Started playing Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine

First of all, the only experience I've had in an MMO is by playing Maple Story for a while and the free trial of World of Warcraft therefore I don't know too much about the genre.  I also have never written a blog before, or have I written something like an impression before so I hope this is not too horrible.  I also have 666 posts, which is awesome.
 
I was pretty bored earlier today and I thought about playing Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine.  I did just that and while I downloaded a whole bunch of stuff just to begin playing it, I read Aeria Games' short Beginner's Guide on their website.

After a while, I could finally start playing.  The first thing you do when you begin playing is choose to create your character and in which server that character will be.  There's only one right now, Cerberus, so that's the one I chose.  I began creating my character and unlike most RPGs, you don't choose any of your skills in the beginning.  Everything you choose during customization seems to be purely for the look of your character.  For every clothing option , there are only two variations on that type of clothing.  For example, there are only two type of shoes: work shoes and sneakers, but those two types have two different colors.  The same goes for the tops and the bottoms, except each of those have three variations.  The 3 weapons (Machete, Attack Knife and Battle Hammer) also seem to have no significant difference between them except for the look.  The COMP is the Pip-Boy looking device on the character's left arm which can also be a halo-shaped device (the one I finally chose after all of this).  I did not find any change when I was swiching "Models", though.

 

After you're done with the character creation, there's an opening scene that is way confusing.  There's basically a lady named something like Kuroe who is giving you a mission.  You are a Demon Buster and you are there with her to investigate the location of "Home II".  There I realised and I was disspaointed that there is no voice acting in the game, even though the rest of the scene was pretty well made.  Upon reaching an area close to Home II you receive your first mission: to investigate a nearby elevator.

 



 


You are now able to control your character.  I was overwhelmed by the amount of menus and I spent too much time going through most of them.  There are no hotkeys to actually access those menus so it's pretty frustrating having to always click at the lower-right corner of the screen to access something as simple as your inventory.  And /dance does not work, sadly.
 
Great minds think alike?

You find the elevator, find out that it's busted, report back to Kuroe and you are given a mission to take the east exit of the area to get to Home II.  After reaching Home II, you find out the place has been attacked by demons and you begin what's basically a battle tutorial against Slimes.  To fight, you target your enemy and afterwards you either left click three times or you press the attack hotkey three times to hit the enemy.  You also use other options for battling such as using magic skills like the fire-based Agi or defensive skills like Counter or Guard. 

 



 

After you go through all of this, there's another cutscene followed by a title sequence that also reveals a lot about the story which is basically about a post-apocalyptic Japan caused by a teleportation device accident that made demons appear.  

 


 
 

You end up going in a Virtual Battle room in Home III, where you go through a whole bunch of tutorials and are given items after each part is done.  Here you learn all, if not most, of what you'll be doing in combat.  You assign your attribute points points each time you level up to any of the 6 attributes: vitality, strength, intelleigence, luck, speed and magic.  The way you earn skills reminds me of Oblivion.  It's called the Expertise system: you choose which aspects of combat you want to allow skill points to be allocated to, and they automatically increase depending on how you fight.  There are 16 Technical expertise which include: Destruction Magic, Counter, Summon, Talk and Threaten and you will get stronger skills associated with that expertise over time depending on the ones you focus on.  There are also 22 Knowledge expertise.  These will only grant passive skills, if any, but will develope certain aspects of your character and these include Occultism, Magic Control, Psychology and Gun Knowledge.  But not all of these expertise will advance depending on what you do; only those that you allow to advance will be able to and the others won't advance at all.  You don't want to allow all 38 of the expertises to advance because there's only a limited amount of points that can be attributed to all of the expertises and if you focus on all of them, none of them will make you powerful.  Chain expertise is another part of all this where if you develope a certain one enough, that will open up another expertise called a "chain expertise".  There are 9 of these. 

This pic was not taken in the Virtual Battle room, mind you

After these tutorials you are basically set free into the world to explore.  The first mission that you get afterwards is to get a wing from a Leader Pixie, and to do that you must obtain her as an ally demon via demon negotiation.  This is a system that has been in the SMT games and in Persona 1 and Persona 2, I believe.  You approach a demon and you must either threaten, taunt or talk to the demon so that you can acquire it.  I have not done much of this during the short time I have experienced with the game, but it is an important aspect of the game.  The demons that become your ally basically help you in battle.  You can fuse up to three acquired demons together to obtain different demons.

 

All in all, this game seems pretty interesting and I'll probably play it frequently for a while.  There are definitely some problems that will make it frustrating (you run slow and you can't jump), but I think that you should at least try it for a short while.  It's free to play, by the way.
 
Here are some random print screens:
 

Apparently, alignement has a role in this MMO


 


 
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