Who Are You Going To Side With In Shin Megami Tensei IV

By Spencer . January 8, 2013 . 2:05am

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Tokyo is in ruins in Shin Megami Tensei IV and the remaining survivors have left to fend for themselves in a demon filled world. The Eight Legions Union Asura Association have been maintaining law and order from their headquarters in Roppongi. This group has been negotiating with demons to protect people. While they seem friendly, the Asura Association will punish people who disagree with their rule without any mercy.


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You may remember the Cult of Gaia from other Shin Megami Tensei titles. They’re in Shin Megami Tensei IV and are based in the wealthy district of Ginza. The Cult of Gaia doesn’t care if you’re human or a demon, their philosophy is only the strong will survive kind of like the Yosuga from Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. The Asura Association and the Cult of Gaia are at arms with each other in Shin Megami Tensei IV.


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While the game is set in Tokyo, the 18 year old protagonist comes from Mikado of the East. You are a samurai with the power to control demons. Will you help the Cult of Gaia? Asura Association?


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  • ragingmerifes

    “Side with”? I got demons on my side. I can take down all these factions alone. I hope that’s the neutral path.

    • riceisnice

      Probably a pseudo “I’ll live how I want” when in reality, you’re being manipulated by someone else. He just happens to not be outright insane.

  • I’ll side with whichever side has the cutest characters!! Seriously, though, probably the neutral path because I lack conviction.

  • gamefreak86

    So how does one start gettin into smt? And chronologically please.

    • Kirbysuperstar2

      Most of them are separate from each other (exclusions: Persona 2 IS/Persona 2 EP, Raidou 1/2 kind of). I’d say pick up a copy of Nocturne and start there. Maybe read LPs of SMT1/2 because they are seriously an absolute slog to actually play.

      • Testsubject909

        Strange Journey is another excellent choice and it’s an on-the-go option.

    • Crok425

      Like Kirby said, if you want to, let’s say, train for this game then play Nocturne since it will probably have that game’s difficulty. As for chronological SMT, SMT and SMTII are slightly connected since II happens 30 years after I but with a different protagonist. It’s previous protagonist makes a cameo. in Nocturne (SMTIII) there is a ”cameo” of Aleph (SMTII MC). The main series likes to make cameos of previous protagonists but that’s about it.

      • gamefreak86

        Thanks all. I got access to most if not all versions available to me digitally and physically at reasonable prices. that includes the ps2 games. just wanted a general idea. guess ill get the original series first. if its not to my liking ill try out persona.

        • gamefreak86

          It really is a bit complicated and slightly overwhelming.

    • Ethan_Twain

      SMT is broken up into sub-franchises that have continuity within themselves (sometimes), but there’s no connection between most of them. I think the place an outsider should start is definitely Persona 3. Persona 3 is available on a ton of platforms, it’s hard but not nearly has hard as most other games in the franchise, and it’s really good. Once you clear it Persona 4 is waiting for you on PS2 or PS Vita already.

      Persona is an excellent spinoff, but it is a spinoff. If you’re determined to try out the classic SMT dungeon crawling grinding experience then it will depend on what platform you own. SMT Strange Journey on the DS is an excellent game and absolutely true to the SNES franchise roots. If you own a PS2, the Digital Devil Saga games give you all the SMT dungeon crawling goodness along with a pretty slick narrative and without wandering around a world map wondering “where do I go next?” (which is surely the downfall of the other PS2 dungeon crawling entry, SMT 3).

      Games you should stay away from include The Devil Summoner games on the PS2 and the Devil Survivor games on the DS. Though not bad games, these games are neither representative of the franchise nor as good as the other games I’ve recommended. These are games you might try out if you’ve tried the others and like them.

      • Devil Survivor Overclocked>Persona
        Devil Survivor has the true SMT vibe going on so much more than persona. Persona’s stories are going to annoy people.

