A lot of people will be wondering about SMT IV (for 3DS) and want to know what the fuss is about, so use this thread to take a look at some reviews if you're still not sure you want this game.
Also, please post any new reviews you find in this thread and I'll add them to the OP.
Certainly the SMT franchise hasn't been immune to RPG trends of the past decade. Heck, the past few Persona titles have embraced them while elevating those clichés to a higher level. But with SMT IV, I feel like Atlus' designers are pushing back, skewering the decline of a medium while reminding us how great it can be when done right. It's a masterpiece of a game that takes a bold stride forward for the series while fixing its gaze determinedly on the past to remind us not to settle for anything less than excellence. It's a bold position to take, but one that I very much appreciate.
Venture Beat 95/100
Shin Megami Tensei IV may have been developed for two little screens, but it's a massive, uncompromising game that feels just as big as any console RPG release. It's as deep and gratifying as you'd expect from Atlus' original key franchise, and now it's fully portable (with a save anywhere function). In fact, the only real problem you're going to have with Shin Megami Tensei IV is keeping your 3DS battery charged up, because it's the best RPG for 3DS to date.
Pocket Gamer 9/10
I find that the difficulty in Shin Megami Tensei IV is its greatest feature. Like Demon’s Souls and Etrian Odyssey, you’re compelled to throw yourself back into the action, just to prove that, yes, you can defeat that demon without ever needing to restart or revive. What makes that difficulty tolerable is Atlus’s commitment to clever combat systems and easing the penalty for dying. Having the freedom to explore and try new (and sometimes risky) strategies in battle is such an addictive yet satisfying experience. I do not regret the possible hundreds of hours I am going to continue to lose to Shin Megami Tensei IV, and I hope it has the power to win over newcomers to the franchise. I like quirky, demon-summoning high schoolers as much as the next Persona fan, but you haven’t truly experienced a Megaten game until you’ve tried to wrap your mind around the infamous conversation system.
Just learn to save.
Nintendo Life 9/10
Whether you're new to the Shin Megami Tensei series or a long-time fan, Shin Megami Tensei IV is a strong fourth act with an encapsulated, free-standing story that requires no previous experience with Shin Megami Tensei titles to enjoy.
Its difficulty and intricate fusion system are, paradoxically, the most enjoyable and frustrating elements of the game. But if you take your time to understand and master both, you'll walk away from Shin Megami Tensei IV hoping that Atlus doesn't take another decade to churn out the fifth act.
And even if its does, chances are you won't notice. Shin Megami Tensei IV delivers an exceptional and dark role-playing adventure that will keep you coming back for more.
Blistered Thumbs 9/10
Shin Megami Tensei IV has it all: an exciting story with multiple paths and memorable characters, the most captivating cast of monsters this side of Kanto, fun, engaging combat, and a whole heap of style. Any RPG fan up for a dark adventure will have a blast here; you don't need any background in the MegaTen series to enjoy it, and the well-balanced Easy mode means anyone can get in on the action. If you're looking for a 3DS game to sink your teeth, claws, and time into, this is as good as it gets.
Overall, I loved the hell out of Shin Megami Tensei IV. While the writing has problems (some of which I couldn’t discuss), and there are some gameplay issues, it does a lot of things right and gives you an epic amount of content to tackle. The side-quests are great, a lot of the themes are clever, the battle and fusion systems are better than ever, the look of the game is great, and–outside of the overworld–the game’s world is a delight to explore. This entry might still scare some new players away, but it is much more accessible than past iterations and is the perfect RPG to play through this summer.
In a year that started strong, with Fire Emblem and Etrian Odyssey IV, and hasn't let up since, with Luigi's Mansion and Animal Crossing, Monster Hunter and Soul Hackers, and many more, the 3DS has yet another jewel to set in its crown. Shin Megami Tensei IV isn't just another big name that Nintendo can boast about. It's one of the finest, most well produced, technically sound, feature rich and content packed RPGs released in years. True Shin Megami Tensei fans should pick it up without hesitation, and anyone who enjoys RPGs should strongly consider it as well.
Shin Megami Tensei IV might be the most accessible SMT game to date, but it's also a meaty RPG that will last you tons of hours, and that's not even counting all of the demons you can collect, fuse, and evolve, and side quests to take part of. It's not only one of the best RPGs you can pick up on the 3DS, it's one of the handheld's best offerings to date.
Gaming Age A-
What I liked:
- Fantastic writing. It’s reason enough to play this game.
- GRIMDARK and DEEP themes with ambiguous concepts of morality and ethics.
- Satisfying and widely divergent conclusions.
