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Video Game: Shin Megami Tensei IV
What you do will create a world...

Shin Megami Tensei IV is a 2013 game in the main Shin Megami Tensei series, developed by Atlus for the Nintendo 3DS. SMT IV also marks the first numbered sequel in the main series since the release of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne in 2003.

In the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado, there is a faction known as the Samurai that help maintain peace within the kingdom. No matter if you are a Casualry or a Luxuror, at age 18 you're required to take the test to see if you will become a Samurai of the kingdom. The people that know the Samurai only believe they protect the kingdom from monsters, but there is a hidden truth that only the Samurai know themselves: beneath the capital is a cave called Naruku, home to demons that threaten to spill out and destroy the city, so it's their task to keep them at bay. What the Monastery keeps secret, however, is that the darkest depths of Naraku lead to the sinful land of the Unclean Ones...

Flynn is one of the new chosen of his generation, among Casualry Walter and Luxurors Jonathan, Isabeau, and Navarre. Despite their common alliance, all of them hold their own opinions about an ideal world for the benefit of humanity...

The game uses a blend of old and new MegaTen, with field exploration in 3D, a la Nocturne, but battles in first person 2D with animated sprites, a la Strange Journey. SMT IV also reuses the Press Turn system from Nocturne, where weaknesses can be exploited for extra turns, and the Pre Existing Encounters system from Persona 3 and Persona 4, where enemies can be seen on the field and hit for advantages in battle. However, there are also battles against special "Horde" enemies, which appear as large crowds of enemies.

The game was released on May 23, 2013 in Japan and was released on July 16, 2013 in North America - notably, one of the shortest turnaround times in franchise history for the export market. Unfortunately the game still has yet to be released in Europe/PAL territories.

Not to be confused with Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, a Nintendo DS game which used the working title Shin Megami Tensei IV before they decided not to set it in Tokyo.

The official English site. Two manga spinoffs have been made called Shin Megami Tensei IV -Prayers-, which features Jonathan and a new character Asuma as the main characters, and Shin Megami Tensei IV DEMONIC GENE, which features Walter and Xena as the main characters.

I'll register that as a new trope on the list.

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: If you shift the difficulty to Master level, the secret shops in Ginza multiply their prices. Not that anything was cheap in there to start with.
  • Adult Fear: 25 years ago in Tokyo, the Angels kidnapped children and took them upon their arks to be raised on the ceiling.
    • Hariti has her son Priyankara kidnapped by human Hunters and she has no idea what happened to him. Thankfully Flynn can save the boy and reunite mother and son.
    • Parents sending their children to Roppongi Hills when the Ashura-kai promise their children will have a future. They don't mention what that future will be. One mother even breaks down once the war starts since she sent her son there recently believing they could take care of him better than her.
  • After the End: Tokyo, Blasted Tokyo, and Infernal Tokyo all take place in alternate worlds where this happened after each alignment won in the backstory. It's a bit vague on the exact date the missiles struck, but it was somewhere in 2013, as the Kasumigaseki computer's logs indicate.
  • All There in the Manual: Some supplmental information is in the official strategy guide / design book that came with the initial release. Most notably, the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado is said to be in a region called Conntow, clearly a corruption of Kanto, which it is directly above.
  • Amazon Brigade: Team Red from one of the Challenge Quests. Made up of a Apsara Horde, Persephone, Lorelei, Silky, and their leader Tiamat. They're mentioned to usually wipe out all members of Team White in the previous battles between both teams.
    • Isabeau sports a full team of female demons whenever you fight her in the Law and Chaos paths.
  • Augmented Reality: The gauntlet displays icons over interactable objects and doors in the game using holograms. There are even some Challenge Missions that take place entirely in the Gauntlet's VR.
  • Alien Geometries:
    • The Tsujiki Hongwanji temple of the Ring of Gaea is a maze of doors that teleport you all over the place.
    • The angels' stronghold of Purgatorium consists of an entire pocket dimension filled with cathedrals hewn from floating rocks, pillars of light that pull you from the floor and to the ceiling (reversing your minimap in the process,) and walkways that don't even exist until you step on them.
    • Its demonic counterpart, Lucifer Palace, uses teleporters to generate the Hall of Eternity, from which only the most observant can escape.
    • Sufficiently strong demons can make "Domains", dimensional distortions covered in pulsing tendrils that shimmer with power. Your minimap doesn't even work in most of these, making them seem even more maze-like.
  • Alternate Self: The three Akiras. It's also implied of Flynn, as the three timelines could only exist due to the decisions of his past incarnation. In fact, the entire Counter-Demon Force is implied to have existed along a single timeline with Kiyoharu, Kenji and Flynn's past self, until the latter forced a divergence. Kiyoharu, for instance, makes mention of Kenji.
  • Alternate Timeline: Blasted and Infernal Tokyo, the worlds that would have come to pass if Flynn's past self had been swayed by either Law or Chaos, respectively. The main timeline is what happened by choosing to gamble on Neutrality.
  • Anachronism Stew: The game opens in 1492 by the Gregorian calendar, with the kingdom being founded in the first year of said calendar. However, the Gregorian calendar wasn't even invented until 1582. On top of that, for some reason the Samurai of East Mikado have demon summoning gauntlets with computers and holographic terminals in them. This is on account of time flowing at different rates for it and Tokyo, where that technology comes from.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Nozomi accepts the destiny to eventually lead the Fairies as their new leader, if you do the appropriate sidequests. This doesn't affect the main plot.
  • Anti-Frustration Features
    • The game takes a cue from Devil Survivor, giving you the ability to choose what abilities fused demons inherit.
    • Though money isn't as plentiful as in Strange Journey, healing only costs 100 Macca at Hunter Association bars, and is absolutely free at the barracks.
    • A game over requires your whole party to be wiped out, instead of just your main character, who can still be revived by a demon with access to a Recarm-type spell or Revival items through Healing Knowhow. Instead, the penalty for the MC's death is losing the ability to change demons unless one in your current party has Bad Company, Sabbatma, Invitation, or has Healing Knowhow and thus access to Summon Stones.
    • After death, players have the option of being revived with full HP near the spot where they died by paying a bribe of either Macca or 3DS Play Coins to Charon, the ferryman of the River Styx - players can even charge one Macca bribe at a time to their tab, with Charon coming to collect as soon as they've earned enough Macca in-game. Charon's prices are steep though, and if a player can't make a payment in either form they will be dead for real, thus ensuring that while you're no longer likely to lose hours of progress to a single unlucky turn, death is still more than a slap on the wrist.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Several posthumous diaries can be read in the Counter-Demon Force Base.
  • The Ark: The Cocoons. In Normal Tokyo, they took Tokyo's young to be raised above the ceiling away from the rest of humanity; a new one will land in Shene Duque to serve as the Four Archangels' base when the Samurai are sent after Yuriko. In Infernal Tokyo, the humans under Kenji's command were successful in sabotaging them so they were unable to leave and stopped a nuclear disaster, but the attackers took too long in cracking them open, which resulted in the children dying. In Blasted Tokyo, they also managed to collect Tokyo's children before God's Wrath (the ICBM cluster) hit. They return and start coming down as the Ancient of Days is destroyed and Genesis starts.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Your NPC teammates in battle may attack with elements to which the enemy is immune or can reflect, which can be annoying if they absorb the damage and devastating if it causes them to Smirk.
  • As Long as There Is Evil: As long as humans despair over being pawns of God the White shall return, as long as humans are too weak not to cling to God the Angels will return, and as long as humans let their desires run rampant Lucifer will return.
  • Assist Character: Jonathan, Walter and Isabeau all function as an assist character; one of them will almost always be present during a battle and will occasionally chuck in attack spells or healing to help you. Once in a while the enemy will target them instead of your party, too.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Finally averted with Megido, which now has a respectable MP cost and deals more damage than the other mid-level spells.
  • Back from the Dead: Osiris in the Quest Osiris' Ressurection. The Goddess of Tokyo in the Neutral Route. Ishtar on the Chaos Route.
  • Badass Longcoat: Some Samurai wear blue longcoats with white trim as part of their uniforms, while the rest just wear plate mail armor. The Commander wears a white longcoat with blue trim instead, which can be acceseed through DLC as the White Samurai armor set.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Charon's portrayal in the game over sequence. The reason he's willing to revive Flynn should he die is because he doesn't want any more work, and complains bitterly should you refuse.
  • Big Bad: The Archangels. Lucifer is hardly a saint, but the entire plot stems from their attempt to create the Millennium Kingdom, while Lucifer is trying to stop them in his own...unique fashion. And if Mastema is correct, they're on their own this time - they've gone so far that they don't know what God wants, which according to him, is far from what the Archangels want.
  • Black Knight: The mysterious "Black Samurai", true to the name, wears black Demonica armor.
  • Black Market: The various equipment shops throughout Tokyo, complete with shady Jerk Ass dealers.
  • Bland-Name Product: The Ginza area is full of it, starting with Luis Wilton (Louis Vuitton).
  • Bloody Bowels of Hell: Demons' Domains, especially the randomly-generated ones from minor, but still powerful, demons.
  • Bonus Boss: There are many, many bosses that are available through optional challenge quests. There's also one or two ultimate boss for each route: Mastema for the Law route, Red Rider and Shiva for the Neutral route and the Demiurge for the Chaos Route. In addition, Beelzebub acts as the ultimate boss for all routes and is the second part of a Sequential Boss fight while also being a whopping Level 90, with New Game Plus adding Astaroth at the same level. Yet more are available in some of the Downloadable Content. Of course the true ultimate boss is none other than Masakado, who requires you buy the other DLC as he drains/repels most elements and resists almighty, and only those bosses along with the DLC Palette Swap of Asmodeus, called Aeshma, who is obtainable after getting both Archangel DLC, have pierce and elemental pierce type attacks.
    • There's also the Fiends, which barring the Neutral exclusive Red Rider, the Law/Neutral exclusive Trumpeter, and the Chaos exclusive Mother Harlot, are available in all routes after the alignment lock. They (excepting David, Plasma and Mother Harlot) have a spawn rate of 1 in 256 odds, only appear in a specific spot of a specific map, have at least 5 press turns (Chemtrail has 6), are harder than the Final Bosses for the most part, will spam Almighty attacks like nobody's business if you fully protect yourself from their main offensive moves, and drop very good rewards.
