Monday, October 3, 2016

Video Game Review: Shin Megami Tensei 4 Apocalypse/Final (WHATEVER!!!): First impressions

Please be sure to read, comment, spread the links, re-tweet and follow me on Twitter @OnDavidsBrain! and support me on Patreon.

Here we are folks another SMT game and I'm here to preach its value to all of you. Now I haven't had a chance to play the whole game in the time I'm writing this I'm not The Completionist for Christ's sake but I'll just give you all what I can and go from there. Now be forewarned this game not only spoils SMT 4 but also takes place in an alternate timeline so before you play this game or read this review make sure that you at least play the first game. So this is your official spoiler warning.

 We open with our new hero Nanashi, and in a very rare occurrence with these games the characters do address him by the name Nanashi, so how can the player create their own name? By creating a hunter nickname of course. Moving on Nanashi and his childhood friend Asahi are trainee hunters and are out with their two mentors when the four are attacked by the demon Adramelech and his men. The two older hunters are killed by Adramelech as well as Nanashi. However as he dies he's visited by the forgotten god Dagda who offers Nanashi a deal, Dagda'll bring him back to life and in exchange he'll serve Dagda as his personal "Godslayer". With no other choice Nanashi takes the faustian deal and manages to repel Adramelech and save Asahi.

 And from the outset Dagda is dead set on getting Nanashi to do what he wants and doesn't give the slightest amount of a crap about his life and loved ones, just so long as he has his godslayer. Dagda honestly reminds me a lot of Ankh from Kamen Rider OOO, both are demons possessing someone for their own benefit, care little for others and are mostly just rude jerks at best and major league assholes at worst. After a few quests we learn that Flynn and Isabeau are on the move and are about to release Masakado from his stone in Ginza. However Asahi wants to do more to help the two in their fight against Merkabah and Lucifer. So she hears of a job from an old man who turns out to be Odin, Odin tells the two of a powerful demon sealed in a shrine who can help Flynn destroy the two and save humanity. So after venturing inside the shrine they find the demon and surprise surprise Odin turned out to be playing them.
The sealed Demon was Krishna who along with Odin and Maitreya make up the leadership of a brand new faction in this war. The Divine Powers (or Polytheistic Alliance again whatever works for you.)
 These new assholes then kidnap Flynn before he can reawaken Masakado and in the neutral ending last game set out to kill Merkabah and Lucifer. They then demonstrate their power by summoning Krishna's pet dragon Shesha to punch a hole in the ceiling covering Tokyo which I may remind you was powerful enough to block several ICBMs! This facilitates a war conference with Merkabah, Lucifer, Skins and Fujiwara where Lucifer proposes a ceasefire to deal with the threat that the Divine Powers present, because along with Shesha and Flynn they also have a large army of demons as well as a splinter faction of the Ring of Gaea under their command. Merkabah agrees and sends down his elite Samurai to Tokyo and Lucifer declares that he'll lead the humans of Tokyo by proxy.

 Skins and Fujiwara clearly object but according to Lucifer only humans have to power to kill gods and demons, specifically those who they chose to become Godslayers. Thus Krishna's goal is to make Flynn his godslayer so that he may kill YHVH who for anyone who's played the previous games where he's appeared is always the most evil being in existence due to him seeing anything that does not submit to his will as evil and will kill any and all who chose to follow their own path or seek freedom from his control.

 Thus we have our setting Tokyo is split between the three factions. Lucifer's set up shop in Camp Ichigaya (thus controls the Yamato Reactor/gate to the expanse) Shinjuku and Shibuya. Merkabah's base is the Sky Tower and controls Ueno, Kinshicho and Ikebukuro; while the Divine Powers have Ginza and Tsukiji Konganji as their HQ. So as Dagdas Godslayer Nanashi has to defeat the Divine Powers, save Flynn and kill Merkabah and Lucifer to save Tokyo, sounds easy! Now this game does have some major improvements over the last game, one of which is that now you can swap out the partners you bring into battle, first is Asahi who's the white mage, Navarre (yes the elitist prick from last game who only showed up a few times is now a full party member.)
And he's also a Ghost, long story short he died off screen and now possesses Nanashi who is one of few people who can see and hear him. I honestly like him this way, as not only did he mature over the 7 years since Flynn smuggled him to Tokyo to survive the Angel's culling of the Luxurors but he's also extremely helpful in and out of battle due to not only his buffing skills but also being able to carry the Jade Dagger which can cut through special barriers. Plus he's just great comic relief even if he does come off like the fusion of Slimer, The Great Gazoo and Ghost Nappa.

 There's others as well that were leaked which I haven't gotten to in full detail including Nozomi. She's the hunter that Flynn helped last game to become the new Lady Danu and leader of the Fairy tribe who joins the group after the Divine Powers destroyed the Fairy's home to a degree that no amount of clapping will fix. The last three are revolving around the factions; which reminds me that the main three aren't the only factions in Tokyo. Remember the ring of Gaea? Well Maitreya took control and while half followed him due to their "might makes right" philosophy the other half are sticking to the teachings of Lilith and refuse to follow Maitreya, the Lilith faction sends out their strongest warrior to aid the Godslayer, named Toki.

  Then there's the Asura Kai who are now organizing under a new leader Abe. Whose representative is Abe's #2 man Hallelujah.
Not sure what his deal is but if I had to guess he's the Simon to Abe's Kamina or the Mikazuki to his Orga, whichever you prefer. But much like how Simon started out the guy has no self confidence and is a bit of a whiner.
 Lastly is one of Merkabahs elite Samurai; Gaston who happens to be Navarre's brother and surprise isn't all proud of his older brother whining to their parents and them bribing the monastery to give him an honorable discharge, imagine that. But just like his brother is an incredibly prideful prick with a superiority complex as well as a chip on his shoulder the size of Serpenterra.
 Now on to the new additions of the game. Whenever you find corpses in the field instead of simply getting an item you'll instead get AP points. Speaking of apps they remove the Demonlngual, Mapper and Cathedral of Shadows app, those skills either are automatic or are unneeded. You also get new side quests as you progress through the game automatically instead of constantly having to check hunters associations or by asking demons, which helps to make things progress faster and streamlines quests. You also don't have to fight against guards to access terminals now. But my personal favorite new addition is that now when you enter an area you can see if there's new conversations to be had with people instead of constantly reading the same dialogue over and over again.

 As for the demons you'll be fighting there's four new Demon groups you can recruit in the field, Genma, Dragon and Holy. Also most of the evolutions from the last game carry over to this game. However the order of the demons change as well so take that in mind when remembering which demons evolve into what. So with my little spiel over and done with get out there, get some demons and save Tokyo.

Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse/Final is owned by Atlus, Sega and Kazuyuki Yamai
Metalocalypse is owned by Brendon Small, Tommy Blancha, Titmouse, Inc and Williams Street