Objectively the best SMT title to date in my opinion. Story is there, art is there, gameplay is there, and oh my god the soundtrack is definitely there. This game is incredibly technically impressive too; I could not believe that I was left to roam large patches of Tokyo by foot, fully in 3d, on a 3ds; and the speed of battles, and UI navigation is just wonderful.
The game is often criticized for it's sometimes directionless open world, but that's what makes it so special. During my recurring playthroughs, I started to wonder about parts of the world, how everything happened the way it did, and made theories of these events in my head. The story is meant to be more immersive than directly satisfying, and if you let yourself get engrossed by the world and actually do some side quests, I think you'll find yourself one of the best modern stories in gaming.
One of the best JRPGs ever. This score is completely **** people mad it wasn't nocturne. One of the best stories i've seen in a JRPG, beautiful subversion of expectations, VERY clean gameplay, deep characters put in a deep dilemma, three (four) endings that all offer a different take on morality, and very very replayable. Incredible how it can be compacted into a 3DS game not gonna lie.
It keeps some of the best aspects of the series, while adding new and always welcome content. The game's pace keeps the player interested non-stop and its overall quality redeems Shin Megami Tensei IV from the late European release.
It's a testament to the uniform excellence of Shin Megami Tensei IV's core gameplay that it can still be appraised as a successful RPG when its story is lacking in necessary profundity. Ascribing the label of "nearly impossible to put down" isn't something that should be done lightly, but the game earns that classification in spades, and is yet another estimable chapter in a series with an unconditionally outstanding track record.
The plot is full of holes, inconsistencies, and unbelievable character actions and reactions. There are some creative moments late in the game where SMTIV presents the alignments and philosophies in a fascinating, new way, but for the most part the plot, characters, and morals fail to come together as part of a coherent setting.
When I think back on my experience with SMT 4 I tend to think of the orgasmically good combat and a few standout moments of the story in a setting I never clicked with. The Press-Turn system alongside the "Smirk" mechanic is a fantastic foundation for any game to build off of. SMT 4 goes above and beyond that though, this is the game that made it so when I get absolutely destroyed an enemy in a turn-based game I just go "ah, feels like home." Because I know that I will soon go from being the one getting abused to turning that enemy/boss into a wimp screaming for mercy when they hear MY boss music after some prep. This game is worthy of many dozens of hours of play if only to experience this combat and go from being a boss's b"tch to making the boss your b"tch.
Where I think this game falls short is in the traversal and branching story. I generally prefer character-driven stories with settings among the more fantastical rather than apocalyptic. Unfortunately, this game embodies some of the reasons why. Traversing the overworld was a nightmare, just to find my way to the next story beat I often had to pull up a fan-made map on my computer screen and trace the needed route with my finger because everything looks the same in the apocalypse. And while this game is more character-heavy than other SMT titles it doesn't really center much of the conflict around them, they are just outlets for the writers to ask broader questions from the player. Though I should note it was just good enough with the combat so amazing that I played it all the way to the end.
Some advice for those thrillseeking through this title:
Learn to buff
Love to fuse
Walter will not "end it thus"
While definitely not perfect, Shin Megami Tensei IV is probably one of the most addictive jrpgs I've ever played.
The art style alone made me immerse myself into this bleak world of demons and play the game for about 60 hours. Chracters might not be well developed, but they're unquestionably well-designed. The same can be said about the demons, but on a much bigger scale. Each demon is unique and intriguing enough so you'll never get enough of collecting and fusing them. I've wasted countless hours checking their stats, playing with the fusion network, reading their descriptions. I couldn't get tired of it.
One other thing that kept me glued to the game was the combat. The famous SMT press turn system is incredible. Finding enemies' weaknesses feels rewarding as hell and making sure that your character and demons are well-protected and well-prepared doesn't feel at all like a chore, it's actually entertaining. Part of why the battles work so well is likely due to how fast-paced, fun and challenging they are.
As for the story, well... It's good. Its semi-minimalistic approach does handle well the ending for each route. It's just not AMAZING. But it does carry an intense and dense atmosphere, touching on some interesting themes and expanding the post-apocalyptic world more and more as it progresses. It's just sad that main and supporting characters are somewhat forgettable.