  • Boss Banter: Many of this game's boss fights will have this occur partway through the fight, usually somewhere after you've passed the halfway mark. In an interesting variation, the player is given a choice of responses. Pick the right response, something good usually happens, pick the wrong one and suffer (usually you're allowed to just ignore them instead for no effect).
    • Hordes often shout at you in about five different word balloons at once during the start of a fight. Samurai zombie hordes usually mutter a combination of accusatory insults and ask why you've turned against them. A horde of nephilim yell a bunch of come-on lines to you at once. A cursed horde of ghosts groan that they're going to suck the life out of you, and so on.
  • Boss Warning Siren: Courtesy of Burroughs:
    • When you attempt to open a door with an immediate boss battle behind it:
      "I'm detecting a strong demon ahead. Do you want to go on?"
    • If you're in the same area as a boss, but the boss doesn't attack you until you approach it:
      "Master, look out. I'm detecting a strong demon nearby."
    • Occasionally when encoutering midbosses or Bonus Bosses, particularly without warning:
      "Be careful."
    • When you trigger one of the 1/256 Fiends:
      "I detect a very dangerous demon nearby. You should consider getting out of here."
  • Brand X: The Barkeep will say the food and drink he has is from some location, or is from a place famous for said food, he even uses the word Erstatz at the end every time he mentions it.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: You can come back to life after dying by simply paying off Charon, or you could use Play Coins, which can be earned by walking with the 3DS.
    • Better example would be the collective experience/macca/app point DLCs:
      • The Experience of the Afterlife DLC allows players to get unlimited amounts of various valuable items such as Light Grimoires, Heavy Grimoires, 10 point cards, 20 point cards, and Gold Death Masks. This has the potential to completely break the game unless the player decides to exercise some self control (especially with the Heavy Grimoires which grants exactly as much exp as is needed to level up whoever uses it). The other restraining factor is that all this easy xp still requires a certain amount of dedication and effort anyway, as the mitamas are all highly resistant to damage and the other demons in the area are at least level 20, forcing you to play the game at least part of the way through before enjoying the gravy train. The entry on the Add-On Content page even says to wait until reaching Deeper Naraku before attempting it.
      • The Underworld Money-Maker DLC allows players to farm massive amounts of items with high resale value, making it much easier to buy equipment from the shops in Ginza and allow the player to quickly purchase demons to fuse from the Demon Compendium and fill it out. The Death Has Its Applications DLC grants many more app point cards than the xp DLC, allowing the player to obtain all of Burroughs' apps quicker. However, both of these require the player be at least level 30-40, with the required progress being at Ikebukuro. The Mitamas carrying most of the loot are fairly tough and can easily shrug off or No Sell attacks long enough to run away.
  • Broken Aesop: The White trying to convince the hero to flip the table would be a pretty devastating, self-aware critique on just how Crapsack the SMT-verse is, and how it indeed can cause Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy. However, their methods of trying to convey this message kind of fall flat: the Bad Futures they send you to not only have genuinely likeable characters, but they're arguably only marginally worse than the present, and by the end of both you're made them better places by putting the Akiras in charge. On the other hand, both worlds represent the logical end to the machinations of Law and Chaos, and both are just as bad as the other for different reasons. Then again, it could be an in-verse case of Accidental Aesop; no matter how bad things seem to be, there's always a way of making it ever so slightly better.
    • Burroughs herself will comment on how screwed up the White is, so it doesn't seem like the player is expected to find their arguments compelling, to say the least.
  • But Thou Must: When traveling from Blasted and Infernal Tokyo, you will not be allowed to proceed until you activate the Yamato Perpetual Reactor, which forces you to gain or lose alignment points whether you want to or not.
  • Cap: Downplayed with HP and MP. In a rarity for the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, the maximum HP and MP for you and your demons can exceed 999.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: You cannot save at all until you've become a Samurai, entered the first dungeon, and met Burroughs. Fortunately, once she's introduced herself, you're able to save at any time. Although it just takes about twenty or so minutes to get to that point.
  • Culture Chop Suey: East Mikado is based off of feudal Japan but has Western architecture and the characters have non-Japanese names. The actual history of Mikado explains exactly why this has happened.
  • Clarke's Third Law: The people of East Mikado don't really understand electronics and consider technology to be mystical artifacts, including the demon summoning gauntlet. Then again, it lets you cast spells, so they're at least half right. The "magical" portal between worlds is actually an advanced particle accelerator originally built to study black holes.
  • Climax Boss: There are three, but you can only fight two. The first is the rematch with the Lilim Horde that charmed Flynn, Jonathan, and Walter in Kiccigiorgi Forest. The other two are Lilith, the Black Samurai's true form you fight if you side with Jonathan, and Yamato-Takeru, Tayama's strongest demon. The White are fought too late to be considered this.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Each of the main characters wears a differently-colored scarf. The protagonist, fittingly, wears white.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Ironically, in your favour, guest party members have zero magic points, thus causing Spirit and Energy Drain to not drain any magic from them. This does not stop them from casting whatever spell they wish when it becomes their turn.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Protagonist has a dream sequence at the start of the game mirrors the one in Shin Megami Tensei I.
    • The Protagonist is from a place called Kiccigiorgi, which is named after the Tokyo neighborhood Kichijoji, which is also where Shin Megami Tensei I's protagonist is from. Additionally, both have to deal with the loss of someone really close to them early on.
    • The first two major boss fights are against the Minotaur and Medusa, the first two bosses in Megami Tensei.
    • The Black Samurai wears a Jack's Squad black Demonica armor from Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, as did all the members of the Counter-Demon Force.
    • The Ring of Gaea has a statue of Mem Aleph in their temple.
    • The Black Samurai introduces herself as Yuriko.
    • Gabriel, Michael, Raphael and Uriel are behind East Mikado, referencing Tokyo Millennium in Shin Megami Tensei II. In fact, if you look closely at the mission text when Gabriel assigns you to rescue the others, Millennium is in bold.
      • Sister Gabby is also clad in white and blue: the color scheme for the Order of Messiah, the Law faction in the first two games.
    • The Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Black and Gold Demonicas are available as equipment.
    • The Gauntlets every Samurai wears and uses to summon demons look exactly like the COMPs on the left arms of the Demonica suits.
    • The Tokyo-based Hunters, the Ashura-kai, and the Ring of Gaea all summon demons via smartphone apps, like in Devil Survivor 2.
    • Mido, the fusion app, is completely based off of the Cathedral of Shadows fusion master from Nocturne, complete with certain BG Ms that play while in this app.
    • There's also a meta one - during your confrontation with the White in the Neutral route, Flynn is referred to as the "fifth son". While this also references the apparent number of alternate universes that has led up to this point, it also... references the number of "alternate universes" up to this point. If you count Strange Journey, as Atlus does, Flynn is the fifth main-series protagonist of an SMT game. He is the "fifth son".
    • A Demonoid in Infernal Tokyo mentions that the Demon Summoning Program was distributed freely through the Internet. Kiyoharu also reacts oddly to the comment the Samurai received the Gauntlet in a special Rite; as far as he knows, the program is freeware disseminated before God's Wrath.
    • Barong and Rangda are fused together by the Terminal Guardian to make Shiva.
    • The client who invites you to the tournament is an ex-hunter named Okamoto.
    • If you go back to Club Milton after the alignment lock, you can hear 'Nocturne's normal battle theme in the background.
    • There's a sidequest involving stopping a demon summoning. Said summoning is referred to as a Sabbath and acts more like an orgy than a summoning ritual, with the leader being Master Therion.
    • The Fiends (obviously excluding Chemtrail and Plasma) are rife with these, referring back to all of the previous four main series games:
      • Ignoring the reclassified Alice, the Fiends in this game are the same as in Strange Journey: David, Matador, the Horsemen, Mother Harlot, and Trumpeter.
      • All of them except David and Mother Harlot have a 1/256 chance of appearing, just like in Shin Megami Tensei I. David and Mother Harlot are a part of sidequests, which is also how they were in Strange Journey.
      • They appear in the middle of a map instead of in a specific room, like in Shin Megami Tensei II. However, Red Rider uses the original mothod of appearing in a certain room.
      • Including Chemtrail, there are nine Fiends in the whole game, just like the original version of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. In addition, both games add a tenth Fiend later on: Dante in Nocturne via Updated Re-release and Plasma in IV via Downloadable Content.
      • They have a special boss theme, which is a remix of their theme in Nocturne and the remake of the original two games.
      • With the exception of David and Mother Harlot, once you trigger a Fiend, the game will warn you that something big is coming and ask you twice if you'll stay in that spot, just like in II and Nocturne.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Bosses are arbitrarily unwilling to talk if you try Scout or Negotiate. Every other chat skill works just fine though (unless they're also a human or horde, who won't listen to anything).
  • Cool Airship: The Global Airship.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover artwork evokes a Mirrored Confrontation Shot that sets the protagonist between the forces of Chaos and the champions of Law. Except that only the Law side is accurate: while the four demons depicted are indeed aligned with Chaos, only Lilith has a role comparable to the four Archangels, another is a forgettable miniboss working with the Ashura-Kai (which is enemies with Lilith), the third opposes both the Ashura-Kai and Lilith, and the last is an optional sidequest boss exclusive to New Game+ and has no connection whatsoever to either the plot, or the other demons. It's a bit of a case of Wolverine Publicity, since these demons were all created by the guest designers.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: In-Universe, the White attempt to invoke this with Flynn by taking him to Blasted and Infernal Tokyo, the alternate worlds that would have come to pass had his previous life chosen those paths. The White want him most of all to realize that no matter which option is chosen, eventually people will try to seek that which was lost: in Blasted Tokyo, Akira says he does not mind the Reactor opening a gate to the Expanse, as the survivors will be able to seize control of the demons to lead into a world of joyful chaos. In Infernal Tokyo, just after Kenji's dead, Akira starts organizing the Neurishers and rationing their use, establishing the foundations of an ordered society. On a meta level, this is done to elicit support for the White and their plan to blow up the Reactor, destroying the universe (if not multiverse) for good.
