Save the world or create a new one. The choice is yours.
“SMT IV: Apocalypse? What’s that?”
Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse was developed by the gaming company Atlus, and is a sequel to one of the different endings the player would have in the original SMT IV. Though players would be able to enjoy the game without playing its predecessor, a bit of spoilers would be revealed in this game. What does it have to offer compared to the original? Lets find out.
Taking place sometime after the events of the original game, you play as Nanashi, a Cadet within the Hunter Association along with his friend, Asahi. They are tasked with finding some relics that can help with keeping the residence of Tokyo safe. Nanashi soon stumbles upon a smartphone, which is how Hunters summon the various demons through an application, and they soon get the chance to get a taste of what it takes to be a Hunter. Unfortunately, disaster strikes. One of Lucifer’s generals, Adremelach, ambushes the group not only kills the mentors, but also Nanashi. Before he could be sent off to the afterlife, however, he is soon greeted by a god who goes by the name Dagda. He gives him a second chance at life and having a chance to save Asahi’s life, but must become his supposed “Godslayer”. With no other choice, Nanashi agrees to Dagda’s offer, and is brought back to the world of the living, along with the smartphone he obtained earlier now being fully functional. And so Nanashi’s adventure begins throughout the demon-infested Tokyo, and will soon have to make an important choice…
True to the other Shin Megami Tensei games, let alone Shin Megami Tensei IV, SMT IV: Apocalypse plays pretty much the same. You go around Tokyo doing missions, progressing the story, and scouting for new demons to recruit. Once you successfully add them to your roster, you can then fuse them within the Mido app so you can create a new demon with inherited skills to make them stronger. And that’s pretty much the bread and butter of the franchise; scout and fuse. It’s honestly really fun, as there are loads of demons to have in your party, along with various applications that you can acquire to make things easier, such as having more space for your party, being able to fuse demons that are levels higher than you, spending less money to get demons from the Compendium, the list goes on. And through the power of the Demon Whisper, Nanashi, like Flynn from the original, can inherit some skills from the demons, and you can decide which ones you want to add depending on what playstyle you want to go for. Do you want to be a Physical bruiser? Perhaps you want to excel in Gun-based attacks. What if you wanted to be great with magic? Or maybe you’d like to be a support. The choice is yours, really. And if you have the same skills that demons have once they learn all of their skills, your skills will gain a bonus, making them cost less to use, making battles a bit easier.
The characters in SMT IV: Apocalypse are quite varied for what we’re given. While we do have a few returning characters such as Flynn and Isabeau from the previous game, we are mainly introduced to brand new faces on your journey. Such as Nozomi, a gunslinger who rules the Fairy Forest and, just like Nanashi, has a god inside of them in the form of Danu. There’s also Gaston, the younger brother of another character from the previous game, who tries to prove that he’s nothing like him. And that’s just naming a few, and each of them shine brightly in my eyes. While some seem unlikable at first, they get a chance to redeem themselves in critical parts of the story, being able to learn something about themselves and attempting to overcome their weaknesses.
In the end, SMT IV: Apocalypse is a fun ride from start to finish. The choices can sometimes lead to funny moments, the characters are likable in their own right, the battle system is fun, and since practically every single demon is based on mythology and folklore, it helps to learn some neat things every once in a while. Though fans of the series may not be satisfied with the endgame, it’s still an overall fun time in my eyes. Take it for what it’s worth.