Review: Shin Megami Tensei IV
Reviewer: Olen Bjorgo
It is the year 1492, and you have been chosen to be a Samurai of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado. With your Gauntlet you are able to summon and control the very demons you are expected to defeat in order to keep peace in the kingdom. When the peace is shattered by a mysterious figure in strange ebony armor known only as the Black Samurai spreading knowledge to the lower classes, it is up to you and your fellows to traverse into the land of demons and people known as the Unclean Ones: Tokyo. And let me tell you, it gets stranger because that’s not even the halfway mark.
Come at me, Brosuke.
Shin Megami Tensei IV is the latest title in the long running Shin Megami Tensei series and my first foray into the series proper. In all honesty, this game was not even on my radar until I discovered that Nintendo was promoting this game along with Fire Emblem Awakening, a game I have had my eyes on, so what better way to get a free $30 for the Nintendo eShop than to buy these two games at retail price and then register them on my Club Nintendo account? Yes, I’m that much of a fan of the company… and of free money to buy more games. But mostly the company!
The game is comprised primarily of still or limited-
Humans, on the other hand…I think we found one of
the “Unclean Ones.”
The music and voice work for this game is among the best you’ll find for the system. While there are only a couple of tracks that can be heard by themselves, the music for Shin Megami Tensei IV is best heard when accompanied with its place in the game: the music sets the tone for the game and the atmosphere you’ll find yourself in. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s easy to ignore or forget. The same cannot be said for the voice work, which leaves an immensely strong impression. Much of what you’ll hear from the main cast of characters will be spoken in a very proper, almost dated manner of speaking, while your first venture into Tokyo will have you encountering people who speak in a way that is more familiar to our ears in the sense that it sounds more modern. The performances given by Matthew Mercer and Orion Acaba, who voice your fellow Samurai companions, Walter and Jonathan respectively, are perhaps some of the best I’ve heard in a long time, if only because they sound so natural in their portrayal.
The controls for the game follow the Press Turn System: you and your party, consisting
of up to three demons each, have a turn, with the order of the turns indicated by
the number located on the upper-
“Are…are those tentacles?”
Since your demons are your primary attack force, you will run invariably into situations where your demons will simply become wasted space since they will eventually run out of new skills to learn and begin to suggest new skills to replace specific older ones. That’s when it’s time to use fusion. As the name implies, you are given the ability to fuse demons you possess into newer, stronger ones. Basic Fusion involves fusing two demons together into a demon you might not face for a long time, while Special Fusion is when you can fuse up to four demons to create a truly powerful entity, typically notable figures from mythology that are as familiar as Medusa and the Minotaur to ones that are more obscure or known best in their home cultures, such as Tam Lin or Ame no Uzume.
First and foremost, this game is definitely one that knows its themes and works that
into its aesthetics and style. The box art alone will tell you that things will be
seen in stark black and white with you stuck in the middle until you pick your side.
The backgrounds for the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado are medieval, verdant, green, and
peaceful (until hell literally breaks loose), the demon-
“Yup. That’s a tentacle, alright.”
The greatest tragedy is, despite knowing of the series that this game has the honor
to be a part of , this is still the first one I’ve ever played. I won’t say that
I intend to play every entry that has been made in its over 20-
Controls & Mechanics: 8
Atmosphere & Experience: 9
Entertainment Value: 9
Consoles: Nintendo 3DS
Publisher: Atlus/ Nintendo
Release Date (U.S.): Jul 16, 2013
Release Date (U.K.): N/A
Release Date (JP): May 23, 2013
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