As for the icing on the cake, it has to be the soundtrack. It's simply nostalgic and astonishing. Completely matching the game's mood, hyping some exciting (or gloomy) moments and providing some bonafide tracks. If Shin Megami Tensei IV were an album only, no game included, I'd still love it.
But SMTIV isn't without its shortcomings. I've encountered BIG issues here.
First and foremost: Every map in this game ****!
Traversing through Tokyo is the worst part in the game. The overworld map is weird, slow confusing and extremely unintuitive. The same goes for the dungeons. They're repetitive, wonky and lazy. Thank god for the art direction, because the environments and directions presented are horrible. The entire game, no matter which route you choose, screams AIMLESS. And that's a huge problem! It's such a huge design flaw that it ended up hindering a chunk of my experience with the story and my progression, in general.
Another extreme nuisance for me was the negotiation system. Again: Aimless!
It's purely luck-based and let me tell you that luck isn't at your side at all in this game. One pure example for this is the vastly exaggerated difficulty right at beginning. It's brutal! And yes, it does get easier after you take down the Minotaur, but why the **** make the TUTORIAL area so unbearable? Makes no sense...
The last problem lies in the Challenge Quests. They're just... boring. While some of the challenges actually matter, most of them are useless and unrewarding. And if you're somehow stuck in the neutral route, boy... Good luck getting the 1st place in the hunter board. It's a slog!
All in all, Shin Megami Tensei IV is an underrated gem on the 3DS. An addictive experience, with an interesting story and an amazing battle system.
The game's mistakes are undeniably ruthless and irritating, but if you manage to get through them, you'll find a very good jrpg to play for a long while.
This is a title in the series that doesn't feel like it made the jump to hand held well, considering SMT 3 (Nocturne) was on the ps2. It doesn't so much borrow game mechanics from other titles under the SMT banner as it does cobble them together into something vaguely similar. In a cruel ironic way, SMT Strange Journey feels more like SMT 4 than SMT 4 does. The controls are in desperate need of another analogue stick to direct the camera in the dungeons, and the high demon roster count that they tout so much is unapologetically padded from assets in prior games, with very little originality to call it's own. The in game currency feels pointlessly subversive, till I realized "buy the macca grinding DLC" was the primary help many FAQ sites offered. The game's atmosphere is said to be more "desolate" than prior games, but I don't buy that either when compared to SMT3. The long and short of it is SMT4 doesn't do SMT gameplay well. It feels like the game is a modified engine of other SMT spin-off titles like Devil Survivor, rather than the gameplay mechanics SMT core has to offer. I could only recommend the game to fans already invested in SMT titles. SMT 4 is not a game I would offer up to a newcomer to the genre, which is sad since the series deserves more coverage than it gets.
Being a huge Shin Megami fan, I originally rated this title a 7 due to it's clunky PS1 style dungeon controls and shallower story than SMTIII. After some more time with this title I am dropping my score to a 4. The level design is horrible, you should not need to use a guide or walkthrough to get through a game, but there is never a clear path to the next goal, and random encounters are pretty much unavoidable. You can only have 1 active mission at a time, so a simple marker on the map would have made this a much easier experience. In the dungeons, you move with the analog stick, but if you want to go up or down a simple ramp or ladder, you have to use the D-pad, and then go through a confirmation screen, just to get a visible item on top of a box. Aside from the 3DS visuals, there is nothing about this game that feels like it came out in 2013. It's nice to see a new roster of demons, but many seem uninspired. The music is not even as good as previous SMT titles. The story is also pretty bland for the SMT universe. If you are a hardcore jrpg fan or smt fan, you will do what you need to get through this title, but it feels like a step backwards for the series, which is a shame.
SummaryBuilding on the styles of ATLUS' Persona, Devil Summoner, and Devil Survivor titles, SMTIV is the first true successor to 2004's Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. The story of SMTIV revolves around the Samurai, the sacred protectors of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado. As a newly appointed Samurai, players will struggle with factions that have ...