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Shin Megami Tensei

Faith in gaming: The influence of Christianity in videogames

Mar 29 // Ben Davis
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron My favorite game to tackle Judeo-Christian themes is definitely El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron. The story is inspired by the Book of Enoch, and follows Enoch on his quest to find the fallen angels and prevent a great flood from destroying mankind. He is aided by four Archangels (Uriel, Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael), as well as Lucifel, who is commanded by God and is constantly communicating with him via cellphone. El Shaddai is all about style, and it really showcases the beauty of religion through its story, music, and artwork. Much of the soundtrack consists of choir vocals and heavenly melodies; it's one of the best videogame soundtracks I've heard. The artwork is equally beautiful, with surreal, heaven-like landscapes and breathtaking stained glass-inspired visuals. It's really an incredible game to experience, and I wish more games would try to tackle religious stories in a similar manner. The Bible and other religious texts contain many bizarre and exciting stories which would be perfect for videogames, and not just those cheesy Bible Adventures types of games. Shin Megami Tensei series The Shin Megami Tensei series takes inspiration from all kinds of religions and mythologies, one of the most prominent of which is Christianity. Many of the demons and personas that can be fought and/or summoned in the series are taken directly from the Bible and other Judeo-Christian sources, but given their own unique designs to fit in with the SMT universe. There's the big guys, like Satan, Lucifer, and Helel (all separate entities in SMT games); the archangels Uriel, Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael; the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, in the form of White Rider, Red Rider, Black Rider, and Pale Rider; the many spheres of the angelic hierarchy with Angel, Archangel, Principality, Power, Virtue, Dominion, and Throne; and plenty of other personalities. Many of the games contain a compendium, which allows players to learn about where these characters come from in Judeo-Christian folklore. Christianity takes a larger role in the plots of some Shin Megami Tensei games than others. In Nocturne, for example, Lucifer introduces the main character to powers known as Magatama, turning him into a Demi-Fiend. The player can choose to help Lucifer in order to learn more about his true identity, but a God-like figure known as Kagutsuchi will occasionally try to interfere and steer the player away. The final boss of Nocturne actually turns out to be Kagutsuchi himself, essentially leading player to defeating the Shin Megami Tensei universe's version of God. Sure, it's rather blasphemous, but it's all in good fun. It's clear that the series holds a deep appreciation of all religions, Christianity included, based on the character design and influences. I actually learned a lot about Judeo-Christian folklore by reading up on all the different demons and personas; it was honestly a joy to learn about each new character. Dragon Quest series One thing that always stood out to me about the Dragon Quest games was their emphasis on churches. Most of the Dragon Quest games, save for the first game and some of the spin-off titles, have featured churches which serve a very important purpose. Of course, Christianity isn't really a religion in the world of Dragon Quest. They have their own fictional religions, but it's obvious that the churches are inspired by real religions such as Christianity. The churches of Dragon Quest mainly serve as a save function. The player must make a Confession to the pastor, who will record all of the player's deeds, thus saving the game. Churches also offer Resurrection, which revives fallen allies; Benediction, which removes curses; Purification, which removes poison; and Divination, which reveals the amount of experience points necessary to reach the next level. Players will be visiting church quite often. I guess the reason this always stood out to me was because I had never seen such an obvious reference to religion in a game before playing Dragon Quest, or at least to the type of religion I grew up with. It's kind of strange, given how prominent and influential religion is in real life. I mean, there's plenty of mythological religion in videogames, like the goddesses of The Legend of Zelda and the powerful demigods of Final Fantasy. But seeing something as simple as a church in Dragon Quest, something religious that I could actually relate to, really left an impression on me. The Binding of Isaac Some may see The Binding of Isaac as an anti-Christian game. The story revolves around a boy named Isaac and his mother, who hears the voice of God telling her to kill her son, and so Isaac flees to the basement to escape his mother's wrath. It's pretty clear that the story decries the type of extremist Christians who try to use the Bible for their own personal benefit at the expense of others, but there's also an appreciation for religion there which is quite apparent when you look at all the items, enemies, and characters in the game. All of the characters are based on Biblical figures; you can play as Isaac, Magdalene, Cain, Judas, Eve, Samson, Lazarus, Azazel, and Eden (which is more of a location in the Bible, but still). Many of the bosses in the game are also based in Christianity, such as the Seven Deadly Sins, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Uriel, Gabriel, and even Satan himself. The game is also bursting with religious items. While Isaac can become demonic and powerful if he picks up certain things, many of the best items in the game are actually holy relics based in Christianity. For example, if he finds an Angel Room, he's pretty much guaranteed to get something helpful: a Guardian Angel, Holy Water, a Rosary, a Mitre, a Scapular, a Halo, a Communion Wafer, and more. Holy items usually offer protection over power, but in a game like Isaac with enemies crawling all over the place, they are extremely useful. Isaac can also find the Bible, a reusable item which grants flight, allowing him to fly over any obstacle. He can also use it against Mom to give her a taste of her own medicine, which instantly defeats her, although it will destroy Isaac himself if he tries to use it against Satan. I think The Binding of Isaac attempts to be a conversation about religion. There's nothing truly anti-Christian in the game, and in fact there's a lot of stuff in there where Christianity is helpful and comforting. But it's also not afraid to point out some of the more problematic aspects of religion as well. It's an important conversation to have, so it's nice to see videogames trying to tackle the subject. Bayonetta series Bayonetta may be about witches with stiletto guns and crazy hair-based powers, but the story also takes a lot of inspiration from Dante's Divine Comedy, which represents medieval interpretations of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, based on the views of Roman Catholicism. In the Bayonetta series, the titular heroine travels through the worlds of Purgatorio, Paradiso, and Inferno, fighting angels of the various spheres of angelical hierarchy as well as the demons of Inferno. The angels are particularly great. I love their over-the-top holy designs, complete with feathery white wings, halos, gold plating, and everything you would expect to see from the Roman Catholic version of Heaven. I also enjoy the short cinematics which introduce each new angel, indicating their names and which sphere of the hierarchy they reside in, complete with glorious hymnal music. It may seem unusual to be fighting angels, who are typically the good guys, but it's not as though the game takes itself too seriously. I don't think Christian gamers should feel weird about playing games such as Bayonetta, Shin Megami Tensei, or The Binding of Isaac, not only because these are fictional stories, but also because there is a clear sense of respect for the source material there. These aren't ham-fisted ideas shoved into a game to bash someone's personal philosophies; they're carefully researched religious references used to entertain, educate, and/or spark conversation. These were just a few, but of course there are plenty more examples of Judeo-Christian and Biblical influence in videogames. You'll see it everywhere if you're really looking for it. Games like Darksiders feature characters loosely based on religion, while other games like Dante's Inferno take religious stories a bit more literally. I would honestly like to see more prominent religious themes in videogames, as I think they can make for some really interesting storytelling. And it's not like you have to believe in a certain faith to enjoy such stories, as they usually offer universal advice in their themes. Even if the stories and characters are specific to a certain religion, the themes and lessons expressed can often apply to anyone.
Religion and videogames photo
And God said, 'Let there be games'
Religion is not something that is discussed much when talking about videogames, even though many games often feature religious themes and stories based on religious texts. It's difficult to avoid these things, since religion ...

