Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse Articles RSS Feed | Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Top 10 Games of 2016 -- When You Swim Against The Mainstream Fri, 06 Jan 2017 07:00:02 -0500 Jeffrey Rousseau

Unlike the general gaming public, my tastes are a little different. In short, I lean very much on niche and indie titles -- not that there's anything wrong with mainstream games.

After all, they drive the market at large and set consumer trends. So, like any other year 2016 saw the release of many games. I made sure to keep my focus under the radar if you will. Here's my list of the ten best games I had the pleasure of playing.

Titanfall 2

Full disclosure; this is the only triple A title on my list. Now that's not to say the game wasn't fun or failed. The only real knock to is that not enough people have experienced it. The narrative is everything you want in a better than decent sci-fi anime. A regular soldier secretly trains to be an elite pilot, things hit the fan, you end up saving your planet, and maybe even time itself?

Throughout Jack and BT's journey they form a bond behind man and machine. Time and time again both are placed into deadly situations. You have the ability to conquer these situations with skills of both individuals. For example, there's a moment in the game where the enemy uses numbers against you. Through fast and well thought out planning you can turn the tides. 

The game also features interesting sections where you can display great feats of parkour. Also the robot fights are grandiose and dramatic. If there's something wrong with enjoying robots blowing up, I don't want to be right! And not the mention the multiplayer being a lot of fun too.

Let It Die

Grasshopper Manufacturer is back with what they do best. The title is punk, obscure, niche, and one of a kind. The game is a free to play dungeon crawler where you ascend a massive tower. The game takes place in a strange dystopia where you're a dime a dozen explorer... in a very realistic videogame. Oh and a skateboarding, retro game loving grim reaper is your fan.

Let it Die, much like other Suda 51 games, slowly opens up all its details to you. The more you progress in the tower the more rewards and benefits come. The tile shares a lot of similarities with Dark Souls. Death is very likely and you have to keep in mind it can come at any minute.

Although it's single player, it's also a constant PvP title as well. Let It Die is also part survival action game, where you have to defend your base. Now all these facets of the game can seem overwhelming, however, the fun is a constant challenge.

The game also has a soundtrack backed by 100 rock bands. Yeah, 100 my friends.

Kirby Planet Robobot

Kirby has made a comeback and he lands on the Nintendo 3DS. Planet Robobot is a head nod to the pink powderpuff's roots. It's a fast and challenging platformer spanning a number of 7 stages. Let me tell you, Nintendo makes some worthwhile platformers.

Planet present collectibles that you must collect to move one. When you find all collectibles, you're able to unlock a secret level. These secret levels serve as extra challenge stages. Its very worthwhile to test your mettle from start to finish. Boss fights much like meta knight really do require you to be at your best.

When you add in the clever puzzles that involves your powers, skills and robot it gets better. Oh yeah, you can use robots and your robot can get powers too. Kirby may not be one of the most popular of Nintendo's platforming franchises. His games are still some of the best for the genre. Pink never looked so good.

In Extremis

So one of the best indie titles I've played was also one of the most artsy as well. In Extremis is a shmup where you explore the universe. Throughout the journey things get trippy and very symbolic.

I've played my fair share of titles this year and none have come close as to how aesthetically aware as this. You can play the game for hours worrying about your score. You may ignore all the art and messages dripping across the screen. If you're at all like me, you spend those same hours trying to make sense of the imagery.

This shmup was built with a focus on art and the theme of aesthetics. From the ship, stages, and the bosses everything has a symbolic meaning. Also the game has an awesome soundtrack selection. Honestly speaking you're committing a crime by not playing this.

King of Fighters XIV

A good fighter is many things and they have to constantly outdo themselves to stay relevant. KOFXIV is a standard for what fighters should be. It has a large cast of fighters whom each have their own unique play style. A fighter should also have a good number of content; a story mode, unlockables, art and etc.

In a year where more high profile fighters promised to be more, KOFXIV didn't disappoint. It felt like a complete package mainly because SNK recognized what fans have been clamoring for. The game also feature a robust tutorial mode for all of its cast. The game can also help players become better for competition's sake as well.

The next factor is competent netplay. Let me tell you that is often a toss up but KOFXIV does ok. If you missed out on this you passed on one of the best fighters.

Stories: The Path of Destinies 

Now imagine an action RPG starring an anthropomorphic cast and story that spans time, space and everything in between.

Confused? Well, in Stories you help Reynardo discover the truth as you play multiple paths based off your decision. The hero (mostly) becomes aware that he is reliving his life over and over. Each time you unlocking more details in the events surrounding the truth.

Each path will lead you more danger or avoid completely. These paths also reveal more about the hero, his friends and more. Some of these choices include betraying an ally or being killed by a love interest. The game also has numerous spells to unlock and weapons to wield. The game expands on the whole concept of replayability and makes it the strongest feature.