        • LightZero

          I agree. If anyone wants to know what’s megaten about it’s best to start with the first Devil Survivor. It capture the true essence of the series while giving players the more character centric style of the Persona series.

        • Ethan_Twain

          You know you say that, but “annoying” Persona 3 and 4 are far and away the biggest SMT success stories outside of Japan (and are pretty damn big inside Japan too). It’s important not to be elitist here. Whatever a person’s personal tastes may be, the numbers clearly show that the more user friendly, easier, date sim mashup that is Persona 3/4 has a much wider appeal than a lot of the core stuff.

          That’s where I got my start, and let me tell you if I’d started with SMT 3 or something I never would have picked up another SMT game in my life.

          So when asked by a faceless person on the internet “where should I start with SMT?” the best answer is the answer the game with the lowest barrier to entry that’s had the most mainstream success. Persona 3 it is.

        • Testsubject909

          Here’s the deal though. Neither Devil Survivor or Persona are meant to be SMT games. They’re meant to be games for their own established franchises.

          Kind of why I’m not sure about dubbing either or both as sub-franchises when they’ve got their own two legs to stand on, and neither are actually in any way a part of the SMT world.

    • Testsubject909

      If you want to get into SMT, play any of the SMT games. They’ll be hard to find though…

      Nocturne on the PS2 introduced many to SMT and then there’s this one that’s coming.

      There’s Strange Journey you could try as well if you want to, that’s on the DS.

      Now if you want to try spin-off series. The Megami Ibunroku series called Persona is a good way to go. I, personally, think they’re more franchises of their own that were inspired and broke away from the franchise that inspired them all, SMT, rather then consider them sub-franchises, but that’s going to spark up a huge debate and might end up in a fistfight with some people going “Well it’s dubbed SMT in the NA version so it’s SMT even if it’s not SMT in it’s home market, end of story” to which almost anyone who’s fighting will simultaneously facepalm themselves.

      Persona 4 Golden is the most approachable of the Persona games. The dungeons are well broken up to avoid tedium and the pacing is a bit more refined then Persona 3.

      If you want a chronological feel though. You’ll need to seek out the first SMT game, which I don’t think you can legally find in English…

      On the Megami Ibunroku side though. Persona 1 has been re-released and properly translated for the PSP, it’s available on PSN. Persona 2 Innocent Sin, which is the first part of a two part game, is available on PSN for PSP.

      Persona 2 Eternal Punishment is currently not available for us, but is available in Japan for the PSP on PSN. For now, the only means of playing Persona 2 Eternal Punishment over here in NA is via obtaining an original PS1 copy, which is going to be difficult.

      When searching for the original copies of Persona, your best means is to search for Persona Revelations and Persona 2 Eternal Punishment.

      If you want the modern copies, search Shin Megami Tensei: Persona or Shin Megami Tensei Persona Portable or Shin Megami Tensei Persona 2 Innocent Sin.

      The SMT logo being plastered on everything is mainly for riding the coattails of the successful Nocturne and thus give it a bit of that franchise feel that helps to bump up sales. It’s really there just for cosmetic value, so if you’re just in it for the SMT games.

      You only have to focus on:

      SMT 2.
      SMT Nocturne (SMT 3 in Japan)
      SMT Strange Journey
      SMT 4 (coming for the 3DS).

  • Isaac Newton

    Can I have some Hitoshura costume for SMT IV please!!

  • Crok425

    Side? HA!! Neutrality is always the way to go. I don’t like the means of doing things of this guys. Side with no one and destroy them all! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    Sorry, cought in the moment, that tells you I really want this game.

    • MrTyrant

      Are there any sexy chick those sides? I might re-think in not joining anyone haha

      • Isaac Newton

        Lucifer whatever ver.

      • Crok425

        The good thing about Nuetrality is that you can have sexy demon chicks of either side >:).

  • neospite

    SMT Strange Journey taught me to love the dark side path. I felt like a total badass setting out to destroy the world.

    If you want to be neutral then go back to Sweden!