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker is devilishly difficult, set for release on May 5

Feb 18 // Alessandro Fillari
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker (3DS)Developer: AtlusPublisher: AtlusRelease date: May 5, 2015MSRP: $49.99 Set in near-future Japan, the world is facing an invasion from a demonic force known as the Septentriones. As the protagonist, you soon discover that a cellphone app called Nicaea sees the possible future deaths of friends and allies, which may also have clues on to how to stop the invaders. With only seven days to defeat them, the protagonist and his allies make a pact with a demon who dubs them the Devil Messengers, granting them the abilities and strength to fight back. The fate of the world now rests on the group to take down the Septrentriones, but along the way they'll have to manage the responsibilities of controlling an army of demons while handling teenage drama that can distract from the reality of their situation. As stated previously, Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker is an enhanced version of the original game in addition to a substantial amount of new content. Including the original game's Septentrione arc, which features a new script and dialog, cutscenes, updated voice-work and music, and new demons to recruit -- it also has a brand new campaign taking place after the events of the original story known as the Triangulum arc. For those who are familiar with the original arc and want to jump into the new story, you can do so right from the get-go. The Triangulum arc features many parallels to the original story, such as the foreshadowing Nicaea app and returning characters, but there any many deviations that'll surprises returning players. Not to give too much away, but certain characters and events will be entirely different, and will even have players looking at established characters in a new way. Though no progress will be carried over from the original campaign, the new content will take anywhere from 20-30 hours to complete, which also includes more demons and characters to recruit. [embed]287802:57378:0[/embed] Much like its predecessor, Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker tasks players with interacting with party members to forge friendships and create teams to battle armies of demons invading Tokyo. Battles take place in turn-based strategy format, where characters have to maneuver around the field to make their move against the enemy. Bringing four teams into battle, each ally leads their own unit with two demons fighting alongside them. Players will have to think ahead and use their strengths and special skills to outwit enemies. The importance of character interaction is one of the hallmarks of MegaTen, and Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker expands upon that with strategic gameplay. Character interaction and forming friendships is important to succeed, and you'll even have to make deals with the devil (literally) to get your own demon army ahead. Over the course of seven days, you'll have to the strengthen bonds of allies with the Fate System (similar to Persona's Social Links), and recruit powerful demons to stand a chance against the enemy forces. I had a nice amount of time with Record Breaker, and it seems to retain the heart and fun that SMT fans adored from the original title. There's a rabid following for Devil Survivor 2, and it feels that this enhanced version is very much a love letter to the original game that seeks to give it a much more exciting and satisfying finish. I got quite a laugh with the new voice work and script, which remains as self-aware and humorous with its characters than ever. Though there's been some concern about the premium price tag ($49.99), there's definitely a lot more content to go around with this entry. With the updated Septentrione arc along with a sizable epilogue campaign in the Triangulum story arc, Record Breaker is the most robust package in the Devil Survivor series, and it will see even more content with future DLC. It'll certainly tide you over until Persona 5 will be released.
Shin Megami Tensei photo
More than a remaster
What a busy year this is going to be for Atlus. With the release of Persona 5 in the coming months, there are a lot of expectations for what's ahead with the Shin Megami Tensei franchise. In order to keep fans satiated till t...

