Game developer Atlus, the company responsible for the popular series “Persona,” has recently announced a new installment in its challenging JRPG series, “Shin Megami Tensei.” First releasing on the Japanese Super Famicom in 1992, the fifth game in the series, “Shin Megami Tensei IV,” was released in 2013 on the Nintendo 3DS, both in Japan and the United States.
The newest installment in the “SMT” series appears to be a direct sequel to “SMT IV,” with the title “SMT IV: Final.” “Final” will be released on the 3DS, with an initial Japanese release date of early February 2016. Unfortunately, no date for the American or European release has been announced as of now.
For those who have not played any of the “SMT” games, the series is based around turn-based combat and the collection of various demons and deities. The player must fight and recruit these creatures, who will then fight on the side of the player. In some games, the player can learn new skills from their inhuman allies.
Recruiting can be difficult, however, as enemies require that the player character to first be a high enough level to equal that of the enemy. Once that requirement is met, the enemy will request money and items, and sometimes asks the player a moral question, which has a varying answer depending on the specific enemy that is being fought. If the enemy is satisfied, they will join your party if there is enough room.
The plots of “SMT” games vary widely, but all of them come back to morality and the balance between law and chaos. This is reflected in the multiple endings found in each game, which are unlocked through the player’s choices and alliances. The different choices create a moral alignment that moves the player across a spectrum of law and chaos, with neutrality in the center, which can be reached by balancing aligned decisions. This results in at least four different accessible endings for each game.
“Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final” follows a new protagonist who was not present in “Shin Megami Tensei IV.” Unlike the protagonist of “SMT IV,” who can summon demons through a gauntlet, “Final’s” protagonist gains that ability by contracting with a demon upon his death. Little is currently known about the story, outside of what is known from “SMT IV.” However, many new gameplay mechanics are introduced.
For example, the player can form the supporting cast to act as an ally in battle. This partner can assist the player, and will have an “assist gauge” that shows when the partner can lend a hand. “SMT IV” had assists as well, but the partner was chosen based on characters present from the story’s progress, and their actions could not be chosen or timed by the player. The phases of the moon are utilized as well, which is a mechanic last seen in “Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne.”
“SMT IV: Final” looks to be an impressive sequel and includes plenty of new and exciting story and gameplay options. Very little information is known about both the newly introduced characters and the characters who appear from “SMT IV,” such as the player character from “IV.” With luck, more information will surface in the near future, including the release dates for countries outside of Japan.
Megan Sabers is a fourth-year student majoring in business marketing. She can be reached at MS789222@wcupa.edu