Shin Megami Tensei IV Tips For The Aspiring Samurai

By Laura . July 16, 2013 . 9:30am

Shin Megami Tensei IV is out today, and in case you hadn’t heard, it’s a pretty tough game. We’ve compiled a list of tips for everyone that plans on picking the game up. Some of these are just reminders of the basics, while others are a little more specific. Read on and be educated!


  • When you’re exploring as Flynn, make sure to pre-emptively strike enemies whenever you can. This is important because there’s no defense stat in the game, so even weaker enemies can hurt you quite a bit with regular spells.


  • Check around for relics every time you enter a dungeon in Tokyo. Relics regenerate every so often, and are your primary source of money, which you’ll need a lot of in this game. You’ll be able to sell these relics to Yakuza-type people in Tokyo, and then buy things from them.


  • The three main things you require money for are armor/weapons, negotiating with demons and paying Charon when you get a game over. However, you can also pay Charon using Nintendo 3DS play coins instead of Macca, which is SMTIV’s currency.


  • Armor in Shin Megami Tensei IV is important, but in our experience it isn’t as important to pay attention to how it alters your stats. While armor does affect stats in the game, it’s more important to base your armor choices on what resistances and weaknesses they give you.


  • You can also buy other items in the game, but aside from early in the game, we wouldn’t recommend resorting to buying too many items, since demons tend to drop a lot of them anyway.


  • Recruit demons whenever possible. The compendium is a rip-off, and you won’t have that kind of money, especially early on.


  • Shin Megami Tensei IV uses the Press-Turn battle system, by which you get extra turns for targeting enemy weaknesses. However, during battle, it’s important to look out for enemy resistances and immunities, too. Don’t use spells like Maragi and Mabufu (which hit all enemies) to target the opposing party if any of the enemies are immune to those element-types. Attacks being nullified or repeled will cost you turns.


  • It’s very easy for an enemy to turn the tide of battle. Make sure you aren’t low on MP and have your other preparations in order while you’re in a dungeon area.


  • Don’t be afraid of the poison floor/swamp.


  • Always have a “Ma” spell in your party. Recarm (which revives fallen party members) is especially handy to have, too. Recarm costs a lot of MP, so it’s best to have it on multiple demons, instead of having multiple demons in your party exhaust all their MP by using it over and over. (And you will find use for Recarm.)


  • This sounds counterintuitive, but if you’re towards the end of a battle, don’t be afraid to let Flynn die. Even if Flynn’s dead, your demons can still fight, and if they have Recarm, they can resurrect him. Keep in mind, though, that if Flynn is down, you won’t be able to swap demons in and out because Flynn is the one with the Gauntlet.


  • Also, if you’re close enough to the end of a fight, don’t bother casting Recarm to resurrect Flynn. He’ll come back to life with 1HP after the battle is over, and you won’t have to waste the extra MP on resurrecting him.


  • Save often, especially during fighting quests. Many times you’ll have to battle five really tough enemies, and just as you’re taking out the fifth, they’ll call in reinforcements.


  • Make sure to use both your save spots, especially in demon domains. These are like mazes where your map doesn’t work. If you’re lost and on the brink of death, and you happen to save in that state, you’re kind of stuck unless you can find your way out. So make sure to save once in a safe spot and use your second save slot for a save deeper inside the dungeon.


  • When you die in Shin Megami Tensei IV, Charon revives you exactly where you were. You start out right before the battle, and you’ll have a few seconds’ time while the enemy is inert, so you can use that to land a pre-emptive strike or hop into a menu and sort your party out.


  • Smirking is useful in battle. Offensively, it almost always guarantees a critical hit and more damage. Defensively, it almost always guarantees a miss, which makes the enemy lose a turn.


  • While negotiating with demons, if you find an effective tactic for recruiting a particular demon, it will generally work on other demons of that species as well.


  • While negotiating, don’t be afraid to refuse to give demons items. It isn’t worth it, especially because sometimes they’ll ask for something stupidly rare. It isn’t worth it to play the odds because handing items over is by no means a guarantee they’ll join you.


  • Try to destroy the demon’s party before you attempt to recruit him. Sometimes, you can terrorize them into joining you this way. However, even if you can’t do that, it’s better to have one demon attack you than his entire party, should you fail to recruit him.


  • If you fail to recruit, keep talking to the demon. It’ll be like nothing happened. You can keep trying until they leave you, even if they attacked you before.


  • If you want to try using the Fundraise app (which makes you throw yourself at a demon and beg for money), the first time seems to be a guaranteed success. The second time is less likely to work, and the third is even less likely. When Fundraise fails, the demon attacks.


  • Alternatively, sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll get all their money on the first try using Fundraise. They go, “AHHH, YOU’RE SCARY, FINE I GIVE UP, TAKE IT ALL!”


