I love the Shin Megami Tensei series, or rather I should say I am obsessed with it. I own a lot of games that I display proudly on my shelf, but I keep my SMT games on a separate sacred altar so as to not be tarnished by the others’ filth. The series appeals to me because of its challenging, addicting game play, deep, rich storytelling, cool characters, occult themes, and the awesome addition of lore, myths and religious figures from practically every culture.
That being said, I have some issues with SMT IV so far. Granted I’ve only been playing for a couple of hours, but I think it is safe to assume that if it bothers an avid fan like me, who would otherwise be blinded by her adoration of the series, they might be legitimate problems.
First of all, I really wish it had been a console release, because despite how much I love my 3DS, I really want to see the series mature. I want to see full 3D cut scenes and demons. The PS2 generation SMT games like DSRK, P3, P4, and even Nocturne had them. How great would it have been to see this world in beautiful next gen graphics? Normally things like this don’t matter much to me, I love low poly, 2d, and retro styled games, but I feel like a great opportunity was missed here and that visually and stylistically the series took a step backwards.
And if you’re going to do 2D cut scenes and demons, at least animate them.
Speaking of style, I’m not a fan of the new character designs but I’m definitely a Kaneko purist so that may just be me…although I really like Soejima’s work too.
Which brings me to Isabeau.
Pro: There’s a female Samurai and she seems independent and strong.
Con: Why is she wearing a mini skirt? I don’t mind if she wants to be outwardly feminine but at least do it in a more practical, elegant way.
As much as I hate to join the hordes of people up on this soap box right now, I can’t help but be personally hurt that a series I love so much can disregard my gender so completely. It goes further than Isabeau’s design, of course. I’m sure a lot of you have heard about the whole, no female protagonist in the entire series thing, which is true, unless you include P3P, which I kind of don’t because she was just a poor man’s Minato and playing as her made me feel cheated from the true experience of the game. If it were to truly work, the game would have to originally be built around the premise of a female protagonist, not just tack it on after all is said and done. But wait, what about Maya Amano? Yes, she is awesome and I think P2 did a better job in this respect than any of the other games, but she still has to share her title with a male protagonist. Also, heart boobs.
For those arguing that there has always been a male protagonist in every SMT game and that it’s traditional now, I just want you to know that I would not be offended if you broke tradition just this once. I guess this isn’t an issue with SMT IV specifically, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
In all honesty, it didn’t really bother me in P4 when I was talking to ladies and deciding who I wanted to be my girlfriend (Yukiko forever), though I always did wish it could be Kanji…Anyway, what really alienated me as a female player right off the bat in SMT IV was the addition of the AI Burroughs. Her image is of an attractive woman with no face, just sexy collar bones and boobs with dark highlighted lips. And she calls me master. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t really get me going, In fact it kind of makes me really uncomfortable. I don’t know what kind of creepy guys you were trying to appeal to there but you certainly weren’t thinking of me.
I’m also kind of confused about the setting/technology of the world, but I’m hoping that will become a bit clearer as I play on.
Well my rant is about over. I’m going to continue playing the game because despite these things, it’s still SMT and it still has all of the great qualities I love about the series.
But just remember: everyone has room to grow, even you Atlus. And if I’m being harsh, it’s only because I love you.