Shin Megami Tensei IV will be released tomorrow in the United States, and for the first time in a long while, I am hyped. I can’t remember the last video game I was actually genuinely excited for, but this game has been worming its way into my brain, and I can’t stop thinking about it. For the last week or so I’ve been playing a lot of Pokémon Black, trying to get through it before tomorrow. Having finished it on Friday, I decided to spend a little time last night with Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, just to get a little taste of what I’m in for tomorrow. I’ve played games in this series before, though I’ve mostly stuck to the Persona series. The chirpy, high school setting is immediately more inviting than the harsh, post-apocalyptic world view of the mainline SMT series, and having all of them on portable platforms has made playing an 80-hour RPG a lot more palatable. It’s also spoiling, leaving me wanting portable incarnations of every title in the series. How about a PS Vita remake of Nocturne, Atlus?
What amazes me is how straight Atlus plays it with the series, especially in America. Instead of a different title, they’ve willingly kept the very Japanese-sounding Shin Megami Tensei. Of course, True Goddess Reincarnation just doesn’t sound as catchy or as inviting, but a title like Shin Megami Tensei almost instantly damns your title to somewhat niche status. They tried to establish the Revelations Series moniker for several of their games during the mid-1990s, but it only stuck around for a pair of games before being abandoned. Persona 2: Eternal Punishment was released here as it was originally titled, and Nocturne brought the mainline series to the United States for the first time. I really applaud them for sticking with the original title, and I feel like it gives the series a very interesting vibe. From the name alone, you know you’re going to get something different than the norm.
With the third main entry in the series losing the number designation outside of Japan, I was also really surprised to see Shin Megami Tensei IV retain it. More so than that, I wasn’t expecting the US box art to be retain the Japanese kanji logo. They’ve added Shin Megami Tensei in English above it, but that’s it. The rest remains the same. Since Nocturne was the first mainline SMT game the United States received, it has me wondering if remakes of the earlier games are on the horizon. I’d absolutely love to see the earlier games get some notice, even if I am still waiting on Persona 5. I just want to see these games playable in English without having to patch SNES rom files.
I’m just excited at the notion of getting excited for a game again. I’m ready to dig into SMT4′s dungeons and recruit some demons. I’m ready to get my ass kicked several times over as I try and figure out what the hell I’m doing. Most of all, I’m just ready for a big, original JRPG for the 3DS, and Shin Megami Tensei IV sounds like the real deal.