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This epic is not sweet.

"Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today"
Lyrics to Imagine
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Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse (Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final in Japan) is a Post-Apocalyptic Urban Fantasy RPG in the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, developed by Atlus for the Nintendo 3DS. As the title implies, it is a direct sequel to Shin Megami Tensei IV, and begins at what is considered the endgame for the neutral route of that game.

The year is 2038, 25 years after a war between gods and men left the world in ruins. In the last days of the war, the city of Tokyo, Japan was covered by a massive stone barrier, becoming a sunless shadow land where people kill each other for what little remains, and angels and demons rule over the surviving humans as apex predators.

You play as the 15 year-old "Hunter" in Tokyo named Nanashi, who soon after the game starts is killed by a demon. Lost in the abyss between this world and the next, Nanashi is approached by a fallen deity named Dagda, who offers to return the young hunter to the land of the living. In return, Nanashi becomes Dagda's "Godslayer", a living weapon with the ability to summon and control other demons. Nanashi must now destroy the forces of Lucifer, Merkabah, and the newly arrived cabal of Old Gods led by Krishna, before their three-way war decimates what remains of mankind.

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Multiple mechanics from Shin Megami Tensei IV have been updated based on player feedback. Support partners can now be selected by the player, level up like demons, and have unique specialties like recovery, attack, and support. Demons now have skill/magic specialties as well: using a skill they specialize in gives bonuses like increased damage or lower MP cost. Multiple skills now have additional affects when used during Smirk status. For example, Light and Dark skills now inflict damage and can be used against bosses, but their instant death effect only activates during Smirk. Furthermore, demon negotiations have also been revamped to be more forgiving.

Lead programmer of Digital Devil Saga, Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne and Shin Megami Tensei IV, Satoshi Oyama serves as director, with Masayuki Doi again working as the character designer. The game was released in Japan on February 10, 2016, and on September 20, 2016 in North America. The European release is set for December 2, 2016.

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Previews: Trailer 1, Tokyo collapse animation, Trailer 2, Localization Announcement Trailer, English Story Trailer

Warning: Spoilers from Shin Megami Tensei IV, especially its Neutral route, will not be marked. Please tread carefully.


The game provides examples of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: One of the available pieces of DLC raises the level cap from 99 to 999. However, leveling up past 99 will only get you 2 stat points as opposed to the usual 5 and no App points at all. Demons levelled past this point will also not receive additional stat points from apps. However, the only part of the game where triple-digit level is absolutely necessary is Twisted Tokyo, which can be repeated up to nine times to raise the Fiends' levels all the way to the 900's.
  • Adult Fear: At the beginning of the game, the underage Nanashi is killed less than fifty feet away from the gates of his hometown.
  • After the End: The story begins again in Tokyo years after the majority of the world was burned in nuclear fire.
  • Alternate Timeline:
    • Rather than taking place after one of the endings of SMT IV, Apocalypse takes place in a new alternate scenario set during the original game's Neutral Route endgame. According to the free DLC that goes into bits about the backstory, Nanashi choosing the contract with Dagda or rather, Dagda finding Akira's reborn soul, on a situation begging for a Catch-22 Dilemma to his favor is what branches it off from IV's Neutral route.
    • The Twisted Tokyo Brutal Bonus Level is basically a Tokyo where, in spite of the demon invasion, no Messiah ever showed up, and as a result the entire metro was conquered by demons.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Gods and demons are incarnations of the Axiom given physical form from nature by Observation. YHVH's Covenant curtailed human observation and distorts their physical forms, including splitting several concepts into different gods, such as Odin and Dagda and Danu and Inanna.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Various features have been updated based on player feedback on SMTIV.
    • There are now 5 save files instead of 2. Physical copies have one file on the game card and four on the SD card, while digital versions have all five on the SD card.
    • New Challenge Quests are automatically added to the list as you progress through the game, rather than having to visit each individual Association bar and checking the request board. They are also constantly active until resolved, so you can complete them in parallel with the main quests.
    • Whenever the party is completely wiped, Dagda revives Nanashi for free, in stark contrast to Flynn having to bribe Charon with Macca or Play Coins. Justified as Dagda is personally responsible for Nanashi's new life as his Godslayer and will willingly revive him as many times as needed in order see his plans come to fruition.
    • Recruiting demons has been made slightly easier. Abandoned negotiations can be picked up right where they're left off. Demons are also more willing to be recruited if you had previously registered them (including on new cycles).
    • The alignment system has been reworked, allowing players to pick their ending by simply answering obvious questions. There are penalties imposed if a player's actions over the course of the game don't match with their final alignment choice, but it's possible (and fairly easy) to avoid the penalty by simply alternating between Jerk Ass and Nice Guy answers over the course of the game.
    • The overworld map has been made easier to navigate and read, along with annotations showing where you are and what the key locations are.
    • A red flag icon on the map screen helps the player determine their next destination to advance the plot.
    • Area maps now show where rooms containing dialogue-only NPCs are, via a speech bubble icon. It even dims the icon whenever you get all the dialogue and brightens it up again when there's new dialogue.
    • You can now select between different battle partners, instead of it being chosen at random from the cast traveling with you. Partners will also never attack a boss blindly and/or repeatedly use attacks that a boss is immune to, and if they have the ability to heal, they'll prioritize healing the most injured party member.
    • It's now possible to rearrange the skills of both yourself and your demons. The only time this was possible for your demons in SMTIV was when you fused them. Flynn's skills couldn't be rearranged through normal means at all.
    • You can now fuse demons by selecting them from your stock. In SMTIV you had to use the roundabout search function every time, special fusions excluded.
    • Levels usually feature ladders to climb, holes to crawl through, etc. In SMTIV, you had to approach these and select the direction you wanted to go with the D-pad before you could interact with them. Apocalypse does away with that pointless extra step and makes them directly interactable. Pleasantly, the D-pad method still works as well in case muscle memory kicks in.
    • If you choose not to learn your Awakened Power, you'll get an infinite-use item that can teach it at a later time. You'll also get said item if you overwrite that skill. This is the only skill across both games that have these properties.
  • Anti-Villain: Zhong Kui of the Divine Powers, who views them as truly a righteous cause. He's also one of the lesser members who doesn't do anything bad and takes his defeat gracefully and respecting those he underestimated.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Godslayer" gets mentioned frequently throughout the story, it being the player's intended role in Dagda's master plan. Flynn is also dubbed as one by the Divine Powers, Merkabah, and Lucifer, each of whom are trying to make Flynn into one for their side.
    • The word "puppet" is also frequently used, in reference to more than one character. Most of the playable cast are people shouldering very weighty obligations from their superiors, which they largely resent.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: The "pierce" modifier, bestowed by certain passives, skills or conditions, turns the relevant attacks into these. Unlike instances of pierce in previous games, piercing attacks in this game ignore all types of resistances, including reflecting shields.
  • Art Shift: Many SMT IV monster designs that were created by guest artists have been completely redrawn by Masayuki Doi in his own style, similar to what he did for the cover art of the original SMT IV.
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • Several bosses react badly to reflecting shields, usually by unleashing Almighty attacks that bypass them. For instance, once Hagen has prepared Critical Eye (which telegraphs a physical attack), if the player uses Tetrakarn or raises an Attack Mirror, he will debuff the party with War Cry non-stop until the player yields.note 
    • Various forms of Artificial Stupidity present in battle partners in IV are absent. Battle partners will focus on attacks they know will not hit an immunity, and on the off chance that they cannot act without hitting one, they can opt to wait. This is most visible with Navarre, as he makes sure that when he uses an attack item from your inventory it will hardly be wasted.
  • Artificial Stupidity: That said, your party members can still make rather baffling choices in the most inopportune moments.
    • For example, take Hallelujah with you into the fight with David and he'll cast Warding Shout in his first round, which is what you want against a boss whose main tool to screw you over is ailments. After this, however, he'll proceed to spam Megidolaon despite David being fond of using Haunting Rhapsody and Dormina, which effectively means that afflicted party members are pretty much useless for at least one turn, if not more.
    • It's best not to use Navarre if you're saving up your attack stones, as he may use them to exploit known enemy weaknesses even if you're low on stones and the enemy is weak enough that you can safely finish them off with your own attacks.
    • Gaston will sometimes jump in and steal your Press Turns to attack. Which is usually benign at best, but he may also attack enemies who nullify (or worse, drain or repel) physical attacks, and since he's attacking with your Press Turns, you take the turn penalty. Thankfully losing Press Turns to his blocked attacks becomes a non-issue after he gets Gungnir and thus will always inflict full damage, but he may still miss, especially if he uses Gungnir Sever which is a Powerful, but Inaccurate attack. Making matters worse, he received a storyline power up right before a critical boss fight and you're given the option to switch from your current partner to Gaston, and due to the boss's immunities and resistances, taking that option means you're almost certainly going to need to reload your most recent save.
    • Barring immunities, Toki will always use Assassin's Nala if an enemy is struck with an status ailment... even if that enemy resists Physical, or if that enemy is afflicted by ailments that already makes him a non-threat. It's pretty annoying to see Toki avoid using Pierce Armor, which would pierce resistances, deal around 150 damage and debuff Defense to use Assassin's Nala... and deal 100-ish damage.
  • Ascended Extra: Multiple minor characters from Shin Megami Tensei IV take on major roles in Apocalypse.
    • The Player Character, Nanashi, is the reincarnation of Akira / Aquila, an unseen character in IV who you only hear about in the backstory of the main universe, and whose counterparts serve as Quest Givers in the Alternate Timelines you visit.
    • Dagda, who got one mention in a Side Quest in IV, becomes your Mission Control and a major driver of the plot in Apocalypse.
    • Nozomi, a hunter who had a minor Side Quest line in SMT IV, is one of your support party members that plays a role in the story throughout Apocalypse.
    • Navarre, an Advertised Extra, also gets to actually become a support party member and have a role through the entire story.
    • Odin was a minor part of a Side Quest in IV. Here, he's one of Krishna's Co-Dragons.
    • Danu, a character mentioned in Nozomi's side quest line back in IV, takes a role in the main plot as Nozomi's advisor and Dagda's mother.
  • Assimilation Plot: Krishna desires this. He reveals this near the end: "By becoming one with me, the souls will be free of the cycle of reincarnation. Humanity will be saved by joining a great singularity."