Stories is also a very beautiful adventure game. Also the narrator is amazing.

Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator

The best fighter of 2016 was not Street Fighter V friends. This award goes to Guilty Gear. It maybe niche but it has the best visuals, involves the most strategy, the best tutorial, and etc.

Where KOFXIV served at the standard for fighters, Guilty Gear is exceptionally better. No game in recent years has been designed with the same level of detail. The game features multiple levels of detail even among it's players as well. So it simply isn't a matter to just win. Certain characters like Sin have their own special gauge where if ignored is completely useless.

Arc System Works also took the time to build an impressive netplay as well. Matches online are practically lag free. I know I mentioned the game was also designed to match the flair of it's characters. The best fighter again is the one you never heard of or played.

Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight

Momodora is one of my favorite indie titles mainly because nothing is similar to it. A pixelated head nod to games of yesteryear. It also stars nearly an all female cast of heroines and villains a like.

This action platformer has you take command of highly capable priestess armed with a magical leaf. Yes I said a leaf. You then traverse a cursed city as you challenge demons, witches and warriors alike. From forest, ruined garden, rundown cathedral and etc. there's danger everywhere.

Momodora maybe cute but it's rather cut throat. A lapse of judgement will result in game over. Boss fights themselves can be pretty stress inducing. For example, you'll fight a giant witch as you try to survive disappearing platforms. This is also just one of the "easier" encounters.

It's also a wonderfully challenging and creepy game at the same time.

Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse

It's hard to describe this game sans spoilers but here goes. This was one of my favorite titles because how the game bucks RPG trends. The main character is essentially the pawn of a god. You are then charged to fight demon and angel alike in a power struggle.

You are able to amass a party of powerful fiends and holy deities. The game features a plot where you will fight against various figures of respective folklore and religions. Strategically speaking you are encouraged to recruit and fuse these beings whenever you can. You can also make bosses allies after their defeat. The end game is to have numerous spells at your disposal to handle any situation or respond to them as necessary.

The game is challenging and requires you to be perpetually on guard. Did I mention getting gameover is relatively easy? If a foe within a random battle attacks your weakness you will welcome an inevitable death. Oh and the story is pretty heavy with the whole universe being on the line all and stuff. This game is a welcome addition to the franchise.

Hyper Light Drifter

So my favorite game of the 2016 is a game inspired by the 1990s. Heart Machine created a title that has more than delivered on all its initial goals. The game is haunting, lonely, unforgiving, and leaves the player in control. Outside of very brief opening scenes the game doesn't directly provide the story, which is hinted at through dialogue -- you are also left to proceed without any clues, just a few subtle hints.

Videogames in general are large productions that involve a lot of money -- this is a billion dollar industry after all. However, a game doesn't need a movie budget to be worthwhile.

HLD zeroes in on what games really need to succeed. A few things a game needs to succeed: a seemingly simple goal, an environment, music, and gameplay that reinforces its mood. The game is sad and this was made clear with just the drifter and no Hollywood magic.

Another thing as well is that this game serves as a breath of air for modern difficulty. Games hold our hands and our easier than the past. Obviously that decision was made to appeal to a larger market. So, yes HLD is thoroughly difficult but overcoming the overwhelming opposition feels fantastic. The game respects the skills of the player and makes no compromises. Side note: To the game's credit it's the most aesthetically pleasing pixelated adventure game to date as well -- the game from beginning to end delivers in all these facets.

Play this game friends, trust me. It's an experience

So there is my top ten for 2016. Looking back, I don't see any shortcomings with any of these games really. The audience for each of them maybe small but they are worth the attention. Thankfully, the smaller market of focus will continue to be there for games. I just hope to stay there and not miss out on the gems along the way --  I look forward to 2017 as well because every year with games is an opportunity for more discoveries. I wonder what awaits us.

Did you play any these games? Disagree with the list? What was your top 10 for 2016? Let us known in the comments section alone.

How to Succeed In At Demon on Demon Combat - Beginner's Guide to Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse Wed, 21 Sep 2016 05:04:10 -0400 ForTheTwo

Shin Megami Tensei has never been the most forgiving of RPG franchises. Death comes easily, and even random encounters can wipe an unprepared party. The series is beloved for its challenge, forcing players to carefully consider their next step, trying to constantly prepare for the unexpected, and struggling to survive when they find themselves out of their element.

For newcomers, the game can feel deliberately unfair: an experience that rewards long-time fans and experienced players unavoidably penalizes players for failing to perform tasks the game never bothered to explain were possible. Often, a player's first taste of a new mechanic is when they're wiped repeatedly, and have no clue how to avoid it.

