Smirking Can Turn The Tide Of Battle In Shin Megami Tensei IV

By Spencer . February 11, 2013 . 2:23am

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Shin Megami Tensei IV uses the press turn system from Nocturne and Digital Devil Saga which rewards exploiting enemy weaknesses with extra attacks. Atlus added a new twist in Shin Megami Tensei IV – smirks. Smirking temporarily buffs your character and shields your weaknesses. Smirking can turn the tide of battle when you’re in a pinch. The catch is like the press turn system party members *and* enemy demons can smirk.


While the Shin Megami Tensei games are known for being difficult, Atlus added multiple difficulty settings for Shin Megami Tensei IV. Like Etrian Odyssey IV, players can change the difficulty level anywhere. Save points have been eliminated too since you can save and load at anytime.


Shin Megami Tensei IV is in development for Nintendo 3DS.

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  • Laith Rem

    The power of my smugness will protect me!

    Still that’s a weird choice for a name. Not a bad one, just a weird one.

  • I read the article word for word, and still was just like “wut?” Sounds interesting though. I wonder if we will have to actually smirk into our cameras on the 3DS lol

  • komiko12

    It would be fun if they would animate the demon’s faces as he/she/it smirks.

  • If smirking is equivalent to buff, what would the demons get if you do a troll face?

  • Barrylocke89

    Buffs your character up…shields your weakness…
    so is it essentially guards from Persona 4, but with more cockiness?

  • Göran Isacson

    Huh. So it’s like the old Persona games weird expression system, only… simplified into simply smirking?

    I can’t even impersonate motorcycles anymore?

    • Detrimont

      i dont remember an expression system, i only remember conversations with demons

      • Göran Isacson

        Ah, I was referring to the “contact options” thing. You know, how you can sing, taunt, dance crazy, that kinda stuff.

    • Ty Arnold

      Smirk seems to be a replacement for Guard, not for negotiation.

      • Göran Isacson

        Ah, that explains it.

    • puchinri

      When you said impersonate motorcycles, I got this ridiculous SMT and Utena crossover image and idea in my mind. It was beautiful, but horrific in a gorgeous way.

      • Göran Isacson

        And now I’m imagining Tatsuya and Jun and Utena and Anthy being best of friends and fighting opression and anyone who tries to tell them they’re on the wrong side on the battlefield of love. So thank YOU for that image :)

        • puchinri

          Anytime~. It’s always worth it. >u0

  • SirTeffy

    More importantly: Jack Ripper and Jeanne D’Arc are back!

    • Exkaiser

      But also the older, ugly Fafnir…

      • Adrian Duran

        That is Pendragon, not Fafnir

        • Exkaiser

          Oh, right, Fafnir was purple, if I recall.

  • vileBrenman

    You used sexy smirk. The enemy is charmed lol this is better than marin karin

    • benhofb


  • Hraesvelgr

    Being able to save anywhere is great for me, but I’m sure some people will complain that it somehow hurts the game’s difficulty.

    • puchinri

      True. I love being able to save anywhere, but I kind of will miss save points.

  • Isaac Newton

    Smirk now if the eng. version is been release it will become Smurf.
    And I can’t see this as a classic first person jrpg cuz I see the characters in battle LOL

  • Ethan_Twain

    I’ll be interested to see if this game gets localized, if the term “smirk” is actually what they go with to name this feature. It does seem remarkably… abstract.

  • Triplicity

    Well! What is it!

  • Shinra

    If I remember correctly there was a similar skill in DDS, Void Ice/Fire/Force/etc.
    I am not sure though, since I haven’t played the DDS games for a long time.

  • gquain

    Difficulty can be changed anytime?
    Saving can occure at any time?

    B-but this defeats the purpose of Shin Megami Tensei being hard!
    I mean, sure it is bad to load a savegame when you die (because you dont respawn at nearby cities but get a Game Over screen instead) but for scared people who save after every fight… Slow and steady wins the race?
    It’s like Persona3 with the option to save after every floor!
    It’s like Fire Emblem with the option to save/load after every round!

    (sorry for my random bashing, just my 5cents in this regard)

    • Then people have the choice to not save where/when they don’t want to.

      • Xalsunwolf

        Yeah, that’s probably a good way to give yourself a challenge. You can save anywhere? I’ll only save in town. You can change difficultly anytime? That’s nice.