  • Audience Shift: The series typically targets people in their very late teens to those in adulthood with its philosophical themes, Grey and Gray Morality and somewhat older cast than whats usual for the genre. This game sticks out from the series by targeting a younger audience in their early to mid teens with simpler themes, more defined morality and a younger cast.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Due to the changes of the Smirk mechanic, many of the "high crit, low hit" skills become this. Due to Smirk now allowing the next attack to have a 100% hit and crit rate, there is very little reason to dedicate a skill slot to such an attack when any other attack — especially skills of their tier without the drawback — has roughly the same effect.
    • Both -karn spells and their respective item equivalents, the Attack Mirror and Magic Mirror, became even more of this trope. In the earliest parts of the game where you can access them, their MP costs are so high that you're forced to use them sparingly or have some support affinity to make them reasonably costed. Toward the endgame or the postgame, bosses will instead opt to bypass this with Almighty skills, remove their effects, pierce through them, or spam buffs and debuffs until you yield.
  • Back for the Finale: Should Nanashi get the Bonds route, Satan splits and reverts into Jonathan and Walter for the final battle.
  • Background Music Override: In wards that are under attack by Shesha, the overground "B"-type music will override whatever music normally plays in the area, similar to how it plays in Ikebukuro in SMTIV when the place is under attack by Xi Wangmu.
  • Badass Boast: Dagda delivers one on Nanashi's behalf near the conclusion of the game's second arc.
    Dagda:"What, your balls drop off, demon king? My Godslayer will kill every last god and demon out there."
  • Balance Buff:
    • Strength got rescued from its Dump Stat status due to Physical skills now using Strength as the defining stat instead of Dexterity.
    • Pierce has been upgrated to bypass reflection. This means your demons that can pierce with their moves can now spam said moves all day every day without fear of being Hoist by Their Own Petard.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: Camp Ichigaya, which is on fire while the angels, demons, and humans use it as their battleground against each other.
  • Beach Episode: The "Trip to Hawaii" DLC has the demon Mephistopheles transport Nanashi to an illusory version of Hawaii, where he can enjoy himself until he's satisfied, at which point he'll have to fight Mephistopheles himself.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Krishna on one side and Merkabah and Lucifer on the other. Merkabah and Lucifer are actually Satan, and the villain of the final arc is YHVH.
  • Black and White Morality: In a departure from series tradition, the game is heavy on portraying the human side as good while Law, Chaos, and the Divine Powers are portrayed as evil, with the only genuine criticism towards the human side coming from the mouth of the really dark grey Dagda and the ghost of Defense Minister Tamagami, who kickstarted the events of IV with his goal of making Japan the number one world superpower.
  • Bonus Boss:
    • Once again, a couple of Challenge Quest bosses are more notable and powerful than the others. This time, it's the last bosses of the two main sidequest chains: Mara for Maruo's chain and Izanami for Hiroshi's.
    • The Fiends, specifically David, Matador, and the Revelation Fiends, are found in a Bonus Dungeon in the Bay Area. Unlike in the previous game they're fixed encounters, but each one must be beaten in at most ten turns or else Nanashi will be immediately ejected from the dungeon. It's not possible to escape from the Mooks in the dungeon, and their immunities and attack data is hidden (even if you have the exact same demon in your active party), forcing you to rely on memory. Beating the En No Ozuno DLC has them all continue to return stronger than before.
    • The DLC features Mephisto, Cleopatra, a demonic Hope, Hugo, and Mikado citizens, and finally all of the numbered series protagonists teaming up to fight Stephen.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • A big change from vanilla IV is demons now possessing affinities for certain movesets — a positive affinity will mean stronger attacks, a higher crit chance, a boost in healing (for lower-level healing spells), and, above all else, a reduced MP cost. A negative affinity, meanwhile, has the opposite effect, including a higher MP cost. Save for a few select demons and the protagonist himself, most demons will be relegated to one or two functions (e.g., healing and Zan spells), but higher affinities make them far more effective for their given roles.
    • Navarre's main specialty as a partner is giving the party free buffs. Due to the higher MP cost of everything overall in this game, this makes him extremely useful in the early game, as MP is low, MP items are scarce, and one buff spell alone can run 20 MP. His usefulness drops a little later on, but he can make up for it by learning Doping (increases maximum HP for one battle and/or until the boss removes the buff) and Debilitate. To add to this, he attacks by using your items, and his A.I is smart enough to use whatever elemental stone your foes are weak against.
    • Hallelujah has no real offensive capabilities until his demonic awakening, but his three supportive spells are excellent in a pinch: Enduring Cheer for ensuring survival, Warding Cheer for blocking all status ailments (a boon for demons who might be vulnerable to them), and a passive that prevents your demons from getting blown away from your stock by Zan spells.
  • Boss Bonanza:
    • Dispelling the Tokugawa Mandala involves defeating 5 separate bosses in any order you wish. At the defeat of the fifth, the game then thrusts you into a fight with Inanna followed by Maitreya with no means of healing up in between, barring Level Up Fill Up.
    • Rescuing Flynn involves fighting Krishna, then battling through several fixed encounters with slightly challenging enemies, and it culminates in battling a squad of 5 Gaeans and topped with settling the score with Adrammelech.
    • In either Neutral route, you end up fighting Merkabah, immediately followed by Lucifer.
    • Choosing the Massacre route has you fight through all your battle partners — first Nozomi and Navarre, followed by Hallelujah, Isabeau, Gaston and Toki. Fortunately, the second wave comes as "reinforcements" so your buffs are maintained.
    • The last three dungeons have more traditional versions with regular gameplay in between — Camp Ichigaya and Lucifer's Palace has Belial, Lucifuge, Samyaza, and the aforementioned Merkabah and Lucifer fights. The Cosmic Egg starts with a fight against Odin, then fights with Baal, Apsu, Seth, Inanna, Mitra-Buddha, either Dagda or the partners, and finally Vishnu-Flynn. YHVH's Universe has Beelzebub and Lucifuge, Lucifer, Azrael and Aniel, Merkabah, Metatron and a Horde of him, Satan, and YHVH.
    • The "Explosive Epidemic in Mikado" DLC has the player fight through many waves of enemies without a chance to rest in between, while also on a time limit.
  • Boss Remix:
    • The boss music for the leaders of the Divine Powers is a remix of their cutscene theme.
    • YHVH's battle theme is a remix of numerous battle themes from both games.
    • Inverted with YHVH's Universe, a remix of the Major Boss theme from II.
  • Boss Warning Siren:
    • Like in SMTIV, the game alerts you if a boss enemy lies up ahead. However, unlike in IV, you don't have anyone inform you; instead, the game narrates something along the lines of "you feel the presence of a strong demon ahead."
    • The Shesha Radar goes off if it detects that Shesha has returned, and notifies you of its location accordingly. It plays increasingly urgent sirens the closer you get to Shesha.
  • Both Order and Chaos Are Dangerous: Unlike in other games where Law and Chaos are seen as valid choices, this game goes out of its way to paint both of these sides in a negative light, with many characters pointing out that Merkabah and Lucifer don't have humanity's best interests at heart. Downplayed, in that Krishna points out that order and chaos aren't inherently bad so much as the way YHVH set up the whole conflict.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: By the time the player earns the Fiends' unique equipment, given their low drop rate, they are already so strong that there isn't much left worth using on, not even Stephen. This can be minimized if the player is lucky enough (or has been Save Scumming enough) to get them at the earliest possible opportunity.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • On the Massacre route, the two partners that Dagda provides you with — Flynn and a single past partner of your choice — are both subservient beings who will aid you in destroying all of humanity and creating a new universe. It doesn't matter if they were Flynn's close friend (Isabeau), sided with a deity who is decidedly against Dagda's plans (Nozomi), or stole your items earlier for being a horrible omnicidal bastard (Navarre), they will serve you without question.
    • On the Bonds route the new Dagda is also this, being a new Dagda who has been observed into existence and becomes subservient to his mother and Nanashi. He becomes solely focused on helping his mother and her wishes. As with the partners they all are suggested to also suffer from implied More Than Mind Control, retaining most aspects of their personality with only a part of it replaced.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • The "A Godslayer Needs..." series of DLC quests transport the player to Tir Na Nog, the Land of Youth, of Celtic myth, where the enemies can drop special items that either grant the party large amounts of experience, sell for large amounts of Macca, give free stat points or app points.
    • The exception to the above pattern, "A Godslayer Needs Demons", instead allows the player to purchase specialized demons that come pre-fused with great skills, even certain Famed, Undead, or Zealot demons.note  These demons also come with passives not available until the lategame or until certain DLC episodes were released, allowing player such to pass around some of the best passive skills incredibly early.
  • Brick Joke: With Krishna going on about his salvation, it's only appropriate that one of the skills he learns in his fusable form is Salvation. This also applies to his form that appears in the Demon Market of "A Godslayer Needs Demons", as Salvation is one of his skills.
  • Broken Aesop:
    • One of the game's central themes is the power of bonds and how deeply they can run, however should Nanashi make a choice that goes against what the others think is right, they will immediately turn their blades on him without a moment's hesitation fully intent on killing him where he stands. It is made all the more noticeable by some of them stating that they would support him no matter what he chose only to then attack him moments later. It makes it rather dissonant overall, even if their reasons (not wanting to become an accomplice to an Omnicidal Maniac) are understandable. Mostly in the case of being too Dark aligned (an asshole) has them reveal they never liked you, while they are filled with despair over the fact they have to fight you over different beliefs with Light aligned (nice) answers.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Near the end of the game, Nanashi can enter a Domain based on Tokyo from an alternate timeline where it was overrun by the Fiends. There's no fleeing, enemies are brutal, and the Fiends all have a turn limit that can result in ejection from the dungeon. DLC allows the expansion of this dungeon and a fight against En no Ozuno at the end, which will then allow the player to go through Twisted Tokyo again, with all the Fiends respawning and every enemy souped up.
  • The Bus Came Back: Lucifer, Merkabah, Medusa, Navarre and several other characters from SMT IV are back, despite being sidelined or killed in the previous game. Justified in the case of Lucifer and Merkabah, since the events of Apocalypse take place during the endgame portion of SMT IV. The announcement stream revealed that the polytheistic gods revived Medusa and brought her into their ranks.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • The most prominent example happens at the Ark, when Asahi starts having doubts about unsealing whatever is sealed inside, despite Odin's urgings. If Nanashi decides it's not a good idea to unseal the Ark, Dagda takes over his body temporarily to force him to unseal it. This leads to Krishna being freed, setting the main plot of the game into motion.
    • Most choices in the game come off as this, with the only thing being affected is your closeness with your allies which also determines what else happens when you pick between Bonds or Massacre. Justified for some situations where Dagda forces you to obey him.