At worst, they assume that because Megaten is a decades-old JRPG, and go grind for a few hours -- killing the momentum of a game that's designed to present a constantly changing and challenging landscape of abilities, skills and demons. When a SMT game is running at full pace, it's a wild ride of constant suprises, new enemies and environments challenging the player, who is forced to continually remake their party, recruit new allies, and sacrifice their strongest companions just to keep up.

For new players looking to get up to speed, fans of spinoff series like Devil Survivoror seasoned RPG veterans looking to get a taste of Persona'reclusive older sibling, we've prepared the following guide.

Fantastic Beasts and How To Fight Them

Don't Take A Turn, Press It.

While Apocalypse'Press Turn battle system is hardly new -- it was first introduced in 2003's SMT: Nocturne -- the only games to make use of it have been either mainline SMT titles or spinoffs, making it an unfamiliar and off-putting concept. While the game explains the most basic aspect of the Press Turn System, attacking an enemy's weakness to gain extra turns is only the tip of the iceberg.

  • The number of actions you have is equal to the number of living party members. This makes healing low-health allies a priority -- as losing them can make you waste entire turns trying to summon a replacement, operating with fewer actions each time.
  • An attack that is nullified or reflected removes all remaining actions from the attacker's turn, while a dodged attack removes two actions. If you're trying to find an enemy's weakness, using an untested elemental attack is best saved for the last action of the round.
Demon Skills: Proficiency Not Required

The small bar of skill icons at the bottom of each demon's status screen are slightly deceptive. Rather than a static or scaling change in the power of element-affiliated abilities, these icons represent a small number of relatively minor effects.

  • For direct healing skills in the -Dia line, proficiency represents a flat increase in the amount healed. This has not been sufficiently tested on demons, but for the comparable skills on the human protaganist, the change was a little more than 4 extra points of healing per level.
  • For buff, debuff and ailment skills, proficiency gives a negligible reduction in MP costs.
  • For damaging skills, similar flat increases were calculated, with the human protaganist as the subject. For physical and gun skills, at max proficiency, an increase of 42 damage, for magical skills, 24 damage.
  • While not insignificant, any potential penalty for putting a skill on a demon who is negatively proficient in will be masked by the natural traits of that demon: a demon with high physical attack but low physical proficiency can easily do as much damage as a demon with an weak attack stat and high physical proficiency.
Buffing Your Stats for Fun and Profit

Another Megaten series legacy is the suprising effectiveness of status effects and statistic buffs on both enemies and allies. It's nowhere near as game-breaking as it was in the first Shin Megami Tensei for the Super Famicom, where ammunition with an overpoweringly high chance to paralyze enemies could make the latter half of the title a cakewalk, but they're strong enough bosses are even balanced around them. 

The game doesn't expect them to be used at every opportunity, but they are a valuable asset, and should not be overlooked; they're just as valid a solution to beating an impossibly hard boss as any other.

  • Sleep, Bind, Panic and Poison abilities can affect friend and foe alike. Because of the nature of the Press-Turn system, curing them should be your first priority. The appropriate antidotes should be kept on-hand in the inventory, but since demons can't use it normally, a demon with the appropriate skills should be kept on hand in areas or bosses that are particularly spammy with ailment skills. SMTIV introduced the Brand affliction, which prevented all forms of HP and Status recovery, but this was only present in lategame and DLC bosses.
  • While stronger foes may resist these ailments, midbosses and overwhelmingly strong random encounters may be designed around weaknesses to these abilities. An enemy with no obvious weaknesses that overpowers a party which can easily handle nearby mobs, for example, will likely succumb to an ailment-based strategy.

Ailments are only half of the picture: buffs and debuffs for Offensive, Defensive and stats affecting Hit and Dodge Chance, are game-changing abilities that should be sought after in allies, and planned for in enemies. While the exact numerical values are tweaked from title to title, on average, damage is at least doubled at the maximum, and halved at the minimum, allowing a prepared hunter to go toe to toe with a boss they might otherwise have assumed they were underleveled for. (Postgame aside, underleveling is almost never the reason for failure: instead, it's often a misapplied strategy, or a misunderstood mechanic.) 

  • -kaja abilities raise the party's stat by a single 'level', while -nda effects lower it by a single level. In Apocalypse, three categories of statistics can be affected in this way: overall offense, overall defense, and agility, which affects the % chance to hit and dodge attacks. These effects scale the same for all units, enemy, ally or boss. 
  • In early and mid-game, where access to these buff abilities are limited and will only raise one stat category at a time, players should not try to amass a large number of buffs in all areas. Much more effective is pairing allied buffs with enemy debuffs in the same stat. Against an enemy who specializes in single hit-large damage attacks, pairing Rakukaja's defensive boosts with Tarunda's offensive debuffs will keep your party alive long enough to mount an attack. Likewise, an enemy who uses multi-hit attacks can be punished by using these skills to give your team at least one guaranteed dodge, reducing their damage and moves per turn all at once.

