Shin Megami Tensei IV [Game Review]
83 Levels, innumerable fusions, and one Neutral ending later- Oki reviews the newest game in the main series of Shin Megami Tensei.
Being like most people on the internet, upon hearing I’d get thirty bucks simply for shelling out the dough on Shin Megami Tensei, I was pretty stoked to get it. Afterall, what more do you need than the name Atlus and free money? It’s almost guaranteed the deal will work out well for you. And it did, the game is most certainly the price for a reason: To put it simply, this game is so damn long. But my fellow Atlus fans know this rule, Atlus just makes really long games. I’d say the biggest difference in this game is you’re usually given a time length you can expect in game, especially in Persona. My friend started about two days before me and has yet to finish the thing, but I can’t blame him. This game is really, really long. If you’re wondering why it’s 50 dollars well, look no further. It’s got a LOT of content. Like a lot. You start the game with a dungeon to crawl around and end up in a massive dungeon called TOKYO.
To say I doubt I’ll get lost in Tokyo now is an understatement. I hope you like the names Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, and Shibuya. I hope you don’t forget which regions have Tokyo Tower or say, that one park you went to that one time. And I hope you like battling enemies 50 levels under you until you hit a part of the game where you defeat a level 75 enemy in order to fly around. And I hope you like sidequests, because the game decides sidequests aren’t sidequests anymore. 90% through the game, you’ll hit yourself for ignoring a few because IF YOU DON’T DO THEM ALL THEN YOU’LL HAVE TO TO CONTINUE THE MAIN STORYLINE. Especially in the neutral storyline, which is the best. These are all common problems in the game. Sometimes you think you’re doing something cool and genuine, and then you realize the game was going to force you to do it anyway.
Did I mention this map was just. . . mean? Because it’s mean. I will be surprised one day when I go to Tokyo and realize, shit, I don’t have to defeat a demon monster to get to the correct region in Ikebukuro. Which is good because I doubt they allow cryptic demon summoning devices on planes, and I am NOT checking that shit.
It’s hard to name good things about this game, and bear with me, I don’t mean it’s all bad. But normally during a Shin Megami Tensei game of any title, I can’t turn off the music. I turned it off 90% of the time in this game. Normally, I am interested in all the characters. I was, but I got no reward or compensation for it. The one truly good thing about this game is definitely the PLOT. This plot will throw you for some curve balls and punt you to the side of the playground like a bully at recess. And if you manage to get the Neutral Ending (IE: be a finicky indecisive bitch) then the plot is actually super cool. When picking sides you feel you’re betraying your storyline and being an idiot, when being neutral you feel like YEAH I PROBABLY HAVE A GIRLFRIEND NOW what I ship things don’t judge me.
Aside from the plot though, I’m struggling to find truly endearing qualities about the game. The mechanics of the world map make for constant annoying battles with enemies who either jump you with stupid weaknesses or are so weak that you just sit and laugh at them. Again, you feel sort of trapped into side quests by the end and it leaves something to be desired in the neutral ending. But you need to do it man! So the best ending requires the most ad nauseum, and I believe the others require a degree as well. It was hard to attach myself to any character, and the direction of your two friends is so obvious IT IS ON THE BOX ART
Normally with Atlus I’m at least drawn in by the art. But here? No, I’m not. Let me put it this way- as of beating the game, I have already sold it. And unlike all the other Atlus games I’ve ever owned, I sold it WITH all the bonus content. That’s right- I disliked this game enough to sell exclusive content and not even give a crap. I didn’t even keep the sound track! I enjoyed the battle system decently enough, but it’s far too easy to be cheap shotted and sent to the river Styx to pay your way back to life. That was a cute mechanic, and it’s also how I spent all my boyfriend’s play coins while he played my Fire Emblem game. Haha, I win.
The sad thing is, this game is mostly forgettable. What is there to say? Well, not much honestly. If you want to play it for the story, the one good quality, I recommend waiting for it to go down. Unless you want the 30 dollars, in which case, buy the crap out of it and then resell it. I GOT ALL THE NEW MII GAMES FOR 4 BUCKS MAN, CAN I HAD THAT. COUGH.
What can you say about a game with forgettable and repetitive music, a confusing and aggravating map, a fusion system that costs a lot of money even with apps to reduce it, armor that never quite matches up for a cool appearance, cut scenes that are basically nothing, main quests that specify just enough to leave you wandering around for hours, and has only one redeemable quality in it’s above average plot? Well, that it’s really not worth your time or money. I sunk a lot of time into that game and let me tell you- it’s really not worth your time or money.
Art: 8/10 – As always, the Shin Megami Tensei series has wonderful art. But the new art for the personas is weird and stilted, especially for the Archangels. To be fair, it might fit the games incredulous of religion tone, but my preference for the art in general has gone down.
Story: 8/10 – Really great, the only problem is you tend to get so lost you forget what you’re doing and get fairly aggravated.
Game Mechanics: 5/10 – Fusion was more tedious, but talking was a fun addition to recruitment. I’d say it was average because it was nothing special and given that even at level 80 a level 20 monster will badger you and chase you down, it makes the game a lot less fun than it had to be.
Music: 3/10 – The first Shin Megami Tensei, or even Atlus honestly, game I’ve played that I turned the music off for. It was dull, lifeless, stiff, and felt outdated.
Characters: 4/10 – You’re supposed to care about at least three people, and oddly enough you never do. I liked Kaga, a character who’s only in a small portion of the game, Nozomi, a side character who’s quest you’re essentially forced to do, and Isabeau- who is the only one who makes sense out of your friends half the time. (100% of the time) A bland cast that never got time to develop because the game really really just wants you to explore wasteland! Tokyo.
WTF Moments: 10/10 THIS GAME FUCKED MY BRAIN AND ATE IT. THIS GAME ATE MY BRAIN. THIS GAME. ATE. MY. BRAIN.
Overall Score: MEH/Ten
Yes, so MEH it doesn’t even get a number. It’s just MEH. This whole game is MEH. This whole point of the story is MEH. It’s MEH. MEH. MEH. Meh.