    • Averted in one of the first choices in the game: Refuse Dagda's offer to revive you enough times and you get a Non-Standard Game Over.
  • Came Back Strong:
    • Nanashi is killed at the beginning of the game, but makes a contract in the underworld with Dagda.
    • If you kill all of the Fiends, including En no Ozuno via DLC, then they'll all respawn with a massive level jump, up until En no Ozuno is at Level 999.
  • Call-Back:
    • The party ascends the Sky Tower and fights Medusa again, revived by the Divine Powers. The fight reuses previous game's boss theme, and the Boss Banter during the fight is also largely similar, including the Schmuck Bait dialogue choice. She even loses her shit over being humiliated in the exact same way as last time.
    • If you take a nap at Lake Mikado, you get to hear Issachar's speech from the beginning of IV in a dream. He then appears as an invisible ghost and gives you a fish hook so you can give it to Flynn.
  • The Cameo: A few characters from IV, particularly those from Mikado who weren't that important, make brief appearances:
    • Hugo appears in a scene before the Azrael fight, and Hope can be seen with some Samurai at certain points before introducing himself to you properly. The Explosive Epidemic in Mikado DLC makes Hope a miniboss and Hugo a full fledged Bonus Boss who has become one with YHVH's Universe.
    • Taking a nap at Lake Mikado results in reliving the first moments of IV, with Issachar's speech and all. Upon waking up, his ghost gives you a fish hook and tells you to give it to Flynn.
  • Character Shilling: The game really wants to hammer in the point that everyone sees Flynn as a super awesome messiah that will be the savior of Tokyo with almost all of the NPCs bringing it up, especially in the early-game, as he is the incarnation of hope itself. Justified as at that point in the original game, where Apocalypse begins, he has filled the Chalice with the hopes of the people of Tokyo to aid in Masakado's resurrection. Deconstructed - this is exactly why the Divine Powers chose him to be Kalki, and later replace him with Shesha to manipulate the Hunters into destroying the Monotheist factions.
  • Checkpoint Bluff: At one point the squad has to infiltrate Mikado, and they have to disguise as samurai in order to do it. The angels completely fall for it.
  • Chekhov's Gun: King Frost takes over the Fairy Forest's spring so that he can control the area and have the residents search for a treasure under his command. The player defeats him without learning too much about the treasure other than the Divine Powers ordering it to be taken. Turns out the treasure is the Ame-no-Habakiri, the Achilles' Heel of Shesha, the Divine Powers' trump card.
  • Chekhov's Skill: When the Tokugawa Mandala goes up, preventing the Demon Summoning Program from activating, it turns out that Nanashi doesn't need the Demon Summoning Program to summon demons. Later, when the party is arrested in Mikado and stripped of all weapons and phones, he breaks everyone out of prison by summoning demons.
  • Color Motif: Just as the previous game, the protagonists are all associated with a particular color. It's more obvious this time because the characters wear their colors on all their clothes instead of just their scarfs.
    • Nanashi, Navarre, Dagda, and Lucifer's forces are associated with Green.
    • Asahi, Flynn, and the Divine Powers are associated with Blue.
    • Nozomi, Danu, and Merkabah are associated with Red.
    • Gaston is associated with white.
    • Hallelujah and his demon partner Chironnupu are associated with yellow. Lucifer's forces are also represented by yellow to a lesser extent.
    • Toki is associated with Purple.
  • Combination Attack: The final dungeon of the neutral routes lets you perform one with Guest-Star Party Member Flynn if they're not busy fighting someone else and you have Smirk status. It costs 30 MP and inflicts massive Almighty damage to all enemies.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • There are three bosses who break the initial level cap: Final Boss YHVH at 100, Bonus Boss En no Ozuno also at 100, and the apparent Ultimate Boss Stephen at 128. Satan, while Level 99 when fought, is Level 120 in your party, inverting the trope.
    • The game usually plays fair regarding Smirk - Both you and the enemy can remove it using Magaon or inflicting ailments on smirking combatants. A few exceptions exist, though - some enemies can smirk with Smile Charge even while they're afflicted with an ailment, when you generally aren't allowed to use that skill if ailing.
  • Continuing Is Painful:
    • For all the praises the game get for not being as hard as the predecessor, the final battle in the Ichigaya Reactor stands as a hair-splitting example, for those attempting to get one of the two neutral endings. You have to fight the previous game's final bosses, Merkabah and Lucifer, back to back, with no chance to recover in between their fights. Should you defeat Merkabah but get killed by Lucifer, you'll be brought back and so will Merkabah, though the consumables you probably used during their battle will not. Hope you weren't needing those Great Chakras and Balms of Rising too much!
    • Many non-New Game+ playthroughs planning to get the Bonds or Anarchy endings got thwarted right there, because choosing the Law or Chaos ending cuts one of those fights and ends the game earlier, giving the player another playthrough to grind for this battle.
  • Continuity Nod: The Tokugawa Mandala shuts down all use of the Demon Summoning Program, and unexpectedly shuts down all the Terminals as well. In Shin Megami Tensei I, the Demon Summoning Program was improvised off of the Terminal technology.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Downplayed in that bosses are no longer immune to Light or Dark spells by default, but this is because they now do regular damage alongside the other seven attack elements. Bosses are still immune to the One-Hit Kill effects of a Smirk-empowered Light or Dark spell, however.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Flynn was a Samurai with a Hime Cut from Mikado, while this game's protagonist is a Tokyoite hunter with Delinquent Hair.
    • While both are stated to be reincarnations of humans from the past, there's some nice contrast between them. Flynn's past life saved Tokyo by creating the Firmament, but Flynn was reincarnated into Miakdo. Nanashi's past life, meanwhile, founded Mikado, but his current life began in Tokyo.
  • Crossdresser:
    • There's a male crossdresser as a minor NPC in Shinjuku.
    • Nanashi himself can become this by purchasing one of the lolita outfits from the members-only store in Ginza.
  • Cutting Off the Branches:
    • To a certain extent. In this game it's explained that Flynn killed Yuriko, meaning he sided with Jonathan at the first route split, and Navarre's presence means that he was saved from the angels, and the Neutral choice is canon because, among other things, Isabeau is still alive. Medusa's dialogue also indicates that he wasn't stupid enough to fall for her I Surrender, Suckers. However this games veers off from the Neutral ending because your interference led to Krishna kidnapping Flynn just as he was about to unleash Masakado and finish the Neutral Route.
    • Also downplayed with the previous games due to the many-worlds theory being in full effect, but the Previous Player Character Cameos follow one alignment each:
      • This Flynn is also neutral, having been killed by Merkabah as he was about to bring hope to Tokyo.
      • The Demi-fiend is aligned with Chaos and has been killed by Lucifer, the True Final Boss of the True Demon Ending.
      • Aleph is aligned with Law, having been killed by the Megiddo Ark, which is only fired in the Law path.
      • The Hero is unaligned, as he has been killed by ICBMs long before he's even given a choice, and leaves Nanashi while wondering which path to follow.
  • Cutting the Knot: You can show Mephistopheles no patience for his contract in his DLC, and break it by telling him "Stay, thou art so beautiful" before the illusion even begins.
  • Crossover: There was a collaboration event in the game Brave Frontier to coincide with the Apocalypse's release. Dagda, Asahi, Nozomi, and Krishna were among the characters that can be obtained in the game.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Since the beginning, Hama and Mudo were One-Hit Kill spells, and bosses were, as one could imagine immune to them. Now, for the first time in the series, they are damaging spells, and there are even bosses who have them as their weaknesses. While this does increase their utility to a truly massive degree, it also requires veterans of the series to retrain their brains in regards to something pretty fundamental (i.e. actually using them rather than turning away those precious skill slots for things that deal reliable damage to pretty much anything). Failure to do so can make some of the toughest bosses, like Krishna's first battle, all the more difficult.
  • Dead All Along:
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Even more than the last game. Whenever Nanashi dies, Dagda can revive him no strings attached and can then pick up where he left off. A stark contrast to Flynn having to bribe Charon each time he died. Except in the Cosmic Egg. Save, save, save!
  • Death Is Cheap:
    • Played straight with Nanashi and Flynn every time they "die", Asahi in the bonds route, and Nanashi's chosen companion in the Massacre route.
    • Subverted with the gods powered by Clap Your Hands If You Believe, and everybody killed (and not revived) on the Massacre route.
  • Deconstruction: The Massacre ending actually deconstructs the Neutral route from past SMT games. Dagda fully believes in the power of humans and that they should be free to answer only to themselves and live in the universe by their own free will. Problem is, his solution is to essentially kill every single god, kill every single person who stands in your way and reset the entire universe from scratch.
  • Defector from Decadence: When Merkabah recalls the samurai he dispatched to Tokyo back to Mikado in preparation for Armageddon, some samurai choose to stay and instead help the people inside the various underground districts.
  • Degraded Boss: Expect several midbosses (and even Hordes) to re-appear as random encounters in later parts of the game. Sometimes, this can work out to your favour, as remembering a demon's information from the Fusion menu can prove vital in determining their weaknesses when they appear as midbosses.
  • Demon Slaying: Again a major focus of the game, with the new cast hailing from the Tokyo branches of demon hunting mercenaries.
  • Demoted to Extra: A few cases:
    • Jonathan and Walter are, for obvious reasons, shafted in favor of Merkabah and Lucifer.
    • The Mastema from IV does not appear at, and all thatps revealed about him is that he's a mass produced Herald in YHVH's Universe like the lesser Heralds and Metatron. While he's still a special fusion, he has no plot role.
    • Beelzebub, already shafted in IV, is a pseudo-example of The Unfought, as Nanashi only fights Baal and a illusion of Beelzebub.
    • Outside of DLC, Hope, already an extra in IV, doesn't even have a character portrait. Hugo is slightly luckier in that he retains a portrait in the main game, and DLC gives him a slightly larger role, though his role is still less.
    • Tayama and Yuriko are simply mentioned in the Notes and by other characters, but make no appearance. Justified, as noted a few tropes above, on account of both being dead by the time Nanashi's life as a Godslayer begins.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Merkabah and Lucifer on the Bonds and Massacre routes - they're genuine Final Bosses on shorter routes, but if Nanashi doesn't side with them, he learns that the Divine Powers are still active the next day. Vishnu-Flynn also counts, especially on the Bonds route. Everything points to the plot ending there, but Nanashi is then led to fight YHVH.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: Camp Ichigaya and the Chaos Realm, which ends up as the bad endings' pair of final dungeons. For the full endings, the Cosmic Egg also takes this role.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The entire Mara quest line. Every other line is a double entendre.
