March 7, 2023

Shin Megami Tensei is My Favorite Pokemon Game That Isn't a Pokemon Game

Shin Megami Tensei is My Favorite Pokemon Game That Isn't a Pokemon Game

What is the correct term for a Pokemon clone? A "creature collector"? I have no idea. But The Shin Megami Tensei series is my favorite "creature collector" thus far. Yo-Kai Watch is a super duper close second. There's just something about how you recruit, fuse, and build your demon horde that's so incredibly satisfying.

The series definitely isn't for everyone. It's difficult, has a much darker tone, and has loads of religious themes and symbolism that might throw off some people. But if you enjoy Pokemon and you want it a lot darker, give these games a shot!

Let's talk about what sets the demon recruitment apart from other creature collectors and why I think it's so satisfying and top-tier.

First, we'll talk about the setting of the games which is dramatically different from the rest.

The games take place, almost all the time, in post-apocalyptic Tokyo that's been overrun by demons. Except for Strange Journey, which takes place in Antarctica in an alternate dimension. The only way for humans to survive is to use a demon summing program to recruit and fight with demons.

Recruiting a demon is a bit more difficult than just throwing a ball or their favorite food at them. When you get into a battle, you'll be able to talk to the demons you're fighting against. The one exception being bosses. You won't be able to recruit demons that are a higher level than you, but you can still talk to them.

When you talk to a demon, you'll have to learn what makes them tick. One wrong move and they could snap and attack and possibly kill you. If you successfully earn their favor, you can either recruit them so they fight for you or have them give you money, items, or just have them surrender and end the fight. You can't recruit a demon that is already in your stock though.

As your new demon homie fights with you, they'll gain experience and level up and learn new abilities. Eventually though, they'll hit what I call "the plateau". That's when they stop learning new skills and the stat boosts from level-ups start to decline. You might ask: "Well, what do I with that demon then?". Easy-peasy. You fuse that demon with another demon to make a stronger demon!

Fusion, baby! I love it! Shin Megami Tensei V has, in my opinion, the best demon fusion system of any game in the series. Basically an amalgamation of the same ol' system, but with all of the different tweaks and changes made throughout the years.

When a demon hits "the plateau", that's the perfect time to use it for fusion. The demon that you create via fusion is dependent on the types of demons that you used for fusion, but that's super complicated and I don't understand it. Hahahaha. I just fuse demons into new demons that I don't already have and it works!

There's a few things you'll want to pay attention to when choosing which to make. First, each demon has different proficiencies. Some demons are better with ice elements, some are better with healing, and so-on with other demons. You'll also want to keep an eye on their stats. A demon with low magic and high strength is going to do more damage with physical attacks than magic attacks, and vice-versa.

At first, you can just make whatever and get by. But as you come across bosses and enemies that start to give you a hard time and you learn their weaknesses and the attacks that they use, you can start building demons with a strategy in mind. You could make one that's mostly a healer but also has magic attacks that target an enemy weakness, one that dishes out buffs and debuffs, or one that draws enemy attacks and retaliates. There's loads of possibilities depending entirely on which boss you're facing.

When you beat a boss, you'll unlock the ability to do a special fusion using two or more demons to create the big bad bitch that just kicked your ass repeatedly! It's a total rush mowing down demons with a watered-down version of Lahmu or King Frost.

Then there's the compendium; the demon PokeDex.

Filling out a PokeDex of any kind is so, so satisfying. As you collect and fuse demons, you'll slowly fill that thing out and it's the greatest feeling on the planet.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, check out Shin Megami Tensei 1-5, Strange Journey, Soul Hackers, or even Persona! But the main series Shin Megami Tensei games have the more robust, meatier fusion system.

Okay, I'm out! Bye!