  • Fundraise is useful at the start of the game, when money is hard to come by. However, it isn’t really worth the time once you reach Tokyo.


  • Remember, delivery quests never expire, and you can do them over and over gain for extra EXP and money. On the other hand, fighting quests must be accepted first, and while you’re in the middle of one, you can’t take on any other fighting quest or main quest. If you do try to continue with the main story, the game will ask if you want to cancel your sidequest.


  • Guest characters are great and terrible at the same time. They act as damage absorbers in battle, since they can’t die, and they attack once for you. Unfortunately, their AI is terrible and they don’t seem to target weaknesses. The Auto Lock-on ability might help offset this, but we haven’t had a chance to try this yet. Auto Lock-on allows autobattle to target enemy weaknesses, so it may affect guest characters, too.


  • You can save anywhere in Shin Megami Tensei IV.


Shin Megam Tensei IV is available in North America today, both at retail and via the Nintendo eShop for 3DS. The game costs $50.


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  • riceisnice

    I find it misleading that they call it “Fundraise”.

    • You’re asking the demons to fundraise your cause (of killing more demons)! ;)

    • Kibbitz

      The original skill was just called Fund.

  • ChiffonCake

    I guess it’s nice to know that we no longer have an instant game over should the protagonist die.

    Anyway, these are some nice tips, and there even are some that would be useful in other games (i.e. killing all other demons before trying to recruit the one you want).

    • I don’t remember which SMT game it is, but I remember in one you actually can’t talk to the demons until there’s one left because the other one (you’re not talking to) will go, “How dare you talk to my friend!” or something like that and prevent you from getting anywhere…

      • Guest

        I was always reloading anyway. Screw Charon and lost exp ;p

      • Zeik56

        Pretty sure that was Nocturne. I don’t think it was mandatory, but it happened often enough that it’s usually what you would do.

        I’m glad that’s not explicitly necessary in this game though, as one of the things I’ve always thought was neat about negotiation is that you can use it for defensive purposes to make a tough enemy leave without fighting them.

        • If you have one of the demons in your party or stock, you can talk to that demon and the entire party will always leave (from what I’ve tried) :D

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            This is funny because none of you played Strange Journey

          • Zeik56

            I’ve played Strange Journey several times. I have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            The elements in discussion here from the game are in Strange Journey

          • Zeik56

            Yeah, and?

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Because y’all are talking about it like its something new. Hence its clear to me that these people havent played SMT in a while

          • Zeik56

            I don’t see anywhere that people are suggesting it’s new. Are we reading the same comments? Just because Strange Journey wasn’t mentioned specifically doesn’t mean nobody played it.

          • Just because it was in another game doesn’t mean it can’t be a tip for this game.

    • Ben Ruiz

      I also believe in SMT I and II if the main character died, the battle would still go on, until everyone died.

  • Betrayer

    My copy is in transit to my house right now…. This post is just mean…

    • Rune

      It’s meaner for me since my copy seems to be stuck in “Shipping Soon” limbo T_T

    • AJ

      My copy is shipping from BC and not Ontario, so I’ll get it even sooner! WOOOOO!!!!

    • Bur

      Mine is on its way to the courrier facility. …so close to being actually, truly mailed!

  • This sounds counterintuitive, but if you’re towards the end of a battle, don’t be afraid to let Flynn die. Even if Flynn’s dead, your demons can still fight, and if they have Recarm, they can resurrect him. Keep in mind, though, that if Flynn is down, you won’t be able to swap demons in and out because Flynn is the one with the Gauntlet.

    ^ This is not entirely true. In the later part of the game Demons can learn a passive skill allowing them to switch with other demons iirc.

    • Yes. There are a couple demon skills, but that is much later in the game. Well, this tip is more a “don’t feel like the world is over if Flynn dies” rather than a “oh, forget about Flynn. It’s fine if he dies.” ^^;;

  • Suriel Cruz

    I need a 3DS just for THIS!

  • Kibbitz

    Some comments:

    1) Arguably, your primary source of Macca is selling extra consumables or expendable items you have, relics pale in comparison to this.

    Edit: Just to clarify, you have a lower item carry limit for some of your expendable/consumables, so if you see yourself reaching max, start selling a few. I usually sell about 20% of the max quantity I can carry. Except Maseki (I assume they’re translated here as Magic Stones), I usually just keep them since they’re not worth much and they heal by %, which makes them always useful.

    2) Compendium summoning is pretty heavy EVEN after you get 50% cost reduction, so you won’t be using this much without the money DLC or heavy Fundraising.

    3) If you’re trying to recruit demons, I most just say no if they want money, Magic Stones are more plentiful and cheaper. As is HP/MP if you have MP Recovery While Walking and a healing spell.