  • Downer Beginning: Nanashi and his mentors get killed at the start of the game, while Asahi reels in horror from almost being murdered herself. Fortunately, Nanashi gets resurrected.
  • Downer Ending: The game opens up with a few battle tutorials followed by a Hopeless Boss Fight in which Manabu, Nikkari, and Nanashi are all brutally murdered while Asahi can only watch in horror. Nanashi can then turn down Dagdas offer to be revived, passing on and leaving Asahi to be brutally killed by his murderer as it leads into IV's proper Neutral route.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: How Nanashi and his allies infiltrate Mikado. They dress like Samurai, wear fake Gauntlets supplied by Fujiwara, and in the case of Toki and Asahi, put on makeup to give the impression of being at least 18 (since only those 18 and above are qualified to become Samurai). As it turns out, the angel posted at the Firmament only checks for Gauntlets, and their fake Gauntlets all pass. Unfortunately, Merkabah later sees through their ruse and the fake Samurai all get imprisoned.
  • Dub Name Change: The Polytheistic Alliance becomes the Divine Powers.
  • Dump Stat: Like in IV, Luck is this because it has too little of an impact compared to the other stats. Strength is no longer this, because Physical skills now use Strength for damage calculation instead of Dexterity.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Bonds Ending. Oh so very satisfying after everything Nanashi has to go through.
  • Empty Room Psych: The game imports several location maps from IV, but not necessarily the contents of their rooms. Expect to see empty rooms which used to hold NPCs or events in IV but never get used in Apocalypse.
  • Empty Shell: Most of the people in Tokyo after Shesha!Flynn eats their souls. Unlike his previous forms, this form can bypass the body and go straight for the soul. This ends up being a blessing, as Dagda transports all the souls back to their bodies after the defeat of Mitra-Buddha.
  • Encounter Bait: The expendable Alluring Water items temporarily make enemy encounters spawn more often.
  • Encounter Repellant:
    • Estoma wards off enemies up to a certain level difference for a limited time. Unlike IV where you need to swing the sword and hit an enemy to make it leave, not only will most enemies automatically retreat, but touching them will knock them away too. There's an app you can purchase that raises the maximum level difference up to which Estoma will work its effects.
    • An app named "Enemy Match-Up" causes enemy mobs up to 5 levels lower than the player character to never turn aggressive.
  • Enemy Mine: The forces of Law and Chaos have made a temporary truce in order to fight against the polytheistic gods.
  • Evil Counterpart: Shesha is one to Nanashi. Both are The Dragon to another major character (Nanashi is Dagda's, Shesha is Krishna's), resurrect after being killed, and are integral to their boss's plan to create a new universe. On Massacre, both of them wore the mask of a hero who led the people of Tokyo to victory over the other factions.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: Two of Krishna's allies are hidden behind him in the first preview. They are, respectively, Maitreya and Odin.
  • False Flag Operation: It's revealed by the Divine Powers that YHVH created Lucifer with the express purpose of propping him up as an Obviously Evil threat so His own side would look better by comparison. Lucifer himself is implied to not even be aware of this, though he seems to have an epiphany as he dies.
  • Final Boss: Merkabah and Lucifer reprise their roles as this on Chaos and Law, respectively. The new endings, however, put YHVH in this role again.
  • First Episode Resurrection: The game starts with the protagonist getting killed and making a contract with a demon to return to the land of the living.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Nanashi means "nameless" in Japanese, and Manabu comments that it is a lazy name for an orphan. Much like YHVH, whose true name is unknown, or at least unpronounceable, Nanashi ends up as a new Creator in the Massacre ending.
    • When first meeting Hallelujah, he makes it clear he can see Navarre, yet Asahi still can't. This is a sign that Hallelujah isn't quite human.
    • No one who can see Navarre is entirely normal. Nanashi is essentially a zombie, Noizomi is a Fairy Queen, Hallelujah is half demon, Abe is a fallen angel, and the Flynn who notices him is actually Shesha. It's ambiguous whether Toki could see Navarre naturally before she became Innana's host.
    • After Flynn is rescued from the Divine Powers, Merkabah and Lucifer call off the ceasefire, preparing to oppose Flynn, the "false messiah". They're right on the mark, as it is later revealed that the Flynn you rescued is a fake.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Averted on the Bonds route. If you get the Fishing Hook and give it to Flynn, he will note that it once belonged to his old friend Issachar. Played straight on the Massacre route where Flynn is so far gone due to you brainwashing him that he doesn't recognize it, and you end up tossing it.
  • For Want of a Nail: Nanashi being revived by Dagda and becoming his Godslayer sets into motion the chain of events that split the plot of Apocalypse away from the Neutral ending of IV.
  • Four Is Death: Nanashi dies at level 1 and comes back at level 4. His first demon, a Centaur, is also level 4.
  • From Bad to Worse: The war between Law and Chaos at the showdown of IV is interrupted by the arrival of Krishna and the old gods, sending the war into a three way battle.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Hagen, fought in a late-game Challenge Mission, backs off and flees further into Midtown after getting considerably damaged. Dagda even insults him for his cowardice after the second time he retreats.
  • Genocide from the Inside: In the final quest dealing with Defense Minister Tamagami it's revealed his endgame was the summoning of Izanami to completely destroy Japan and rebuild it from scratch.
  • God Is Evil: A core belief of the Divine Powers, which is why they seek to overthrow the Creator with Flynn's help, even if they have to force him to do it. YHVH is responsible for the unending war between Law and Chaos, trapping humanity in a cycle of oppression.
  • God Is Good: In the Massacre route, Dagda hopes that Nanashi will be this as the Creator of the new universe.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Stephen explains that humans were designed by the Axiom to be able to derive faith in gods and turn it into truth. Denying this faith is what allows them to have the potential to kill gods. Denying YHVH's divinity also undermines His immortality, allowing you to defeat Him.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The Divine Powers, Shesha in particular, are so dangerous that the angels, demons, and humans join together to fight the common enemy.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Dagda revives Nanashi as a Godslayer to oppose any and all gods. However, in the Bonds story route, Nanashi makes many friends who are empathetic to his cause and Danu creates a new Dagda with Inanna's absorbed power, so Nanashi can fight against the original Dagda who stood against his decision to destroy the Cosmic Egg and live in harmony with his friends. The original Dagda's Godslayer was so effective, it cost him his existence.
  • Good Morning, Crono: A series tradition. The game begins with Nanashi being woken up by his Not Blood Related sister Asahi. Asahi (or any of his other companions) also wakes him up at the beginning of each moon phase later in the game.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • Just after passing the Law and Chaos options and rejecting them, and after Shesha shows itself, he devours Asahi in the most horrible manner possible, and the most you see is her goggles falling to the floor and a pool of blood forming around it.
    • On the Massacre route after you return to Ginza and fight there, the game mentions that you've killed enough people to create hills full of corpses, but you never actually see the results of your slaughter.
  • Graceful Loser:
    • Sukuna-Hikona calmly accepts his death as reprisal for Japan's warlike past.
    • On the Peace route, the original Dagda dies proud that he created a Godslayer strong enough to slay even him.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • Until the final arc, YHVH takes this role. Nanashi is later guided to Him, where everyone still alive teams up to defeat Him.
    • There's also a human Greater-Scope Villain, whose role is only explained in full in one sidequest but who is no less important: Defense Minister Tamagami was a crazed Knight Templar politician who through various inhumane experiments created the National Defense Divinities and the Yamato Perpetual Reactor, and therefore indirectly set the entire conflict in motion, all in the name of eliminating Japan's dependence on foreign countries and making it a superpower again.
  • Guest-Star Party Member:
    • On the Law route, Merkabah will help you during the final battle with Lucifer. On Chaos, the inverse doesn't happen, as Merkabah is already dead once the route is triggered - instead, the ending automatically starts.
    • Hiroshi is a man who joins up with the party for one quest. Very unusually for the trope, you actually have more control over him than you do your actual party members, as you can tell him to buff you, attack, defend or pass. You can still have one of your usual partners alongside him, as he doesn't use the Partner slot.
    • At the very end of the game, Flynn will follow you around and assist in battle. The exact details depend on the route; on Bonds, he only helps in the final dungeon, but also helps outside of battle. On Massacre, he doesn't help in the field, but he follows you everywhere. Furthermore, during the final battle, he forms his own party to help fight YHVH. On Bonds, he's assisted by Jonathan, Walter, and Isabeau, while on Massacre, Satan is his only party member.
    • Not in the main game, but it certainly puts the "Star" in "Guest Star". The final battle of the Diamond Realm DLC has you teaming up with all four of the protagonists from the past main numbered SMT games, which the game implements in a unique way by giving you two alternating playable parties to fight with, much like Flynn's party during the main game's final battle.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Most bosses can be unlocked for fusion simply by defeating them during the plot. How does one unlock Krishna? Defeat Vishnu-Flynn, then return all the way to the Ark in Kanda-no-Yashiro. Note that at that point in the plot there is very little reason to return there.
    • The game does not indicate in any way the factors that influence the chance of a fusion accident.note 
  • Half the Woman She Used to Be: In the animated trailer a woman becomes bisected by a pair of Oni.
  • Happy Ending Override: Done to a number of the sidequests from the original:
    • "Save the Old Man" and "Tokyo Cosmos," due to Odin and the Four Devas, who you respectively assist in those quests, being revealed as Divine Powers members.
    • "Escorting your Comrade," due to Navarre dying a humiliating death shortly after arriving in Tokyo.
    • "Mysterious Story of Tennozu," due to the implication that Flynn didn't finish the questline, Beelzebub ate everyone and later Arahabaki showed up to kill people being sent there for shelter anyways.
  • Harder Than Hard: The downloadable Apocalypse difficulty not only jacks up the difficulty of fights even more than War difficultynote , it also implements We Cannot Go On Without You. Selecting this difficulty also prevents the player from ever changing the difficulty of the current playthrough.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Merkabah and Lucifer, by way of their merged form Satan.
    • While they still aren't exactly nice, the Ashura-kai have softened up considerably in the aftermath of Tayama's death, going from murderous, slavedriving gangsters to Lovable Rogues.
  • Hero Antagonist: Sukuna-Hikona, who just wants to stop you from releasing the god (Krishna) trapped inside the Ark and making the already horrible war even worse. Unfortunately, you have to kill him to proceed.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first time Nanashi fights Adramelech, the battle against Aniel, the first fight against Odin... This game is very fond of this trope, effectively using The Worf Effect on the player themselves.
