To sum it all up, SMT IV offers a very addictive turn-based RPG experience. From the battle system to the demon fusions, everything is solid, engaging and almost well-done. I craved for a long enjoyable RPG and this what I've got. ATLUS, god of all immersive games and of all things that are in handhelds, I can't thank thee enough!!! (cue song - ).
The score's still 9.5 though. And given the way GS scoring system as of 2014, it's a 9!
What makes this game enjoyable is how it immerse you with its battle system and demon fusing/recruitment mechanics. The game is similar to SMT's Persona - the unholy lovechild of Pokemon, Final Fantasy, and Tokyo. Three parents, one child. Unholy.
The game is relatively challenging. It's not easy but it's not that hard either. I would be lying if I say it contrarily. Huh? Wait, I did just not know what I said there. BUT aaanyways, the point in why I said that it's "relatively" (teehee) challenging is because if you stray from the rules - your gonna get your butt worse than being kicked(but I'm just joking, you'd only get to die digitally). The game does really have its hardships though even if you follow the rules(I'm now being serious). And sometimes randomness kills you.
And here's how the wonderful battle system comes to play: to put it simply but not shortly - 1.you roam in field 2.strike a demon first before it touches you to get first-turn priviliges(pre-emptive attack) 3.failure to do so has a chance for enemies to get the privilige and you possibly getting butt-kicked 4.each party can take action only once 4a. extra turns are rewarded if you hit a target's weakness or a critical strike. Note that steps 4 and 4a can be applied by the enemy, too. There are other factors at play but this is just putting it simply. And I like long-winded MGS-esque explanations.
The demon recruitment system also comes to play. The demons that comprises your party are the very one you're fighting against. You can recruit them during battle. And here's the thing I find funny and irritating, recruiting is a step-by-step process. You talk and bribe the hell out of a demon to get on its good side but sometimes after a hell of sweet-talking and bribing they'd run away. It's irritating and somewhat funny at being conned by a demon that I've been conning to join my party in the first place. Getting on a demon's bad side will automatically lose all of your turns. So it's like pokemon but with no pokeballs except its a lot more ballsy.
The demon fusion is also one thing to look at. I'd explain the mechanics but I'd rather get to my point. It has enough technicalities to possibly turn-on those who love technicalities but the gamers who just like it easy and simple could still get the best out of it. As long as you exert a little thinking and have a consistent strat or something that vaguely resembles a long-term plan then you'll do just fine. There's something for everyone( I swear I heard this line before, just couldn't remember it).
Taking sidequest also adds to the incentive. It could have been tiring and dragging as most sidequests are except for the fact that SMT IV's sidequest are relatively short and the rewards are very helpful. It's not just macca and items. It includes equipments that sometimes cost way too high when brought in a store. It also includes newer demons to unlock and fuse.
The story is mostly based on Christian lore and then other mythologies but with a slight deviation as what most video games do when they interpret things. The characters' interaction with each other are not that really astounding but the twisty plot is good enough.
The game is not without it's fault though. One specific thing that I mostly didn't like is how I'd have to press up/down then press a before I can move on the next plane. Why not just press a and be done with it? Searching for places to crawl into or climb unto is partially automated anyways. Another thing is how the demon search is limited to a handful of demons. Granted, the demon search program is pretty much accessible but still is limited when it comes to listing a lot of stuff. For example, I've been narrowing down a search to a specific skill but search always end up saying that there are too many demons with that skill so it couldn't be listed. So I narrow it down to the specific skill and the specific race and here's hoping that race wields that type of skill. All I wanted was to obtain that skill no matter what demon has it.
Oh well, the game is very good that these minor flaws are forgiven. With 50+ hours it takes to complete a single playthrough and with more reason to replay this game due it's multiple paths and exclusive demons to catch, it's one of those engaging RPG's out there.
Plus, the limited edition is an added bonus. Full package enjoyed. ATLUS has made a well-done...errrr....well-did..wait, that's not right....well-doned game. 4 thumbs up.