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Shin Megami Tensai IV Review

Developer: Atlus | Publisher: Atlus
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 07/16/13 | Genre: RPG

Atlus has waited 9 years to give us a true, numbered, sequel to Shin Megami Tensei. And boy was the wait worth it as Shin Megami Tensei IV, which we will refer to as SMT4 periodically in this review, creates a memorable experience that makes you want to play on your 3DS instead of a larger-screened console.

In the world of SMT4, all young adults, at the age of 18, must go to Mikado Castle and see if they are chosen to become a Samurai. As you start the journey, with a friend, you both submit to this and learn that not many Samurai have been chosen in recent years. Since it wouldn’t be much of a game if your character, who remains silent the entire title, wasn’t chosen, you are selected as a Samurai and your friend is not.

The game wastes no time in dropping you into the difficult and challenging combat as you begin to journey into the depths of the dungeon to begin your training. You almost immediately are tasked with fighting and recruiting demons and the game is not friendly to you as a new recruit or he player. In fact, saving is a necessary requirement between battles as you may have things go wrong at any moment and die.

Fortunately, death, at any point in the game, is not a permanent thing. You will go to the afterlife and see a long line of souls waiting to enter. A deal is struck to allow you to return to life for the cost of some of your money. Unlike most Role Playing Games, or RPG’s, money is a scarce resource that is only given at the completion of quests and finding relics scattered throughout the depths of the dungeon and areas you roam. If you can’t afford the price, a tab is created and you will have to pay up when you have the full amount of funds in your inventory.

In Shin Megami Tensei IV, the player wanders the game in a first person viewpoint. Encounters with enemies are also fought in this manner and you are normally by yourself, with the exception of a few story elements, and your three summoned demons. Demons are summoned once you have recruited them into your party. Recruiting is done by using commands, performed only by the main character, to speak to demons. The demons will sometimes join you willingly or have other random things they want. These include your health, your mana, money, items, and even the death of certain demons in your party. I cannot stress that these are random outcomes. Sometimes giving a demon everything they want will result in them getting mad. So you have to just get lucky when recruiting demons.

Once you have amassed an army of demons, players can then fuse those demons together to create new, more powerful, demons. The process can then continue on and on. The nice thing about fusing demons is you can keep and customize what skills they keep verses which ones they normally have. This can be helpful if you are trying to keep demons with specific spells, like Dia, SMT4’s heal spell, on particular demons. Also, demons not within your active party gain experience in battles--but at a slower pace. 

Don’t go into SMT4 thinking you won’t spend some time grinding out levels. In order to get passed certain bosses and areas of Demons, you will have to fight wave after wave of demons in order to get your level up and learn new skills. As an added bonus, when a demon levels up and learns a new skill, you can inherit any skills they have in the skill slots you have available. Shin Megami Tensei IV may not be the prettiest game out there. For a portable RPG, there is a massive storyline and lengthy gameplay to keep you busy. Perhaps if this was out on the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, I might complain about this. However, it seems to fit the 3DS just fine. The 3D effects, though I still do not like, is a nice addition and I still recommend playing with it off.

Overall, Shin Megami Tensei IV is a great Role Playing Game that we highly recommend.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 07/26/13

Screenshots for Shin Megami Tensai IV Review

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