  • Humans Are Special: Lucifer and Merkabah state that only humans are capable of killing gods - a god can only, at best, seal away another god. The three factions have their eyes on Flynn with the hopes of making him their own Godslayer. Though the truth is less complicated. Gods are capable of killing each other, but it's typically difficult. Godslayers are special because they can deny the truths spoken by a god, weakening them and making them easier to kill.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: In a first for the series, every single major antagonist in this installment is a demon. If you're willing to pursue a certain sidequest chain, however, you'll find yourself face to face with the person truly responsible for the end of the world: Japan's psychopathic Defense Minister Tamagami, who caused the entire war out of sheer bigotry, as he invented demonic-powered superweapons that he aimed for Japan to use to conquer foreign countries.
  • Hunter of Monsters: The game focuses on the Tokyo based branch of "Hunters", mercenaries who hunt the monsters who have infested Tokyo.
  • I Surrender, Suckers:
    • Titan attempts one in his boss fight. Complying has the protagonist take damage, while attacking him anyway will enrage him.
    • Medusa also tries the same in her boss fight, and is incredibly similar to the same dialogue choice in the previous game.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Alongside the additional DLC difficulties they are called, from easiest to hardest, Paradise, Skirmish, Conflict, War, and Apocalypse.
  • Infinity -1 Sword:
    • Gear from the final dungeon YHVH's Universe can count. They're stronger than any gear you'd find elsewhere aside from the Ginza Secret Shop and of course the Fiends.
    • In terms of demons, the non-DLC Level 99 demons (Merkabah, Lucifer, and Mother Harlot) and Krishna. They're very powerful and hard to get, with Merkabah and Lucifer being locked behind New Game+, Mother Harlot requiring every non-DLC Fiend to be beaten and, from Matador on, fused, and Krishna being hidden behind a Guide Dang It! procedure while packing several extremely good support skills.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • Several pieces of powerful equipment only drop from the Fiends if you have the "Depths of Twisted Tokyo" DLC. And they aren't even guaranteed drops.
    • The DLC demons (Cleopatra and Mephisto) and Satan. The DLC demons have the ultimate Light and Dark spells, and Cleopatra in particular has Alluring Banter, which minimizes Defense and inflicts Charm. Satan, meanwhile, requires New Game+ and either an incredibly expensive chain of Apps or DLC to fuse, and he comes packing some of the most powerful skills in the game along with Almighty Pleroma.
  • Informed Ability: Asahi and Hallelujah are the only party members that summon demons to fight in battle. Isabeau, Noizomi, and Gaston are said to be able to do the same and make note of the fact that they could not when the Tokugawa Mandala is in place, but never do. Luckily, this means that the latter trio's combat abilities are not hampered in the slightest when the Mandala is in place.
  • Interface Spoiler: It's possible to surmise the fact that you're not done with the Divine Powers after Tsukiji Honganji if you notice you haven't unlocked them for fusion yet. And of course, there's the fact Krishna simply vanished when defeated instead of cracking and shattering as bosses usually do.
  • Jerkass Gods: The Divine Powers eventually prove themselves to be little better than Law or Chaos. Then there's YHVH, who happens to be even worse and even more despised than He was in II.
  • Jump Scare: Right after The Reveal that "Flynn" is actually Shesha and after Shesha sheds its disguise on the neutral routes, you get a grotesque close-up portrait of Flynn!Shesha's face with little warning.
  • Karma Meter: Downplayed compared to other SMT games with alignment-based endings. Endings are dictated solely by making dialogue choices at a few crtical points, however if you lock yourself into one of the two "neutral" routes, the game will check your balance of Nice Guy choices to Jerk Ass choices that you've been making throughout the whole game: if you lock yourself into the Bonds route but you're too much of an asshole, you will lose all of your demons, and if you lock yourself into the Massacre route but you're too nice, you will lose all of your items. In other words, you have complete freedom over which ending you can pick, but if your moral compass doesn't match with your choice, be prepared for a massive penalty.
  • Kill ’Em All:
    • The goal of the Divine Powers involves killing everyone so their souls can be transferred to a new world.
    • The Massacre route requires Nanashi to personally kill pretty much every ally character in the game besides Asahi as part of stealing the Cosmic Egg from the Divine Powers.
    • The "Explosive Epidemic in Mikado" DLC ends with Nanashi single-handedly killing every demonized human in Mikado. It's implied to be part of the Massacre route.
  • Kill the God: The main theme of the game, with Nanashi making a deal with a demon to be a "Godslayer" at the start of the game. Much like II, this ends with Satan teaming up with the protagonists to fight YHVH.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: The first casualties of the Massacre route are the companions who have been traveling around Tokyo with you. (Asahi isn't one of those, since her soul's under the Cosmic Egg's captivity at the time.)
  • Knight Templar On the Massacre route, Nanashi kills all his former friends and everybody in the old universe to create a better one free of YHVH's tyranny for good. The only people he has remaining by his side are a Brainwashed and Crazy Flynn, the fellow Knight Templar Dagda, the Neutral observing Stephen, Satan, and the brainwashed chosen partner (Even if your chosen partner is Asahi, who dies before the Cosmic Egg appears). By the end, both Dagda and Satan perish, leaving Nanashi and his brainwashed companions with absolute dominion over the new Universe.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: The Hunters' insistence that things were better before the Divine Powers appeared ends up as this with knowledge of both IV and the story of Apocalypse. YHVH traps mankind in a near inescapable cycle of Law and Chaos with Neutral being a minor reprieve before the cycle begins again, and mankind suffers pointlessly clinging to a false hope that gives rise to the omnicidal White. His motivation being nothing more than to have them praise Him and His glory. Dagda's gambit and Nanashi accepting to be his godslayer set in motion the cycle being broken, even in the Law and Chaos endings where the Powers and Monotheism fight on sets in a different cycle.
  • Land of Faerie: The Fairy Forest and the domain created by Dagda, Tir Na Nog.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • A few, but the most notable is the existence of Merkabah and Lucifer, as well as Jonathan and Walter's status as part of them, respectively. The two characters were Walking Spoilers in the original, but here, they're two of the main antagonists throughout most of the game, alongside Krishna. Subverted in game, as the Hunters react to the news that two of Flynn's friends have willingly become vessels for an Eldritch Abomination about as well as you'd expect, with one asking if everyone from the ceiling is a lunatic.
    • The final DLC spoils late game plot twists in II and III. Examples include the Final Bosses (YHVH in II and Kagutsuchi and Lucifer in III), the presence of the Megiddo Arc in II (which itself hints at Satan's involvement), and if you check the other party's stats during the final battle of the quest, the races hint at Aleph being an Artificial Human.
  • Lighter and Softer: While the game is much more Bloodier and Gorier than past SMT entries, the general tone of the story is significantly lighter with the story leaning much more towards the idealistic end of the scale all while the many punk and cosmic horror tropes are either downplayed or completely absent. The Massacre route swings things back toward the darker end.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards:
    • The most popular build for Nanashi focuses on Magic and Agility because Magic covers a huge variety of weaknesses for demons in the game, with a smattering for Agility to allow you to dodge, maybe defense to allow you to survive. This of course makes you a Squishy Wizard Glass Cannon, but that's remedied by easily killing everything before they kill you and then healing a massive amount of HP with the Dia family. For what isn't weak to magic, of course, the solution is to leave it to the appropriate demons in your party.
    • Late-game also presents a potential inversion, especially once Nanashi gains Awakened Power. Against bosses with no weaknesses, phys and gun builds, which put a good spread into Str/Dex for damage, Agility for accuracy, and Luck for critical rates, will stand a reasonable chance of landing criticals for extra turns, in addition to reasonably strong and cheap multi-hit skills. This frees up a lot of attacking slots for other support skills to aid the party, but can be costly if it means needing to purchase elemental bullets.
  • Living Weapon: Nanashi, the "Godslayer", is a dead human brought back to life to serve as a living weapon for the demon Dagda.
  • Lost in Translation: In the original Japanese version, each section of Twisted Tokyo is named after a real-life location, but with a kanji replaced so that the whole word still sounds the same, but the replaced kanji's meaning ties into the Fiend at the end of that section. This was not carried over into the localized version, due to it relying heavily on Japanese wordplay.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: In one of the DLC missions, Mephisto traps Nanashi in a dream where he has fun on a beach with all his comrades, experiencing things none of them have ever felt in their entire lives. Denying the dream results in a battle with Mephisto and ending with Dagda intervening, breaking Nanashi out of it.
  • Magic from Technology: Played straight for the most part with the concept of the smartphone demon summoning app, but subverted with Nanashi's demon summoning after he makes a contract with Dagda. He still uses the phone to pick and give orders to his demons, but his actual demon-summoning comes from his Godslayer powers bestowed by Dagda rather than the app itself; the phone presumably is just used for interfacing with his powers. This is why when the Tokugawa Mandala goes up, everyone else's demon summoning apps are disabled but Nanashi can continue to summon his own demons without issue.
  • Magikarp Power: Purchasing all five Demon Enhancer apps causes your demons to effectively gain double the stat points from level-ups. This has the potential for demons with a low base level having stats that outclass lategame demons. The problem with this lies in taking the laborious grinding process due to the Anti-Grinding features of Shin Megami Tensei in general, on top of said demon possibly having poor resistances or affinities which no amount of stat advantage will make up for.
  • Magma Man: Magma dragon in this case. Ananta, known by his name Shesha, is now a snake monster made of lava that has taken over the Metropolitan Government Office.
  • Marathon Boss: The Fiends already pose a reasonable challenge to an end- or post-game party as they can take a lot of punishment before going down, in addition to enforcing a turn limit. With the "Depths of Twisted Tokyo" DLC they become even harder, gaining about 50% more HP with each cycle. David, Black Rider, and the DLC Fiend in particular balance killing you with wasting your turns so you have to reach them again.
  • Marathon Level: The Cosmic Egg is very big, consisting of 6 floors, each guarded by a boss battle. YHVH's Universe has only 4 floors, but each one is so big that Flynn recommends you zoom out your map to not get lost. While there are warps to shorten return trips, the sheer number of them can be rather telling of their length.
    • The Bonus Dungeon takes the form of multiple levels' worth of randomly-generated unmappable Domains, populated with artificially empowered mobs and "checkpoints" only available after beating each boss. The deeper the player goes, the larger and more labyrinthine each floor becomes.
