These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Americans Hate Tingle: Due to Persona 3 and 4 being far more popular than every other Megami Tensei sub-series combined in Western territories, coupled with non-PersonaMegami Tensei being either obscure or not available, IV tends to catch a lot of flak there for, well, not being Persona—the Early Game Hell and the lack of character development sideplots a la Persona Social Links have made this game somewhat of a turnoff to Westerners, who generally are not as familiar with mainline Shin Megeami Tensei as Japanese players tend to be.
Anticlimax Boss: The "Errand for the Apocalypse" quest, which has you fighting all four Riders of the Apocalypse at once. All of the Riders are severely downgraded from their solo counterparts and can be defeated with a few high-end attacks. Expect to be sorely disappointed if you've been grinding your party to level 99 and expecting an epic struggle for victory. To be fair, however, it's a standard Challenge Quest, not a DLC boss or a 1/256 encounter, and if you're on the Neutral path, you've already beaten Lucifer and Merkabah. It's perfectly reasonable to go up against them and get a challenge on the Chaos path, however.
Bias Steamroller: While the game still got good scores in America, the game was often compared to the Persona series, with reviewers concluding that the story and characters are bland as a result.
Broken Base: Fans are split over a number of elements of the game, including:
The title being a 3DS game, instead of a PS3, 360 or even Vita one.
The redesign of the Archangels in particular is causing quite the severe break in the fanbase; some people love them for being bizarre, eldritch, otherworldy depictions of angels; others hate them for looking nothing like any other SMT design and being overdesigned.
Changes to classic Nintendo Hard elements of the franchise, such as now being able to save at any time (and certain elements of the game almost seeming to encourage doing so).
The fact that the Archangels are DLC battles instead of being in the main game earned some ire.
One of the bigger base breakers, though, is the change to the battle system involving the utter lack of any kind of defensive stat aside from element resistance, which means everybodyhits ludicrously hard now, especially compared to the slower pace of older games. On one hand, you're far more likely to be killed, even by lower leveled enemies. On the other hand, if you have a heavy offense, you can just as easily take down higher leveled enemies, which is good for grinding, and it's rare for a boss battle to take more than 10 turns.
To elaborate in detail:note In early SMT games, you'd generally hit for, at most, a few hundred damage if you struck an elemental weakness. More likely you'd be doing very low-3-digits or high-2-digits per attack; humans could do more damage a turn because of awesome multi-hit weapons, but the individual hits still tended to be fairly small. The only thing that could conceivably do 4-digit damage was Divine Judgment, which dealt percentage-based HP damage to even bosses but was absurdly expensive MP-wise and hurt your own dudes. In Nocturne, the Demi-fiend could hit for four-digits... but this required absurd amounts of grinding and maxing out the very best Magatamas. In SMT IV? A charged, pleorma-backed attack will routinely do 1000+ damage in the lategame on most demons. You don't even need special ones to accomplish this, just a demon with a good focus in the relevant stat. The problem: the HP totals haven't changed much. Fights that, in the past, would've taken ages now end in a few turns due to the ridiculous amounts of damage being chucked around. And yes, the enemies will hit this hard too if given half a chance. This is why getting ambushed can be so painful.
Some have also thought that the endings of this game are a little lackluster compared to other SMT games.
Disappointingly short endings are almost a series staple, so that's saying something.
The European release. Some are just glad it's finally getting a release, but there's also been some very vocal outcry as the release was delayed for over a year, is going to be English-only and will only be available via digital download, moreso than when news of the EU release remained quiet.
Sacrifice, while repetitive, plays only in intensely emotional moments.
The CD that came with early copies of the game is generally agreed to be average... except for Reincarnation, a mix of the game's various Cathedral of Shadows themes played live on a pipe organ.
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Like some of the other titles before hand, you can start to feel this about the factions heroes and the factions they represent. Fortunately for these people the Nothingness ending allows them to vent these feelings.
