By now, a god many gamers are familiar with the Shin Megami Tensei series thanks to the burst in popularity it got from the spin-off Persona series. High school kids, fighting demons, addictive hip-hop and dance music blaring away in the backround. It’s become such a popular staple that it hopes to distance itself from the main series by dropping the “Shin Megami Tensei” portion from its title.
Probably for the best. Persona fans who enter into the main games looking for the same experience are going to be outright traumatized. No more giddy school days or slick beats. The Shin Megami Tensei games are dark, and the latest trailer for Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse doesn’t have an ounce of humor to it. Humans being ripped in half by demons, nuclear bombs, blood splatters, massive fire demons slaughtering the masses.
“But… but I just wanted to expand my social links.” Go play a Persona game, this is where we get hardcore!
The story of Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse is one of human pawns being shuffled across a chessboard by the higher deities. One lone Hunter, the game’s protagonist, meets an early demise and through a pact with a lesser god, is brought back to life in exchange for his pledge of servitude. From there, the protagonist allies with other Hunters in the ruins of post-apocalyptic Tokyo beginning a plot that crosses over with the events of the original Shin Megami Tensei IV.
- The Eternal Struggle Between Gods – The Shin Megami Tensei series, known for exploring the tenuous symbiosis between man and deity , reaches deeper than ever in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, as the band of main characters must decide which side of peace or anarchy they are on.
- Partner Up for Success – A new twist on the SMTIV combat formula allows players to bring one of seven partners to battle (in addition to the standard three demons), each with their own unique skills and AI. Plus, partners will fill up a meter that will interrupt the enemy, do massive damage, and give players an extra turn. Given the excruciating difficulty of battles in Shin Megami Tensei, the partner system will allow for new player strategies.
- Demons Aplenty – Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse has a series record 450+ demons to fight, fuse, or recruit to player parties. With demons from a wide selection of cultures and religions to choose from, players will be able to customize their party to their liking.
- Fuse For Affinities – Demon fusion, combining two or more demons to form a more powerful one, is one of the cornerstones of Shin Megami Tensei games, and now demons will have affinities for certain skills, giving players more decisions to make about which skills fusions will inherit.
- Press Turns and Smirking – The Press Turn system returns, which gives players (or enemies!) extra turns for exploiting weaknesses. The Smirk system returns as well, which gives huge offensive and defensive boosts to party members (or enemies) and now unlocks bonuses for certain skills, such as insta-kill attacks.
Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse is the pseudo-sequel to Atlus’ excellent Nintendo 3DS RPG. No release date has been set yet, but I strongly recommend you pick up the first one before playing this. It’s available at a stupidly cheap price of $13.99 on the eShop this week.
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