Differences Between This and Persona?

#1 Edited by MormonWarrior (2541 posts) -

Hey all, I'm a little ignorant when it comes to the SMT games. I apparently had a weirdly-branded MegaTen game on the Game Boy Color (Revelations: The Demon Slayer) forever ago but other than that I'm only familiar with Persona 3 and 4 and a little bit of Devil Survivor. How different is the core gameplay in this game from the Persona games and what makes it stand out?

From what I can gather the most critically acclaimed ones (and the most popular) are Persona 3 and 4, but they're a spinoff series. If I really love the Personas will I like this?

#2 Edited by Video_Game_King (36012 posts) -

I'm playing the original Shin Megami Tensei right now, so while what I say isn't entirely applicable to modern games, from what I can tell, you spend a lot of your time travelling around a blown-to-hell Tokyo, talking with demons and getting lost, like, everywhere.

#3 Posted by MormonWarrior (2541 posts) -

I'm playing the original Shin Megami Tensei right now, so while what I say isn't entirely applicable to modern games, from what I can tell, you spend a lot of your time travelling around a blown-to-hell Tokyo, talking with demons and getting lost, like, everywhere.

The SNES version? Is it in Japanese?

#4 Edited by Video_Game_King (36012 posts) -

@mormonwarrior:

I'm playing the Sega CD version, but from what I can tell, they're all exactly the same (sans the fan translation the SNES version has).

#5 Posted by masternater27 (915 posts) -

As Somebody whose only smt experience is the endurance run I'm wondering what I'm getting myself into with 4 when I buy it this Friday as well

#6 Posted by Maajin (1052 posts) -

I thing the biggest difference Persona has is the whole "social sim" aspect, which is nonexistent in SMT games.

#7 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11477 posts) -

From a gameplay perspective? Not a whole lot, the biggest difference being that it's all dungeon crawler and you put the demons directly into your party.

From a tonal perspective? Far less high-school anime, far more crazy satan apocalypse.

#8 Edited by MormonWarrior (2541 posts) -

@maajin said:

I thing the biggest difference Persona has is the whole "social sim" aspect, which is nonexistent in SMT games.

Yeah, that was a cool part of the Revelations game I mentioned...convincing demons to join you was frustrating but weirdly rewarding. I think the end boss was Lucifer or Satan or something so that seems about right.

#9 Edited by MormonWarrior (2541 posts) -

From a gameplay perspective? Not a whole lot, the biggest difference being that it's all dungeon crawler and you put the demons directly into your party.

From a tonal perspective? Far less high-school anime, far more crazy satan apocalypse.

Awwww and the high school anime is my favorite part! I don't even like anime but the relationships with people are the most interesting part. The battles are alright too. I like how unabashedly difficult it is.

#10 Edited by believer258 (11635 posts) -

Short answer - Not really. Its direct predecessor, Nocturne, was a fantastic game, and so was Strange Journey, so you should still play it if you found yourself enjoying the battles in Persona.

Longer answer - Persona 3 and 4's battle systems feel like a slightly stripped-down version of SMT Nocturne's. This game looks like a slightly more complex version of SMT Nocturne's. Fusing demons is pretty much the same as fusing personas. Other than that, no, this game will not be like Persona. You will be able to see traces of Persona games in it, but don't expect to get the same character-oriented story out of this one. No social links, no school, no bubblegum JPop, no shadows, no "guide" like Fuuka or Teddie. If this game is anything like Nocturne, then it will pretty much be dungeon-crawling and battles through some very interesting and weird locations, with a story that is interesting but doesn't necessarily drive the game. The dungeon crawling isn't like Persona's, by the way. They won't be random, and they will be full of traps and puzzles for you to figure out.

Actually, story is a bit muddy - it may be more like Strange Journey's, where story was (often to the game's detriment) constantly there and spewing bullshit metaphysics. Nocturne's, on the other hand, was good but almost minimalistic. It was absent for long stretches of the game, leaving you to explore the world and dungeons all by your lonesome. But the one constant that these games have is a choice between several different views of how the world should be, often split up into Law, Chaos, and Neutral, with multiple endings and, in this case, different bosses for each one.

