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Thread: Shin Megami Tensei IV and Apocalypse

  1. #1

    Default Shin Megami Tensei IV and Apocalypse

    So for those who don't know, I can't see well. As such, handhelds are behind me. The 3DS is a source of endless fury to me because I love JRPGs and it is the home to many great...EXCLUSIVE JRPGs. Now ony had this "hook handheld up to TV" thing figured out al the way back with the PSP. They even released the PSTV counterpart to the Vita. But Nintendo didn't catch on until the Switch. I was thinking I'd have to wait for a Switch port of some of these JRPGs I wanted to play.

    But I have my first ever gaming PC now, and the Citra 3DS emulator has improved immensely. This means I finally get to play Shin Megami Tensei IV and Apocalypse. In fact. SMTIV was the first thing I did with my new computer. Ben addicted to it all this week. It's a very good game.

    That being said, I'm at the endgame and I'm tired and I wanna start of by saying the game doesn't look like it will stick the landing. I was committed in both Strange Journey and Nocturne. I knew what ending I wanted and I got them. It made sense.

    Here, I got the Law Route and it makes no godam sense. I sided with Lilith, I was wishy-washy about dialogue in places like the alternate Tokyos. I told The White I wanted to upset the status quo. Doesn't matter, I am on Law. But Law in this game sucks outside of Tayama. Tayama was interesting and likable but these four archangels can f off. I miss the super helpful Mastema from SJ.

    But the point is, being on the Law Route is really irritating me because it's not what I wanted and there's no reason I should have it. It's only happening because the game things irrelevant little things matter more than the stuff of consequence that I thought about. It didn't lay anything out for me like Nocturne and Strange Journey did.

    I hope Apocalypse handles the alignments better.

    But this i all academic because I got the White Ending and am going to use that as my save data for Apocalypse. Dunno if it matters but the White had the best argument out of everyone in this game and so I was glad to side with them.

    Of course I'll still continue on with my bleh Law route and finish the game later today. I'll also go get some sleep and come back less cranky about this otherwise pretty good game. I'll say more positive about it then.

  2. #2
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    The game locks you into your alignment before you head to the Alternate Tokyos, which is why none of those decisions except for the ones by the White matter at that point. Sadly, it's really easy to screw yourself with alignment in IV, though paradoxically it is the easiest game to get the alignment you want as long as you know the trick. In fact Neutral is the hardest alignment to get, though one of the more satisfying except for it's one lousy quest line at the end.

    Law is generally not the best one in this game, largely because the SMTII variations of the Archangels are in full swing and even sensible Gabriel has finally gone a bit axe crazy by this point. The one nice thing about the Law ending is that all parties involved address and rectify a bit of the hypocrisy of their actions and position, though it still annoyed a few players...

    You'll be happy to know Mastema is actually in IV, and he's just as much of a manipulative bastard as he was in SJ. He actually plays a minor if decent role in the DLC as well. Personally, I feel Lucifer is the one who got the short end of the stick in IV.

    I have yet to get around to Apocalypse, I own it, but I'm way behind on my Handheld RPGs at the moment. While there are multiple endings in Apocalypse, their isn't a true alignment element like the previous games. I mean there is a Chaos/Law endings, but like the White Ending in IV, they are largely meant to be glorified pre-mature bad endings. The game largely explores the Neutral faction.
    Last edited by Wolf Kanno; 10-01-2018 at 09:43 PM.
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  3. #3

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    Time to do my final write-up for SMTIV before I jump into Apocalypse...



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dE867s70Osc&t=823s



    Best song in the game. When I first heard this after arriving in Blasted Tokyo,I was like "thegame can only get better!" In fact, a lot of teh best music in the game was in the alternate worlds.



    But I'm getting ahead of myself. Compared to Strange Journey and Nocturne, SMTIV is much more concerned with characters SJ did a reasonably good jo of showing why Zelenin and Jimenez ended up the way they did but in the end they felt more like props than actual characters to me, existing solely to be domed puppets of Law and Chaos. I guess that's what they were but they still just didn't feel like fully fleshed out characters, they were just reps for therir alignment first and everything else existed solely to justify that. Of course I liked Zelenin because we actually have a lot in common and I'm far more sympathetic to her reasons for joining Law than I am to Jonathan's.