  • Meaningful Name: The game is called SMT IV: Final in Japan because it's the final story set in the SMT IV universes. Apocalypse for the US tile fits just as well, because in the Massacre Route, that's exactly what you do to the world.
  • Me's a Crowd: The third-to-last boss (a Horde of Metatrons) and the first part of the Final Boss (an army of YHVH heads). This also happens with one of the Bonus Bosses (a Horde of Trumpeters).
  • The Monolith: During the game's final act, the giant stone in the center of Ginza turns into one when it absorbs the nine pillars collected from the Cosmic Egg. It serves as the doorway to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Multiple Endings: A staple of the main series. In a contrast, however, the major endings to Apocalypse are the Neutral Massacre and Bonds, with different ending variations based on how Nanashi gets along with his partners. The two early endings are Law and Chaos.
    • Law: An early bad ending. Nanashi sides with Merkabah leaving his partners shocked and depressed with no will to fight. Flynn leaves out of disgust as Nanashi slays Lucifer. The Yamato Perpetual Reactor is activated, cleansing Tokyo of the unworthy through a Black Hole. In a later voiceover, Jonathan states that while peace has returned to the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado, the people have still not found the world God had planned for them, because they are still battling Flynn.
    • Chaos: An early bad ending. Nanashi sides with Lucifer after Merkabah's defeat. This leaves his partners shocked and depressed with no will to fight. Flynn leaves out of disgust as Nanashi and Lucifer head for the surface with an army of demons to raze Mikado to the ground in order to make a new kingdom from the ashes. Lucifer as Walter declares Nanashi to be worthy of being the new king, but warns that the false messiah Flynn must be dealt with before he can rule.
    • Massacre: Nanashi joins Dagda in his goal of creating a new universe free of the sins and baggage of the old one, being chosen as the new Creator by Dagda. He has to kill his partners, but one of them is revived as his True Goddess to serve as his eternal companion. Flynn dies in the final battle with the Divine Powers and is revived as the Godslayer of Nanashi. YHVH is killed with the aid of Satan, ensuring He will never return to infest the new universe. Dagda witnesses the beginning of the beautiful new universe alongside the new Creator Nanashi, saying farewell to him before disappearing with the old universe. Nanashi opens his eyes to reveal his complete transformation into the new Creator.
    • Bonds: Nanashi sides with Danu against Dagda's plan for Massacre. The group defeats Dagda with the aid of an alternate Dagda who does not share his goals. Asahi is revived in the Cosmic Egg and the Divine Powers are beaten with Flynn coming out unscathed. Stephen asks them to defeat the true enemy YHVH for true freedom. In the final battle the group is joined by Satan through the briefly restored Walter and Jonathan against YHVH and slay Him, ensuring a long era of peace while no one sits upon the Creators Throne. The people of Tokyo and Mikado witness the reincarnation of the Goddess of Tokyo, and work together in harmony with the fairies and demons to make both nations wonderful.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The protagonist wears a green jumpsuit, just like the Neutral Hero of Shin Megami Tensei I, has experience fighting demons, something only seen before in main series protagonists with Aleph of Shin Megami Tensei II, and has a similar origin story as and gains markings just like the Demi-fiend from Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne.
    • Like in II, YHVH breaks the level cap, but at a more reasonable 100 rather than 108.
    • Odin first meets Nanashi and Asahi as his old human man appearance from the quest in IV.
    • The Fiends, after losing their unique moves in Strange Journey and IV, regain one each in this game, with David also getting his own. With the obvious exception of David, each is from Nocturne. In addition, Soul Drain, exclusive to the Fiends, works like Daisoujou's Meditation. Furthermore, Satan has two unique moves. The first, Megiddo Arc, is a reference to the Law faction's ultimate weapon in II, while the other, Akasha Arts, is a move he had as an ally in II.
    • This is actually the second time En no Ozuno appears as the highest leveled Fiend. The first was the original version of Shin Megami Tensei if..., which his sprite and resistances are loosely based on. In addition, two of his moves contain the names Zenki and Goki, who were En no Ozuno's servants in I.
    • When having rematches against the Fiends, they can drop unique equipment. David and Matador keep their drops from I and II, respectively. Furthermore, the Angel Trumpet, dropped by Pale Rider in I, is dropped by Trumpeter in this game.
    • Much like his infamous Bonus Boss battle in the second Digital Devil Saga game, Satan is a Barrier Change Boss who also has the ability to fully heal, except he's much tamer and only uses the full heal at a certain point in the fight rather than saving it for if he's brought down to low enough health. He also happens to be a fusion of two characters, one of whom is the Law representative - in this case, Merkabah and Lucifer rather than Zayin and Seth from Shin Megami Tensei II.
    • In Strange Journey, the Cosmic Eggs were the items needed after alignment lock. The name is used again here for a similar, yet even more important entity.
    • The theme that plays in the final dungeon, YHVH's Universe, incorporates elements from the major boss battle theme from Shin Megami Tensei II, which is a nod to how the last two bosses of II - Satan and YHVH, both of whom used the theme - are also the last two bosses of this game.
    • Also with the final dungeon, the first set of bosses fought consists of Beelzebub, Lucifuge, and Lucifer. In Kether Castle in II, the three main Chaos demons encountered are Beelzebub as an optional boss, Lucifuge as an NPC, and Lucifer as either the main boss on Law and Neutral or an ally on Chaos.
    • Early on in the game, Nanashi can pick a hunter name for Asahi. If he picks Pascal she will ponder if that's a dog's name.
    • Sukuna-Hikona calmly accepts being killed by you as reprisal for Japan's militaristic past. In Raidou Kuzunoha VS The Soulless Army, he collaborated with the Imperial Japanese army on the eve of World War II.
    • Of course, the Messiahs in the Diamond Realm DLC has this. The protagonists of the past four main SMT games come together, and eventually fight alongside you in the final battle.
      • All four Messiahs come at different points in their games. Flynn died from the black hole in the Yamato Perpetual Reactor while filling the Chalice of Hope, the Demi-Fiend smacked Kagutsuchi but lost his battle against Lucifer, while The Hero and Aleph died from an ICBM and the Megiddo Ark respectively.
      • Both The Hero and Aleph only have access to Sword and Gun attack skills as well as using their Heroic Willpower to buff allies and debuff the enemy, just like how in those games they couldn't use magic at all.
      • Checking the stats of the Demi-fiend during the fight with Stephen shows that he is immune to everything except Gun. He still has his Masakados Magatama.
      • The Demi-fiend's race is Chaos, the new translation of King, the final race he could get in his original game. Aleph's race is Replicant, a nod to his Artificial Human status.
    • While he's usually a Bonus Boss or Final Boss, in this game Metatron can be fought as a random encounter, sometimes even in a horde. This may be another reference to II, in which most random encounters are fought as groups of the same demon, and he also was a random encounter.
    • Once again, the party is arrested for trespassing on the territory of a major faction.
    • Yoyogi Park is the home of the fairies, like in Nocturne.
    • The Demon Summoning Program is described to work like Nakajima's program (simplifies and runs a ritual like a computer program), but after the Tokugawa Mandala is turned on, the Terminals stop working along with the Demon Summoning Program. The database speculates that they're made from the same technology, indicating that it's Stephen's program. The fact Stephen was originally working on a Terminal and turned that into the Demon Summoning Program is a slightly obscure detail from Shin Megami Tensei I.
    • Toki is a female assassin/ninja working for the Ring of Gaea, similar to the Gaean Oni Jorou of Shin Megami Tensei I. The two new leaders, Mii and Kei, sit in the same Levitating Lotus Position as the Dark Priests of the Gaeans.
    • The Reveal that Lucifer and Merkahbah were both created by YHVH, and that Lucifer was made as a strawman for the Law side to defeat, is reminiscent of how Aleph and Daleth were both created by the Messians, and that Daleth was created for the sole purpose of being defeated by Aleph, in Shin Megami Tensei II.
    • Like in Shin Megami Tensei II, the leader of Law fuses with a demon to become Satan.
    • While the context is different, the resurrected partner on the Massacre Route gives a speech similar to that of Hiroko's dialogue during the Neutral ending of Shin Megami Tensei II.
    • The Massacre ending where Nanashi creates a new world is similar to the ending of the Demonic Gene manga. Flynn and Nanashi, both transhumans, create a new world by holding seven floating spheres of light, and casting one above.
  • The Namesake: In the Anarchy route, one character is resurrected as the True Goddess.
  • Nerf:
    • With the concept of skills that gain additional effects while Smirking, several formerly powerful skills have been depowered to a shadow of their former glory. For example, Salvation only removes ailments if used while Smirking (functioning like a more expensive Mediarahan under normal circumstances) and Antichthon only decreases stats if used while Smirking. Given Antichthon's absurd MP cost of 110 that can only be discounted to a max of 88 via affinities, it has degraded into Awesome, but Impractical. In Salvation's case, it might even turn into a Catch-22, since you can't use its ailment healing property unless you're smirking... and having any negative status effect doesn't allow you to Smirk at all.
    • Now that every demon has their own skill affinities that can give anywhere between 10% and 50% MP discount on skills, the MP costs of several powerful skills have become inflated to encourage people to use them on the right demons. Notably, skills like Debilitate and Doping went from costing a base 50 MP to 100 MP, making them prohibitively expensive to use on any demon without affinity for support skills. MP recovery items also heal much less than they used to in IV - your best MP restoration item only refills a static 150 MP instead of all MP.
    • Most demons' elemental resistances and skill sets have been considerably reduced, with several gaining weaknesses as well. For example, Taotie no longer nulls physical attacks, and Alice no longer learns Debilitate. Desirable skills like Null passives and better now only become available within the last third of the game. This makes it more difficult to access immunities or better, which makes it more difficult to cheese bosses with a predictable elemental preference early in the game.
  • No Final Boss for You: Choose to align with Law or Chaos early and you don't get to fight the Final Boss YHVH, or any of the bosses from the last two dungeons for that matter.
  • Non-Standard Game Over:
    • Naturally, refusing Dadga's offer at the beginning enough times results in this.
    • This also occurs if you try to side with the Divine Powers early on by going into Tsukiji Hongwanji/Konganji through the front door instead of sneaking in.
  • Old Save Bonus: Importing data from a Shin Megami Tensei IV save file will grant bonus items and titles depending on the number of times that game has been cleared, and which endings have been seen.