Persona 3 photo
Persona 3

Persona 3: The Movie: Falling Down gets a new teaser trailer

Out in April in Japanese theaters
Jan 13
// Chris Carter
On April 4, the third Persona 3: The Movie will hit theaters in Japan, compliments of Aniplex. It has just released a new trailer for the anime film that you can view above. As an aside, the second film will be out...
Devil Survivor 2 photo
Devil Survivor 2

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker is coming westward

Praise Atlus
Dec 10
// Chris Carter
Atlus has sent word that Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker will be heading westward. Due in 2015, the game is exclusive to 3DS. This won't be a straight port, though. For those unaware, this is an enha...
SMT IV Europe! photo
SMT IV Europe!

At long last, Shin Megami Tensei IV is out in Europe!

Oct 30
// Kyle MacGregor
Good lord, did Atlus take its sweet time, but Shin Megami Tensei IV is finally out in Europe. Also, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Better late than never! The role-playing game is available for &eur...
SMT IV photo

Shin Megami Tensei IV hits Europe on October 30

Oct 17
// Kyle MacGregor
It's happening. It's finally happening. The long wait is nearly over. Shin Megami Tensei IV is coming to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand on October 30, Atlus announced today. Wow! That's a lot of p...
Shin Megami Tensei IV photo
Shin Megami Tensei IV

Shin Megami Tensei IV's release delayed in Europe

Pee-yew in the EU
Sep 03
// Brittany Vincent
Atlus has reported that the European release of Shin Megami Tensei IV has been delayed from September to October. John Hardin, Atlus USA's PR manager, revealed the news on Twitter. He stated that due to a few last-minute EU s...
Digital Devil Saga photo
Digital Devil Saga

Digital Devil Saga novels coming to the U.S., so read 'em if you refuse to play the series

I know I PERSONA-LLY have to have these
Jul 31
// Brittany Vincent
A series of books based on the Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga series is being published in the U.S. by Bento Books. There are five books in total which are authored by Yu Godai. The first book is titled Quantum Devil ...
Shin Megami Tensei IV photo
Shin Megami Tensei IV

Shin Megami Tensei IV hits Europe in September

Good things come to those who wait... and wait... and wait...
Jul 30
// Kyle MacGregor
Shin Megami Tensei IV will be summoned to Europe this September, Atlus announced today. The role-playing game will retail for €19.99/£17.99 via the Nintendo 3DS eShop. Atlus notes all the downloadable content will ...
Atlus 3DS sale photo
Atlus 3DS sale

PSA: Four Atlus games on sale on 3DS eShop

Buy 'em if you want, or don't; I'm not a cop
Jul 23
// Steven Hansen
If you need a dang long game to hold you over until Persona Q's release, perhaps something else from Atlus is your vice. Provided you didn't pay for them all the other times they seem to have gone on sale (in North America; sorry, Europe). Devil Survivor Overclocked ($14.99)Shin Megami Tensei: Soul Hackers ($14.99) Shin Megami Tensei IV ($24.99)Code of Princess ($14.99)
Raidou Kuzunoha returns photo
Raidou Kuzunoha returns

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2 hits PS3 next week

No Jack Frost plushie though, obviously
Jun 21
// Kyle MacGregor
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon is coming to PlayStation 3 next week as a digital release, the latest episode of the PlayStation Blogcast reveals Atlus first brought the PS2 action ...
Advance Wars photo
Advance Wars

Intelligent Systems is thinking about the next Advance Wars and Fire Emblem

Company says it's 'on schedule' with SMT X Fire Emblem
Jun 11
// Jordan Devore
This evening at a special event, Nintendo and Intelligent Systems announced a new intellectual property for 3DS, a turn-based strategy game with shooter elements called Code Name: STEAM. During a post-presentation Q&A ses...