    • Crok425

      I WILL NEVER GO T……. wait, why Sweden?

      • Rishtopher

        I believe it’s because Sweden was a neutral country in WW2? Not a history major, so feel free to correct me, anyone lol.

        • Switzerland.

          • Rishtopher

            Ahhh, thanks for the correction. Completely missed that.

          • Ladius

            Sweden was also a neutral nation during WW2, even if they were forced to trade with Germany they still saved lots of Jews and gave intel to the Allies.

      • Testsubject909

        Because from what I hear, they’re trying to completely remove gender from their vocabulary. I hear they’re rewriting their dictionaries and removing anything that identifies gender, meaning toilets are gender free and all that other stuff. Mind you it’s just word of mouth here.

        Edit: if it’s true. I expect their social experiment to fail.

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    Gaia for sure.^_^

  • imaguni

    Neutral! Never trust those Law guys and Chaos isn’t my thing.

    Hopefully Lucifer is doing his own thing again.

    • Original Maincharacter

      Of course he is. What’s an SMT without Lucifer and YHVH having it out and destroying the world in the process?

  • neetyneety

    Law or Chaos once again eh? Eh, I’ll just be a total wuss and go neutral. I’m afraid of commitment.

    • that’s not wussy, neutral route is usually the most difficult, with having to fight mega-bosses from all factions.

  • Christopher Nunes

    I prefer going the neutral side so everyone is treated equally and survive the chaos of the world.

  • Pockystix

    I’m always the most neutral good guy I can try to be in SMT

    Law and Chaos can shove it lol

  • Tales_of_Master

    I’ve been always more supportive of the Chaos faction, but it all depends on how many people on each side rub me the wrong way. I find it hilarious whenever I play a SMT game, and someone is being a douche to my character, I’m like “oh you wait you ***hole, you’re gonna regret it later” XD

    All in all, if this truly a throwback to the first SMT, then I expect both sides to be pretty douchey, that’s way I think I’m going to screw them both off. Although I wish there was a route where I can screw everyone off including the humans….kinda like the True Demon Ending…

    • Testsubject909

      Here’s the question. Are you screwing them off or are you liberating them from ultimate tyranny?

  • Me? Screw Law & Chaos. Those ppl over both side r kinda jerk. I will take Neutral or anything tht is closest to it. (Though I like the idea of Ronaldo route in DeSu 2….)

  • I usually go with Neutral. I don’t like having to follow orders without being able to have a say on things myself, and I certainly don’t agree with the chaos ideas or the “only the strong survive” stuff. But if I *had* to choose, then I’d go for Asura.

    But I’d be ready to jump to the gun whenever someone were to force me to do something I’d disagree with.

    That being said, I can’t wait for this game, I’m super ready.

    • Testsubject909


      They’re clearly an order. A hierarchical order, a different form of Law. The strong rule is not chaotic, it’s very clearly defined as such I wouldn’t call it Chaos.

      • And yet it’s a hierarchy that is always changing. It’s unstable. I know where you’re coming from but I’d hardly assume they’re “Law” alligned.

        • Testsubject909

          I’d still consider it Law aligned. I enjoyed the depiction that were given in Nocturne.

          The angels themselves were supporting the order of The Strongest Rules. I enjoyed it vastly because the order of angels are themselves set in a tight hierarchical order of strength with three spheres or domains with three orders in each, setting a clear hierarchy of rulers and followers.

          Plus if everyone agrees to function under that rule, then they’re clearly adopting an ideology and choosing to participate in this order. Yes, I can see how they would force people under their order but even then, it’d be similar to a conqueror forcefully assimilating others into their order, key word again, order.

          Again, Nocturne seemed to do it well. Chaos was choosing to side with no one. Not a single order, not a single ideology and not even the side of neutrality. A complete rebellion of all without care about any rules to be set to put any form of structure in the world, not even caring about the ideas of might is right or the attempt to live with that mindset. Chaos is formless and putting in the Laws of the Jungle into it would force it to cease being Chaos.

