Shin Megami Tensei IV


The latest canonical entry in the Shin Megami Tensei franchise (Cut this when no longer relevant), SMT IV at first seems less related to the series then several of the series' spin-off games. Starting in the mythical kingdom of Mikado, the player seeks to become a Samurai - a defender of the realm against the horrible demons that lie beneath it. Quickly making friends with the other Samurai recruits, the player finds that not all is as it seems in the Mikado, as exploring the dungeons of Naraku reveals that there is more to the world then first appears...

Yet another shift in tone for the series, the fourth installment is perhaps more similar to a modern anime then the prior games, with the main cast being uniformly younger, and several demons receiving a redesign or new iteration that more closely resembles the monsters of the tosukatsu, or 'Super Team' genre. Nevertheless, the writing is largely solid and possesses several covert and overt references to older installments of the series.

Gameplay is enhanced by a bevy of UI features activated from a gauntlet-activated computer system, allowing for the rapid of access of menus in a way that is convenient to the player. Similar to several games, such as the Etrian series, enemies are visible on the map and can be surprise attacked. Though this makes encounter-removal or Estoma slightly more difficult and time-consuming to use, it also allows for surprise attacks initiated by the player; who, similar to Nocturne, is visible on the main map. In addition, armor you purchase is visible as well, for better or for worse.

In addition to the absence of classic faces from development like Kazuma Kaneko and Shoji Meguro, the game also tries several new innovations; from the introduction of artificial intelligence to the re-examination of classic Megaten goals. The players' colleagues are often considered to be strongly written, and though the negotiation system is somewhat limited by the introduction of voice-acted lines, negotiation is still strong. Though players point-buy their stats, the difficulty can still be brutal, leading players new to the franchise into the deep water by both feet.

The game is officially available now for the Nintendo 3DS, either in cartridge or digital form, though one will have to import the game if they live in Europe, as no official release has yet to be confirmed.