Demonic Spiders: Macabre. Despite his weedy appearance he hits like a semi and can cause poison with everyone's favorite move, Blight, and at the time you unlock Shinjuku, where you can find him in the wild, he's likely to be a higher level than you. At that point, a party of three of them getting the first strike is usually more than enough for a Game Over.
Despite the Broken Base about the charcter designs, there are some designs that people legitimately like. One example is Minotaur◊.
It helps that the Minotaur has an honorable personality as well.
YASO MAGATSUHI is starting to become a fan favorite due to being easily quotable. Add in his unique look (see Uncanny Valley below) and his sympathetic nature and suddenly he crosses over into Ugly Cute.
Game Breaker: Flynn himself, thanks to a combination of several factors.
First, Flynn is the only character whose status growth can be controlled by the player, which means he can reach a stupidly high attack power relatively early (especially combined with the game's lack of defensive stats).
Alternatively, you could put a lot of points into agility, which increases your evade rates. Considering that an enemy loses two turns if they miss you, it's a big deal.
Flynn can get skills through Demon Whispers and upgrade it, giving him absurd amounts of skill versatility, and this process did not take a lot of grinding to achieve.
Not to mention at max, damage skills do a additional 24 damage. That doesn't seem like much, but using multi-hit skills, maxing them out means you'll potentially do equal, or more damage than spells that hit hard only once.
Finally, with the App "MP Recovery", with a proper ability, he can and will destroy any kind of random encounters in one swoop, recovering MP before the next battle, allowing you to repeat this process, and saving your MP against Boss Battles. All you need to do now, is to build up Flyn's DEX or MAG, with some AGI to prevent surprise attacks, give him skills such as Blight, Javelin Rain, or the Megido line, and pair it with Charge or Concentrate, and call it a day.
Speaking of MP Recovery App, the final upgrade of this app allows you to apply its effect to the entire party. While it takes 150 App Points in total (MP Recovery 1, 2, and Party Recovery), having this App trivialized practically everything related to MP.
Which includes HP, since healing magic can be freely used in the field. With Party MP Recovery, the need for most healing items vanishes, making dungeon crawling much easier.
Additionally, it becomes much more feasible to spam instant death moves against enemy groups.
Much like in Persona 4, the app "Skill Augment" increases skill change probability to a reasonable chance, allowing you to use it to change early skills of decent rank into potentially game-breaking skills, with enough luck. Thanks to the ability to freely choose which skills and how many are inherited for your demons, breaking the game through this method is in fact much easier than how it could be done in Persona 4, with the bonus that you are no longer limited to a certain time frame, and with many more options available.
Guardian's Eye. At first glance it's Awesome but Impractical since only Masakado's Shadow can learn it, it can't be inherited, and he will never have enough MP to cast it more than once before needing a MP recovery item. But with the help of the Fusion Lite app, it's possible to create several Demons with Guardian's Eye and enough MP to cast it twice before needing a recharge.
Huang Long: Resistance to all 4 elements and nulls Light and Dark. At level 80 he gains Drain Phys. He also has Samarecarm (Revives from KO with full HP) and Victory Cry (Recover full HP/MP after battle) as default skills.
There are three DLC missions which are designed to make grinding easier: one for EXP, one for money, and one for App Points. They require you to go around East Shinjuku and hunt Mitamas to get the drops. Once you're strong enough for them, they make the game a lot easier. The EXP one in particular is this, being easier than the other two (recommended for Lower Naraku, unlike the other two which aren't recommended until Ikebukuro) and has as one of the drops the Heavy Grimoire, which is an instant level up.
StreetPassing with a white card can earn you some pretty nifty bonuses. Aside from your demon gaining stats and potentially learning new skills, they may bring back incredibly useful items if you StreetPass a lot of fellow players, including the aforementioned Grimoires and 10-Point Cards (which give you 10 App Points without the need to level up). Of course, this depends on being in an area heavy with fellow players, which is quite uncommon outside of Japan; your best bet is to conduct your StreetPasses at Fan Conventions.