          • Well, using Nocturne as an example always turns your argument into a flawless victory ;) Jokes and personal fanboyism aside, I think I understand what you mean and I think I agree with what you said.

    • Ladius

      While I agree regarding the merits of neutral paths in SMT games, I also think the LawChaos routes are the ones that end up making the most out of those bizarre settings and on the unique mentality of the people that inhabit them.

      In a sense, choosing the neutral paths is the obvious answer for most gamers because we tend to refuse hierarchical structures and sectarian mentalities, but I wouldn’t be so sure it would be so appealing in the eyes of the main character himself, given how values tend to be restructured living in a wildly different context.

      • Ahah yeah, you’re totally right!! From a psychological and social point of view, this would seem much more likely to happen indeed. But yeah, in the SMT games most of the Law and Chaos ideas are magnified and thus it’s hard to commit to one, knowing they’re not perfect. And we get the urge of actually doing something different, to carve our own path.

        But then again, is it not what many men and women did in our history before us? Deciding to carve their own fate with their bare hands and seek new ways to make the world spin? If I’d have to choose Law or Chaos, I’d go for Law. It’s usually my second choice, or where most of my choices lean me to (Neutral-Law).

  • Ferofax

    Neutral path!

  • Leonardo Duarte

    I sided once with the Law, it was awful.

    And then with the Chaos, it was awful.

    Finally, I tried the neutral path, it was awful.

    To the hell everyone, I just want (not) some of those demon chicks.

    • Is your name Anthony, by any chance?

      • Leonardo Duarte

        No, I’m his appentice, also he and Skogsra are doing just fine.

        edit: Nice mention. Anthony is gold character.

  • Ethan_Twain

    Well that’s kind of a bummer. I’m not so much a fan of picking and choosing between established organizations and their ideologies in my SMT. I mean, the basic “choose the philosophy that will dictate the future of the world” idea is always going to be there, but I thought that SMT: Strange Journey did a much better job of presenting that idea. Rather than asking you to choose between a couple of flawed organizations, they had you go through hell (or a pretty close approximation of it) with a pair of NPCs and showed them go from neutral to their respective extremes based on their experiences in the rift. Both sides were made more sympathetic this way because you could see that these two people were not bad people and why they were advocating for their extreme solutions.

    • Zeik56

      But picking between organizations is kind of a core part of SMT. That being said, SMT 1 did the same thing. You got “neutral” party members that eventually betrayed you for each faction. Although they were actually party members that fought in battle, not just NPCs.

      But with all your other companions there’s a good chance some of them will betray you for each faction. Here’s hoping they stick around you long enough to develop before that. Nocturne’s biggest problem is that you barely knew your “friends” so you don’t actually give a crap about their “reasons”.

      • Ethan_Twain

        Well, that and the old hoary RPG standby “Congratulations, you beat something! Now go back to the overworld map and wander around aimlessly until you get lucky enough to stumble across the next story trigger.”

    • Seizui

      I don’t know about Shin Megami Tensei 2 and Nocturne to that respect, but Shin Megami Tensei 1 did the same thing. You had two friends that you started off with who went certain routes based on their experience. Then they try to pull you into their ideology.

      • Testsubject909

        I know about Nocturne.

        Nocturne had you start off with a few friends, get to know them and later on when you reunite with them, they’re much in the same boat as you, trying to fend for themselves and their survival in this new ruined world. The only one who seems to meet them (as they are each spread out and alone in a vast large world) is yourself and so you’re the only link to their past lives and the only old friend who they can discuss with. As for the person who enacted the apocalypse, he’s also trying to get you to join him.

