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Author Topic: How good is the Megami Tensei series?  (Read 2614 times)

Almagest

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How good is the Megami Tensei series?
« on: August 09, 2014, 06:55:22 pm »
How good is this SMT series? Is the story hard to understand? Can I play them in any order, or there's a specific order to understand everything? Which game would you recommend?

I haven't played any Atlus RPG other than Eternal Poison (PS2), which I think is just garbage.
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PeaceDiner

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Re: How good is the Megami Tensei series?
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2014, 09:50:07 pm »
Incoming TL;DR

There's the main SMT series, and then the spin-offs.  Only two games are direct sequels: Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner 1 and 2 and Persona 2: Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment.  Most games have some kind of reference to other games, but you don't have to play all the games to understand the others.

Unlike in most RPGs, stuff like weaknesses and buffs and debuffs matter.  It's easy to win a tough fight with low levels if you play your cards right, and it's equally easy to lose a tough fight with high levels if you have no strategy.  You can negotiate with demons and get them to join you, and then fuse them to create new demons, so it's different from the normal RPG series.
I love the SMT series, it ditches a lot of the typical RPG fantasy stuff and has wonderful writing and music.  The strategies tend to be more in-depth and there's a huge degree of customization to be had.

Basically there's:
MT and SMT games - typical dungeon-crawler.  Fuse demons and go through dungeons.  SMT3 is often cited as the game you should start with, though it's quite a tough game.  Strange Journey has a sci-fi element, if that's more your thing.

Persona - Persona 1 and 2 retain core SMT gameplay, but instead of demons you have Personas (they're basically the same).  Persona 3 and 4 still has fusion and dungeons and bring in a dating sim-esque element.  I recommend Persona 2: Innocent Sin the most.

Devil Summoner - First two are core SMT, but add a "Loyalty" element.  The 3rd and 4th games - the Raidou games - are action-RPG and feature real-time battles.  Try out both types!

Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner - completely throws demon negotiation and fusion out the window, because your characters are demons.  You learn new abilities and skills via a "Karma System," so pretty much any character can learn any skill.  Highly rec'd!

Devil Survivor - more Fire Emblem than SMT.  There are no dungeons, only pre-set battles.  Get new demons via auction and train up in "free battles."  I've only played the first one, but it's great.

There's also the Last Bible series and Demi-Kids series among other individual titles, but those aren't really like the other games and many aren't translated.

Bottom line: Very good games.  Start with SMT3, SMT4, Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner, Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, or Persona 2.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 09:58:23 pm by PeaceDiner »

Isao Kronos

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Re: How good is the Megami Tensei series?
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2014, 11:08:04 pm »
i feel 3 is better for newcomers than 4, 4 is best appreciated after playing 1 and 2 imo

Gideon Zhi

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Re: How good is the Megami Tensei series?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2014, 12:11:40 am »
Only two games are direct sequels: Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner 1 and 2 and Persona 2: Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment.

This isn't entirely correct. SMT 2 follows the same conflict as SMT 1, just 40 years after the events of SMT1. Raidou 2 follows directly after Raidou 1 and features a number of the same characters as well. The plots in SMT2 and Raidou 2 work well enough stand-alone but they're part of a much greater whole. That's not something that should be ignored. Also, I haven't gotten far enough to be able to say for certain, but I'm pretty sure that Majin Tensei's events factor into Majin Tensei 2 as well.

Admittedly none of these immediately follows the plot of the prior game, but given how P2 Punishment is an alternate-timeline version of P2 Sin, one might similarly argue that you don't need to have played Sin to understand Punishment.

PeaceDiner

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Re: How good is the Megami Tensei series?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2014, 12:24:52 am »
This isn't entirely correct. SMT 2 follows the same conflict as SMT 1, just 40 years after the events of SMT1. Raidou 2 follows directly after Raidou 1 and features a number of the same characters as well. The plots in SMT2 and Raidou 2 work well enough stand-alone but they're part of a much greater whole. That's not something that should be ignored. Also, I haven't gotten far enough to be able to say for certain, but I'm pretty sure that Majin Tensei's events factor into Majin Tensei 2 as well.

Admittedly none of these immediately follows the plot of the prior game, but given how P2 Punishment is an alternate-timeline version of P2 Sin, one might similarly argue that you don't need to have played Sin to understand Punishment.

Aw crud, you're right.  It's been awhile since I've played SMT2, so that's my bad.  And I just played Raidou 2...

I think Eternal Punishment works a lot better if you've played Innocent Sin beforehand, but that might just be me and the fact that Innocent Sin is my favorite Persona game.

KaioShin

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Re: How good is the Megami Tensei series?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2014, 03:39:25 am »
Honestly, you can mostly ignore the stories in the core SMT games. They can be summed up as "The World Ends" in 3 words, and it will be presented with few words more. There is like 2 lines of story dialogue every 5 hours of gameplay. I'm not overexagerating. So bury any worries you might have of diving into late into a big franchise like this and just play SMT3. The battle system is the most finely tuned in the entire JRPG genre. Also not overexagerating.

The spin-offs vary in quality, just playing SMT3 & 4 should keep you busy enough for a while, you can revisit the spin-offs later if you really want to.
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Piotyr

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Re: How good is the Megami Tensei series?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2014, 08:55:25 pm »
Honestly, you can mostly ignore the stories in the core SMT games. They can be summed up as "The World Ends" in 3 words, and it will be presented with few words more. There is like 2 lines of story dialogue every 5 hours of gameplay. I'm not overexagerating. So bury any worries you might have of diving into late into a big franchise like this and just play SMT3. The battle system is the most finely tuned in the entire JRPG genre. Also not overexagerating.

The spin-offs vary in quality, just playing SMT3 & 4 should keep you busy enough for a while, you can revisit the spin-offs later if you really want to.

I could not disagree more about smt plots being shallow. Just because they focus more on religion, the meaning of life etc over character interaction doesn't mean its less deep.
Mind you it does go into the crazy jrpg bullshit we all know and love but that's a given.

KaioShin

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Re: How good is the Megami Tensei series?
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2014, 03:52:47 am »
It would be deep if it would explore those things. But it doesn't. Just asking "What is the meaning of life?" isn't a deep statement. To be deep you need to have something to say about it. The SMT games don't say anything. The world is ending and 3 different people spout 20 lines of monologue each (again spread out over 50 hours of gameplay) describing one possible answer. You chose one and then you get to see the red, blue or green ending (Mass Effect 3 reference, get it?). But again that's it. That could also be deep if the game would explore the consequences of that choice. But again, it's simply a different ending sequence of 5 lines. "A new world dawns, there are no individuals. THE END." It's simply a statement. It might as well say "a new world dawns, pretzels are good". It's not depth if you have nothing to say.
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MisterJones

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Re: How good is the Megami Tensei series?
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2014, 08:42:10 am »
This thread interests me because I never got the chance of playing any of the games. Tried to start on the snes ones but felt too clumsy. I just noticed that Nocturne is available on the PSN store (since may this year) for mere ten bucks, so I am purchasing it now.
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Re: How good is the Megami Tensei series?
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2014, 09:09:41 am »
All the PS2 games are up on the PSN in NA. Including Raidou 1/2, and DDS. Definitely worth checking out if you're interested.

If you want a classic experience, play Nocturne, DDS offers a more story/character focused experience. If the dating sim elements sound interesting to you, Persona 3/4 are worth the massive amount of time it takes to play them, and are probably the best money/time deals you'll ever find.
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Almagest

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Re: How good is the Megami Tensei series?
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2014, 09:37:04 am »
I think I'm gonna play Nocturne first. It's an interesting game indeed.
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