EDIT:

@mormonwarrior said:
@arbitrarywater said:

From a gameplay perspective? Not a whole lot, the biggest difference being that it's all dungeon crawler and you put the demons directly into your party.

From a tonal perspective? Far less high-school anime, far more crazy satan apocalypse.

Awwww and the high school anime is my favorite part! I don't even like anime but the relationships with people are the most interesting part. The battles are alright too. I like how unabashedly difficult it is.

Nocturne and Strange Journey were much more difficult than the Persona games; expect this one to make Persona feel mostly easy.

#11 Edited by neoepoch (1293 posts) -

@mormonwarrior said:

@arbitrarywater said:

From a gameplay perspective? Not a whole lot, the biggest difference being that it's all dungeon crawler and you put the demons directly into your party.

From a tonal perspective? Far less high-school anime, far more crazy satan apocalypse.

Awwww and the high school anime is my favorite part! I don't even like anime but the relationships with people are the most interesting part. The battles are alright too. I like how unabashedly difficult it is.

That is the stuff that hardcore SMT fans hate about current Persona.

Here is a question that my gauge what you'd think about the series. Are you prepared to kill your friends because they didn't see eye to eye with you on how you should change the world? The friends that you fought, struggled, and bled together with? Are you ready to sacrifice those who take a different path than you do? Cause that is a component of mainline SMT.

#12 Edited by kishinfoulux (2255 posts) -

Really bummed this game is first person. Just can't get excited about first person RPG's. I like seeing my character in battle. Might sound dumb, but just takes me out when I'm just a screen fighting some monsters.

#13 Edited by neoepoch (1293 posts) -

@kishinfoulux: It is a throwback to SMT I and II, which are in first person. In fact all the games were in first person except Nocturne. To me there isn't much difference between watching sprite animation and 3d models repeating the same actions again and again. And to be frank the sprites are probably faster than watch 3d models fighting.

#14 Posted by MormonWarrior (2541 posts) -

@neoepoch said:

@mormonwarrior said:

@arbitrarywater said:

From a gameplay perspective? Not a whole lot, the biggest difference being that it's all dungeon crawler and you put the demons directly into your party.

From a tonal perspective? Far less high-school anime, far more crazy satan apocalypse.

Awwww and the high school anime is my favorite part! I don't even like anime but the relationships with people are the most interesting part. The battles are alright too. I like how unabashedly difficult it is.

That is the stuff that hardcore SMT fans hate about current Persona.

Here is a question that my gauge what you'd think about the series. Are you prepared to kill your friends because they didn't see eye to eye with you on how you should change the world? The friends that you fought, struggled, and bled together with? Are you ready to sacrifice those who take a different path than you do? Cause that is a component of mainline SMT.

I guess? I dunno in most video games I don't feel the weight of such decisions. The Walking Dead occasionally got a reaction out of me but often it feels arbitrary. I REALLY like Persona but it's not usually that dark.

I'll check out Strange Journey and see if I like that at all. Sounds like a niche series that may not appeal to me, but who knows?

#15 Posted by believer258 (11635 posts) -

@mormonwarrior: A note on Strange Journey - it's a first person dungeon crawler with graphics that fall somewhere between that of a SNES and N64 game. Some people really enjoyed this, it didn't bother others, but I've seen some people that were completely turned away from it just because first person dungeon crawling is a pretty old and outdated concept.

Honestly, I'd suggest trying Nocturne instead of Strange Journey.

#16 Posted by believer258 (11635 posts) -

@kishinfoulux: It's only the battles that are in first person. I imagine it was a choice made so that they could include more demons or work on the dungeons more or just plain fit more stuff into a cartridge. Remember, coming up with a new animation for every single demon would have been expensive and time-consuming.

Besides, dungeon crawling is still in third person and there are no random encounters.

#17 Posted by Nightriff (4915 posts) -

@arbitrarywater said:

From a gameplay perspective? Not a whole lot, the biggest difference being that it's all dungeon crawler and you put the demons directly into your party.

From a tonal perspective? Far less high-school anime, far more crazy satan apocalypse.

