I don’t know what made me want to check out Shin Megami Tensei IV. I’ve never understood the appeal of anime and most of the time try to avoid everything that comes out of Japan like it’s the plague. There’s just a weirdness about most Japanese things that I can never wrap my head around.
Yet here I was last night playing one of the most strange and absurd video games I’d ever come across. I had never even heard of Atlus, the company behind the game. Heck I’d only heard the name spoken once before, and that was while listening to a Joystiq podcast in which one of the podcasters spoke of Persona Q (I think), and games with such weird titles as Etrian Odyssey and Shin Megami Tensei came up in the conversation. Maybe that planted a seed of curiosity?
Somehow or other, Shin Megami Tensei IV made its way into my GameFly Queue and recently arrived in my mailbox. I started playing it, and as much as I detest anime I felt a drive to see what the game was all about. It certainly starts off in a strange manner. Heck, I think the Final Fantasy games rest just barely over an acceptable level of weirdness, so the dialogue and scenes early in Shin Megami Tensei IV definitely rest below my usual tolerance level.
After an hour or so of gameplay, I’m still not quite sure what to think of the game. I think the travel system is a little weird (where you just select a destination from a list and magically teleport there), but I guess there’s a simplicity to it that may actually be appealing. The enemies I’ve encountered in the initiation cave were certainly interesting and the ability to have conversations with the enemies is appealing and entertaining (though the dialogue is off the wall strange).
The game feels like a mix between Pokemon and Final Fantasy which feels a little familiar while also intriguing. Collecting demons to fight alongside you feels fun so far, and I’m interested to see what other types of enemies I’ll stumble across as I progress. I have to admit I’m not very good at video games in general, so after I died a few times I was happy to be presented with the option to lower the difficulty (otherwise I probably would have already given up).
If there’s one major downside to the game so far, it’s Burroughs character / AI / whatever it is. Over and over and over again you’re presented with the same, annoying “Did you get all that?” after every explanation / tutorial item. I’m not sure whether it’s some sort of inside joke, but if not it’s incredibly annoying and downright lazy to repeat the same line so many times.
I’m hoping I can continue to enjoy the game, though I’m a little worried it’ll start to get more complex and I wont have the patience to try to understand everything. Until then I’ll keep chugging along.