Pre-E3 Shin Megami Tensei IV
Players: 1 Player Game | Genre: RPG
In the US, when a boy, and soon to be a girl, turns 18, they have to sign up for selective services incase the draft ever comes back. In the world of Shin Megami Tensei IV, all who reach the age of 18 much participate in a ceremony that potentially chooses you to fight demons. Whether they like it or not, and the characters chosen in Shin Megami Tensei don’t seem to be happy about it, are chosen and that is their destiny.
Atlus has been spending some time upgrading the visuals in Shin Megami Tensei IV. In their last, new, release, Etrian Odyssey IV, the visuals only seemed to be slightly enhanced from what the Nintendo DS could do. Here, the environment, characters, and even the 3D effects seem to have a brand new coat of paint. This is the first title, on the 3DS platform, Atlus seems to have put as much thought and care in as Nintendo would with their own First Party releases. Though the 3D is good, I still won’t have it on for very long, when I get the final release in my hands. The 3D effects are nice but it gives me a headache after an extensive time of play.
The two screens of the 3DS are utilized so menus, maps, etc, are all on the bottom, touch, screen, and the gameplay is all on the top screen. In battles, your party is shown in rectangular boxes. This gives you an easy look at all of their vitals as you battle, or negotiate, with demons. Speaking of negotiations, Shin Megami Tensei is upgrading this portion of the game. The demon you are trying to “win over” will appear, in full screen, on the top screen of the 3DS. This subtle upgrade gives you a much larger view of the demon than in previous titles and helps convey the sense of a conversation that you are having.
While speaking to the demons, in battle, your choices for responses will appear on the bottom screen and the demons will respond on the top screen in text. I do wish this was all fully voiced. Perhaps this will be something they add in the next iteration of the series?
Enemies still appear on-screen and you attempt to swing at them before they touch you. Gameplay inside battles is also the same as past iterations except for the updated interface and layout of the two screens.. There is, however, a new gameplay element, in battles, called Grin. If you hit an enemies weakness a few times, during the course of the battle, you and your allies will begin to “grin.” This will give you stronger attacks and lead to some more interesting negotiating options. Enemies will also be able to utilize this system on your party so beware!
Atlus is also introducing the Whisper System. This allows players to give their primary party members new abilities from demons you have and will be yet another way for players to sink countless hours leveling up their demons and characters to tweak and give themselves the best arsenal of powerful skills.
Shin Megami Tensei IV is expected to have over 40 hours of gameplay. As a portable Nintendo 3DS title, this should give it the title most depth and longest game on the platform. I just wish that my 3DS XL had an extended battery so I can play through more of it without the need to recharge. Oh well, Atlus can’t fix everything. Thankfully they have a great RPG coming that is sure to keep me glued to my 3DS when it is released this summer.