Kannuki-Throw is already a very unbalanced skill —it hits from 1 to 15 times for Physical damage, and it's the Signature Skill of Uriel, a demon who has very high HP, extremely high natural Str and Dx, and a good propensity for Critical hits. But if you take some time to build him up, you can give him Phys and High Phys Pleroma (multiply natural Phys damage by 1.20 and 1.50), Charge + Dark Energy (increase damage of the next Physical attack by 150 and then by 200% respectively), Pierce Physical, and your pick of Beastly or Draconic Reaction (increases accuracy+evasion, therefore, number of hits), Speed or Haste Lesson (increase agility, ergo, accuracy), and Bloody Glee (increase Crit chance) and then drop an Archangel's Law on him for the Smirk multiplier (and, for overkill, a triple-stacked Tarukaja) and there is nothing in the game that can survive a 15-hit Kannuki-Throw doing over 2000 HP of damage per hit. Pair him up with a demon that knows Guardian's Eye, and, well, only a Fiend's Megidolaon spam can even be a threat to your party anymore.
Genius Bonus: Players versed in Chinese Mythology may be confused at the appearance of Xi Wangmu, a benevolent, though imposing, figure in most myths, as a villain. The depiction in the game is fairly accurate, however, to an earlier and more obscure pre-Taoist version of the goddess, who was a fearful death and disease deity. When taken into Taoism, she received some Adaptational Heroism and a near-opposite portfolio of attributes.
Barbatos is the demon who will give you the most money using the Fundraise app. In demonology, he is often linked with the Deadly Sin of greed.
Goddamned Boss: Omoikane is annoying to fight. He is fought pretty late in the game so at that point you can probably resist his light instant kill attacks and his other spells. What makes him annoying though is that whenever you get him to low health, his next turn he always uses a spell that heals all his HP. And he doesn't always do this at the point when his portrait flashes red so that means you have to gauge how much damage you're doing by yourself. Better hope your fire and force spell users, as well as attack buffers, are not weak to light.
Hell Is That Noise: It's an SMT game. There's sure to be plenty. Notable examples include the sound when you allow a demon your trying to recruit have the life of one of your demons. Flynn's cry upon death. And a few of the music tracks that play in Blasted Tokyo, such as the overworld theme.
Ancient of Days makes a horrible distorted chime noise when you fight it.
Iron Woobie: Flynn. His best friend turns into a demon and he's forced to Mercy Kill him, the fate of his parents is unknown, and of his three True Companions, two of them sacrifice themselves for their ideals, while the third one commits suicide in front of him in the Law and Chaos routes. And yet he soldiers on to complete the important task given to him at the end of the game. Of course, this is lessened somewhat by the Neutral route.
...on the other hand, said penalty sound becomes this if it was the enemy hitting immunities or missing attacks.
The demon's heart was swayed!
A boss demon exploding.
For those seeking certain rare demons: "I detect a very dangerous demon nearby..."
Burroughs herself provides plenty, thanks to her pleasant voice:
"Good morning, Master." "I'll register that as a new quest on the list." "That's a new quest!" "That's it! You have all you need now. Just go deliver it and you're done!" "Congratulations on completing the quest!"
Narm: Lucifer's appearance after fusing with Walter. It doesn't really say "greatest enemy of god" so much as Fashion-Victim Villain.
The voice acting in the game's beginning: "Wwwwwwwwwooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaa! Who are you...? State your name!"
Narm Charm: Pluto. Between the voice it has, its constant repetition and emphasis on the word "obliterate" it's ridiculous but at the same time resembles nothing so much as a fanatic Dalek.
Peallaidh. Whooooooaaaaaa... didja know? They can't clean him, bro! (Which sounds suspcisously similar to "Don't tase me, bro!".)
