Shin Megami Tensei series fans (henceforth abbreviated as SMT) have been anxious for the next title in the franchise to come west since it was announced for Japan last year. SMTIV: Apocalypse - known as SMTIV: Final in Japan (and if you want to learn more about what goes into localizing a name, Atlus USA has uploaded an article on the subject for anyone to read here!) - takes place during the latter events of SMTIV, following the story of a "Hunter cadet protagonist who gets killed by one of the demons treating post-apocalyptic Tokyo as their personal playground" before "the mysterious god Dagda resurrects the protagonists in exchange for his fealty, and sets him on a perilous path that treads the fine line between peace and anarchy." The story closely follows the world of SMTIV as a result, though Atlus USA claims that the title is perfectly digestible without knowledge of the previous game.
Unlike SMTIV - where there were Law, Chaos, and Neutral paths for players to take - SMTIV: Apocalypse has Peace and Anarchy paths. For series veterans, SMTIV: Apocalypse as a whole could probably be considered the "True Neutral" ending to SMTIV. The combat system is being revamped with changes being introduced to the Smirk system, the addition of more Demons for players to recruit than ever before (with Atlus USA's press release claiming that the number is around 450+), and Demon Fusion also gains some added complexity thanks to Affinities - Demons will have affinities for certain skills, affecting what skills a Demon fused with them might create. One particularly interesting addition are partners. One of seven partners can be added to the player's party at any given time, with each partner having a variety of abilities. Filling up a meter will allow them to interrupt an enemy, deal massive damage, and give your party an extra turn.
Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse releases in North America this summer for $49.99 USD, or CA$64.99. Atlus USA has yet to detail their first-run bonuses for the title, so whether or not the Atlus Tax™ will be paying for a Limited Edition like the first-run that Shin Megami Tensei IV got, or a smaller mini artbook and soundtrack sampler set, is yet to be seen.
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