Shin Megami Tensei IV – Demon Fusion (Includes Video Demonstration)

Two days ago Atlus was super cool and sent us a digital download code for their latest RPG Shin Megami Tensei IV for the Nintendo 3DS. I promised the game to Steven, but since he’s on vacation he said he was too busy to cover it. The nerve of some people! Anyways, I played for a few hours yesterday and plan to play pretty much all day today, and I wanted to begin my series of articles with a look at demon fusion. I’ve already posted a video on the combat system, but I’m going to do a more in-depth look at it tomorrow. So let’s kick things off with how demons work in general.

While you traverse the dungeons/combat areas you’re going to stumble upon hundreds of demons, over 400 to be exact. Demons take the shape of weird pixelated objects racing towards you while you explore the various dungeon areas. If they touch you, you get sucked into battle. From here your main character has the option of speaking to a demon and negotiating with them. The goal is to try and convince them to join your party. Sometimes it can be a real challenge, because some demons require you to be a certain level before joining, others simply want some of your blood, money, etc. If you’re too nice to most demons they’ll just take your goods and leave you, which sucks. Eventually they’ll join your party if you’re persistent enough, or simply by blind luck.

Demons have their own set of natural skills. These skills can be physical attacks, projectile-based attacks, magical attacks, or even buffs and debuffs. The only way to truly know all of your demon’s abilities is by leveling the demon. Eventually you will unlock all the skills that demon has. That’s not the end of things though. Instead the you can do what you did in Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2, you can combine different demons together and harness the strengths of both demons into a new, more powerful demon. Unlike Joker 2 though, you don’t need to start from scratch, re-leveling the newly formed demon. Instead the new demon is almost always about as high level as the greater of the two demons you fused together.

Negotiate well or you might end up losing tons of money, and life for nothing.
Negotiate well or you might end up losing tons of money, and life for nothing.

While fusing you can actually select which abilities will be carried over, or allow the system to randomize them for you. I always customize my skills because you might want a certain elemental attack or a buff that would be missed if you just randomized the fusion. It’s extremely important to customize your demons and make sure you’re getting the best of both worlds. I typically like to create demons that have both offensive and defensive skills just in case one of my party members is one-shotted, I can easily switch up my tactics.

Speaking of being one-shotted, prepare to die, a lot. The beginning of the game is brutal. When you see the pixelated objects coming towards you, you have the option of striking your sword. If you miss and the enemy attacks you, they get the first attack. If you strike it, you get the first attack. You always want the first attack. In the beginning of the game it usually equals life of death. As the game progresses things balance out a lot more, and if you’re struggling you can always play on the easier difficulty setting, which makes enemy skills miss much more often, thereby keeping you alive longer. The rest of the game remains exactly the same.

When it comes time to fuse demons together, make sure their stats are improving or don't bother.

If you’re planning on checking out SMT IV, I highly recommend you delve as deep as you can into the demon fusion system as it is incredibly deep, and very rewarding. I also recommend you try each new demon in battle before you fuse them because sometimes the base demon is actually better than the new one you’re going to make. Trial and error plays a lot into the overall system, but that’s part of the fun.

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