Nausea Fuel: In-universe at least, but Isabeau feels this way with the revelation that the Red pills are made from human brains.
For those not sufficiently disgusted by the above revelation, there's also the fact that in Infernal Tokyo, Demonoids do the same straight from the tap. It's lessened somewhat for some folks thanks to a surprising number of Neurishers liking their situation.
Nightmare Retardant: The demon's Domain in Harajuku is pretty creepy to explore, like other Domains, until you encounter the head honcho of the Domain: Demonee-Ho! (Unless you're underleveled enough that he beats you dead with the unblockable Desperate Hit.)
Upon entering an area that a boss lurks in: "Master, look out. I'm detecting a strong demon nearby."
If you're already in an area and then Burroughs warns you: "I'm detecting a strong demon ahead. Be careful." Two instances of this warning happen in areas that are dark and deserted (Blasted Shibuya and Blasted Ikebukuro).
Finally, depending on if you're actively seeking out the fiends: "I detect a very dangerous demon nearby. You should consider getting out of here." She's not kidding about the "very dangerous" part.
The White all take on forms of familiar beings: Hugo, K, Isabeau, and Issachar. It's jarring, especially when you fight them in the Monochrome Forest.
After finishing the Monochrome Forest, whatever your choice was. If you have a good ear, you can briefly hear how Jonathan's voice is distorted into Merkabah's after his fusion with the Archangels. It's just an instant as Merkabah grunts as he awakens, but it's there.
The boss fight with Isabeau during your final trip to Camp Ichigaya. The game seems to be designed to make you feel as horrible as possible.
In the Law path, when destroying Lucifer's second form, you hear his voice break down into Walter's, wearily moaning that, as the strongest, maybe you were in the right all along. In Chaos, it's Merkabah's second form's voice that breaks down into Jonathan's, desperately asking what is it that you want.
Pyrrhic Victory: Congratulations! You have sided with the White and will now destroy the universe to nothingness. Sure you put an end to God and his plan, and all you had to do was lose it all. Hope, love, and all that other good stuff? Gone. It kinda doesn't help that you're killing Isabeau as well. What was that about being saved and free huh?
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: An odd example in that it's a song that got rescued. The second game's Law theme is considered to be the weakest in the franchise, but its epic Boss Remix used for the Archangels has redeemed it in fans' eyes.
A lack of an actual stat for defense means buffs and resistances are more important, but also means you can get nearly wiped from one unlucky ambush. And considering that a lot of bosses and unique horde encounters will be doing that quite often, well...
The fact that you have to carefully juggle your Karma Meter if you want the Neutral ending has gained some dislike, due to how easy it is to accidentally make yourself Lawful/Chaotic, as well as how, from a story standpoint, juggling your choices to stay Neutral makes no sense. Without knowing it, you can find yourself fighting Isabeau. You can't save scum easily, as you only have two save slots, and on top of that, the only way to determine your current alignment is through the "Cynical Man" present at Hunter's Association facilities throughout Tokyo, and he is not available for a significant chunk of the game that takes place right before alignment lock.
The world map. Unlike other SMT maps of Tokyo, which were simple enough to travel between streets. The map in this game is very detailed and complicated. Not only that, but the map for the most part is very dark with very few discernible buildings. Many of the streets are blocked off by rubble and streets that from a certain perspective looks like you can transverse them but due to how dark it is, it's easy enough to mistake an overpass for a street you can go across. Not only that but many of the districts are only accessed by boats or subways, the former, which has this annoying Hunter who charges you to go across while chuckling while the latter is usually guarded by a thug which you need to go progress to a certain point to the story to progress, which doesn't always make it clear where that subway leads to, making it very easy to forget to come back to the subway later.
The red mist that randomly begins snaring you in place starting around Shinjuku. Not only does it render you unable to land a first strike, it often causes the enemy to get it. Compounded with the issue with the nonexistent defense stat explained above, you may be jumped on and possibly wiped through no fault of your own.