Hmmmm, I would rather have MORE high-school anime and less apocalypse but to each their own. I also assume the Persona team didn't do this one and I'm curious to see what they do next.

#18 Posted by neoepoch (1293 posts) -

To everyone who wants more high-school anime, I hate you. That stuff is fine in Persona (although I wish the stories were as good as P2), but SMT mainline is a different animal altogether. The situation is far more grim and the battle between the angels and YHVH,and the demons and Lucifer make it a rather dark and more mature tale than Persona.

#19 Posted by Tajasaurus (794 posts) -

Persona is good

I wish I had SMTIV right now :(

#20 Posted by Aegon (5403 posts) -

A better questions is what's the difference between Persona and Mind 0:

#21 Posted by Aegon (5403 posts) -

@neoepoch: Are you sure that's what SMTIV's story will be about? I don't think I'll get it if that's the case. Hopefully it's not.

#22 Posted by MormonWarrior (2541 posts) -

What about the Digital Devil Saga games? Were those just a completely different spinoff pair or what?

#23 Edited by ArbitraryWater (11477 posts) -

What about the Digital Devil Saga games? Were those just a completely different spinoff pair or what?

Those are more in-line with mainline SMT than Persona (balls hard, grim) but they're still straight SMT style RPGs as opposed to Devil Summoner or Devil Survivor. Also, if I remember correctly, the story in those games goes off the wall into crazy town at some point.

#24 Posted by Hailinel (23901 posts) -

@aegon said:

@neoepoch: Are you sure that's what SMTIV's story will be about? I don't think I'll get it if that's the case. Hopefully it's not.

No, neoepoch is right. SMT is tonally the polar opposite of Persona. No catchy pop or peppy high school fun. It's a story that sends the protagonist on a journey in a demon-infested world where order and chaos are at play more than good and evil. They're games where people you thought were good friends will stab you in the back; not like Junpei being angsty backstabby, but "Here, turn around so I can insert this knife in your kidney while I make this deal with a demon that will grant me awesome power" backstabby.

For context, Nocturne begins with the end of the world; quite literally, about half an hour in, the world is completely unmade and you're left in a desolate, demonic hellhole where factions fight for supremacy and the last few humans try to find the power to reshape a new world with the natural laws they desire. Of course, they all desire different things.

That is Shin Megami Tensei.

#25 Posted by believer258 (11635 posts) -

@aegon said:

@neoepoch: Are you sure that's what SMTIV's story will be about? I don't think I'll get it if that's the case. Hopefully it's not.

Are you talking about this?

Here is a question that my gauge what you'd think about the series. Are you prepared to kill your friends because they didn't see eye to eye with you on how you should change the world? The friends that you fought, struggled, and bled together with? Are you ready to sacrifice those who take a different path than you do? Cause that is a component of mainline SMT.

Well, yeah. All of the main SMT games present a few different ideas on how a (cosmically sized) situation should be handled and how the world should be. Each one usually has a character representing that idea. Each game asks you to pick a side, and I wouldn't be surprised if the character representing the side you didn't pick became antagonistic toward you. You're expected to weigh the benefits and consequences of each side, and rivalries with the side that you don't pick is part of that.

There is a neutral ending but I'm not sure how that will play out. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if it involved killing off both sides. For the record, if these characters are anything like SMT Nocturne's, then they won't really be all that. You won't be killing off someone like Chie or anyone else as likeable as the Persona cast.

#26 Posted by Aegon (5403 posts) -

@believer258: @hailinel: I was talking more about the whole demons versus angels theme in the games. As unpopular as it is on the internet, I'm a pretty religious dude, so it leaves me in an awkward position. I like the gameplay and some of the social situations you have to deal with in these games, like in Persona and Devil Survivor, but this whole theme of fighting heaven that a lot of Japanese developers seem to be obsessed about just isn't for me.

#27 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5806 posts) -

The combat is kind of different, but I think anyone who's finished Persona 3 or 4 should be able to adapt to it pretty quickly.

Really the biggest difference, and the one that might put a lot of people off, are the dungeons. They tend to be full of traps, dead ends, etc. They can be quite a pain in the ass at times.

