Hello everyone, just two days ago Atlus released SMT 4 in North America and since then many people have discovered that it's hard. I thought I would do a little write up for getting the most out of your battles and how to stay alive in the brutal world that is SMT 4.

Shin Megami Tensei 4 Tips and Tricks for BeginnersS

Probably the best place to start is with the main character. As I'm sure you've found out already every time you level up you're given 5 points to put into 5 stats. How you choose to build your character will immensely change the approaches you take to different situations. The stats themselves are rather self explanatory, but there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes you might not know about.

There has recently been fantastic write up on this on Gamefaqs, which I highly recommend taking a look at. To sum it up though there's 3 different types of damage you can do, which are affected by different stats.

  • The first is physical damage, it is affected by the Str and Dex stats, the Dex stat provides a greater damage multiplier per stat then Str.
  • The second is gun damage, which is affected by Str and Dex, again the Dex stat provides a greater damage multiplier per stat then Str.
  • The last is magic damage, which is only affected by the Mag stat.

The other stats don't factor into damage, but they are still important. Ag determines turn order and your hit/evasion rate, while Lu determines an incredibly wide range of things from demon negotiations, to critical hit chance, even item drops. Now the growth of your HP and MP stat is a set, linear growth. You gain 7 HP and 3 MP for every level.

Shin Megami Tensei 4 Tips and Tricks for BeginnersS

Now for the actual build, you're given a lot of flexibility. It's 100% up to you in deciding what kind of damage you want to do and how you build your stats. If you're going physical or gun then a high Dex and Str is in your best interest, while if you want to take the magic route you can ignore Dex and Str entirely. Ag and Lu are both good to incorporate into any build, so don't ignore them either. They don't need to have as many points thrown into them as your other stats, but they're both important in their own right.

Now moving on to the actual game itself; you are going to die, you are probably going to die a lot. I know I have, my second enemy encounter sure left me dead. If this is your first SMT game, and even if it isn't there is absolutely no shame in going down to the easy difficulty. While there's a ton of new additions to make this game more beginner friendly that hasn't changed the fact that it's a mainline SMT game and has a difficulty that reflects such. While I hope no one ever gets to a point where they get frustrated and give up there are times when the game may seem unfair, cruel even. But it's how you overcome those times that really make the difference.

So what's probably going to stump people is the bosses, in short they can be devastating if you don't play your cards right. Even if you do there's times when the worst case scenario is going to happen, and things are going to spiral out of control, so here's some tips for bosses.

  • 80% of the time, it's not your level that's hindering you

So often in other games when we get to a boss we can't beat we go right into grinding for a higher level in order to overcome the boss by sheer numbers. That won't work in this game. The stats you do gain will most likely be insignificant in making any major change in how the fight goes. Another 5 points to your magic stat won't allow you to one hit kill the boss, so don't needlessly grind for hours just to gain a few levels.

  • Weaknesses, and resistances are what will make the difference

So you get to a boss that uses a lot of fire skills, what will guarantee your loss to it is going into the fight with you or your demons having a weakness to fire. The enemy AI is rather adapt at exploiting weaknesses and will continue to do so until whatever had the weakness is dead, and at that point the rest of your team won't be far behind. Now if you or your demons have are able to null, reflect or void the element the boss is found of using it will shut them right down. If they try to use a fire skill at a demon that nulls fire it'll loss its turns, minimizing the amount damage it can do.

On the flip side you have to pay attention to what the boss is weak and strong against. This can take a bit of trial and error, and some bosses won't even have weakness to exploit, but when you do find that it has a weakness it is your number one interest in exploiting it as much as possible. If you do it right you can turn your teams 4 turns into 8, doubling the amount of moves you can make. Now this is all possible because...

  • Skills are one of the most important things in the game, especially when fighting bosses

Getting skills in SMT 4 is very streamlined, and more flexible then ever. Accumulate a wide variety of skills to be ready for any situation or build a set custom tailored to bring down a tough boss. If you know a boss has a certain weakness, either get skills that can exploit that or fuse/negotiate demons that can. Attack healing skills and even buffs/debuffs are all important tools that you should make the most use of. Which brings me to my next point.

  • Buffs and debuffs have more of an impact then you think

Raising your attack, defence and agility or lower your opponents can make much more of a difference then you would think. Bosses can fall much quicker if their defence if lowered, and your team can take more hits when you have your defence raised. Another great use of buffs is to use them to rob your opponent of their turns. Raising your agility and/or lower your opponents can often make them miss, and when they do they loose their turns. This won't work all the time, however, and some bosses can even nullify any buffs on you or debuffs on them, so you should always be on your toes.

That should do it for boss encounters, but here's a few more tips for the game in general,

  • You can save anywhere, be sure to put that to use.
  • It's better to initiate a fight you want to avoid rather then have the enemy get the first move.
  • While scarce at first, macca becomes much easier to find a few hours into the game, so while tempting, the fundraise app isn't the best choice.
  • When you find a successful way to negotiate with a demon that way will usually work for all other demons in that race.
  • Delivery quests can be completed multiple times, while most will only give you a fraction of the original awards there are a few that will continue to give out expensive items to sell.
  • Be sure to continuously fuse demons, if you find that you're not using a particular demon anymore try to see what fusions you can get with it rather then have it just do nothing.
  • The analyze app can tell you the weaknesses and resistances of demons you've beaten before.
  • Have a wide variety of armour handy so you can quickly switch you resistances as the situation calls for.
  • When recruiting demons make sure to defeat any allies the demon has, this will lower the damage done to you if negotiations fail and the demon attacks.

And that's all I can think of for now, if you have any questions or anything to add to this list be sure to leave a comment below, and for anyone playing SMT 4 right now, good luck, you're going to need it!