The encounter rate of the Fiends; not only do they appear in very specific spots, but they only have a 1/256 chance of even spawning. If they do not appear, you have to exit the area and come back and try and see if they appear. Needless to say, it can take some players days or even weeks to get even one Fiend to spawn. Fiends are extremely hard bosses, much harder than the Final Boss, and if you get beaten to a bloody pulp, you have to get them to reappear again which can take hundreds more attempts.
Blight does a surprising amount of damage for a "weak" physical attack, on top of inflicing poison. A lot of early-game enemy demons will have it. As such, bringing double-digit Dis-Poisons and Detox Solutions, as well as one or two demons with Posumdi, is never a bad idea.
Pandemic Bomb is a favorite of many enemies, including the boss of the "Rebirth of the Great Overlord" quest, Beelzebub. It inflicts Sick status on the entire party, which halves attack power, and can spread to other party members. Sick status also leaves the victim open to Death's Door, an attack that reduces those under Sick status to 1 HP, and yes, Beelzebub will happily abuse this.
Kenji's Ancient Curse, which puts five different status effects on the party, including Bind and Poison.
It seems that each of the DLC bosses has been given at least one of these, just to add to their frustration factor:
Gabriel's Lamentation, which is basically Ancient Curse 2.0. It inflicts the same status effects as the above, in addition to Brand, which prevents HP/MP from recovering. Brand can't be removed manually.
Ancient of Days' Damnation/Stigmatic Gleam combo. Heavy-hitting almighty damage with high chance of inflicting Poison and Brand, respectively. Nothing more annoying than constantly losing health and not being able to heal yourself at all.
Sanat's Gaea Rage, which not only deals some heavy damage, it has a high chance of inflicting the Lost status on your demons. Lost demons are out for the rest of the fight, but since they don't count as "dead", you can't bring them back at all. And he loves to spam that attack, especially when he can't use any of his other attacks (read:when one of your demons has Phys/Gun reflect). Be prepared to lose your entire team in a few rounds and have to fight him with Flynn alone.
And from the last DLC battle, we have Masakado's "Curse Thy Enemy" and "Guardian's Eye". The former is an almighty attack that hits hard, always hits as a weakness (thus giving him a free Press Turn), and more often than not makes him Smirk. Coupled with Concentrate, it makes for a very frustrating One Turn Kill. "Guardian's Eye", which he'll almost always use once he has around 1/2 HP left, gives him three extra Press Turns. For free. That's a grand total of eight Press Turns per round for him. Enjoy the oncoming onslaught.
That One Boss: Kenji, even if you reflect his attacks. He has Fire, Physical, Darkness and almighty skills. While the first three can easily be turned on the boss with Tetrakarn/Makarakarn, Megido bypasses Makarakarn. Worse yet, the boss is fond of using the latter multiple times a turn. He is also fond of casting Ancient Curse, which inflicts your entire party with all five major status effects, two of which prevent you from moving at all until they both wear off. And if that is not enough, towards the end of the battle, he will attempt to play dead and trick you into grabbing the remote that you are after; taking the bait will deal you massive damage. It's also the last boss before the player's alignment is set, so If you messed up the choices that happen afterward, you'll have to beat him again.
On that last point, that can be avoided by refusing to press the button, and then leaving the room to save before THEN pressing the button.
With regards to his remote bait, astute players will notice that the choice happens while the battle interface and music are still up, and that he has not yet done the "burst into red cracks and then explode" animation that all previous bosses have done upon defeat.
That One Level: Surprisingly, the dungeons are by far the most straightforward and simplest in the mainline Shin Megami Tensei games—series-traditional exploration hazards such as poison floors and one-way doors are few and far in between, difficult mazes are rare outside of demon Domains (and even those aren't quite brutal to navigate; just follow the wall follower rule) and the traditional final-dungeon invisible wall room does not exist. That said, a few areas stand out:
Pluto Castle, if only because it's one of the longest dungeons in the game not counting the final dungeons. Expect to rely on Level Up Fill Up if you haven't been able to stock up on Chakra items and don't have Party MP Recovery.
