15 August 2016 | Aaron1375
You have the ability to change the city!
This game is the official fourth game in the Shin Megami Tensei series of game. The previous game, which was called Nocturne in the U.S., was released on the PS2 system, while the first two games of the series were never officially released in the United States. I believe they were both for the Super Nintendo console. So basically, not a series that releases games yearly so while you do have to wait for them, they are at least vastly different than a lot of games made these days. There are other games released that use the same things as this series and even carries the name, Shin Megami Tensei, but they are not part of the of the series for some strange reason I cannot fathom. They include the two Digital Devil Saga games for the PS2, Devil Survivor, Strange Journey and the Persona games which I can see not being included as a sequel in the SMT series because they are also kind of their own thing. Strange Journey though so could have been the fourth game and this one the fifth. The game has so many traits that one who has played these games has come to know and love and at times hate. You have demons you recruit and fuse, you have the ability to have multiple endings, the over world map is like it was in a couple of the games and the battles rely on you trying to exploit the enemies weaknesses while covering up your own. It was good, but not great as it did somethings I enjoyed more than the previous entry Nocturne, but it did somethings I liked less, thus balancing each other out and making me say I enjoyed this one about the same.
The story has four potential samurai candidates who live in a place called Mikado coming together to see if they will be selected to become samurai. Walter is a bit of a hot head and hates the status quo, Johnathon wants to maintain peace at any cost and Isabeau is a young lady who wants to do right by everyone. Then you have the main character you control who throughout the game and whose choices will end up putting you on one of these three individuals sides. You start out investigating a strange dungeon in what looks like an old style kingdom; however, about eight hours into the game you are thrust into modern day Tokyo and realize just how large this game is! At first I thought it was just going to be a dungeon crawler type game and then wham, a whole city to explore! You and your fellow samurai explore this city and do jobs for the inhabitants there and begin to learn the strange truth behind the kingdom of Mikado and Tokyo while trying to figure out whose side you should be taking!
The game play is classic JRPG in that you get turn based battles which I prefer. It is so much like a chess match and requires strategy. In action RPG games like the 'Tales' series (which I do enjoy), so often the fights are just running up to the enemy and using your powerful attacks over and over. Then there is the hybrid that sort of is in-between which I like the least. Common in online role playing games it was the type used in Final Fantasy XII and Knights of the Old Republic. Where you input commands and there is sort of a lag and you have to control all the characters while under attack. No, give me the player turn/enemy turn any day. One of my main complaints about the game is the Tokyo world map and the enemies. The map is, quite frankly, a hot mess! So hard to traverse as every little bit is named something different it seems and a few places have very similar sounding names making it sometimes difficult to find anything! Which brings me to the second complaint, while you are searching you are under constant assail from enemies! This is a pain, especially later in the game when the enemies are no match for you. It would have been so awesome had the made weaker enemies run from you.
So overall, I thought this game was really good. Not as good as Persona 3 & 4 though, those two games are like the gold crown of the series of Shin Megami Tensei games. This one is difficult, but not as hard as Nocturne as I had little difficulty defeating the final two bosses on the 'neutral' route. Which is another thing, there are four possible endings and the 'neutral' route is the default best one and it is the hardest one to get. I managed to get it on my first play through without the help of a guide so that was very cool. Though, the ending was pretty good, it kind of halted suddenly. If I ever do want to play through the game again, it will not be as difficult as they include a new game plus where you can come back as strong as you were before and with the same equipment! Granted, that will mean nothing is going to even phase me for a while, but that just means I can enjoy the story more.