Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine
|Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine|
Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine (Japanese: 真・女神転生IMAGINE?), formerly Megami Tensei Online Imagine (女神転生ONLINE IMAGINE?), is a free-to-play massively multiplayer online role-playing game based in the Megami Tensei universe. Aeria Games acquired the rights to the game from Cave Co., Ltd. ( contracted as simply "MegaTen".) Shin Megami Tensei is a major intellectual property of the Japanese developer and publisher, Atlus Co., Ltd. Originally released in Japan in 2007, Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine Online (Cave’s first massively multiplayer online (MMO) title for PC) features demon summoning and other gameplay features from the previous games in the "MegaTen" series. The game requires no subscription fee but charges for specific in-game items which are sold for real currency. On September 9, 2008 it was announced that Aeria Games & Entertainment had licensed the game for North American and European Release. Beta invitations were first sent out on December 1, 2008, and the closed beta began the same day. Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine's open beta was started as of December 30, 2008. The official game was released to North America on December 31, 2008 & was available for download via Atlus Online's website. The game can now only be played in Japanese.
On February 29, 2012, Aeria Games revealed that Atlus Online (the online interactive entertainment division of Atlus USA) would be taking over publishing of the game. Aeria Games officially shut down their servers for the game on April 9, 2012 with Atlus Online opening their servers shortly thereafter on April 16, 2012. Not more than a year later, Atlus Online was amalgamated with XSeed Games to form Marvelous USA, where the game was hosted for another year. On January 27, 2014, Marvelous USA announced that the English version would be closing down as of February 28, 2014, and that all of the titles it was responsible for hosting would be dropped. On February 28, 2014 many players of Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine Online logged in to spend some time in the game for the last time before it closed at 5:00PM PST. The original version, in Japanese, is still up and being added to.
This game describes an alternative view of the future where the Earth is overrun by Demons. Humans have clashed, and eventually learned to co-exist with them. The player is a "Demon Buster" (or DB for short), who fights and interacts with these Demons; featuring Japanese anime-like graphics, with the added feature of futuristic devices (such as portable computers that players wear around their arms called COMPs) the game can appeal to a wide range of fans.
The gameplay consists of real-time strategic commands, each with a "casting" and "cool-down" time. The player character is primarily controlled by the number keys and mouse. While the player's demon generally acts on AI, it can be manually given actions with the F keys. Properly using the player character's commands in tandem with their demon companion's can significantly increase the player's battling efficiency. Additionally, it is wise to use demons whose attacks do not compete with the player character, but provide more options. For example, a pair of two close-ranged characters would throw off each other's strategic timing, but a close-range human would be more supported with their demon's long-range attacks for maximum efficiency.
Demons, the main draw of the game, can be obtained through "Negotiating." Like defeat, a successful negotiation earns EXP and the demon disappears. However, the demon can offer items or friendship to the player. Talk, Threaten and Taunt are among the negotiation abilities, and each demon favors a particular ability. After setting a contract, the new partner can fight alongside the player in battle. Demon partners with high friendship can also be "crystallized", becoming a form of item usable in modifying equipment.
There are several types of weapons. Having a variety of at least 3 affinities (generally Slash, Charge and Blunt) is essential to a melee player. Besides weaponry, most equippable items provide minor enhancing effects or simply aesthetics, except for torso and lower body that usually always give defense boosts.
The player's character can grow in any way the player wants. It can be given a wide range of abilities, but the game's skill system is set up in a way so that a player cannot be the best at any two character specialties at the same time. However, hybridizing still has many benefits that the character wouldn't receive by focusing on only one thing. For example, a melee character could support themselves and their party with healing and support spells. There are also "chain expertises", which are automatically obtained after a certain set of expertises are at the appropriate levels and grow based on those expertises. One of the biggest complaints about the game is the amount of time it takes to gain expertise classes. It can literally take hundreds of thousands of command uses to raise all the player's skills up to their desired levels for each character, which runs into hundreds of hours of repetitive gameplay. However, there are equipments which increase the rate at which an expertise goes up and there are even occasionally cash items which allows the player to instantly learn a set amount of expertise for a certain skill.
There are two currencies: coinage for buying typical items and general services (Macca) and minerals for misc. things and demon summoning (magnetite).
The game takes place between the events of Shin Megami Tensei and Shin Megami Tensei II. In the Tokyo of the game's futuristic scene, sometime around the 21st century (Year 202X), survivors of a war known as the "Great Destruction" live in small constructed shelters awaiting the day when humanity can be rebuilt. These survivors, led by a group known as the "Seven Philosophers", constructed a massive tower which eventually became known as "Shinjuku Babel". The remaining survivors then retreated underground and constructed a refugee city known as "Home III". Here, the player begins their exploration of the world of MegaTen. In this post-apocalyptic world, demonic forces run rampant and it is the player's job to defeat them. Players are given the option to be in one of three groups: Law, who try to preserve the system and bring it back together; Chaos, who try to break the system; or Neutral, freelance mercenary types. A Players Alignment (Law/Neutral/Chaos) can be changed through the game either by answering questions on certain acts, or donating money to Law or Chaos churches. Players can, while developing their own character, capture the already mentioned "Demons" and also "Spirits" through the use of specialized skills, then use these captured creatures to battle other monsters in combat. These demons can also be fused together to create more powerful demons. Demon use is based on alignment, skill, level and abilities of the players. Players can also complete quests to find additional items, learn new skills and explore more of the world of MegaTen.
Two types of missions to undertake in Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine are acts and quests. Acts are based on the storyline, while quests are small missions you can undertake for extra XP or Macca.