Monochrome Forest requires you to go through a five-section forest with teleports to hunt down four different bosses. If you're not keeping track of where you're going, you will probably go mad from seeing "Monochrome Forest - Open Space" over and over.
The final dungeon of the Chaos route and penultimate dungeon of the Neutral route, Purgatorium, has two sections with transporters that flip you upside down to the next Crown (floor) and vice versa. When upside down, the camera rights itself but your map doesn't, so walking left makes the map scroll right, and vice versa. It's easy to enter the wrong transporter if you aren't paying attention. Also, you can't talk to any demons here, save for whatever the Terminal Guardian throws at you, so you can't recruit them or Negotiate your way out of battle.
The VR training battles can be a huge pain in the ass, being a major example of Trial-and-Error Gameplay. Fortunately, they are not needed to complete the Neutral path.
Getting into the members-only area of Ginza requires you to expend a large sum of Macca on a Chain of Deals: 55,000 Macca to get through two of the gates, 5,000 Macca to get a Gold Card (which the offering Hunter doubles to 10,000 if you try to accept), and 100,000 Macca to buy the Silver Coin needed to get the Black Card which will then let into the area. And that's just the beginning of your spendings: The shops sell awesome yet exceptionally expensive items and equipment, which get even more expensive if you're playing on Master difficulty. Did you want the Demonica armor on Master? Time to grind for 2.6 million Macca!
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: In spite of the above, this time around Mastema is far more even-handed than his Strange Journey incarnation, and is actually supportive of humanity deciding its own fate (which he believes to be the Lord's ultimate plan.) He even rationalizes Tayama's Reds as a manifestation of this stance. He bitterly resents the Archangels interfering with the newly-founded Eastern Kingdom of Mikado, let alone trying to rule it, and puts up a Challenge Quest to defeat them before they can destroy Tokyo. In the Neutral path, if you visit him at the very end of the game, he praises you for defeating both the demons and the angels, and for restoring Tokyo to its people... all while being pleased that the doubts and uncertainty about the future will surely lead to the people seeking out God on their own.
Hugo is widely despised by everyone both in and out of universe, regardless of alignment.
Take That, Scrappy!: Albeit most likely unintentional but one of the forms The White takes is of Hugo, which means you can figuratively beat him up.
The most likable thing about Navarre is his voice actor; everyone hates his character, even in-universe. Alraune even calls him out for begging the heroes to save him from her despite trying to get them killed.
The Hunters that ask you to pay them Macca to cross rivers, all while chuckling smugly.
The Mafia-like weapon shop keepers in Tokyo are also really annoying. All of their dialogue is condescending in some way, and since the majority of the game takes place in Tokyo, you will be seeing these guys a lot.
Despite that, you may feel pity for him because, just like the other National Defense Divinities, he doesn't like the boss he works under, or what the person in question is making him do, a fact which he manages to make clear to you only through the game's description of his facial expressions if you fight him.
Merkabah's first form, the second one is more straight up Body Horror.
Lucifer's forms as well. The first while having silly looking clothing, is still disturbing due to the alien-looking eyes. The second form is worse, with completely lacking eyes and having a fetus-like growth on the left arm, which is implied to be Walter after fusing with Lucifer.
Villain Has a Point: Averted in-universe, when Tayama reveals how Reds are created, every named character who learns of it treats it as an act of pure evil, even though there is evidence around Tokyo that demons have quelled their bloodthirsty nature because of them. However if you decide to go to the Reverse Hills Building at the end game you learn that the increased flood of demons has forced the Ashura-Kai to hasten production of Reds, implying that the whole operation is falling apart.