  • Dead All Along: Wall-eyed Jun, the man who gives Flynn the quest Peallaidh Extermination, was killed and eaten by Peallaidh awhile ago. A soldier found in the Counter-Demon Force base is also this, but he won't be revealed as a ghost until he hears Fujiwara's voice and fades away a few seconds later.
  • Death World: Tokyo essentially fits this bill after it gets sealed off ( the rest of the world was nuked except for the incarnation in Infernal Tokyo). Demons that attack on sight are everywhere, and the only way to keep them from killing you is if you kill them first or through negotiation. You could also feed them a Red, but if you're outside of the Ashura-Kai's protective circle, you'll be made into them. There are poisonous lakes around the city and with no sun, growing food is difficult, and the lack of natural game forces people to hunt and kill demons for food. Blasted Tokyo is even worse off as the air is toxic, the water is lethal and the poison has a 100% kill rate, while the land is a desert filled with demons that are trying to wipe out the unclean in God's name.
  • Demoted to Extra: Beelzebub's role as Dragon has also been taken over by Lilith, and only appears as a Bonus Boss.
  • Despair Gambit: The White's true plans.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
    • Try scrolling through your compendium. When you reach Okiku-Mushi, you'll notice that she enters from the top unlike other demons that enter from the right side of the screen. That's because she's HANGING herself. May be Fridge Brilliance. The same thing happens to Arachne (descending from the ceiling like a spider). Omoteotl, being a duality god, keeps spinning to talk with each head.
    • If the enemy is afflicted with Bind when you attempt to, er, "fundraise", you can help yourself to all the enemy's money without any resistance. Likewise, when the enemy is afflicted with Panic, the Trade option will net you a free item without the need to haggle.
    • If the enemy is asleep when you use a chat skill, they'll wake up. If you wanted to Negotiate, they'll chew you out for waking them up over that and tell you to just go away. Success!
    • Most chat skills (minus Recruit and Negotiate, for obvious reasons) will work on bosses.
      • Taken to a sad conclusion: all the chat skills can work on Issachar, and he responds to all of them.
    • Try doing the Ancient of Days or Sanat DLC quests before traveling to Blasted Tokyo or Infernal Tokyo for the first time. Yes, the game does take into account whether you have defeated Pluto and Kenji or not.
      • Doing certain quests that can be done before alignment lock after it is locked will have the dialogue change. One such example is Tiamat mentioning the destruction of the Ashura-kai after alignment lock, while before it she mentions that the Ashura-kai were wary of Flynn participating.
    • Demons that you normally wouldn't encounter in battles (such as Alice) still have battle sprites, which are only seen if they get lost or if you press the start button on their status screen.
    • On the Neutral route, when Masakado joins you, if you already have Masakado in your party, Masakado will merge with the one in your party.
    • Certain ailments have odd effects on demon sprites. Sleep and Paralyze will freeze enemies mid-pose, for instance.
  • Deus Ex Nukina: Literally in the case of Blasted and Normal Tokyo, taking a cue from Shin Megami Tensei I. Infernal Tokyo averts this by Kenji and his comrades slaying the angels before they got the chance, while normal Tokyo was protected by the ceiling while the rest of the world burned.
  • Diegetic Interface: Everything you can do is because of your gauntlet. You don't even get a map for the bottom screen until you buy the mapping App!
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Not only is Lucifer and the combined form of the Archangels beatable, but the protagonist gets to face the avatar of God known as Ancient of Days, the chaos king Sanat, and Masakado at full power.
  • Difficulty Spike: Arguably inverted during the climax of the game. By this point of the game, it's very easy to build a team that is resistant to near everything your opponents can throw, and aside from some gimmicks or accidentally hitting your opponents resistance, it's really easy to not lose Press Turns. Some Bonus Bosses notwithstanding. note 
  • Disc One Nuke: Not long after you get into the World Map, you can reach Ikebukuro area and fight demons that is far stronger than you are, while still being beatable. By staying here and killing some of these demons(such as Zhen), you can get a couple of levels before actually getting to the point where you need to go to Ikebukuro.
    • Ironically, many players find this by accident thanks to the annoying World Map.
    • Angel, Heqet, and Gremlin are three easily found demons in the early game, and will evolve into much more powerful forms around the early sections of Tokyo, making the above trick even easier. Or you could take the time or money to summon one of the early Special Summons; in particular Fortuna is quite powerful.
  • Doomed Hometown
  • Downloadable Content: Different hairtstyles, armor based on bosses and other designs, three expansion map packs for leveling up easier, Palette Swap demons, and Bonus Boss battles against the likes of the Four Archangels, Ancient of Days, Sanat, and Masakado.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The game opens with you having a prophetic dream that you will change the course of the world.
  • Dump Stat: Strength and Dexterity only increase your standard attacks and attacks of those types, whereas Magic increases the power of all spells; thanks to Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards, it might be better to focus on that stat when levelling up your character. Having 100 Strength, however, allows you to get the Infinity+1 Sword on the Neutral route...
  • Dying Race: The Fair Folk or Tuatha De Danann are dying out during the game. Most of them being wiped out in their mission to retrieve the "Holy Grail", also known as Dagda's Cauldron, from the Angels. The majority of the remnants holding out in the St. Nicholas Cathedral. They ask for Nozomi to attempt to summon Lady Danu in order to have her retake her place as their leader and mother, which will also allow the Cauldron to revive all fallen members of the race. It's also revealed that they were on the verge of extinction due to the Hebrew Holy forces in the past as well, which lead to Lady Danu becoming Black Maria in order to protect them and countless others from being persecuted. To save them Nozomi is given the power of Lady Danu so that she will eventually become her.
  • Early Game Hell: Naraku is absolutely brutal, especially if you're new to SMT games, but fights become much more manageable after you reach Tokyo.
  • Easter Egg: The theme music for the Cathedral of Shadows changes with each subsequent fusion.
  • Easy Amnesia: After the alignment lock, neither Fujiwara nor Skins remember Hikaru.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Kotaku sums it up best.
    ...Shin Megami Tensei IV requires you to humiliate yourself. To unlock easy mode, you must die, watch the game mock you via cutscene, then pay about half your cash. Then you must die again and get another verbal lashing that ends with easy mode being unlocked.''
  • Eldritch Location: The final dungeons for Law and Chaos, respectively: Purgatorium and Lucifer Palace. The Monochrome Forest also counts, as well as the various Demon Domains littered around Tokyo.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Much like all Shin Megami Tensei games, SMT IV's plot revolves around a demonic apocalypse.
    Walter: This world is finished.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Demons are against robbing people and pimping, apparently.
    • Every single side in the conflict is revolted by Tayama. Even the very Lawful Jonathan wants the guy dead, and only doesn't act on it because he finds the Black Samurai worse (and he's the only one).
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: The demon hunting organization of East Mikado are known as the Samurai.
  • Evil Laugh: Ask Mido who he is, and without fail, he will do this.
    • The Fiends will always begin a battle by letting out a very sinister laugh.
  • Evil Overlooker: In the center of the box art as seen up on the right. Inverted in that it's Burroughs doing it.
  • Extra Turn: The game uses the Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne Press Turn system - hitting an enemy's elemental weakness gives you more actions, while hitting their elemental strengths takes actions away.
  • Fake Difficulty: In the "Samurai and Hunters United" Quest, you have to defeat Asura before he gets around to killing your Guest Star Party Member who, by game mechanics, is controlled by A.I. Roulette. The problem is the demon No Sells two of the three actions your ally can take (at least the third will actually hit Asura's weakness), and is highly likely to Smirk when he does, which means that if he uses his hit-all physical attack, he's all-but assured to critical you. Meaning this quest relies on how often your ally doesn't screw you over, and when they do, how often the enemy doesn't screw you over. Though if you go in with Tetrakarn, you can make it a case of Hoist by His Own Petard... which is then a case of Trial-and-Error Gameplay.
    • It doesn't help that there's even a bit of Luck-Based Mission in here. If Asura gets to go first, he might just hit your ally twice in a row with his physical attack—which can potentially fell them right away.
  • Fantastic Caste System: There are two ranks amongst the people of East Mikado. The Casualries which make up the lower classes such as farmers, merchants, etc. and the Luxurors, which are made up of Nobles, Samurai, and Priests. Once born into a class they can never leave it with one exception: those who are chosen to become Samurai are upgraded to Luxuror if they are a Casualry.
    • Also the Unclean Ones who are even lower than the Casualries. As it turns out, the "Unclean Ones" are actually the people still in Tokyo.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Justified and eventually averted. Mikado being a diminutive country with no real strife, it makes sense they would never really need any weaponry beyond pole weaponry, or the Gauntlets at the most. When demons start appearing en masse, Hope gets desperate and issues Challenge Quests to retrieve firearms to outfit the entire Samurai force with them. A group of Casualries, worried about the development of the witch hunts in Mikado, will issue a private Quest for some bazookas.
  • Feather Motif
  • The Ferry Man: Charon. Though he's massively overworked and is willing to bring you back to life if you pay him enough.
  • Finishing Move: If you hit an enemy with a specific type of move as the last attack, barring regular attacks, they have their own unique death animation.
    • Slashing attacks will have a silhouette of the enemy cut in half vertically or horizontally.
    • Certain gunshot attacks riddle the enemy with holes, and splatter blood onto the screen. Others cause them to burst into bloody explosions.
    • Impact based attacks knock the enemy into the background.
    • Fire completely incinerates the body itself into ashes.
    • Wind blows the enemy off the field.
    • Ice freezes the enemy and then shatters.
    • Lightning electrocutes enemies as bolts arc across their bodies.
    • Light attacks will warp/banish the enemy out of the field.
    • Dark attacks will cause the enemy to crumble into blood and dust.
    • Almighty completely disintegrates them.
  • Fisher King: The environment of the Expanse reflects the ones who live and rule there. Under the control of the White it is a white and empty realm, with the Goddess of Tokyo being dead it is a wasteland of dark colors with the water frozen in time in the back. Her revival in the Neutral Ending has the landscape fill with bright color as she appears in her full form and the sound of water is heard as it begins to move again.
  • Fixed Damage Attack: Michael's Fallen Grace, which always does 666 damage, and since it's Almighty, it's completely unblockable.