  • Order Versus Chaos: Downplayed. Both the heroes and the Divine Powers are various shades of Neutral, more interested in a balanced world that benefits them than a world of complete order or chaos. Indeed like the White ending in IV, the Law and Chaos endings for Apocalypse end the game early. The true conflict is instead between the more neutral outcomes of Bonds and Massacre.
  • Omnicidal Neutral: The Divine Powers really, really hate both sides of the Law/Chaos conflict and want them gone. One of their most potent advantages against Merkabah and Lucifer is that they actually get along pretty well. Dagda is even more extreme; he wants to kill every god, because he's come to view the very concept of divinity as corrupt. By joining him in the Massacre route, you become one as well.
  • Once an Episode: Subverted. The usual Beelzebub fight in numbered games have is actually skirted around; you fight his Baal form and an illusion of him in the penultimate and final dungeons, respectively, but there is never a genuine Beelzebub fight.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Lampshaded: One "Reason You Suck" Speech points out that, if YHVH loves humanity so much, why doesn't he ever get off His ass and help them for once?
  • Painting the Medium: During the beginning of the game when your smartphone is still damaged, there's a crack effect on the 3DS's bottom screen (which is used to represent the contents of the phone's screen), reflecting the damage to the phone. It disappears once Dagda revives you and repairs the phone.
  • Path of Most Resistance: The Massacre route. It starts with a massive spike in difficulty on top of potentially losing all your items as well as losing up to five of your party members, which all end up making the route the hardest to complete. Additionally in the fight against Satan and Vishnu-Flynn, the effects resulting from their dialogue options always end up detrimental to the player one way or the other as opposed to the Bonds route where they will be constantly buffed or healed instead.
  • Player Nudge: Just before the player challenges Shesha after obtaining the Ame-no-habakiri, Dagda chimes in to remind them to equip the sword, followed by Gaston chiming in with his usual boasting. This hints toward how both the sword and Gaston can hit Shesha's weakness, on top of reminding the player their Sword of Plot Advancement is more than some key item.
  • Power Nullifier: Maitreya activates the Tokugawa Mandala, removing the ability to summon demons in Tokyo. Nanashi is an exception as his ability to summon demons stem from his Godslayer powers. Later in the plot, Maitreya, while fully empowered as Mitra-Buddha, isolates the souls within the Cosmic Egg, which prevents Dagda from reviving any of the souls trapped within, or Nanashi should he die there.
  • Press X to Die: You can get a unique bad ending on the very last battle of the Peace route by answering "Yes" to YHVH's We Can Rule Together speech, then refusing Dagda's hand when prompted to take it. YHVH rewards you for your "loyalty" by killing you.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Flynn / the player character from the original SMT IV returns as an NPC, and is even featured prominently on Apocalypse's boxart. The Hero, Aleph, and the Demi-fiend from the first three games plus an alternate version of Flynn show up in the Diamond Realm DLC and join in the fight against Stephen.
  • Promoted to Playable: Isabeau, Jonathan, and Walter are fully playable in the Bonds route's final battle, and Merkabah and Lucifer are New Game Plus demons.
  • Puzzle Boss:
    • Arahabaki, one of the Challenge Quest bosses, will spend every turn using Makarakarn and a basic attack; if Imposing Stance is used, he'll still use Makarakarn. As he nulls both Physical and Gun, you'll have to rely on Almighty to beat him if you don't have Pierce unless you know how to stop him: use a weak Magic attack on him. While it will reflect and end your turn, he'll counter with Concentrate and Sea of Chaos, which will allow you to pummel him with the four main elements, all of which he's weak to.
    • The DLC Fiend, En no Ozuno, has two particular moves that make him this: Peacock Incantation and Goki's Water Wall. The former does Almighty damage after the next attack dealt to him, while the latter maxes Defense and Hit/Evade rate and is used every turn halfway through the fight. There are ways to deal with both. For the former, do a weak attack to minimize his damage dealt - it always does the same damage to the party as the damage inflicted on him. For the latter, don't use Defense or Hit/Evade debuffs once he starts using it, as any negatives on those stats after taking enough damage is what triggers it.
    • Vishnu-Flynn can turn into this on the higher difficulty levels. The boss is extremely spam happy with Dekaja and Dekunda to negate your buffs or his debuffs, but on the higher difficulties the boss's damage output is so high that there is virtually no way to survive without using buffs and debuffs unless you have an insanely over leveled party with a very precise skill setup, something that honestly isn't feasible without either a New Game+, lots and lots of grinding, or the various DLCs. However, the boss ONLY uses Dekaja/Dekunda on his first Press Turn, and never anywhere else, which means you can use the move Imposing Stance to eliminate the boss's first Press Turn, meaning he will never use Dekaja/Dekunda and you can happily buff yourself and debuff the boss to infinity.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Weaponised against YHVH. By denying His divinity, He is brought down to a normal demon, albeit a very powerful one.
  • Reincarnation-Identifying Trait: Nanashi shares a similar trait with Akira of Shin Megami Tensei IV — they both have scars on their right cheeks, indicating that Nanashi is the reincarnation of Akira.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: The Patriots (or rather, their spirits) give Nanashi a Balm of Rising to use on them at the end of Hiroshi's quest chain. This allows them to finally move on to the afterlife.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Everyone visible in the Horde of Divine Powers demons at the beginning of the game can be encountered later:
    • Titan is fought in the Fairy Forest to obtain the Ame-no-habakiri on 1/8 Moon.
    • Ganesha and Berserker guard Tsukiji Konganji.
    • Zhong Kui is fought in the basement of Tsukiji Konganji on 2/8 Moon.
    • Quetzalcoatl leads the assault on Kinshicho on 3/8 Moon.
    • Pales and Fafnir try to take the remaining souls in Kasumigaseki after Shesha becomes the Cosmic Egg.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: While it still has its moments where carelessness and underpreparedness can get you killed, it's not as "kill you right out of the gate" as its predecessor. Additionally, the easy difficulty is available right off the bat and doesn't humiliate the player for it and there's free DLC that unlocks an Easier Than Easy difficulty, continuing after dying comes at no charge making death even more of a slap on the wrist, and your computer-controlled partners can be chosen and are less prone to stupid moments that benefit enemies.
    • Zig-zagged in that the boss fights in Apocalypse are harder than in IV due to the removal of Artificial Stupidity on both sides, higher MP costs and a severe lack of MP-recovery items, demons now having skill affinities (meaning you'll actually need to use the Squishy Wizard types for some fights), the changes to Smirk status, various apps being tied to player level (such as MP regeneration, which means successive encounter battles can end a player low on MP), and more. In comparison to IV, Apocalypse's difficulty remains even throughout the game, whereas IV was criticized for having a punishing start before a massive decline in difficulty once the player reached Tokyo. And unlike in IV, the player can purchase an app that causes enemies 5 levels or more below the player to ignore them, meaning any random encounter that does pursue the player is an actual fight.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: To stop the Tokugawa Mandala, the party must close five jars that are leaking Aether to it. Each of these jars are protected by five guardians, and the Aether's effects on Toki (given that only she has enough resistance to do the task) reflect five of these sins: Sloth, Gluttony, Wrath, Pride, and Lust, therefore excluding Greed and Envy.
  • She Is the King: Gender Inverted. At the beginning of the Massacre route, Nanashi can resurrect one of his companions to serve as his Goddess, and any of his male companions are suitable for the role.
  • Shout-Out: The protagonist has the lyrics to the John Lennon song Imagine written on his jumpsuit.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: One of the central conflicts is between the idealistic views of Danu and the cynical views of Dagda, or to be more precise, Collectivism versus Individualism.
  • Signature Move: Various skills associated with certain demons (for example, Odin's Gungnir or Alice's Die for Me) can never be passed on through fusion or taught to Nanashi via Demon Whisper. These skills are also completely exempt from skill mutation.
    • This also applies to your partners' exclusive moves. However, you can fuse Hallelujah's signature demon.
  • Soul Eating: Shesha does this to gather more souls.
  • Spin-Off: Apocalypse shifts focus to characters from a relatively minor group from Shin Megami Tensei IV, the Tokyo Hunters, rather than Flynn and the other Eastern Kingdom of Mikado Samurai who served as the major players of that game.
  • Story Branch Favoritism: The game makes it no secret that it is heavily biased to the Bonds route. On top of flowing with the narrative more cohesivelynote , it also makes sure to praise the player for picking it while chiding them for picking the other. And should the player pick massacre anyways then they get locked out of one of the games core combat mechanics. Bonds is not, however, favored to the same extent Neutral was in its predecessor, as you are not outright locked out of the full story in Massacre, though a number of things, most notably King Aquila's gauntlet, only have their full significance explained on Bonds.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: Ame-no-Habakiri is obtained in order to do significant damage to Shesha. While particularly strong for that point in the game, it can get outclassed by newer equipment until it is upgraded to Ame-no-Murakumo in a sidequest.
  • Super-Deformed: Navarre's ghost / spirit has a pint-sized, cartoonish appearance that's been likened to a cross between Casper and Slimer.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The scar/mark on the Godslayer's cheek and his distinctive "horned" eyebrows are identical to the scar and eyebrows Akira has in every Alternate Timeline Flynn visited in the original SMT IV. There's a reason for this.
  • Take a Third Option: The "Divine Powers", a cabal of the polytheistic gods of old led by Krishna, who demand that mankind relinquish their souls to re-empower the old gods and give them the edge in the now three-way war for the fate of mankind.
  • Take Over the World: The goal of the Divine Powers is to take over the universe after creating a new one seemingly out of revenge against YHVH for dethroning them as deities.
  • Take That!: The new head of the Ashura-kai is named "Abe," apparently as a dig at controversial Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is well known for, among other things, his habit of whitewashing Japan's role in World War II.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Humans, angels, and demons are all willing to work together to stop the Divine Powers... but only as much as they absolutely need to. This is most notable in the first fight against Shesha, where Asahi is very displeased at the notion of working with Adramelech — who had killed her mentors Nikkari and Manabu at the start of the game — and goes back to hating his guts fully once Shesha leaves, and the angels pretty much tell the human participants that they're on their own once the fight is over. Once the Divine Powers are defeated (or so it seems), the three factions go back to warring with one another.
  • The Reveal: The game reveals a number of shocking truths about the original IV that change the way the player looks at them. This includes Akira/Aquila being a Messiah like Flynn, Merkabah and this version of Lucifer both serving YHVH and actually being halves of Satan, and Odin betraying Flynn after Flynn restored the god's memories in IV.
  • This Cannot Be!: All over the place, with numerous variations. Most often uttered by villains and bosses as they fall.