#28 Posted by Apsup (38 posts) -

Really the biggest difference, and the one that might put a lot of people off, are the dungeons. They tend to be full of traps, dead ends, etc. They can be quite a pain in the ass at times.

I'd say that the biggest difference between SMT and Persona (3 and 4) is the lack of social life simulator and time management aspect. The battlesystem being different and dungeons being better is just minor things compared to something like that. Especially when what many people love in Persona (3/4) games, is the social high schooler life-sim element and people should know to not expect that in SMT IV.

#29 Edited by Hunter5024 (5543 posts) -

If someone wanted to write a blog about the history of the whole Megami Tensei franchise, how each game fits in (or doesn't), and how the games relate to one another, I would eat that right up, because I'm still not exactly sure.

#30 Posted by neoepoch (1293 posts) -

@aegon said:

@believer258: @hailinel: I was talking more about the whole demons versus angels theme in the games. As unpopular as it is on the internet, I'm a pretty religious dude, so it leaves me in an awkward position. I like the gameplay and some of the social situations you have to deal with in these games, like in Persona and Devil Survivor, but this whole theme of fighting heaven that a lot of Japanese developers seem to be obsessed about just isn't for me.

Yes, every mainline SMT game, except to a certain extent if... and possibly Devil Summoner 1 (I'm not sure about that one), has dealt with the issue of Law vs Chaos. Each side representing YHVH and his forces of angels, and Lucifer (and sometimes Mem Aleph) and the forces of demons. From the E3 trailer this will be no different as the last lines were "Will you follow the voice of God or the whispers of demons?"

The factions basically are:

Law - do you believe that the elite few should live in a world of absolute order with no free will or ability to chose while they worship YHVH?

Chaos - do you believe that the strong should rule in absolute freedom with the weak perishing without a second thought as demons roam the lands?

Neutral - do realizing that order and freedom are important but the extremes take them too far and must be rejected, and want to make a world where humanity stands on its own, without the need of Gods or Demons, despite its many flaws?

It probably shows that I lean toward neutral as I describe things, but each alignment has its own positives and negatives and it really is just up to you to just go with your gut.

#31 Edited by Karkarov (2982 posts) -

@neoepoch: No, you are pretty much correct about the endings. Also in all Shin Megami Tensei games the neutral ending is always considered the "cannon" ending, this should say something.

Persona is more about the characters, and detailed plot/story. It has some head games but not many, the biggest puzzle of Persona 4 is who is the murderer.... In Shin Megami Tensei you aren't going to lose one town, and in many cases humanity is already on the brink or basically beaten before the game even starts. They are ridiculously darker, they are not about character drama, and the main plot and concepts are basically always high level philosophy stuff about the nature of good and evil, structure versus freedom, etc etc. You aren't going to score a date with Chie, go out for sushi, or any of that other stuff.

The biggest and most obvious difference is gameplay. Shin Megami Tensei is a straight up hard core first person dungeon crawl. The challenge level ramps up and gets straight nasty at the end, you have to constantly upgrade demons which you have to convince to join you, there is a lot of grinding. Persona is a much more traditional standard JRPG in gameplay and SMT is pure old school 80's stuff and has no intention of changing. Think Etrian Odyssey only... harder and no mapping.

#32 Posted by neoepoch (1293 posts) -

@karkarov: I don't think it is AS grindy as some other RPGs, if you fight most encounters instead of running away all the time, you should do fine. There may be moments where you need to grind out for certain demons that you want, but nothing horrible iirc. And I mean all the games had "mapping" but SJ at least had the map on a second screen and Nocturne had it one button press away. In SMT I you had to go into a menu and then another menu and then select map, and then try to figure out what the hell the map even meant.

#33 Posted by Eirikr (1006 posts) -

@karkarov said:

The biggest and most obvious difference is gameplay. Shin Megami Tensei is a straight up hard core first person dungeon crawl. The challenge level ramps up and gets straight nasty at the end, you have to constantly upgrade demons which you have to convince to join you, there is a lot of grinding. Persona is a much more traditional standard JRPG in gameplay and SMT is pure old school 80's stuff and has no intention of changing. Think Etrian Odyssey only... harder and no mapping.