  • Foreshadowing: When Sister Gabby assigns you to rescue the three men from Shinjuku Park, her quest log has millennium written in bold letters, while talking about how important the men are.
    • In addition, the main boss of that quest is Asmodeus. He was the Big Bad of the Book of Tobit, where he was defeated by Raphael.
    • In the dream sequences where you see Jonathon you also clearly see the head of a stature lying on the ground behind him. Careful observers will notice that this is the head of the King Aquila statue that will be destroyed by the angels after they take direct control of Mikado.
  • Forever War: An important part of the Order Versus Chaos conflict. After defeating the White in the Chaos scenario, Walter will be surprised when Lucifer says that the White have only been removed for the time being. Lucifer responds that so long as humans exist, the White, Lucifer, and God will never be permanently abolished. And given how these three think of each other, it basically means that so long as humans exist, so too will the conflict.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: Also an important part of the Order Versus Chaos conflict, and a key part of the White's Despair Gambit: Blasted Tokyo, the world which gave in to God's will, ultimately, with Akira at its head, will seek to abandon empty ceremony and seek harmony with the demons, incarnations of their desire. Infernal Tokyo, the world steeped in anarchy and conflict, with Akira as its ruler, will start forming the foundations of an ordered society through the regulation of access to Neurishers. This is, apparently, part of the reason of the White's madness - since Neutral will eventually give in to Chaos or Law, which themselves will eventually break down into the other, what is the damn point in trying?
  • Funny Background Event: When the choice to activate the Yamato Gate comes up, Tayama's desperate, weak protests can be heard in the background.
    • Really, there's a LOT of these. Pay attention to your fellow Samurai, especially Walter, when they're shown behind a speaker in many events.
  • Fusion Dance:
    • Merkabah is a composite of the four archangels along with the will of Jonathan after he's sacrificed to summon it.
    • Lucifer is a fusion of him and Walter, with his second form revealing his left hand's large lump is actually what's left of Walter.
    • Kartikeya reveals he was originally six of Parvati's kids that she hugged so hard they fused together.
  • Game Over Man: If you're killed in battle, Charon will appear to take you across the River Styx. Interestingly, if you pay him enough, he'll ferry you back to the world of the living instead. He'll also allow you to go into debt at least once before refusing to bring you back.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: After getting the Global Airship, you can access a town that couldn't be reached through other means, which is full of low-level demons from the early part of the game. Which is justified, as all of them emigrated from Mikado and Naraku after the angels took power.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: A quest requires you to fuse a Baldur to fight another Baldur for all eternity, since they're both immune to all attacks shy of a certain plant. In battle, he is understandably just another demon.
  • Gender Bender:
    • Lucifer has both a human schoolgirl form and two masculine demon forms in this game.
    • You meet a male "furious hunter" in Shinjuku who turns into the female Dullahan after ingesting Red.
    • Angel evolves into Archangel, Incubus into Succubus, and Tiamat into Ym.
  • Get Back Here Boss: Three appear in Challenge Quests. Sun Wukong, Cerberus Hell Horde, and a New Game+ one against Kartikeya in Infernal Tokyo.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: A quest early on in the game has you dealing with cursed hordes in Naraku, which is a bit difficult, but still manageable. Immediately upon defeating the last encounter, the Fiend David appears - he is also very likely to get the first strike. Hope you brought darkness protection.
    • All of the Fiends in this game are, unlike Nocturne, not plot important at all. Two (David and Mother Harlot) are found in Challenge Quests, one (Plasma) is found in DLC, and the other seven are randomly found in specific areas of specific maps with 1/256 odds. Six of those seven are series staples, including Matador, the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and Trumpeter. The seventh, however, is the Space Flea to end all space Fleas. It's a Chemtrail. Yes, it's a demon that embodies the theory that the streams airplanes create are part of a conspiracy.
  • Gilded Cage: The Archangels plot to transform Mikado into this by removing Tokyo, the last bastion of knowledge and wisdom, from Earth via black hole. With Tokyo gone and Mikado under their thumb, humanity is essentially theirs. As a bonus, no one will even realize it's a cage - there would literally be nothing beyond God's control.
  • Global Airship: The Ameno Torifune, bestowed upon you as a boon from Amaterasu. However, you need to complete an optional demon-talk Side Quest for it near the end of the game, meaning you need a bit of luck to open the quest in the first place.
  • God Was My Co-Pilot: Sister Gabby is the Archangel Gabriel, and the three men in Kagome Tower are Uriel, Raphael and Michael. Lilith as the Black Samurai might also count.
  • Golden Ending: Neutral, as usual, but even by the standards of Neutral endings this game's is optimistic, and is often considered the rosiest mainline SMT ending. Probably not coincidentally, it's also considered the hardest mainline SMT ending to get.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: This is what the Black Samurai's Literature does. Basically, non-Samurai Casualries who read it ultimately build up so much resentment at all the Luxuror-crafted barricades to full happiness that they go demonically insane with rage. Literally demonic. Although the literature itself isn't actually magical, what with being such things as No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai; in other words, real world literature. Meanwhile, even the Luxurors only get histories, legends, and fairy-stories. In other words, all Mikado has for books is propaganda.
  • God Is Evil: Actually ambiguous, for once. While it's true the actions taken by the likes of the Archangels, Pluto, and the Ancient of Days in His name are reprehensible, the much more moderate Mastema claims he's the only one really working for the Creator around here, and paints Him in a much more favorable and pro-humanity light.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: The Ashura-kai's self-proclaimed Terminal guardian manages to be a one-man Poop Gang, wielding a different demon team (and disguise) each time Flynn encounters one.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: All three sides have positives and negatives. Even the Bad End is treated as final act of desperation against the Vicious Cycle of YHVH's system.
  • Guest Star Party Member: Walter, Jonathan, Isabeau, Merkabah and Lucifer will help out as a fifth party member that can attack enemies and even get knocked out at different points during the story. When there are multiple human party members, then the fifth slot is random and can be any of them.
  • Guide Dang It: The game has little to no Neutral choices, only Law or Chaos ones. So the only way to get the Neutral ending is to carefully balance out dozens often ambiguous Lawful and Chaotic choices. Not to mention that the alignment-locking question can easily lock you out of the Neutral Path if you have been too neutral.
    • And then there's the secret to the Neutral path. Make the first decision on every alignment altering choice (including the lifeless woman in Ikebukuro) except the last one by the White and avoid any alignment altering Challenge Quests until after the alignment lock and you'll end up with barely enough points to get Neutral.
    • Finally manage to get on the Neutral path? Have fun dealing with the 19 required sidequests to proceed! While some of them are obvious, others are not so much. Some aren't even in the pub, requiring you to find mostly out of the way generic humans to accept a quest for!
    • Any of the missions where you have to find things across Tokyo. Even if you know where they are, the awful world map will still make it confusing.
    • The Enoch quest. For one thing, you're not likely to know that it even exists, as you have to talk to Mido post-alignment lock - which is something that wouldn't occur to most players. Additionally, unless you know about the myth, it wouldn't occur to you that Enoch is Metatron.
    • The game only shows a potential special fusion once you've acquired one of its ingredients. While some are useful enough that you'll probably recruit or fuse one, the sheer number of demons in this game makes it very possible to not know one is available. One in particular requires all four of the higher breed of elemental demons, which require fusing two types of demons that can be difficult to acquire in the field.
    • Finding the stores that sell certain armor pieces necessary to complete a set. For instance, there are two quests in Tokyo that give you the greaves of certain suits of armor. One of the stores that sells the other parts of the set is in Infernal Tokyo, and can only be accessed post-alignment lock. The other is in Mikado, but the store will only sell the pieces if you reach the place in the Neutral Path.
  • Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: Persephone claims this when you fight her as part of the Rx W Smacktacular XIII quest.
  • Heel-Face Brainwashing: It's implied that the Archangels have done some of this once they take over the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado. One NPC who was reading and loving books and had recently read Paradise Lost loses all interest in them and believes he has never read a single book in his life. And he's far from being the only one. Or the worst.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here: In series tradition, you're free to name the Hero whatever you like. However, there is a default option of "Flynn", similar to Hawk/Aleph from Shin Megami Tensei II.
  • Hero Antagonist: It won't be apparent on a first playthrough, but Murmur, Gemori, and Asmodeus are this.
  • Heroic Mime: The Protagonist is still mostly unvoiced, even though everyone else now is.
    • He will, however, occasionally say something when entering a fight or pausing the game.
    • This gets lampshaded early on in a conversation in K's Bar. One patron mentions that Isabeau and Jonathan keeps quiet, and you're even quieter, scarcely saying a word.
    Talkative Samurai: And then there's yourself, who is nearly silent. I can't recall the last time I met anyone who said so little.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Regardless of ending, Walter willingly fuses with Hikari/Lucifer to restore the latter's power, while Johnathan fuses with the archangels and becomes Merkabah, God's Chariot. It's made clear that both fusions are treated as death for their respective heroes, and made doubly apparent if you chose to be the sacrifice instead.
  • Heroic Suicide: In the Law ending, Flynn and Merkabah activate the Yamato Perpetual Reactor to "cleanse" Tokyo. They don't bother to escape, letting themselves be destroyed with the city. Merkabah feels that Flynn's death and his own are a necessity as they have been exposed to Tokyo's "Filth" and thus are unfit to be a part of the utopia they are helping create.
  • Holographic Terminal: The main characters' COMPs now feature holographic interfaces.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: In Ikebukuro, Xi Wangmu initially takes Scratch Damage at best from your attacks, until a mob of Ring of Gaea members, Kaga included, assault her en masse only to get eaten. Fighting her from the inside, they manage to weaken her enough to make her vulnerable to your attacks, subverting this trope.
  • The Horde: Hordes are unique battles where a large pack of enemies appear on screen that count as a single unit. They have multiple turns and doing damage causes the numbers to dwindle as the battle goes on and several are mini bosses. The upside is that, despite counting as one unit, hordes take damage multiple times from "multi-target" spells, so one good Mazan can blast half of them away.
  • Huge Holographic Head: Kenji's Demonoid form.
  • Human Resources:
    • Red Pills are made from the neurotransmitters of human brains, similar to the magnetite from previous games.
