Shin Megami Tensei IV – Things I Don’t Care For

Every game can’t be perfect, and in face no game truly is. SMT IV is no different. There are a few things that most media outlets ignore, that I’d like to discuss. I’ve also done a video highlighting a few of these annoyances to act as a companion to this article. So let’s jump right into it.

To begin with, when you finally make your way far enough into the game you’re taken to what is effectively an overworld. From here you take the shape of a little circular icon that moves around a static backdrop. Enemies appear every now and then and will chase after you, but that’s not what’s annoying. No, the annoying part is that the map can be extremely difficult to navigate because it is hard to see. It’s entirely possible to get stuck for an hour simply because you couldn’t see the dark blue path next to the dark gray path, and that’s the only way to proceed to your next destination. Other times there will be microscopic gates that hinder your progression, and all you had to do was move around them, but because of the color scheme what should be super simple can become a chore.

By far the biggest annoyance is with some of the optional side-quests. Notice how I say optional, as you don’t need to do them if you don’t want to. That said, if you’re like me and you want some of the awesome rewards the side-quests offer, you’re going to try to complete everything. A lot of these quests will have you venture back to the earliest portions of the game in order to hunt down a specific demon, or to collect a certain number of item-drops from older enemies. In theory this shouldn’t be a problem because of how geared and leveled you are at this point in the game. The problem is there’s no aggro table in SMT IV. An aggro table essentially means that monsters are only interested in you if you’re equal or lower level than they are. They won’t bother to attack you if you’re over five levels higher than they are, as doing so is completely pointless. The player gets no experience, and the monsters will all be one-shotted so what’s the point. Without an aggro table though every single demon in the game will come running after you even if they have no chance of beating you. What this does is artificially extend the game’s length. What should take you five minutes takes over an hour. The end result is, a lot of these optional quests can become quests of patience more than anything else.

SMT IV 2
The attack might look cool, but if it doesn’t connect you don’t use it again. Simple as that.

Finally there’s the issue of A.I. Frequently this game will hand you your ass on a beautiful platter, but then at other times you’re left scratching your head. One common complaint people have with the Dragon Quest series is when they’re fighting an enemy and the creature at hand casts a spell even though they’ve run out of MP. Doing this once is fine, doing it four times in a boss fight is ridiculous. Something similar happens here too. While you’re battling a demon, it will cast an ice attack on your one character that’s completely immune to all frost damage, thereby forfeiting their turn and allowing you to counter. Doing this once is perfectly fine, but having that very same demon repeat said attack three more times is ludicrous.

So is the sky falling, is SMT IV doomed, I’d say by taking a quick glance at the game’s Metacritic that the answer is an overwhelming no. The rest of the game is extremely fun, and the demon collecting and fusion system is a blast, and clearly the most enjoyable part of the game. It’s just that sometimes people can get a little excited about one aspect and ignore the others, so I thought I’d do something a little different and highlight some key things that have been popping up that aren’t so hot. Expect the full review in the next few days.

2 thoughts on “Shin Megami Tensei IV – Things I Don’t Care For”

    1. The good news is that you don’t have to go after the side-quests, but the rewards are tempting. It’s extremely tedious to do so though, so after a while you sort of start weighing whether or not it’s actually worth it. I put in too many hours back-to-back that I started to lose my mind. I took yesterday off just to give myself a break, but now I’m back in the game. So long as you follow the main storyline and veer off only once and a while to the previous section you’re all good.

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