This is part of a series in GameSkinny's ongoing coverage of SMTIV: Apocalypse. Next, we'll be covering Apocalypse's unique system of party-building in our beginner's guide to Negotiation and Fusion. If you have any questions, corrections, or requests for guides on particular subjects, please leave a comment below.

Demon slaying season is on -- Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse releases today Tue, 20 Sep 2016 08:21:12 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

Today, ATLUS released Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse for the Nintendo 3DS. The game serves as the newest entry in the Shin Megami Tensei series, which was established in 1992.

Apocalypse serves a sequel of sorts for Shin Megami Tensei IV. But the game isn't a direct sequel, nor does it require a player to play through SMTIV to enjoy.

The story is about a young demon hunter who meets an untimely end. However, at death's door an unknown demon, Dagda, grants him life. The hero agrees to the demon's terms in exchange for his life. The game will then unfold as he follows Dagda's whims to topple the powerful demons and angels ruling Tokyo. 

The game features a battle system that promotes taking advantage of enemy weaknesses. The game will also allow players a large number of quests in-game, plus some extra downloadable content. These quests will present challenges that range in difficulty. You'll also be able to recruit and create hundreds of demons for battle. 

Fans of JRPGS can purchase Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse at retail locations and digital stores today.

Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse release date finalized for North America Wed, 06 Jul 2016 12:36:10 -0400 TheSmartestMoron

The latest trailer for Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse finally gave a concrete release date of September 20th of this year for North America. Not only that, but more details were unveiled about the game.

Specifically, we got to see the newest characters that could join the main hero. Returning from the previous game as possible allies are three of the five samurai characters: Isabaeu, Navarre (who has died off-screen and come back as a ghost), and the main character of the last game, Flynn. Another familiar character is Nozomi. While she didn't have a character portrait in the previous game, she became the new leader of Fairy-type demons in a quest.

There are plenty of new characters to join in the battle against demons as well -- such as Gaston, the leader of a group of samurai known as the Crusaders and the younger brother to Navarre. More in-depth information about the characters and story can be found on their website.

Other notable details are how the main character is called by name, and it is voiced. In the previous game, players had the option of picking their own name, and were referred to as "samurai." Oddly enough, the main hero's name, Nanashi, also means "Nameless." Flynn also has his own voice as well, and will not be a silent protagonist.

Publisher Deep Silver, now responsible for publishing games from Sega to Europe, has confirmed a physical and digital release. However, there's no word yet on an EU release date. North America is also confirmed to have a physical and digital release.

Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse Gets First English Screenshots Wed, 25 May 2016 11:24:11 -0400 TheSmartestMoron

Fans of Shin Megami Tensei IV (SMTIV) will be thrilled to know that the website for the newest entry in the series finally has its first screenshots in English. However, if you have never played the previous game, be careful, as this article does contain some links that can potentially spoil the previous game.

The story of this particular game is explained here:

The Demons page in particular shows of many demons that are potential allies and enemies, and explaining their involvement in the previous game. The Systems page goes more into the gameplay mechanics, such as combat, recruiting demons, and many other features for those curious about what is in SMTIV Apocalypse. Fans of the previous title will be glad to know many things appear to be unchanged from the original, such as equipment changing your appearance, the Smirk system, demon recruiting and fusion, and much more. There is far more, and you check them all out by accessing the website here.

SMTIV was originally released in North America on July 16, 2013, developed and published by Atlus. The sequel, Apocalypse, was originally called Final before the name changed, and takes place during the events of SMTIV. SMTIV Apocalypse is set for release in North America in the summer of 2016, and currently has a pre-order date set for September 20, 2016.

ATLUS announces Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse Thu, 14 Apr 2016 09:49:41 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

Today, Atlus has announced that Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse will be localized for the Americas and will have a release window for Summer 2016.

Apocalypse's narrative intersects and takes place at the same time of Shin Megami Tensei IV and doesn't require you to have played that title. The game narrative stars a young hunter who finds himself killed in the crossfire as demons attack each other in post-apocalyptic Tokyo. His life is saved by swearing loyalty to Dagda, a god shrouded in mystery. Dagda then leads the protagonist on a mission opposite of both peace and utter chaos. The question then arises, who is this god and what is his endgame?

Some new features include an expanded party. Unlike the previous game, you can add another human partner to join you and your team of demons (and/or angels) in battle. Apocalypse also features expanded routes for your character's alignment and more endings.

With this announcement, JRPG fans are ready for a new demon hunting season.