    • In Infernal Tokyo, Demonoids directly extract neurotransmitters from Neurishers, humans with special equipment designed to facilitate extraction. Unlike in the case of Tayama's seedbeds, the Neurishers voluntarily sign up for the job.
  • Humans Are Flawed: Several demons from delivery quests have this opinion and will be impressed by how skilled Flynn is and showing them that humans do have the capability of being more than what they currently are.
  • Humans Are Special: Azazel's belief in the quest Taste of the Forbidden Fruit, where he is giving humans who seek freedom knowledge, believing they will become greater than angels on the path to freedom.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Lilith tells the party that how Tayama's red pills are made will show the party evil that demons cannot make. The party is disgusted upon seeing how the pills are made, but whether this is true or not depends on the player.
  • Hypocrite: The Angels. They are the ones who unleashed God's Wrath, a horde of Nukes across the earth to wipe out mankind saying it was the result of their sinful knowledge once the Expanse was opened and demons started flooding in. However, a Demonoid in Infernal Tokyo revealed that the portal to the Expanse that opened 25 years ago and the result of the events that lead to the game was all part of God's schemes, which is why Kenji sided with the demons.
    • A debatable and possibly rare positive example is Akira in Infernal Tokyo. He talks big and wants to use Flynn, Jonathan, and Walter and the prophecy they represent to brute force his way into the position of top dog in Toyko, but in reality he's a coward who can barely handle even the thought of a fight. In the end, it's revealed that he wants to use his power to reform society and ultimately bring to Tokyo equality between the weak and the strong.
  • I Ate What?: The food and drink they sell in the bars does heal the party, but some of the characters are wary of the contents.
    Burroughs: Did it just... move?
    • Occasionally, Isabeau and Walter avert this; the former will expresses her pickiness about specific details of what she's eating (implying that she otherwise enjoys it), and Walter will outright enjoy his meal.
  • I Am Your Opponent: Michael bursts in as you defeat Gabriel in the Clipped Wings 2 DLC, allowing her to bail out.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: A whole group of regular humans is found guilty of this at the end of the quest Mysterious Story of Tennozu. At first you hear about how weird that a shelter in an area warded off by the Ashura-kai, without any way of sustenance, has food for its dwellers despite all odds. A woman from this place forcefully tells you it's just beef. Which is even more odd considering Tokyo's inability to raise cattle since two and a half decades ago, as pointed out by two outsider hunters stationed in there. By the end of the quest they finally admit from where the "cows" came from. All under the watchful eye of a demon lord and your former king!
  • Idle Animation: More like idle chatter but every few minutes without moving, Burroughs will ask if you are taking a break and comment about it.
  • Ignorance Is Bliss: The Law Faction's goal with the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado. Keeping the world forever in Medieval Stasis and ignorant of all knowledge and wisdom. To the point that people reading books can lead them to becoming demons because of the anger they feel for being ignorant of how terrible their lives are in the Fantastic Caste System and the fact that they are denied the right to learn. Fridge Brilliance applies as you realize exactly what it is that the Angels are trying to do - remove the Original Sin and Lucifer's taint from Humanity, leaving them forever innocent and unable and unwilling to change anything- the Law faction's golden dream.
    • On the Neutral Route talking to people in Mikado will have them realize that they were blindly following the Archangels without ever meeting them.
    • You know the Ashura-Kai ain't dealing in sunshine and smiles, but when Tenkai warns you about this, you realize how deep the horror in Reverse Hills goes.
  • Irony: Those who became Demonoids in Infernal Tokyo did it out of a desire to drive the demons out. However, their newfound power drove many of them into blood frenzied fighters who attacked each other and others were too weak to defeat the demons and submitted to them instead.
    • On the Neutral Route one Samurai NPC will mention that they destroyed King Aquila's statue because the Archangels said that to revere anyone but God is idolatry. Guess who gets a statue and be viewed as a savior in the Law ending?
    • The new rulers of Mikado (Four Archangels) are revealed on the Law alignment to have commanded the Samurai to go around the kingdom making people perform fumi-e (the act of stomping on a religious effigy to symbolically defile it) to see if they are loyal to the Black Samurai or not, with the intention of executing every person who doesn't step on it. This act was used in the past to see whether Japanese people were Christian but with Christian imagery instead of the Black Samurai.
  • Jump Scare: Occasionally, a mass horde of demons will pop out around you and some demons spawn from jumping out of somewhere.
    • While reinforcements appearing every now and then should be expected, David doing so in Dance of the Dead is only foreshadowed by the quest's name.
    • An in-universe, as well as possibly an out of universe, one is when the four are trying to find the Black Samurai the come along a room and find her Demonica starting right at them. Fortunately though it is just a spare suit inside a glass case. This startles Walter as well.
  • Kaiju Defense Force: The Counter-Demon Force, a now defunct organization that was active 25 years ago, was created by the government as a way to combat demons. It was founded by Fujiwara, and Skins and his comrade, the Masakado summoner, were once members of the group alongside the National Defense Divinities. It's based on the Tokyo Metropolitan Police's building in Sakurada-dori. The JGSDF's Camp Ichigaya base is also an important locale, important enough to appear along the Counter-Demon Force's base in all Alternate Dimensions visited, and other JSDF bases, all occupied by Domains, can be investigated and raided for weaponry.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: The Samurai of East Mikado all use Japanese blades.
  • Karma Houdini: Abbot Hugo is the only antagonist not to be formally punished on any path.
  • Karma Meter: Events will change depending if you lean towards order, chaos, or a middle ground between the two.
  • Kill 'em All: In the "Nothingness" ending, Flynn sabotages the Yamato Perpetual Reactor to open a black hole and destroy the universe.
  • Kingmaker Scenario: Per series standard. The only thing that truly stands between the ultimate triumph of Merkabah, Lucifer, Humanity and even the White is you. The "you cannot win yourself" part of the scenario is actually averted in the Chaos Path, where Lucifer freely admits that as the strongest, YOU deserve to rule over Mikado.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Unlike in past games you can't simply give demons items and expect them to join half the time. Now you have to end talks after giving them a certain amount or else they will certainly flee. Sometimes a demon will stop to negotiate with you if the battle isn't going their way, either giving you an item/macca before leaving or offer to join you. This is the only way to recruit most Undead race enemies into your team.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Odin is suffering from this and has taken the form of a old man speaking stories of Wodan. Thor's decided the best way to make him regain his memories is to have him witness several battles. Odin regains his memories during the battle between Flynn and Thor, stops the fight, and offers the two Hunters and Flynn a place at Valhalla after they pass away one day.
  • Leitmotif: Classic SMT series motifs such as LAW make their return.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: Thanks to the Rocket Tag Gameplay, you're unlikely to hear all of the non-boss battle theme unless you intentionally wait for it.
  • Loss of Identity: The masks Mastema fitted Uriel, Raphael and Michael with when he tossed them into Kagome Tower do this to the trio.
  • Lost Forever:
    • Anything in Blasted and Infernal Tokyo becomes this if you take the law path. Which is justified, considering that Merkabah has other plans with the gate.
    • It's impossible to complete the terminal quest in all the routes except for Neutral; even then, if you somehow miss a terminal in one of the final dungeons, you're screwed.
    • In the Law and Chaos paths, several Challenge Quests become "Closed" permanently if they're not completed by the time you lock in your alignment. See the above alternate Tokyo examples for the Law path; in the case of the Chaos path, all quests pertaining to the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado are closed as you've declared war on Mikado. Even the Neutral path isn't safe: dally too long, and the requester will be too busy migrating to Tokyo before the Ceiling comes down to let you complete those quests.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Demon negotiation. Unlike previous titles, where each demon "personality" generally had clear tells as to what they like and dislike, here everything about negotiation is randomized. Several players have noted that their negotiations seem to go well, only for the demon to immediately turn around and one shot them. Also, several players have noted that demons are actually more likely to flee the longer negotiations go on, meaning that you could be granting the demon everything it desires, only for it to decide to run away at the last minute.
    • Not to mention the fact that some fights just wind up being dependent on A.I. Roulette, and your entire party can easily be killed by a group of enemies less than half your level if they happen to get a first strike... which if they show up as reinforcements after another battle, they can get automatically.
      • While not a low level enemy, Red Rider might be the biggest example of this in the game. He can conceivably end the fight at any time if he decides to spam Antichthon, which he very well do without warning. The chances of him doing this decrease if one doesn't equip Null/Repel Phys, but this applies to all Fiends as they will spam almighty attacks if they can't use physical attacks.
      • Perhaps in acknowledgement of this fact, defeating Red Rider rewards you with 10 of each stat incense. Defeating any Fiend gives out a sweet reward, but this may indeed be the best one.
      • For that matter, barring three of them, merely finding a Fiend is a Luck-Based Mission in itself, as Fiends have a very low spawn rate of 1 in 256 odds. This is far more troublesome than it sounds, as Fiends follow different encounter rules than normal enemies.
    • Are you a fan of the "Famed" race (formerly known as Hero,) which includes fan favorites like Yoshitsune, Joan of Arc, or Rama? Tough luck, this race is accessible only through extremely rare fusion accidents, and unlike previous games, there's no app to increase the likelihood of these. The best you can do to increase your chances (and even then, only slightly) is slap a demon on a DDS black card, and hope that the random fusion from Streetpass results in an accident... and that the accident results in a Famed.
      • You can also slightly increase your chances of getting a fusion accident by using dead demons, and then double said chance if one of the demons being fused is of the Foul race.
      • Undead aren't much easier to get (other than Alice, who's a special fusion). There's no fusion recipe for them, and you can't initiate a conversation with them—but like any other normal enemy, they can initiate a conversation in which they beg for mercy, and you can still choose "be my ally" when they do so, recruiting them.
    • Many of the bonus bosses. For example, the Ancient of Days has Stigmatic Gleam, an Almighty (read: unblockable) attack that inflicts a status ailment called "Brand". This ailment makes whoever is inflicted with it unable to heal. And unlike other status ailments, Brand only goes away with time: nothing, not even Amrita Sodas/Salvation works on it. Combine that with Damnation, an almighty attack with 100% chance of poison, and defeating him comes largely down to luck: you have to hope your Brands heal quickly (or never get inflicted at all), or the damage adds up very quickly and your demons will find themselves at a huge disadvantage. Oh, and don't try cheating with Enduring Soul; even dying won't erase the ailment, so your demon will just revive with 1 HP.