    Which brings me to a criticism of SMTIV. It is far more personal story but it doesn't really give me good reasons why the characters ende the way they did. Zelenin and Jimenez were both looking at the inevitable end of all human life and they both were sufficiently traumatizd that it makes sense they ended up as they did. Extreme situations require extreme measures.But I don't think Navarre being a dickhead justifies Walter going to Lilith. I camet o love these characters as my comrades like the game intended but I never really saw the immense growth needed to explain such radical moves on their part.





    And that sums up SMTIV as a whole in a way; it started off really strong and I was very much digging it as things progressed. But eventaully I felt it hit a wall and dropped off a cliff. Even then, I loved the reveal of the White, the alternate worlds, etc.. I maintain the White Ending is the only sensible one. In a multiverse doomed to the endless struggle of Law and Chaos, where happiness is impossible and all these countless lives are slaves to the whims of cosmic forces far greater than them, annihilation would be preferable. One of the reasons fr going True Demon in Nocturne was the sorry fate of Hijiri, a man apparently doomed to an eternity of slavery and death who will never know peace. Well, the White Ending is just like True Demon in that you are granting freedom to all the people of the world. There is no freedom in the world, only freedom from it. Getting past all the doomsaying, I just really liked how it was executed with the "final boss" being the Yamato Reactor that you just relentlessly pound into nothing while a noticably disturbed Burroughs gives you periodic updates on how you are doing. I find it strange she seems so distraught about this but was okay with everything in the Law Ending....



    That reminds me, there was one bit of the Law Ending I really liked - confronting Isobeau. Even as I was severely annoyed about the alignment bulltrout, the obvious and inevitable confrontation with her was really well-done. I think she's probably teh best of the three reps in that I can actually understand how she ended up as she did. But it is as Merkabah said, she is a poor lost soul lost to the evils of Japanese manga. I had to save her from the evil and ensure nobody else ever read such filth and was corrupted. Seriously though, Igive full props to how genuinely emotional that part made me because it was really good.



    I notice a lot of people seem to say this game's OST is great.... It's not bad or anything but I was not all that impressed. Compared o Strange Journey and Nocturne, and also Persona if we count them, I can think of only a few themes that really stand out to me. The real problem is the lack of memorable battle music. In a game where 99% of what you will be doing is fighting, having no OHMYGODAWESOME battle music is pretty troutty. That's why I was so happy to hear the Alternate Tokyo battle theme. But there is nothing like SJ's Boss Music

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm0WlKRR3YU&t=77s



    Or Nocturne's Reason Boss Themes:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvDuBdcB2YE


    Again, I cannot stress how important it is you stick the landing. A satisfyingly epic struggle over a boss accompanied by suitably impressive and "this is it!" boss music is essential to me. You've gone through this hellish dungeon, you've struggled throughout this entire game, now it is time you feel rewarded for your efforts. Even discounting how easy SMTIV is compared to other SMT games, nothing ever really felt....climactic to me. (also that isn't to ay I didn't die a ton in this game)



    Also can I just say that the "reveal" with Tayama was pathetic? It's not horifying or impactful because it's so hamfisted, ovious and the final reveal itself is done by a random NPC doing an infodump all over your face while lame music plays. Tayama is like the best character in the gaeme and this lame scene didn't do anything to make me hate him.



    So, in conclusion, I thought the game started off strong, got stronger in the middle, and then just kinda petered out. It needed more focus on the characters, scenes of just you alone with an introspective Walter and Jonathan after story events. The Alignment system is busted and really robbed me of any feel of victory or satisfaction in the ending.



    I have heard Apocalypse is more "Persona-like." If that translates to even more focus on the characters, I look forward to it. SMTIV took a step in the right direction and I would imagine its sequel goes even further. I'm gonna be starting it up a little after I post this so wish me luck.

  4. #4
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    I happen to really like SMYIV's OST but to each their own, otherwise, I mostly agree with your assessment, especially about the game kind of falling apart during the home stretch, especially odd considering how the rest of the series is usually good about this.

    I mostly wrote up my feelings about the game last year.
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