    4) If you want to seriously raise money via Fundraising, paralyze your target first. It will be unable to do anything and you can get 3 handouts from it, and this can be repeated as long as its paralyzed. HOWEVER, this does give you a ton of EXP as well, so be careful when using this trick, it’s liable to overlevel you.

    5) Fundraising is pretty much something I’d only recommend around endgame, or if you’re desperate for some money now, partly due to reasons in 4. Also, there’s specific demons that will give you more, keep an eye on the amounts that they hand you when doing so.

    • Ah true. I don’t sell consumables because … they might be useful, but you are right some sell for obscene amounts of money.

      Do you have any tips on how different tactics affect EXP? I notice that it fluctuates, but I never noticed any definitive patterns that I could talk about.

      • Kibbitz

        Not sure what you mean by tactics, care to explain?

        • You mentioned that paralyzing the enemy would get you more EXP?

          • Kibbitz

            It’s not about the paralysis, but instead, the action. The game awards you EXP for dealing with a monster, the amount varies but I think non-lethal methods are worth more (typically because they cost you more resources than just slaying the enemy).

            A successful Fundraising action will give you a certain amount of EXP. I assume you get an amount each time you manage to squeeze money out of the enemy. With normal methods, you risk getting the enemy mad and typically are limited to maybe 4 extortions total.

            However, if you use Fundraising on a paralyzed enemy, you automatically succeed on our poor helpless foe and squeeze 3 rounds of handouts. I think that might equate to 3 successful normal Fundraising actions.

            On top of that, you can continue this with 100% success as long as the enemy’s paralyzed, there is no money cap or anything. That can yield ridiculous amounts.

          • Ah, I see what you mean. Yes, you get extra EXP for recruiting and for fundraising. You also get extra EXP for finishing quests and fusion, although these are negligible. I didn’t know paralysis let you extort the money from the demons easier, though. I’ll have to try that next time I have a demon that can paralyze! XD

          • Kibbitz

            It’s a trick I found out from the JP wikis while I was playing. I was near endgame and getting frustrated with money because I wanted some morbidly expensive stuff, so I went to take a look at methods to earn money outside of the DLC. They listed this, and it’s been a fairly good substitute.

            Still doesn’t beat the DLC though, performance-wise, unless there’s a specific demon I should be extorting. The best ones I get I think give me 6k per Fundraise, but given the trouble to meet them reliably, I don’t think I can match the quoted rate of .5 mil per 30 mins the DLC supposedly provides.

          • Kibbitz

            Oh, forgot to mention, EXP from finishing quests IIRC is scaled to your character level, probably due to you generally needing matching EXP amounts for similarly high level demons. You can thus amass stuff for delivery quests to hand in later to power level recruited fusion fodder for certain skills.

      • Kibbitz

        And your timing is impeccable, I was just editing my post =P Don’t think about selling the big ones only. Once your smalls hit close to 20, it’s a sign that you likely are getting those things more often, like Mazan stones and such. Keep selling those, the money from it is pretty nice.

        • …Oh hey, I didn’t even realize I was hitting the max on those items XDD I just knew that the demons give me Life Stones like crazy.

          • Kibbitz

            Haha, go sell those. At 150 a pop, it adds up pretty quickly. For the most part, once you do this, you will be able to afford more decent equipment with some intelligent buying supplemented with equipment from quest rewards.

            Well, that is, until you find the two super expensive stores in the game. That one, only the quick money DLC can help with, even the Fundraising trick isn’t as efficient.

  • Ramón Navas

    Fundraise actually is useful in the last dungeon because enemies will give you a s*ht load of money

  • IshimaruKaito

    on my way to get it now :3

  • Musashi234

    This game sweet Jesus I have to save after every Battle!!!! Its SOOO unforgiving holy hell!!!!!!!

    • Ben Ruiz

      The difficulty should normalize out soon. This game is far more…intense in terms of the amount of damage that demons do to you early on. Playing SMT I, II, III, and SJ. I never had the first dungeon’s demons do 90% of my crew’s health before. The damage is far more intense early on in this game.

  • SoraShadowNever

    Just got mine copy today. Woot.

  • $61526767

    Damn.. going to be tough D:. oh well, still going to enjoy it! ;)

  • kaizin

    these tips do help a lot since i die so many times XD loving every second I play this and I cant stop T-T.

  • megabyte01

    If certain bosses give you a lot of trouble (I’m looking at you, King Kenji!), then you can use a talking skill called chitchat to *make the enemy waste its turns*! The text of the game is misleading when it says that the enemy loses its press turns. what really happens is that the enemy loses its actions. It even works on bosses and has unique dialogue for them. I know it sounds like an April Fools joke, but I swear its true!

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