NWR Staff's Favorite 10 Games of 2013

Shin Megami Tensei IV

by Justin Baker - December 29, 2013, 8:47 pm PST

When demon hunting and teenage drama collide.

From the outset I was resistant to review, or even write about with any manner of authority, Shin Megami Tensei IV. Like many people I had always had an attraction to the series (with demonic pacts and turn-based battles, what’s not to love!?), but approaching most of the games is about as easy as scaling a 12-foot brick wall. The games aren’t known for coddling newcomers, and even veterans of the series still find themselves treading carefully. But, an hour into Shin Megami Tensei IV and all that faded away as the spectacular combat and black-as-night story settled in. 

For a game of this scale to be crammed into a 3DS cartridge to begin with baffles me. After around sixty hours with the game I still wasn’t sure what all the stats and numbers meant, but I did know one thing: I was having a hell of a good time. For me, the late PlayStation era is when JRPGs really hit their stride, and Shin Megami Tensei IV continues that grand tradition, while adding in some leniency for more casual demon-hunters.

Traversing the world and having conversation after conversation with demons never ceased to entertain me. Even after I had accounted for all the various conversation archetypes that the game used, they would still occasionally throw a verbal curveball at me to keep me on my toes. Not to mention, the staggering amount of demons rendered in excellent detail meant there was always something new to discover.

As an introduction to the series, it worked well. I’m excited for whatever comes next in the Megaten world, and I have my fingers crossed that the next main entry will be on a Nintendo platform. After both this game and the excellent Fire Emblem: Awakening earlier this year, I’m downright excited for the still-vague Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem.

I had been craving a nice, long JRPG for quite some time, and Megaten IV filled the niche nicely. It wasn’t a monumental breakthrough in gaming, but it offered solid combat and an interesting story. The game did tend to get a little long in the tooth near the end, and the objectives weren’t always clear, but what’s a JRPG without a little confusion and extended dialogue? The game also served as a proving ground for DLC on 3DS games. It existed in a fashion previously (challenge stages in New Super Mario Bros. 2), but this was the first time DLC manifested itself in a more traditional fashion on the system, including outfits, quests, and more.

In a way, Shin Megami Tensei IV broke new ground not only for its own franchise by giving trepidatious gamers an easy starting point, but it also moved the 3DS forward as a platform by proving it can handle things like DLC and full-length console-style RPGs. Home consoles be damned, Megaten IV proves that we can get the same kind of experience in our back pockets.

Talkback

Leo13December 26, 2013

Want to play Pikmin 3, but lack a Wii U? $219 on newegg.com http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=0PW-003J-00002
This sale has been going on since last week I just got mine the other day.

sisibakbakDecember 29, 2013

I bought it a few days ago and just finished the main set of levels. Absolutely adoring it, fantastic use of the GamePad and there's a crap ton to do. Has to be my GOTY (though, I haven't played a great deal of new games this year including 3D World so it's a bit of an easy choice really).

Vrgin XJanuary 01, 2014

Team Plasma is so 2011, Team Flare is where it's at, son.  8)

Pixelated PixiesJanuary 02, 2014

I'm going to post my top games of the year here, lest I forget. It's been a slow year in terms of gaming for me, so I can only muster excitement for the following 5 games.

1-The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
2-Fire Emblem: Awakening
3- Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
4-Steamworld: Dig
5-Harmoknight

I also had some fun with the following notable mentions, but couldn't quite bring myself to put them on my 'top' list.

-Animal Crossing: New Leaf
-Pokémon Y
-Mario and Donkey Kong - Minis on the Move

I have also played a few hours of Pikmin 3, Rayman Legends and Super Mario 3D World, which all seem awesome, but not being a Wii U owner has meant I haven't spent as much time with those games as they probably deserve.

Linkle LinkJanuary 02, 2014

Oh ho! Nice. I thought the last spot might end up going to the Wonderful 101. Not sure what kind of support the game might have with staff. However, I can't argue with the choice of the 3DS's 6th jewel this year. Often not as appreciated as the main 5 of the year LM, FA, AC, PY/PX and ALBW, I'm glad it was not forgotten and regarded so highly.

Leo13January 02, 2014

I agree AND disagree with Khushrenada. I agree that I expected Wonderful 101 on here somewhere, but I disagree on justification. I'm honestly shocked that it's not on here. I'd say there's no argument that it should be above Shin Megami Tensi and Ace Attorney.

Pixelated PixiesJanuary 02, 2014

"Much like Grand Theft Auto V..." is not a statement I ever thought I'd see used in reference to an Ace Attorney game.

Linkle LinkJanuary 02, 2014

Quote from: Leo13

I agree AND disagree with Khushrenada.

How dare you! You had it right in the first bit. Never second guess your first instinct.

Leo13January 03, 2014

You really think BOTH of those deserve to be over Wonderful 101?
I was listening to the Official Nintendo Magazine Podcast this morning and they did their Nintendo 2013 top ten and W101 was #1
http://www.officialnintendomagazine.co.uk/56522/onm-podcast-matthew-and-joes-top-10-games-of-the-year/

Pixelated PixiesJanuary 03, 2014

Quote from: Leo13

I was listening to the Official Nintendo Magazine Podcast this morning and they did their Nintendo 2013 top ten and W101 was #1
http://www.officialnintendomagazine.co.uk/56522/onm-podcast-matthew-and-joes-top-10-games-of-the-year/

...Good for them?

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