        Amusing thing to note though, they’re all being hypocrites. The weakest of the group went and sought the strongest power and is trying to create a world where the strongest rules despite living on borrowed powers. The most dependent of the group wants to create a world of total isolation and independence and requires your help throughout the entire way. The most strong willed and individualistic wants to create a world of complete harmony, impose his vision of having a world where there are no ambitions and everyone supports one another in equity. And then there’s the neutral path, which if you’ve been talking to a mysterious man in a wheelchair, reveals the truth behind the deity like power that supports the pure neutral path as that of a god of false hopes. The path of chaos is that of the path of the demons and then there’s the true demon path… Which is also something you could debate as the path of ultimate freedom.

        But yeah…

        edit: I’d talk about SMT2, but honestly I’ve only played about 10 hours of that game so I haven’t gotten very far yet. I will say that it does seem like it follows the same formula. You meet people, make friends and they obviously show some early signs of preferences towards one sort of ideology over the other. SImilar to how SJ did it, but with the limitations of it’s days of course.

  • XiaomuArisu

    Im going my own way!
    Way of the (demon)samurai

    • Ladius

      SMT, Amihama style.

  • Richard N

    What makes a good man go neutral? Lust for gold? Power? Or were you
    just born with a heart full of neutrality?

    • SetzerGabbiani

      Well played, Zapp.

  • imaguni

    Factions aside, these screens really look great! Can’t wait to see the finished product.

  • Who will I side with?

    I will do what I want and not care what anyone thinks. Bring it on factions, bring it on.

  • Locklear93

    Hm. Both factions sound like jerks. Kind of hope there’s an option that’s not going to leave me feeling dirty the whole way through. I’m all about morally ambiguous choices, but I’d rather have to make uncomfortable decisions here and there than spend the whole game stuck working with people who leave me feeling like a jerk (or worse).

    • Testsubject909

      It’s an SMT game. I don’t think there is such a side. Outside of maybe Neutral, but even that one’s got some moments…

      • Locklear93

        That’s disappointing. Certainly not enough to keep me from getting it (especially since it’s all conjecture right now), but being forced to play along with a side I don’t like makes it very difficult for me to enjoy a game. I tend to end up looking elsewhere and finding a game that doesn’t rub me the wrong way as often.

        • Zeik56

          I can’t speak for this game, but generally SMT never forces you to side with anyone. If you don’t like a faction you can choose to actively oppose them. If you don’t like any of the factions you can oppose all of them and go your own way.

          But there’s never really a “good” path if that’s what you’re hoping for. Even if you decide to go neutral that generally means everyone else hates you and you’ll probably have to kill them to remain neutral.

          • Locklear93

            If the factions annoy me, clearly they’re horrible people and deserve to die anyway, so killing them is no problem!

            More seriously, I’m not bothered by the idea of neutral being harder or providing fewer benefits–that’s logical, and making a lone wolf path as easy as one with support of allies is the kind of hand holding I don’t like in games. Choices have consequences, and I’m totally okay with that. I’m less okay with my choices being limited to joining two groups I loathe.

          • Testsubject909

            You’d like Nocturne I think, or Devil Survivor. You have multiple factions to choose from or choose no faction for Nocturne.

            Nocturne has three factions of Law (your two school buddies and the guy who caused the apocalypse). One neutral side (your teacher), one demon/chaos side (you. Chaotic because you chose to side with no one) and true demon (The path of ultimate freedom through ultimate rebellion).

            True Demon makes you feel absolutely badass.

          • Locklear93

            I didn’t like Devil Survivor, but the possibility exists that I was playing it “wrong” somehow. I’m not new to SRPGs, but I found myself woefully underpowered for the first boss. I dropped the game, feeling like needing to grind before the first boss was unreasonable (and this is coming from a devout Disgaea fan). If I overlooked something major, I might give it another try, but it really pissed me off.

            Nocturne was actually my first encounter with the SMT universe. Everyone at the time was going on at length about how absurdly difficult it was, and wah, wah, wah… I didn’t find it to be so unreasonable, but I did stop playing it when something else shiny came along. (I confess: I start hundreds of games, and finish tens.) Nocturne never did anything that upset me, so I may give that another try while waiting for SMT 4.

