Gear Up For Persona 5 With Shin Megami Tensei IV
Did you hear the latest news about Persona 5? Jealous that it's not going to be out on handhelds or mobile platforms? You don't have to be! There are already plenty of awesome entries in both the Persona and MegaTen stable that you can pick up and play instead, and they're already ripe for the taking. Shin Megami Tensei is a long-running franchise with a colorful, varied past. It's also off the charts on the quirk scale, with plenty of strangeness to go around. The fourth entry in the core Shin Megami Tensei mythos was a long time coming, but it's finally arrived -- on the Nintendo 3DS, to boot. The newest entry is an excellent starting point for newcomers, and a tour through the elements that made the MegaTen games great in the first place. If you're looking for an entry point to prep for Persona 5?
Shin Megami Tensei IV follows a fledgling Samurai living in the kingdom of Mikado. On his eighteenth birthday, he takes place in an annual ritual to see which citizen has the potential to become a great and revered Samurai. The role of a Samurai, like in our own real-world history, is a respected one in this community, and of course the player character is chosen for this prestigious role. It is then we become better acquainted with two companion NPCs, Jonathan and Walter, and the strange world of Mikado. You see, a Samurai's duty is to defeat demons, and there's extensive training that must be completed in order to become a fully-fledged Samurai. Your journey begins after meeting with fellow hopefuls and your instructor. It's only when you begin flirting with the demon world where things start getting a little (delightfully) weird.
The "Press Turn" system rewards players who craftily exploit enemy weaknesses in SMTIV's excellent turn-based battles, but the Smirk system is an even more interesting mechanic. After you successfully hit an enemy with a crushing blow related to their weakness, the Smirk status is invoked, which can be used to deliver another blow to your opponent, possibly finishing them off with a bang. It's another layer of strategy that contributes to the austere difficulty of the game, but on the same side of the coin, it also helps.
Aside from its obvious proficiencies and cavalcade of content, it's important to note this iteration of MegaTen feels completely at home on the 3DS. It feels great, is optimized for the handheld, and it's perfect for on the go play. The ever-changing world, morality system, and droves of demons are enough to lure you in and keep you engaged to fight through the difficult sections. It was an entry well worth the wait, and players looking for their next RPG fix should look no further. The MegaTen cult will be happy to have you.