        It probably exists though so that the game can be easy to pick up, play on the bus till you stop, then turn it off for, I don’t know, your meeting. It’s there for people who are really on the go. And those doing both when you add the changeable difficulty.

        Edit: Oh yeah, and what if there’s only one or two save files?

        • Jirin

          I agree with that, it’s good to be able to stop playing whenever you want, but that could be accomplished by memosaves that delete as soon as you load them.

      • Suicunesol

        Let me explain to you and your 10 likes why that doesn’t work for me (and probably many others).

        To put it bluntly, we don’t want to challenge ourselves. We want the game to challenge us. It gives us no pleasure to pretend that there is a challenge when none actually exists. It’s artificial, and is no different from holding yourself back when all you really want is to let loose and fight with all your strength against a game that beckons you to. When you finally beat such a game, it feels really good.

        I understand that there is a large audience that would rather the game hold their hand when they need it. But for me, I would like to play in a set of circumstances that doesn’t give me that choice. I want it forced, and I want it raw. Consensual does not offer the same thrill.

        • I know that, but at the same time, not every game is tailor-made to suit every player. At some point, some of the users are just gonna have to accommodate/adjust for the playstyle they want. When I played Souls games, there was no option for a moderate-difficulty mode, so I had to emulate a similar effect with some grinding and intent preparations for each area. I wasn’t taking the full challenge the way developers (probably) intended, but it’s what I’m comfortable with, so I tried to adjust without demanding an easier mode. Compared to that, trying not to save whenever you want is a pretty easy rule to impose on yourself, even if Atlus isn’t programming in a save limitation for Hard mode.

          It’s not that I don’t get what you’re saying, but there’s no shame in adjusting the situation to suit your comfort (within a game’s allowed rules/freedom), you know. Of course, if Atlus would program the save limit in, it’d cover a bit more base with some players, so I’d say that’s indeed a preferable decision.

        • I agree with this. Giving yourself a handicap is bullshit.

          If you’re bored with boxing because you’re really good at it and your opponents aren’t, that’s no reason to fight with one hand. You’d want better opponents to challenge. I want more difficult games to challenge without having to give myself a handicap. 95% of games nowadays are extremely easy, no reason to make that a hundred except trying to cash over the backs of your own fanbase.

    • Ethan_Twain

      The question is what makes difficulty fun? If someone just likes tackling and defeating difficult challenges, then this should not be a problem. The obstacles the player must overcome are not altered by this unless the player chooses to alter them, after all. But if the person enjoys replaying chunks of the game as punishment for failure, then yes this would be a problem.

      But even if that were to be the case and somebody really loves replaying hard parts over and over until they can clear them… that’s still available I guess. If a player seeks suffering he/she need only avoid the save button.

    • Can’t you already return immediately to the last floor you explored in Persona 3 Portable? It kinda defeats the purpose of the bigger checkpoints before boss fights, and also allows the player to save-spam to a certain degree.

      The truth is, the MegaTen series has made increased concessions in its difficulty throughout the years. I think it still maintains its hardcore edge in a per-battle basis, but I suppose we’ll never see something QUITE as face-smashingly insane as Nocturn ever again.

    • cirE

      The ability to save at any point in the game should be a requirement for all games on portable systems. What’s the point of even bringing the system with you everywhere if you can’t progress at all within a spare few minutes? Especially if the save points are incredibly far away. Star Ocean for the PSP made me want to break the disk in half. What’s the point of having the game on a portable system if you need 2 hours of free time to get from one save point to the next?

      • Well, to be fair, not every game suits such a “quicksave” feature, which is admittedly prone to abuse. I think each developer should decide whether they want that feature for each of their games, but if we’re talking about a generally applicable save system, I think something like the “Suspend” option in Fire Emblem games should serve pretty well. You can save at any point in a fight, but when you reload it, the file is automatically deleted afterwards. It could also be a substitute/complement for the sleep mode of DS/3DS, except not dependent on the hardware or slow power drain of sleep mode; being storage-based, players can remove the cartridge without pressure too (for example, to play another game or take the cartridge somewhere else).

