It took me quite a while to get into this game. I really enjoyed ‘Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2’ and also the Persona games I’ve played, so my expectations for this game were very high. You play as a samurai from the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado, and with three other samurai you go questing around Tokyo searching for the ‘Black Samurai’ and eventually choosing the fate of the world.

You fight with demons which you collect by convincing demons you battle to join you and by fusing demons you have into new demons. As well as using demons to fight, the main character learns skills from demons after they’ve reached a certain level. The wide variety of demons, being able to choose all your skills and distribute the main characters stats as you like means you can play with pretty much any style you like.

The fusion element of the game was my favourite part, and with over 400 demons to collect (including demons you can only get by fusion accident) you could sink a lot of time into getting them all. There’s quite a lot to do in this game- aside from fusion, there’s a wide variety of quests, and once you start a New Game + you unlock even more quests. There are also four endings for this game: Nothing, Law, Chaos and Neutral. The law and chaos paths are pretty extreme, but that’s basically what I was expecting anyway, having played other games in the series. I found the pacing for the plot was a little off. After you get to Tokyo not much happens story-wise for a while- you wander around doing favours for the people of Tokyo and beating various boss demons to open up new areas and continue your search for the Black Samurai, but I found myself wondering what any of this had to do with anything. Unless you end up going for the neutral ending, much of the detail and background to the plot is hinted at through conversations with random NPCs you talk to- so if you want to get any idea what’s going on you need to talk to people, and even then its kind of vague (Also, who didn’t see Issachar’s end coming?).  I didn’t really care for any of the characters. Enough is revealed about them to make it obvious where they lie on the Law-Neutral-Chaos spectrum, but there isn’t much depth to any of them.

SMT4-5

Exploration wise the Tokyo Map was really annoying. You don’t see the name of anything until you’re right on top of it, which obviously isn’t very useful when you’re looking for things. I found the re-spawn rate was also annoying when I was trying to explore and getting lost on the overland map and back-tracking all the time. There’s a bunch of terminals and later you get an ‘airship’ (which can only stop at a few limited locations) which kind of help, but not when you’re looking for new locations. I also found the item system somewhat irritating. You can hold different amounts for each item, so managing your inventory to make sure you can actually pick up new items while out exploring was more annoying than it needed to be. I also never used any items, I just sold them, so I didn’t get any sense of excitement about coming across a treasure chest while exploring.

Overall it’s a decent game that isn’t too challenging (unless you’re trying to find the next location on the map), that was reasonably fun to play despite my issues with the plot and the characters. It was good enough that I’m in the middle of my second cycle at any rate. Still, it’s probably my least favourite Shin Megami Tensei game.

Advertisements