Thank you Maccus for sending us this game to review!
Having played and reviewed a few Shin Megami Tensei games, I’ve come to enjoy and see why these games have such a following. The story changes with each one so you can start with any one of them. In Shin Megami Tensei IV, you play as a young man whose default name is Flynn. To keep consistent with my other playthroughs I renamed him to Ben Dover. Classes play a big role and your character is a casualary, or commoner. The upper class, luxurors, look down upon the casualaries. In your hometown of Eastern Mikado, there is a Gauntlet Rite that all are welcome to participate in and those who are chosen get to be trained as Samurai. As fate would have it, your character is chosen.
There are quite a few chosen Samurai and some of them will treat you poorly due to your class, but there are a few whom you will bond and become close with. Along with being chosen, your character has visions of waking up in a desolated version of Earth. What has happened? How can it be prevented? Which friend should you become an ally with to save the planet? Each friend has a different alignment/personality type. Walter is a fellow casualary easy to get along with, but can be driven by his emotions and reckless. Jonathan is a luxuror who treats you and everyone with respect and kindness. He is a rule-follower and tries to do the right thing. Isabeau, another luxuror, is pretty easy going and tries to remain neutral and fair. Though I sometimes agreed with some of Walter’s opinions I wound up going the law route and going with Jonathan in the end.
As a samurai, you’re tasked with exploring ruins and bringing back relics to the monks. At first, the missions seem to be noble but later on an ulterior motive becomes obvious and sheds a negative light on the pious characters in this title. In order to survive in the ruins, and the other civilization beyond them, you’ll need to partner with demons to have them join your party and fight their own kind. Some may ask to join your party in exchange for letting them live, though most of them will want some items or your health/mana to sweeten the deal.
Demons and bosses usually have elemental affinities and weaknesses that can be exploited to gain an extra turn along with doing more than normal damage. The armor you wear determines your elemental weaknesses so be sure to take note of that before facing a boss and dress appropriately.
Speaking of dressing appropriately, some of the demons are clearly female and are proud to flaunt their feminine attributes. Breasts are clearly shown despite not being flesh colored. One of the demons in my party was obviously designed after a male body part.
The voice acting in this title is well done and there is some blaspheming and cursing throughout the game. Magic use is a given and unavoidable if you want to survive to your next battle. There are some gruesome scenes and blood splattered in many areas you’ll be exploring.
Though the 3D effects look great, many of the areas and maps look a little bland compared to other 3DS titles I have played. The overworld is pretty complex and I highly recommend referring to maps to get to where you’re hoping to go without getting lost. There are plenty of dungeons, towns, and abandoned buildings to explore as well and all of them are swarming with demons looking for a fight. I appreciate the warning that my virtual assistant, Burroughs, gives when there’s a strong demon nearby. Be sure to heed the warning and save often. In the event that your party gets wiped out, you can use 3DS play coins or in-game currency to resurrect your party if it’s been a while since you saved.
Not only does Burroughs keep track of the main quest progress, but she also records various side quests that are available as well. Throughout your journey you’ll get to activate terminals which let you quickly warp to different parts of Tokyo. It should be noted that most of these terminals are guarded by a boss that has to be defeated beforehand.
I don’t want to spoil the story, but there are several different routes your character can take including the ability to defy God or partner with Him and give Lucifer a whoopin’. Upon completing the game you can unlock the extreme difficulty mode and carry over your progress and demons if you wish to reincarnate instead of starting over fresh in the New Game + mode. By restarting with all of your stats and acquired demons it shouldn't take long to see other endings like partnering with Lucifer if desired.
Overall, Shin Megami Tensei IV has a great story and I’m now curious how that is carried over in Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse which someone else has already reviewed for this site. Like other Shin Megami Tensei titles, this game has many moral issues to take into consideration before purchasing. If you have enjoyed the other entries, then you’ll be happy with this one as well.