      • He also has Diarahan, which he uses whenever you exploit his elemental weaknesses of Force/Electric, so unless you're capable of inflicting Brand yourself, you're pretty much stuck to getting those precious extra Press Turns via critical hits. And since, as stated before, Brands heal randomly...you can get a lot of damage piling up and then suddenly his Brand heals just in time for his Diarahan and you're back to square one.
    • Raphael can be a tremendous drain on resources. He can inflict Brand too via Stigmata Strike, and deplete everyone's life while restocking his with Serpent of Sheol.
  • Magical Particle Accelerator: The Yamato Perpetual Reactor was originally an advanced particle accelerator modified by the White to somehow open gateways to Alternate Timelines, transport you to the Expanse, and create universe-destroying black holes.
  • Magikarp Power: Low level demons can become powerhouses, even stronger than naturally high level demons, with all five of the Apps that boost demon's stats upon level up. All you need is a great deal of patience to get those demons to high levels. ...Or you can use the Experience DLC map.
  • MacGuffin: The Yamato Perpetual Reactor. You even end up using it to destroy Tokyo or the entire universe in some paths!
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: There's plenty of Eastern Mikado samurai, and conversations with a few of them indicate they're on missions in Tokyo too, but the only ones who ever do anything plot-forwarding are you and your rookie friends. Somewhat justified in that you're the star of the generation, which gets you plenty of requests. You complete them perfectly, which of course only ends in the masters deciding that, of course, you can handle more requests. Rinse and repeat.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: In both the main story and the "Ancient One of the Sun" DLC, Flynn's arrival to Blasted Tokyo comes immediately after Kiyoharu prays to God for a savior. Has God really forsaken Blasted Tokyo? An NPC comments at one point that the subject confuses him, too.
  • Meaningful Echo: As the Demiurge falls, it mutters that as long as you are human, you will be a prisoner, who should only give up, fall silent, and be cursed. This jibes with what the White tell you about God's plans and ambitions.
  • Meaningful Name: Hikaru can mean "light" in Japanese hinting at her true identity as Lucifer, "the bringer of light".
    • "The Mikado" is one of the ways to refer to the Emperor of Japan. It's also the name of a Gilbert and Sullivan play which was really a parody of Britain though a lens of appearing to be Japan. Nobody in The Mikado has a properly Japanese name, and nobody in East Mikado in this game has a Japanese name; it's stuff like Walter and Jonathan and so on.
  • Metal Slime: The Mitama in the farming missions have a huge damage reduction from most attacks, Null or receive "0hp" damage from the rest (including Almighty skills like Antichthon,) and have a high chance to run from battle. Naturally, they carry the Rare Candy and Vendor Trash items you're after.
  • Mission Control: Your COMP now features an AI navigator who provides you with new info and warnings.
  • Money Grinding: Since most foes don't give Macca the best ways to get Macca is through the Money Grinding DLC "Money Makes the Underworld Turn" or later in the game when access to Tennozu and Toyosu becomes available, where 5-star Relics spawn there. During the wait for those to respawn one can bind/talk Barbatos then use a Fundraise app, since he typically gives more Macca than most demons in the game.
  • Money Spider: Totally averted, for once. Demons do not drop money when you kill them. You need to make money by other means, either by doing repeatable quests, selling loot or just straight-up begging the demons themselves for cash. Human enemies do drop small amounts of money when killed, however, and Hoodlum Hordes and Yakuza Hordes leave behind thousands of Macca upon defeat.
    • Averted with Black Rider. Defeating him rewards you with 300 000 Macca, plus 3 items that sell for 10 000 each, but offset by an extremely low encounter rate. See Luck-Based Mission.
    • As far as the "begging for money", though, the late-game Fallen enemies, Shax and Barbatos, give up copious amounts of money. Binding one of them and using Fundraise on it until it comes out of it can often net tens of thousands of Macca.
  • Mood Whiplash: Dramatic quest conclusions are often followed up by a cheerful "Congratulations on completing the quest!" from Burroughs.
  • More Dakka: Ashura Man enemies are decked out with all sorts of firearms.
  • More Deadly Than The Male: Female Samurai Zombie, Ashura Woman, and Gaea Woman are stronger and higher leveled than their male counterparts.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: Some boss fights are not against one single powerful demon but a huge wave of weak demons filling up the screen and attacking as one.
  • Multiple Endings: There are four endings depending on your choices: Law, Chaos, Neutral, and a "Bad End".
    • Law: Believing it's the only way to truly keep East Mikado safe, you and Merkabah open a black hole on your side of the Yamato Gate, killing everyone in Tokyo, including the two of you. Humanity has lost the ability to learn and change without knowledge and wisdom, but East Mikado is free of demons and you are remembered as its Messiah.
    • Chaos: Believing the people of East Mikado will never be free under the current system, you and Lucifer decide to burn the city to the ground. Though many will die in the violence, Mikado will rise from the ashes as a land where people are finally free to choose their own path in life.
    • Neutral: Believing that neither the forces of Chaos or Law have humanity's best interests at heart, you use the power of Masakado to remove the ceiling above Tokyo, destroying East Mikado in the process. Though the people of East Mikado are forced to move to Tokyo, the world is restored to the way it once was.
    • Nothingness: Believing it's the only way to truly free the world from YHVH's machinations and the eternal battle between Law and Chaos, you choose to sabotage the Yamato Gate, opening a series of black holes that consume the entire universe.
  • Mundane Object Amazement: Any "relic" found within Naraku are actually modern day mundane objects, and therefore worth a lot of money. Some of the objects are understandably confusing, like computer parts and other gadgets, more technological-based leisure items, documents, cosmetics, certain medicines, and certain food items. The appraisal descriptions for anything more modern are pretty amusing.
  • Mutually Exclusive Magic: Only Flynn can power up his skills by receiving whispers from demons with the same skill. Conversely, only your demons have full access to all passive abilities. The best Flynn can do is equip accessories that grant certain passive abilities, but he can't use more than one accessory at a time, nor is there one for every passive ability. He'd be too powerful if he could get all passive abilities too.
  • Mythology Gag: The game has numerous references to Strange Journey and other games in the series.
    • The Black Samurai wears a black Demonica Suit.
    • Demons appear as blue static on the field before you fight them. New demon enemies were blue static in Strange Journey before you analyzed them.
    • The chances of finding a Fiend is 1/256, just like the chances of finding a Fiend in Shin Megami Tensei I.
    • In the aftermath of Camp Ichigaya, an NPC in Shibuya mentions that a "B-grade" magazine was right about the Ring of Gaea being an evil demon-worshipping cult. The Cult of Gaea, and its murderous tendencies, were once featured in Ayakashi Monthly a rag that Chiaki found distasteful.
      • Actually, the Cult of Gaea was a major faction in the first two games and was the major Chaotic human organization. Which is another big hint at Yuriko's true identity...
    • Two of the Hunters in Tokyo that appear on the blackboards are Romero and Anthony.
    • The command center of the Counter-Demon Force HQ in Infernal/Blasted Kasumigaseki is wrecked. Much like how the command center of the Red Sprite is wrecked at the beginning of the Law/Chaos routes.
    • The "Afterlife" DLC missions, wherein Charon's assistants take you to an alternate, sealed-off version Shinjuku, use a remix of "Shinjuku Hygienic Hospital" as background music. The area itself is referred to as a "dead city."
  • Nightmare Face: When Issachar turns into a demon, his eyes suddenly turn blood red and he sports a Slasher Smile.
  • Nintendo Hard: In classic Atlus fashion. Though you can save anywhere, random mooks can quite easily achieve Total Party Kill if you're caught off guard.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Diana, Lilith, and Merkabah lack nipples on their ingame artwork. The latter two do have them in the official artbook.
  • Nonuniform Uniform: Samurai customize their standard uniforms with personal items.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: Some of the new demon artwork was created by character designers from the Kamen Rider franchise, and closer to their personal styles than the traditional Kazuma Kaneko aesthetic.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Stephen Hawking copy Stephen makes his return to the series. K meanwhile resembles Kurt Russell.
  • Not Me This Time: In the last SMT game, Mastema was the mastermind of the Law faction and not nearly as nice as he initially appeared to be. So it's a sure bet that anyone who played that game would be willing and ready to blow him away the first chance they got if they saw him in this game. He plays into this expectation, even initiating a Boss Battle…but then he laughs and ends the fight and lets you go without a blow struck.
  • Not of This Earth: Neither Sanat nor the Ancient of Days can be correctly scanned without external help, and they don't seem to be made of matter native to the Universe...
  • Not So Different: The Ashura-kai and the Ring of Gaea, according to one NPC. He observes that Tayama wanted people to use Reds to co-exist with the demons, and Yuriko wanted those humans strong enough to manage it to live with the demons.
    • The leaders of the angels and demons, on the Neutral route wind up looking a lot alike. Both have established super-Domains in significant locations, consumed one of your friends get a power boost, both blame Isabeau's death on a outside force (the Angels/Tokyo) rather than it being because of their their own actions, taunt you in their voice, ask nearly-identical questions with the same responses, and when you put them down bother Merkabah and Lucifer scream disbelief at their defeat by mere humans, only to get eerily calm and inform you that humans are too weak to live without them, and it won't be long until they return.
    • There's also the matter of the the two DLC Bonus Bosses for Blasted and Infernal Tokyo. While their motivations are pretty far apart—the Ancient of Days is trying to finish cleaning the world out to make room for God's chosen, and Sanat's just a Blood Knight nonpareil who's looking to see if the seeds of chaos he sowed well before humanity evolved have ripened to his liking—the entities they're based on are apparently regarded in scholarship as related to each other. Now consider their race names—"Godly" for the Ancient, which in this series typically means "Law King", and "Chaos King" (contracted to "Chaos" in the English version) for Sanat. The "kings" of the two sides would be regarded by some scholars as the same entity. Sanat, depending on your answer to his taunt, might even remark the "true war" is fought against the "dispensation of the universe", a phrase the Ancient often repeats at the beginning of his fight. It's enough to make you wonder if Atlus is trying to say in this game that Law and Chaos are ultimately just negative images of each other, rather than genuinely dissimilar.