- Atmospheric music.
- Fun and varied game mechanics.
- Well thought out demon component.
- New Game+ choices.
What I didn’t like:
- Two save slots? Really?
- Human sprites are lackluster.
- No ally sprites during battle. :(
- No “remember” option for battle.
Game Informer 8.5/10
Despite not being overjoyed with the cast of the game, there’s little else to complain about with SMT IV. The gameplay mechanics borrow enough from previous entries to feel familiar, but at the same time there’s enough new about the mechanics to make them feel fresh. Allowances are made for the portable format that makes it something enjoyable even for short bursts of time. The presentation doesn’t suffer due to the smaller format or hardware, and the controls fit the system design without feeling off or shoehorned in. Shin Megami Tensei IV is definitely a title that I’d suggest checking out sooner than later, worth picking up not just for its possible rarity, but because it scratches that RPG itch that few games in the genre have managed to do this generation.
Nintendo World Report 8.5/10
Despite its shortcomings, SMT IV is a handheld adventure that RPG fans are sure to embrace for hours on end. While it doesn’t go in too many new directions, it makes some bold story moves that kept me reflecting long after I stopped playing.
Overall, Shin Megami Tensei IV is a massive, sprawling RPG that features one of the most fun and deep combat systems I’ve seen on the 3DS. While it’s not immune from the pacing issues that generally affect games of this scope and the map is in dire need of an overhaul, I never found myself wanting to quit playing. The interesting story and Pokémon-esque demon fusion/collecting should keep you chomping at the bit to see what the game has in store around the next corner, though you’ll just probably want to keep a guide handy (and you get one if you pre-order it!). It’s truly a deceitfully deep game that will keep you busy for 40 hours on even the most speedy of playthroughs.
Shin Megami Tensei IV succeeds on the merits of its outstanding demon fusion system and combat, even if its story and exploration are only fair. Apart from a basic map it’s handsomely produced, and the pace moves at a good enough clip to keep things interesting. It doesn’t quite transcend the bounds of its niche appeal as an RPG, but it’s easy enough to recommend to anyone looking for a good hardcore dungeon crawler on the Nintendo 3DS.
Games Radar 4/5
If you've ever wondered what all the Shin Megami Tensei fuss was about, Shin Megami Tensei 4 is a great entry point. It eases you into the gameplay without babying you, giving you the tools you need to succeed and enjoy your adventure while still providing a hefty challenge. It's not the prettiest thing you'll ever pop into your 3DS, and the story isn't the series' strongest, but SMT4 will demand your full attention every step of the way.
Hardcore Gamer 4/5
The majority of SMTIV is so helpfully modernized that it makes it all the more frustrating when the game occasionally regresses. Most annoying is the overworld. It’s a dim map with an obtuse layout and a pronounced lack of detail, hardly all that different than the SMT maps players settled for on the PSOne. It’s far too easy to get lost for 20 minutes before finally stumbling upon your destination. The dungeons and indoor sections fare better than the map of Tokyo, but are still a little too drab, even though it fits the doomsday setting. SMTIV embraces its aesthetic with creative art design, it just gets a little oppressive after a few dozen hours.
Ultimately, those limited failings will either be seen as quaint by longtime RPG addicts or tolerable by newcomers that will appreciate everything else Shin Megami Tensei IV gets right. It advances the genre in subtle ways, exhibiting once more that JRPGs are alive and well on handhelds. Numbered Shin Megami Tensei entries are few and far between. Thankfully, SMTIV makes the most of it.
Shin Megami Tensei IV manages to meet its hype in some respects and fall short of it in others. Its combat is stronger than ever, adding in components that are deep, unique and reward the strategically-inclined, while the character customization options will excite those who like to build their ideal fighter. Its lacking in production values, however, and seems to play its approach extremely safe with mechanics and aesthetics that are tried and true, but no less uninspired. Its story is also a bit of a mixed bag, adjoining new ideas with outplayed ones. When taking it all into consideration the ultimate question becomes: was it worth the nine year wait? Not quite, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less wonderful, because this is certainly one of the better JRPGs on the 3DS.
The minor gripes I have with Shin Megami Tensei 4's characters and map navigation vanished as I spent time rooting through fusion combinations or wailing on foes. Its customization options made me care about my demonic allies, and I wanted to spend time in its morally ambiguous world. I completed my first playthrough in a state of shock, conflicted about the choices I'd made and the ending I'd arrived at. But even at the end of a lengthy RPG, I was eager to reincarnate and start it all over again. Shin Megami Tensei 4 isn't going to give you an easy, feel-good experience, but there's something to be said for dancing with the devil.