After a great RPG start in 2013 on 3DS, the next Shin Megami Tensei game continues the trend.
The demo for Shin Megami Tensei IV at E3 2013 was something that took a little while to get into, but it showed fantastic promise for an epic adventure that is coming to North America in less than a month. Our general consensus was that of "well damn, I need to square away a month or so to get into this game."
Shin Megami Tensei IV is a game that, as Guillaume put it, is usually believed to be "impenetrable and probably not for you," but don't worry. This Atlus-made game coming to 3DS on July 16 looks to just be a damn fine Japanese RPG.
Check out a bit from Guillaume Veillette's E3 2013 impressions:
I wouldn't hold it against you if you believed that the Shin Megami Tensei universe is impenetrable and probably not for you. Between the Japanese name, the concept of bargaining with and fusing demons, the dozens of spin-offs and a history dating back to the Super Famicom days, the revered series does not exactly scream "approachable." Despite having played some games in the Persona sub-series, even I walked towards the Shin Megami Tensei IV demo with some trepidation. My familiarity with some key combat mechanics helped, but clear menus make the game accessible to any RPG fan.
The first area of the demo consisted of a dungeon. A helpful map is revealed while exploring and marks automatically the main points of interest on the bottom screen. On the top screen, you control your character from a third person perspective and can swing the camera around with the shoulder buttons. The enemies show up as blue mist-like forms, and charge at you when they notice you. If you time it correctly, you can swing your sword at it to cause damage before the battle has even started.
The battles themselves are a turned-based affair, but go by very quickly if you know what you're doing. In classic SMT fashion, you can discover an enemy's weakness through either trial-and-error or scanning it. Hit it with an attack of the appropriate element (fire, electricity, light, etc.) or type (slashing, piercing) and you stun it, allowing you to attack again immediately. As long as you are careful that the enemies don't do the same to you, the fights are over very quickly.