Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse is an entirely new game taking place during the events of Shin Megami Tensei IV. Chris Privitere has the opportunity to check the game out at E3 ahead of its release later this summer.
Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse returns players to the world of Shin Megami Tensei IV, where players take on the role of Nanashi, a boy left for dead who instead rises with new demonic powers and a contract with the demon Dagda. Although sharing some gameplay aspects with its cousin series Persona, but the game quickly distinguishes itself.
Dungeon exploration takes place in a third person perspective, with enemies readily visible on the map. This meant that if I wanted to, and was careful in my navigation, I could avoid combat if desired. Once I engaged the enemy, combat switched to first person, and I could give my demons commands including skills and regular attacks; had all my demons fallen, it would've been game over. Partners, human characters who join with and part from Nanashi throughout the story, can also jump into combat, but are AI controlled. For those who want to grind out their levels, auto-battle will let characters beat up the enemy with abandon, while the skill system featuring SMT’s unique spell-naming is ever-present, so Bufu those enemies to your heart’s content.
Apocalypse assumes the Neutral ending from Shin Megami Tensei IV as canon and proceeds along its own storyline path. The game is expansive, with a quick completion clocking in at around seventy hours, not including DLC, side quests, or dabbling in demon recruitment and merging. In my experience, everyone was really freaking rude, including Nanashi. Thankfully, my silver tongue eventually wooed a demon over to my side – who would have quickly become a valuable member of my team had I not been completely over-leveled for the demo. Recruiting a demon completed an existing quest, which unlocked the next storyline area.
At the end of my demo, I took on a boss at the Skytower, who ended up being pretty easy because of how powerful my demo party was. Apocalype’s story revolves around the war between angels and demons, and this conflict plays out throughout the game’s narrative. There was more story to explore, but my time was limited and I had a firm feeling that fans of SMTIV would enjoy both the familiar and new, such as demon skill affinities which make pairing monsters with their element of choice even more powerful.
Two pieces of DLC have already been announced, one a free piece that will raise the level cap to 999, a crazy number for the series. The second DLC will assist players in reaching that lofty goal by providing oodles of EXP, but RPGamers will need to pay for the privilege. The 3DS title will launch later this year in North America.