  • Omnicidal Maniac:
    • In the Alternate Desert/Blasted Tokyo, the cyberdemon Pluto is attempting to wipe out all life on God's orders.
    • In the Ancient of Days DLC, YHVH sends a avatar of himself, Ancient of Days, to continue his goal since Pluto failed.
    • The White are also this, thinking that the only way to break free of YHVH's will is to wipe Earth (And maybe the rest of the Solar System) off the map. By extension the Nothingness ending has you become one of these and succeeding in activating Yamato.
  • Order Versus Chaos: Tokyo has been split between the Lawful Ashura-Kai, which negotiates with demons to establish order, and the Chaotic Ring of Gaea, which wants all out war with the creatures. This is a funky reversal of how things usually go with regards to Order/Chaos, where usually "Chaos" is collaborating with demons to gain their power and "Order" is the ones looking to eradicate them.
    • Another twist on it is that the Ashura-Kai talk and act like paramilitary yakuza, with rather scummy attitudes and shifty, underhanded negotiators, instead of the typical "holier-than-thou" attitude espoused by most Law types. The Ring of Gaea are strength-worshippers, but they worship human strength and dress like ascetic monks; it seems they only accept members who are strong enough to beat a demon to death with their bare hands. What demons work for the Ring of Gaea seem to be those that they've personally beaten the crap out of and bested, rather than ones bought with macca like the Ashura-Kai.
  • Our Angels Are Different: See those horrifying white monstrosities in the white half of the cover art up there? Those are angels.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: Many "traditional" monsters have had their designs radically overhauled to look just plain bizarre. The first demon you get, the Centaur, looks like two plastic horse heads facing each other attached to a humanoid torso. Medusa's snake hair looks like skeletal snakes and chains, for extra Spikes of Villainy. The Minotaur doesn't look like an anthropomorphic bull-man, he looks like a blue bull got crudely fused onto the top half of a human; the tip of his muzzle resembles a human skull, and you can see vestigial bull hooves sticking out near his shoulders.
  • Pieces of God: Minako's collecting souls of powerful demons that originate from Ishtar, hoping to revive her by consuming the three largest - Astaroth's, Mother Harlot's, and Asherah's. After consuming the three she takes a Red Pill, sacrificing her body, mind and soul to revive her. She succeeds, and Ishtar even comments there's still a piece of Minako's mind within her.
  • People Farms: The Ashura-kai's Reverse Hills building is where they make Red Pills from humans.
  • Pet the Dog: Some conversational choices would have demons take pity on you and do something for you - one example being that if you try to kill yourself, they'll join you out of concern and to keep you from doing it again.
  • Pocket Dimension: Demons can create domains where they reside in.
  • Point Of Divergence: The events of the war twenty-five years prior in Tokyo.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A fair amount of grief could've been averted if Koga Saburo explained to the samurai why Tayama is bad for Tokyo, or if the Ashura-Kai goon (or the demons that appear in front of the cages) guarding the three captive archangels told the samurai why they're locked up, rather than immediately fighting the samurai and dying.
  • Portent of Doom: Uses the Trope Maker from The Book of Daniel.
    Voice: Mene, Mene, Tekel, u-Pharsin. (Thou art weighed in the balance and art found wanting.)
  • Power Copying: This is how you learn spells. Once your demons level up sufficiently to learn all the spells they're ever going to learn, they initiate Demon Whisper, where you can copy or overwrite any of their abilities onto your list. You can only hold a limited number of spells at a time, but if you already have a copy of an ability it gets upgraded to either do more damage or cost less MP to cast.
  • Powers as Programs: The summoning gauntlet has an App store on it that lets you unlock basic upgrades to your character's performance, such as holding more demons/skills, more negotiation options, and so on.
  • Power-Upgrading Deformation: The Demonoids. Some got the short end of the stick with the surgery, which is typically called a fusion, that resulted in Fusion Error.
  • Psycho Serum: The Ashura-kai bribe demons into pacification with Red Pills, which curb their hunger for human flesh. The pills also turn any humans who consume them into demons, too; in Ashura-kai territory you can meet several non-hostile demons who mention they used to be human, and one big boss fight against one.
  • Punch Clock Villain: The Zombie Cops give off this impression, as they legitimately believe that humans are criminals. Unfortunately, due to no longer being government workers, they resort to Police Brutality.
  • Put Them All Out of My Misery: The true intentions of the White.
  • Ragnarok-Proofing: The Gauntlets have been in use for almost fifteen centuries. Man, the Demonica tech was built to last!
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: You are not required to wear matching helmets or pants that go with your torso armor, and you can wind up with some very funky combinations.
  • Red Herring: People who have played Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey probably took notice of the Black Samurai outfit and concluded that it was Louis Cypher again, especially since it's revealed that the Black Samurai is a woman, just as Lucifer was in Strange Journey. Turns out that's way off, the Black Samurai is actually Lilith and Lucifer doesn't even appear until pretty far into the game.
  • Retreaux: Certain elements of the game are designed to be reminiscent of older video games despite being modernized. For example, the press turn icons are that of the SNES games, the Cathedral of Shadows guy looks like a head made out of voxels and the catchy battle music sounds like a modernized version of a 16-bit synth song.
  • Robo Speak: Pluto sounds like it's voiced by a computer rather than a person, and even starts to "glitch" out when defeated. As does Ancient of Days.
  • Rocket Tag Gameplay: There's no defensive stat any more, and armors only give you a pittance of new hit points. When things go bad, they tend to go bad fast. So the gameplay revolves around either utterly annihilating the enemy in as few turns as possible or dying to them on the first round.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Well, it's a SMT game, but one plot element in particular stands out: the Archangels' plan is essentially to undo Original Sin, keeping humanity eternally ignorant, but eternally blissful as well.
  • Sacrificial Revival Spell: The Recarmdra spell.
  • Sadistic Choice: In the Chaos ending's Playable Epilogue, a Mikado woman will be cornered by some Halphas and offered a choice: remain human and die, or take a Red and become a demon.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Each of the five prentices wear one.
  • Secret Shop: The Ginza shops. They sell the most powerful armor, weapons and medicine in the game, barring (maybe) DLCs, but merely unlocking the area will set you back 165,000 Macca, and after that, the items themselves are hideously expensive. The further you progress in the story, the more expensive the items get. Prices may reach even into the MILLIONS depending on when in the story you 'unlock' the area!
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Kagome Tower prisoners.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Amaterasu has been sealed away by foreign Law demons in the past, leading most of the Amatsu and the Japanese Gods to become splintered and easy targets for them. Freeing Amaterasu leads to her having to leave for Another Dimension in order to regain her strength, with the intention of returning and leading the entire Japanese pantheon against those who threaten Tokyo.
  • Serial Escalation: The game features over 500 recruitable demons, compared to the approximately 300 in the previous entry in the series, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey.
  • Shoot the Dog: Early-game, you have to put down Issachar, Flynn's old pal who's become a demon.
    • The ultimate aim of The White is to do this to the entire universe, viewing Law and Chaos as ultimately meaningless and equally horrible as long as God exists, so the death of everything and everyone would be a comparative mercy.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Two of the main characters are named Isabeau and Navarre.
    • The Joker's Dark Knight incarnation is hanging out with the Ashura-kai and Demons at Club Milton in Tokyo.
    • In the back of the special shops in Ginza, you can see what looks like a Storm Trooper helmet and Darth Vader's helmet
    • The Wicker Man's compendium entry states that strangers would sometimes wander across them and wonder how their sacrifices got burned, a reference to a memetic line from the 2006 version of The Wicker Man.
    • Isabeau's manga is about a female soldier in France who dresses as a man.
    • The Baker mentions "No Longer Human" and "The Dancing Girl" amongst the books he enjoys.
    • After the Black Samurai's execution one Casualry mentions wanting to read Paradise Lost.
    • Demonee-Ho quotes Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the Training Battle against him.
    • There are Demonoids in Infernal Tokyo that look like Azazel.
    • Pluto sounds a lot like a Dalek.
    • A NPC compares one of the fully armored Samurai who come from Sky Tower to guys seen in a fantasy movie about a ring.
    • One of the Hunters in Tokyo is Constantine.
    • There's a skill that summons demons from the stock into all empty party slots called "Bad Company."
    • A reference that is lost on Western players is the Rx W Smacktacular XIII, which is a reference to the Red White Music Battle, an annual event that airs on New Year's Eve in Japan; which also explains why the demons are treated like pop idols.
    • Should you shake a demon with the "kid" personality for money and wring all the cash you can from him, he will say "Nobody puts Baby Demon in the corner!".
    • Sometimes a demon, when Scouted, will ask what role he would play. Answering "A spare, in case" will freak him out, refusing to become "emergency rations".
    • This is not the first time an Atlus game has contained a jerkass, Bad Boss religious leader who manipulates the military to his own ends in a short-sighted manner. And is named Hugo.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: Exploration takes place in 3D, but cinematics and battles occur in 2D.
  • Sinister Silhouettes: The initial reveal for new demon enemies was nothing but shadowy outlines.
    • Also many of the bosses have this when they first appear, right before they are revealed.
  • Side Quest: A lot of them. They are called "Challenge Quests" and are completely optional unless you are on the Neutral route. The "common" collect Twenty Bear Asses and "slay this demon" are present, but there are also quests to search for specific rare or unique items, look for missing people or possessions, a couple Escort Missions, some that are only a string of battles, including a couple of tournaments, and a few with special conditions. However, accepting any quest that doesn't fall under the "Delivery" category (which always count as accepted if they can be redone) will completely freeze the story until you complete it or abandon it. Those same quests also do not permit your fellow Samurai to aid you in them, so you are on your own unless the quest gives you a companion (usually Nozomi).
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: The members of the Ring of Gaea have no qualms condemning their fallen comrades, citing that one who dies in battle deserves it for not being strong enough.
  • Stable Time Loop: The DLC quests suggest this, as they involve you going back in time to defeat the Four Archangels (leading to their capture and subsequent rescue in the present), as well as to calm down Masakado so he can create a ceiling over Tokyo.
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: The White are so convinced that the struggle against YHVH is hopeless that they want you to help them do this since they can't really interact with the physical world. Unusually, it's entirely possible to choose this ending.