    • lordroto

      The new fire emblem took out that feature. You can choose when to save, the option helps you masochists and newcomers alike, if you only want to save in certain locations, then do so. With options you can force your own restraints without bothering others, like people who play Zelda games with 3 heart runs. Who cares how other people play, who cares if it’s different then how you want to play, it’s a video game, people buy it, they can play how they want and it shouldn’t effect you in the slightest, so enforce your own difficulty on yourself. If you save wherever you want, or cave in to the difficulty change if it’s to hard, then it’s all on you, not the developers.

  • ragingmerifes

    I hope the localization includes a mode where you can’t change the difficulty level nor save anytime.

    • Barrylocke89

      I like for my videogames to be challenging too, but I think it’d be silly to include a mode where you can’t change the difficulty level at least. If you don’t want to have the ability to make the game easier, just show some self-control. As long as the game doesn’t FORCE you to play on an easier difficulty when you die, it should be fine.

      • ragingmerifes

        I don’t know… having the option to make the game easy anytime is like having a level 99 Daisojou all the time on your passive party. Using it can make it easy, sure, and it is up to you to use it or not, but it kind of makes the game experience less intense.

    • Jirin

      I like the ‘change difficulty anywhere’ feature, though I think on hard mode ‘save anywhere’ should be limited.

    • lordroto

      Uh, it’s an option. You as the player can choose where you want to save, and when you want to chance the difficulty. If you want it to stay hard, and to only save at certain locations, you are free to do so to inflict your sense of challenge upon yourself without bothering anybody else.

      • ragingmerifes

        “I don’t know… having the option to make the game easy anytime is like having a level 99 Daisojou all the time on your passive party. Using it can make it easy, sure, and it is up to you to use it or not, but it kind of makes the game experience less intense.”

  • Blesmi

    I like that you can save anywhere, specifically because this game is on a handheld system and it’s nice not to have to go looking for a save room when you need to stop playing on the go.

  • benhofb

    I love that they are adding the options to change the difficulty any time and save anywhere. This will definitely make IV the most accessible SMT to date (noobie-wise). Personally though, I don’t really see the need for the difficulty changes, but meh. No one said I have to use them.

  • Ty Arnold

    If you get wiped out by a random encounter and have to redo 10 floors of progress up whatever tower you’re climbing, that’s not challenge. That’s tedium. Glad they’re finally doing this.

    Not sure if they really needed both that and the Charon thing, though.

  • Jirin

    Sweet! I’m excited. Though, I would have limited the ‘save anywhere’ on hard mode. It’s a huge increase in convenience but weakens the survival aspect of dungeon crawling just a little.

    How does that smirking work, does it make you trade your turn to protect your weaknesses? That’s pretty interesting, as the inability to change your weaknesses mid battle in earlier SMT games often set up the pattern of ‘Lose battle the first time, then you know how to prepare for it, so you win easily the second time’.

    I hope they kept the perma-stacking buffs and debuffs.

  • puchinri

    Huh. Interesting that they took out save points. I wonder if there will be a story reason for that?

    Really, really looking forward to the game. I am so excited~.

  • Tom_Phoenix

    Frankly, I’m not sure why people think that being able to save anywhere automatically translates to the game being easier. If anything, allowing the player to save at any time gives developers the freedom to make the battle encounters more difficult.

    That is precisely what happened with Persona 3. The Full Moon bosses were made to be preety easy, since you had to go through a lot of exposition prior to facing them. On the other hand, the Tartarus bosses (and the Vision Quest versions of the Full Moon ones) were much harder, since you could heal up and save beforehand.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are certain games where having the ability to save anywhere can harm the experience (2D platformers come to mind). I just don’t think dungeon crawlers/RPGs are among them.

  • The funny part about saving anywhere is, if you forgot to juggle save files it could lead to getting you stuck. It is a friendly option that is great with handheld games.

    • Barrylocke89

      Suddenly the ability to revive no matter what the situation is makes a lot more sense. That’d certainly save people from getting screwed over.

      Though personally, I’ve always been fond of games that have a save+suspend system. All the challenges of limited saving, but at least you can continue where you left off no matter what.

  • Wasn’t Persona enough as an easy Megami Tensei spin-off for little kids? Free saving and difficulty settings are bullshit options in any game and definitely uncalled for in a Megami Tensei game. Are they going to remove mature subjects from the story next?

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