  • SetzerGabbiani

    This and the Pokemon announcement back to back made my brain break. I’m willing to bet that the localization for SMT: IV will be announced the same day that Soul Hackers is released since the preview is supposedly on the cartridge.

  • Charmchar

    I will side with…NO ONE! (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ ….. ┬──┬◡ノ(° -°ノ) this game isn’t even out yet and see what’s it’s making me do.

    • Testsubject909

      Juggle tables by rapidly running from one side of the room to the other catching the very same table you’re flipping?

      I don’t know but I find it somewhat entertaining.

  • Julien_N

    It’s funny to see that most went for neutral.
    Oh, I would side with no one as well.

  • revenent hell

    I normally fall in to the neutral path so theres probably one here in this game to im sure i’ll fall in to it somehow

  • I will side with…me.

    • Testsubject909

      In Nocturne, that would’ve been the Chaotic ending.

      Neutrality would’ve required you to side with your teacher.

  • Testsubject909

    I’ma help none of these bastards. Where’s Lucifer? Hey Lucifer, I wanna go tag team god again where your ass at?

    But on the serious side. These two sides sounds like they’re both Law oriented. While true that one is a “Strongest wins” sort of deal, it’s still an order, a hierarchical order set by the simple means of how well you can fend for yourself. Neither appeals to me, one is going to be on the elitist end while the other feels like it’s going to slip under a draconian rule.

    I wonder what the other factions are going to be like.

  • Tatsuya1221

    Law or neutral, depends on which one is the most “good” in the end.

    Went both law and chaos in SMT2, True Demon and human in nocturne, and was split between law and neutral in strange journey(the last part of law doesn’t make me too happy, but neutral does nothing more but continue the mistakes that brought about the situation in the first place), haven’t finished the 2 devil survivor games but i’ll most likely side with amane in devil survivor as my preferred ending.

    In the end, i tend to choose the one that i view as having the better outcome overall in the long run, i suppose it has alot to do with my rather cynical worldview.

  • Tom_Phoenix

    So it’s the classic Law vs Chaos conflict, huh? While I don’t mind that, I still hope we will have more than three possible endings, just like in Nocturne.

    Personally, though, I will choose Neutral or some form of it (Nocturne preety much had three variations of it).

    • Testsubject909

      I think Nocturne did it great as well. All the mindsets weren’t chaotic in the least, even “The strongest rules” is a form of Law and Order (not the TV show).

      Picturing siding with the Demons as the Chaotic route certainly felt right as such it becomes hard for me to see this as a case of Law vs Chaos considering how both sides work with a specific ideology and rules.

      I do hope that they’ll be adding more factions and make it more of a battle of ideology with all the ideologies forming a sort of “Law” camp with the opposite Chaos one held by some different sort of factions or, like Nocturne depicted it, a lack of faction which is closer to the idea of chaos anyways.

      That sort of complexity makes it all the more interesting. As you’d have different ideals behind Law as there are many ways to approach it while Chaos is… well, kind of harder to nail down due to it’s very nature. And then, of course, Neutral.

      And Nocturne only had one form of Neutral.

      Your two school buddies were different forms of Law. The guy who caused the apocalypse (this really isn’t a spoiler, it’s the first thing that happens in the game) is also a form of Law. You, yourself alone, is a form of Chaos, the demon route when undecided. Then there’s your teacher who’s the side of Neutrality, which is the second harder route to pull off since you go against everyone’s ideologies.

      And then there’s the very special one that’s called the True Demon route who is the hardest route since you go against everyone’s ideologies and then need to prove your might for a very special ending that implies incredibly badassery.

  • Göran Isacson

    I do wonder what the significance of these characters entering a world in chaos, instead of having their OWN world be in chaos, will be. Will the “future world” be a sort of simulation? Will changing one world affect the other? That is more interesting to me right now than what organizations we have to contend with.

  • Ladius

    The Asura Association sounds fine, but I will probably end up playing all the paths regardless :P

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