  • Summoning Ritual: Three are quests that can be done on New Game+. The first is involves the revival of Astaroth, where Minako along with the aid of others is attempting to, and succeed, in summoning him. The second involves a quest in Infernal Tokyo where Master Therion has a orgy/Sabbath between Demonoids and Neurishers to summon Mother Harlot, but only ends up summoning her in a alternate Tokyo due to Flynn interfering. The third happens upon Jonathan's route and requires that Flynn slay Morax, Tokisada, Chimera, and Gryphon. Their collective heads are to be sacrificed in order to summon Seraph.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The stylings and setup of the new group of protagonists is meant to evoke the initial group of heroes from Shin Megami Tensei I.
    • Hero -> Main Character
    • Heroine -> Isabeau
    • Law Hero -> Jonathan
    • Chaos Hero -> Walter
    • Outside the protagonists, you could also argue Ozawa -> Tayama, just with a change in alignments. Both are powerful men in the post-apocalyptic world who were nothing but "small fry" before the apocalypse. They also both maintain stable and safe but oppressive refuges from the demons through secret arrangements that the protagonists uncover.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: This game has way more conversation skills than any other SMT game, provided you spend enough App points. Just regular recruiting can be upgraded to have the demons give you money and items when they join, convince their friends to join too (who also give you money and items), and boosting their stats and skills automatically. You can learn a talk skill for "fundraising" from the enemy, or bartering for items. You can pay them to heal you in the middle of battle (and then the battle resumes and you kill the demon who healed you, huh...), another skill lets you bribe the enemy into ending the fight, and the fight-ending skill can itself be upgraded to get you a free heal too! There's even a time-wasting "Chitchat" skill that uses up enemy press turns.
  • Timed Mission: The battle against Masakado. You have ten turns to defeat him, or else Tokyo is obliterated by the ICBM strike.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The game's cover makes it clear that Walter eventually sides with Chaos and Jonathan with Law.
    • Though a savvy player should be able to tell at a glance who represents what. Walter looks like a rebel and Jonathan looks very prim and proper. The game will also make it extremely clear which is which within the first half hour, mostly with what they appear to say in your dreams.
    • The game also builds up Tokyo being in the game as a surprise, when outside out of it not much of an attempt is made to hide that fact.
  • Transformation Of The Possessed: Part of the horror hiding under Mikado's shiny exterior.
  • Trapped in Another World: The three Samurai clearly view the events of Blasted and Infernal Tokyo this way.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Several of the VR Training Quests are this, with four of the final five being the worst offenders.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Like all previous Numbered Sequels, a large part of the game takes place in Tokyo, Japan. And other portions of the game take place, shall we say, surprisingly close by.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Lucifer, who is portrayed far more negatively than most of the rest of the series. May be down to him being one of the direct main antagonists this time, as opposed to a behind-the-scenes puppetmaster or Bonus Boss like he usually is.
  • Tournament Arc: You can enter tournaments for some side missions. Each round faces you off against a Hunter and their demons, and you have to go through multiple rounds without stopping to heal. After each round, you get the choice to spare your opponent or finish them off. The former will anger the crowd.
    • The RxW Smacktacular is similar to this but with Hunters facing off against demons on television. Until Flynn participated the Hunters have lost every single game, even with the leader of the Demons team not wanting to participate.
  • Tricked Out Gloves: The classic forearm mounted demon summoning COMPs return once again.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The Cyber Horde used to be ordinary machines until God's Wrath, upon which they awoke to a murderous will and rebuilt themselves as massacre devices.
  • Undead Child: A young girl appears at the beginning of the game and asks for someone to revive her. She appears briefly through the story.
    • Recurring demon Alice returns as a special fusion, but of the Undead race instead of the typical Fiend race.
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • Several demons such as Ares and Minotaur are unflinchingly loyal to their dead masters and Minotaur continues acting on his part of the pact with King Aquila 1500 years later.
    • In a first for Shin Megami Tensei games involving demon summoning, if you are killed, any demons still in battle will continue to fight for you.
  • Unique Enemy: There's no truly unique enemy, but some demons have unique dialogue, such as the Zombie Cop.
  • Urban Fantasy: Much of the game takes place in modern day Tokyo, but involves demons, angels and alternate worlds.
  • Urban Legend: Some of the demons are from more modern mythologies. One of the rare demons actually is a Chemtrail.
  • Vendor Trash: Your primary means of income (outside of using certain talk skills on demons). Gathering "relics" and selling them at stores is how you make cash. Relics can be anything; semiprecious stones, commonplace technological junk like computer mice or compact discs, or furniture like chairs and desks. The item description for the various modern items is of some confused primitive trying to make sense of them, amusingly. (Mice are thought to perhaps be a small storage box for jewelry, and they think that CDs are strange mirrors.)
  • Vicious Cycle: The Neutral route outright states it will happen again, so long as humans exist.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Both Merkabah and Lucifer in the Neutral route. Merkabah, upon defeat, flies into a rage, ranting that humanity "needs" the angels to survive and that so long as mankind longs for order the angels will return. Lucifer's breakdown is similar: the distortion in his voice gets even worse as he snarls incomprehension at his loss, before promising that so long as mankind cannot control their desires the demons will return.
  • Villain over for Dinner: You can chat with an enemy to use up the enemy team's press turns. This even works on some bosses.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: The Hero can be equipped with a wide array of items that change his appearance on the field.
    • Rainbow Pimp Gear: Some combinations of gear inevitably result in this. One of the clothing sets is even a bright, multi-colored goalie hockey uniform.
  • Voice of the Legion: Dantalion, with both male and female voices.
  • Void Between the Worlds: The Expanse.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: In the Neutral route, Fujiwara reveals that he and the Counter-Demon Force actually managed to complete the tunnel Mikado would name Naraku and reach the world outside, still recovering from the nuclear holocaust. They started laying the land and building some infrastructure that would become part of Mikado Castle (he specifically mentions the bar implied to eventually become K's Tavern) when the Archangels came down and drove them back into Tokyo.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Apparently how time works between Tokyo and Mikado. The world outside had centuries pass as the Earth recovered from the ICBM strike, and the local Akira surfaced in time to find God's Chosen flocking back to the reborn world; Fujiwara mentions he was a kid living around Shinjuku five years after the formation of the Firmament. It's implied this is either because of the Yamato Perpetual Reactor's black hole-manipulation properties, dilating time in Tokyo, or Masakado slowing time with Guardian's Eye to allow those below the chance to live.
  • You Bastard: "...Of course. Sorry. There's no way you would be doing this if you didn't understand the consequences."
    • Also, killing Isabeau on the Law and Chaos routes, and to a lesser extent Mastema on Law.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Both Ancient of Days and Sanat are made of materials Not of This Earth and are at first incomprehensible to the human eye until something begins to pulse within Flynn, implied to be the White, who want him to be driven to enough despair to give the universe a final death.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Demons can't use attack/healing items unless they have a Knowhow spell; never mind the fact that some of them are carrying items despite not knowing how to use them.
    • It's quite logical for a creature to pick up things that catch their eye despite not knowing how to use them, like how birds pick up shiny things.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The Minotaur serves to remind the player that not only do they have to mind their Press Turns, but also that enemies can and will make use of Smirking to wipe an unsuspecting party. He's also the first boss that showcases how buffs and debuffs can and will mean the difference between life and death. Finally, he even exhibits shades of Turns Red that prior bosses didn't have; when he gets relatively low on health, he switches to spamming Oni-Kagura, a relatively powerful physical attack with a high critical hit rate that's entirely capable of one-shotting most demons at this point on a crit.
    • There's also David, who can be fought at around the same time as the Minotaur. You have to fight a Horde immediately beforehand, and David himself likes spamming Blight, dealing notable damage to your party with a chance of poison. He also knows Mamudo, which can really change the tide of battle if it hits. And, yes, once again, a Fiend is a Wake Up Call Boss.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: Played with. Finally, your character can die in battle without a game over happening; however, unless a demon has Recarm/Samerecarm/Invitation or Healing Knowhow (which enables them to use healing items), you have to sit the rest of the battle out. This is played straight when your entire party is killed even though you have guest characters following you, who are perfectly capable of using Revival Beads.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Walter is shown that the Cafe Florida guard adheres to this trope very firmly, to his intense annoyance.
  • Witch Hunt: The increasingly amoral and self-serving actions the Monastery enacts to suppress the Literature. It goes From Bad to Worse in the Law Path.
  • Wham Episode: The entire midway point of the game onward is full of these. Such as the revelation that Yuriko, the leader of the Ring of Gaea is not only The Black Samurai, but also the demon Lilith which only gets worse when you reach the Reverse Hills Building where it's shown that the Ashura-Kai keep a whole human farm there where they harvest the brains of humans to make Reds. And that's not even getting into once the Yamato reactor is turned on.
  • Wham Shot: The game starts in a pre-industrial society locked in either Medieval Stasis or passing through the High Middle Ages. After some time of wading through Naraku and the grueling battle with the Minotaur, you start finding oddly modern stuff such as guns. And then the Samurai find a large observation deck, which reveals the true nature of the Unclean Ones' country... Tokyo. As in, modern-day Tokyo - you're going down the Tokyo Skytree.
    • In Demonic Gene, soon after Gina and Walter meet Mastema, the Skytree shatters, trapping the prentice Samurai in Tokyo and cutting off Mikado.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: A few characters from the Neutral route are hyped up at the beginning of the game but you never see them again after Naraku. On the Law path, there is no explanation for Hikaru's disappearance; only the implication that she is Ret Gone somehow when you ask the people at the bar in Shinjuku.
  • Where It All Began: In the Chaos path, the final dungeon is Naraku, the first dungeon in the entire game.
  • World of Badass: The list of named characters who aren't badass in one way or another probably could be counted on one hand. Particularly badass individuals include Koga Saburo, Kaga, and your main character. The alignment heroes too, for the extent to which dedication to their ideals makes them potent allies... and enemies.
  • White Void Room: The Expanse under the influence of the White. The Monochrome Forest too.
  • X Meets Y: It's the first two SNES games mixed together, with elements form Strange Journey also added.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: The Yamato Reactor.

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