a force attack skill) to whatever demon you apply it to.
Just be careful to consider Skill Potential when teaching demons new skills. Skill Potential determines which elements (Affinities) your demons are inherently good or bad at and change the amount of damage those skills deal.
You can also use Essence Fusion to transfer Affinities (Weaknesses and Resistances) from the demon Essence to your protagonist. This is a great help when going up against enemies with strong elemental attacks that you’re weak to.
For example, Mermaid Essence will make your protagonist weak to fire and electricity damage, but resistant to ice damage — useful against an enemy with a lot of ice attacks.
Demon Fusioning Affinities completely replace what you currently have, so you’ll need to keep an eye on your Affinities — and the Essences you’ve collected — as your enemies change.