If the Minotaur boss didn’t put you off on Shin Megami Tensei: IV, then getting to Tokyo for the first time surely will. I have to imagine it’s a stopping point for many. To be honest, I put the game down a couple weeks ago after first arriving in the largest metropolitan area in the world, unsure of where to go and with little desire to look up specific step-by-step directions. That’s not how I play. Unfortunately, the game does a very poor job of indicating where you are to go next while at the same time giving you dozens of doors to open and places to enter and explore and demons to fight to keep you busy for long enough that you don’t even realize you’re technically going nowhere.
Some soft story spoilers in this paragraph, folks. When you first arrive in Tokyo, you are hot pursuit of the Black Samurai, who everyone believes did some bad things back in the Kiccigiorgi Forest countryside. I am with everyone, though I bet there’s going to be a twist as to who the Black Samurai actually is. Previously, all overworld exploration was done via menu selection, such as Castle Entrance or Lake. You then explore the dungeons in a traditional third-person perspective. However, all of this changes with Tokyo, where you now explore using a zoomed-out overhead map; other sub-areas on the map, just like dungeons, are explored traditionally. On the overworld map, demons are represented as pixelated squares that still make a beeline for you when spotted, and you can interact with exclamation marks to enter buildings or other areas. Right away, you are given a lot more freedom to explore–and places to explore–than ever before, and that can be a bit daunting. Your first goal is the underground section below Ueno Station, which is your new hub for Tokyo, providing a shop, a bar, and lots of unclean people to chat up. From there, your next main quest is to find the military base, which I can’t seem to do by naturally stumbling across it.
So far, I’ve done a sidequest about killing a demon at Shinobazu Pond, as well as unlocked another fast travel terminal after another tough demon boss that can quickly wipe your entire team out in a single turn if you don’t pay attention to the Press Turn system. I’m mainly running around the Ueno District though, picking up respawning relics, selling them off for sweet, precious Macca, and leveling up my odd assortment demons. It’s progress, but a different kind. On occasion, I fuse, but that’s still a pretty scary process.
One neat thing I got to recently try out was the StreetPassing functionality for Shin Megami Tensei IV. Thanks to that new relay system that just went live and a few trips to Walmart, I’ve gotten a couple of StreetPasses from others playing this difficult JRPG. Anyways, you get a collectible card from other players and, if they choose, a free demon attack during a battle. I was able to call on three StreetPassers during the boss fight to free the fast travel terminal, and it helped a lot. Hope to pass more players this upcoming weekend at Tampa Bay Comic Con!
But I don’t know where to go next, Shin Megami Tensei IV. Wandering aimlessly is okay for a bit, but not forever. Please help.