It's worth noting that this is not relevant to Shin Megami Tensei IV. And if you would believe it, the game's difficulty is completely front-loaded and gets easier as the game progresses (as you get the more broken skills).

#34 Posted by Hailinel (23901 posts) -

@aegon said:

@believer258: @hailinel: I was talking more about the whole demons versus angels theme in the games. As unpopular as it is on the internet, I'm a pretty religious dude, so it leaves me in an awkward position. I like the gameplay and some of the social situations you have to deal with in these games, like in Persona and Devil Survivor, but this whole theme of fighting heaven that a lot of Japanese developers seem to be obsessed about just isn't for me.

It's not that you're specifically fighting Heaven. There are deities and beings encountered from mythology and legend around the world. Nocturne (SMT3) doesn't really involve a fight with YHVH; the final boss is a representation of the Japanese god Kagutsuchi, though if you play the game right you could also find yourself fighting/allying with Lucifer.

#35 Posted by believer258 (11635 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@aegon said:

@believer258: @hailinel: I was talking more about the whole demons versus angels theme in the games. As unpopular as it is on the internet, I'm a pretty religious dude, so it leaves me in an awkward position. I like the gameplay and some of the social situations you have to deal with in these games, like in Persona and Devil Survivor, but this whole theme of fighting heaven that a lot of Japanese developers seem to be obsessed about just isn't for me.

It's not that you're specifically fighting Heaven. There are deities and beings encountered from mythology and legend around the world. Nocturne (SMT3) doesn't really involve a fight with YHVH; the final boss is a representation of the Japanese god Kagutsuchi, though if you play the game right you could also find yourself fighting/allying with Lucifer.

It should also be mentioned that that particular ending involves your character becoming the leader of the demons who are planning to invade Heaven and fight God. Or, at least, that was my interpretation of what was said here (uh, major Nocturne spoilers). It's also a bonus ending that isn't in the original Japanese release.

The main point of the SMT games, though, seems to be making the player think about how his decisions are going to affect the world (or, in Nocturne's case, worlds). You do occasionally fight YHVH and some other Biblical figures in these games.

#36 Posted by Tackchevy (261 posts) -

There are a ton of people out there familiar with Persona, but not mainline SMT. For reference:

Mainline SMT is always dark and gritty, sometimes cultish and eclectic. You recruit monsters directly from battle typically, then grow them. This is very similar to how Persona handles Persona growth, except they're all distinct and individual party members, not swap out attribute / abilities for your one main character. Likewise, you can combine them to form new demons according to the highly obscure tarot classification system.

Digital Devil Saga is similarly a spinoff, but maintains a lot of the dark tone. It's more of a traditional RPG format in that you stick with the same characters and their personas / demon forms, and you level them up and assign abilities through a growth tree. It is similarly insane at times, but highly plot driven, whereas some other MegaTen games can be more about the grind, the demon farming, and the journey.

They're all highly exceptional, through and through.

#37 Posted by Karmosin (210 posts) -

I'd say the only thing similiar to mainline smt in persona is the dungeon crawling and the combat and even that is pretty different. Love both series though and as soon as smtIV is released in europe i'll probably pick up a 3ds and get it.

#38 Posted by Strife381 (42 posts) -

@neoepoch: wow very informative, Thanks man. Can't wait to pick up my as soon as it's out

#39 Posted by I_Stay_Puft (3023 posts) -

Real question guys, is Jack Frost in SMT IV?

#40 Posted by Flappy (2128 posts) -

@i_stay_puft: Probably. In fact, I'm gonna bet all of my salty bucks and say, "Yes. Jack Frost is in SMT IV."

#41 Posted by TruthTellah (8537 posts) -

Real question guys, is Jack Frost in SMT IV?

Connnfirmed.

Online
#42 Posted by Hailinel (23901 posts) -

@i_stay_puft said:

Real question guys, is Jack Frost in SMT IV?

Connnfirmed.

As if there was any doubt?

#43 Posted by I_Stay_Puft (3023 posts) -
#44 Posted by TruthTellah (8537 posts) -
Online

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