  • Time-Limit Boss: The battles against the Fiends of Twisted Tokyo must be done in ten turns before the battle is interrupted and the player is ejected to the entrance of the dungeon. However, their HP does not restore on subsequent visits. Considering how long some floors may get, it would still be more efficient to try and beat each Fiend in one trip.
  • Timed Mission: The DLC quest, "Explosive Epidemic in Mikado", gives you a total of 25 in-battle turns to complete it, without any chance to rest in between the fights it presents. Talking Is a Free Action is also averted, since listening to the Info Dump on how it ended up this way will cost you one of these turns. Fail, and you die as you succumb to the Demonic Gene.
  • Title Drop: In the English version, the hardest (DLC only) difficulty setting is called Apocalypse.
  • Title Theme Drop: On the day that you infiltrate Camp Ichigaya, the map theme is replaced with the title theme.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Recovery Jewel (Full restores the player and all their demons to full health, magic and status included), Revival Treasure (fully revive and heal whole party and stock upon the party's death and gives you 8 press turns along with protection from damage until the players next turn) and Dimensional Hourglass (adds 1 press turn for duration of battle, up to 8 press turns). They each cost 5 Diamonds, the rarest of the jewels, and even with the DLC that provides jewels, they are so powerful that it feels wasteful to use them.
  • Too Happy to Live: The beginning of the game is about as idyllic and happy as a game set in a demon infested underground Tokyo can possibly be, with characters happy and thriving, and a counter-attack being mounted against the forces of both Law and Chaos. This... doesn't last.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Angel has always been one of the weakest demons in the franchise. And sure enough, you fight her early in the game. There are actually two Angels in this game, one being the weakest of the Divine race, the other one being the most powerful of them all, replacing Cherub.
    • While not to the same degree as Angel, Navarre quickly proves to have taken more than a few levels in Badass, becoming one of the best support characters in the team, distributing free buffs to better manage boss battles. This even includes things like Debilitate and Doping. And when he does use an item to attack, his AI always makes sure it will be an effective use, so you don't necessarily have ailment-causing items wasted on bosses.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: The Black Market dealers, surprisingly enough, soften up to you if you fulfill certain sidequests, greeting you and bidding you farewell in less condescending manners.
  • Top God: God is this as usual as the Universe Creator. This is actually a part of the Evil Plan of the Divine Powers, as the Gods at the center of the Cosmic Egg when it creates a new universe become the Creators of that universe. The Massacre route also has Nanashi becoming the Creator of the new universe.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: A lunar eclipse known as the Misoka Moon which will enable the creation of a new world.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The first stream spoiled the fact that YHVH would be back in full force in the game.
  • The Unpronounceable: Whenever YHVH's name is spoken in dialogue, it is garbled with a rewind-esque noise, earning Him the fan nickname "Record Needle Scratch."
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • King Frost attempts to take over the Fairy Forest thanks to the words of a Divine Powers Preta to find the legendary treasure hidden there.
    • Dagda released the Divine Powers to further his own objectives, letting them think he was on their side.
    • Loki tricks a pack of Beast race fairy Dormarths into thinking he was a member of the Divine Powers. He did this to prevent the Divine Powers goal of collecting human souls for his own amusement by having the Celtic dogs steal the Hunters' smartphones.
  • Urban Fantasy: The story follows an apprentice Demon Hunter in the post-apocalyptic metropolis of Tokyo.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: If Nanashi was a Nice Guy and chooses the Massacre Route, the game punishes you by having Navarre destroy all your consumable items that you currently have. You don't get them back after killing your partners just to hammer the point in.
  • The Voice: In flashbacks that you see in Nanashi's dreams, Akira's voice can be heard, but you never actually see him as all the flashbacks of him take place from his point of view.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • King Frost. He is the first real boss a player faces in the game (that isn't hopeless in any degree) and will butcher the unprepared. While the game gives you a head start with a tutorial on assist attacks (thereby effectively skipping his first turn), you're on your own after that, and one of the first few things he does is use Smile Charge, which not only neutralizes his fire weakness, but also causes his King Bufula to crit and apply a defense debuff to the party. This serves as a reminder on the importance of buffs and preparing specifically for bosses, as the game does provide a means to counter his Smile Charge if the player is diligent with fusing and recruiting.
    • As far as midbosses go, Ose is one of the first without any weaknesses — to damage elements, that is. He has vulnerabilities to Bind and Charm, reminding the player that ailment-causing skills are still useful in boss battles at times.
    • Quetzalcoatl, much like Ose, doesn't really have any weaknesses you would expect. He does, however, have a weakness to Dark, which is now a standard damaging element. Not realizing this and either neglecting Mudo spells or stones will result in a tough fight, and even if you damage him enough, he'll bring out King Frost's Smile Charge tactic.
    • At the end of 3/8 Moon, the game introduces a new mechanic it'll start using a lot: back-to-back boss fights. After fighting the last of the Devas to break the Tokugawa Mandala, another boss will show up and attack. After beating her, the quest will clear, only for a third boss to show up. This is the first instance of multiple non-hopeless bosses being in sequence without a chance to save, and if you die to any of them, you start back at the last Deva. If you don't learn to conserve your health, MP, and items, you can easily reach a later boss in a sequence and have them send you back.
  • Was Once a Man: The DLC involving Mikado has the entire kingdom turn into demons. In a twist, it's revealed that them and their ancestors from the Cocoons were part of the angels experiments, revealing that the reason they turn into demons in the previous game is that they all have the Demon Gene.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Sukuna-Hikona might as well be called the second coming of Matador, seeing how he has two seperate skills that reduce your whole party's evasion on top of being mid-level elemental spells. However, if you think to use it, it also demonstrates how broken the Sick status effect can be when it actually hits. Sukuna-Hikona can not only be made Sick, he's weak to it, meaning you get free turns on top of making his hit/evade debuffs useless. And while he does have the means to cure it, Cough is such a cheap spell that it doesn't matter.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The Angels, Demons, and Japanese Gods at Kanda Shrine are constantly on the verge of fighting each other, only held back due to the threat locked away within.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: On Apocalypse difficulty, it's an instant game over if Nanashi is killed. There is also DLC that unlocks an App that gives you the effect without changing difficulty. It's one of the few Apps that can be turned off.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Dagda intends to end the Forever War by rendering all gods Deader Than Dead, and creating a new universe free of YHVH's influence. Unfortunately, this also requires hijacking the Divine Powers' plan and completing it for him, so all humanity needs to die so their souls can be brought to the new world.
    • And by "all gods", he also means himself. All he's asking for, should the player follow his plans to the letter, is that he's the last one to die, simply for the assurance that the world free of YHVH's influence is coming to fruition.
  • Wham Episode:
    • There's one particularly for those who did a Neutral run of IV: After unsealing the Ark, the Divine Powers are set free, and just as Flynn is about to attempt to summon Masakado, the Divine Powers show up and force him to surrender, taking captivity of him and becoming the new threat to everyone in Tokyo.
    • The sidequest chain dealing with Hunter Hiroshi is completely optional, but it accompanies a positive avalanche of information on the setting's backstory, and allows you to fight and put down Defense Minister Tamagami, the architect of the end of the world and the one behind the Yamato Perpetual Reactor.
  • Wham Line: When your party first confronts the Divine Powers in Tsukiji Honganji, Odin's argument with Dagda has a line that both completely changes our understanding of this particular universe's cosmology and refers to a character from earlier in the franchise who hasn't been named in a long time.
    Odin:"You know as well as I do, Lucifer will side with YHVH."
  • Wham Shot:
    • You come home from Tsukiji Honganji, having seemingly defeated the Divine Powers for good, go to sleep... and are treated to a shot of the Weird Moon still ominously ticking forward.
    • You celebrate a hard-earned victory over Merkabah and Lucifer with a party at the Hunter's Association base in Kasumigaseki, with Flynn giving a Rousing Speech to all of the Hunters gathered around. All is well and good, right? Well, Dagda pops up in a video window to inform you that the "show's about to start." After he disappears, the majority of the attendees of the party have collapsed to the floor.
    • So you're doing the Diamond Realm DLC and you defeat the first phase of Stephen. Then Stephen stands up.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When you're summoned to Cafe Florida for a hearing with Fujiwara and Skins due to being the one who unsealed the Divine Powers, you're treated to the very hateful words of fellow Hunters who are, to say the least, not pleased with your actions. After all, even if you were forced by Dagda to unseal the gods, what's to say that you can be trusted with anything else significant if he can just hijack your body again to do his bidding at the expense of the people of Tokyo? Fortunately, the two leaders are a lot more forgiving and willing to give you a second chance if you swear an oath. You can also tell Fujiwara and Skins exactly what you think of them... but outside of earning some Chaos karma points and praise from Skins, the result is the same.
  • Whole Plot Reference:
    • The Bonds Route is closely modeled on Shin Megami Tensei II, complete with Nanashi fighting YHVH and Satan making a Heel–Face Turn.
    • The Massacre Route, in comparison, is similar to Nocturne, featuring Dagda as Nanashi's sponsor and killing everyone who does not agree with him.
  • Womb Level: The Cosmic Egg.
  • The Worf Effect: Justified. When the Divine Powers capture Flynn, who is strong enough to fight Merkabah and Lucifer at this point, it's done plausibly - in addition to having the element of surprise since only two rookies know they exist, Flynn easily dodges Odin's initial attacks when they get forceful. It's ultimately Maitreya taking Asahi hostage that forces Flynn to comply, and it still takes four more attacks from the Level 76 god to knock him out completely. Flynn could have easily evaded capture and put up a decent fight were it not for Maitreya.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: The flow of time is still different between Tokyo and Mikado. To put it into perspective: between Navarre leaving the Samurai and Flynn taking him to Tokyo, seven years passed in Mikado, aging Navarre from 18 to 25 and his brother Gaston from 11 to 18. One of the pieces of backstory DLC reveals that the time distortion is at a ratio of 1:75. Shesha smashing a hole in the Firmament causes this effect to stop.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Finally revealed to be the true reason why gods are so obsessed with controlling / torturing humanity when they have better things to do: human observation and reasoning is what dictates what is real and what is unreal, so it's in the gods' interest to MAKE humanity believe in their strong existence, no matter how much power it costs. For instance, humanity created YHVH. Oops.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: To create the new universe the Divine Powers require the souls of humanity. Once enough have been collected the new universe will be born on the Full Moon.

Alternative Title(s): Shin Megami Tensei IV Final

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