YES! Shin Megami Tensei IV is coming to Europe

Jun 10
// Dale North
I've got some good news for you, European JRPG fans. Shin Megami Tensei IV is finally coming your way. Atlus will publish it as a digital download on the eShop as an English-only release. The price is still being worked on, b...
Digital Devil Saga photo
Digital Devil Saga

Digital Devil Saga 2 hits PSN in America today, Europe tomorrow

Classic PS2 role-playing game returns on PS3
Jun 10
// Kyle MacGregor
It's a light week in terms of new releases on account of E3. However, there's definitely one game RPG enthusiasts should play in any waking moments not consumed by keeping tabs on all the pomp and circumstance out of Los Ange...
Digital Devil Saga 2 PSN photo
Digital Devil Saga 2 PSN

ESRB rates Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2 for PS3

Jun 03
// Kyle MacGregor
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2 might just be the next Atlus classic to manifest on PlayStation 3, an ESRB rating for the RPG suggests. The news shouldn't come as a total surprise. A sizable portion of the Japan...
Digital Devil Saga Europe photo
Digital Devil Saga Europe

Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga hits PSN in Europe this week

Two years later, Ghostlight finally comes through
Jun 02
// Kyle MacGregor
Ghostlight is summoning Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga to the PlayStation Network in Europe this week, the British publisher has announced. The Atlus-developed RPG initially arrived on European shores in 2006 for PS2....
Digital Devil Saga photo
Digital Devil Saga

Digital Devil Saga dropping onto PSN tomorrow

Get it, or you'll make Gale cry
May 19
// Brittany Vincent
Wolfenstein: The New Order and Transistor may be releasing this Tuesday, but so is another excellent game: Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga. If you're a Persona fan by way of the recent releases or if you've been follow...

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne is available on PlayStation Network today

Holy Matador!
May 06
// Dale North
[Update: It's up now! $9.99. Go, go, go!] I laughed hard at the featured comment yesterday on our story on the mystery game that Atlus would be bringing to the PlayStation Network today. Why? Because Destructoid community mem...
SMT! photo

Atlus teases mysterious game coming to PSN tomorrow

May 05
// Kyle MacGregor
Atlus has something up its sleeve. Shocking, I know. It must be a Monday or something. "You're probably going to want to fire up your PS3s and keep an eye on the PS Store tomorrow," a company representative mentioned today over at the Megaten Reddit community. How very cryptic. Whatever could it be? I suppose we'll just have to wait and see. Quick Heads Up [Reddit]

Shin Megami Tensei: Raidou Kuzunoha strikes PSN next week

Atlus re-releasing action role-playing game digitally on PS3
Mar 29
// Kyle MacGregor
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army will make its digital debut on PlayStation 3 next week, the PlayStation Blogcast reports. Unlike the vast majority of MegaTen games, the Raidou Kuzunoh...
Shin Megami Tensei photo
Shin Megami Tensei

The very first Shin Megami Tensei is on iOS this week

Out now
Mar 19
// Chris Carter
Although the Shin Megami Tensei has been wildly successful in Japan from the very beginning, we still haven't seen a number of the earlier franchise entries. Atlus is seeking to solve that problem, starting wi...
SMTIOS photo

Original Shin Megami Tensei making its first trip West

First North American localization coming to iOS next month
Feb 27
// Steven Hansen
The first Shin Megami Tensei is being translated to English for the first time next month. You'll be able to pick it up from the iTunes Store on March 18 for $8. Not bad. Too bad (for me) it's coming "exclusively to the App ...
Persona Q photo
Persona Q

Persona Q: Shadow of Labyrinth gets adorable new trailer

Also, the site is open with character bios
Dec 20
// Chris Carter
You've heard of Persona Q: Shadows of the Labyrinth, right? It's basically a chibi spinoff of the series, involving bits and pieces of Persona 3 and 4, and it's heading to the 3DS next year. Based on the initial reveal ...
Deals!!! photo

Deal: Amazon lightning deal has Soul Hackers for $9.99

Deal begins at 8:10 PST
Nov 30
// Wesley Ruscher
[Edit: Deal is over, but the game is still on sale for $21.58] Attention all Atlus loving Shin Megami Tensei fans, has Amazon got an upcoming deal for you. Going on sale at 8:10 PST, is the futuristic dungeon-crawle...

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children on JP Virtual Console

In red or black
Nov 07
// Dale North
Shin Megami Tensei spin-off Devil Children will come to the Japanese Virtual Console for 3DS this month. There are two variants of these Game Boy Color titles, titled Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children Black Book and Red Book...
Atlus 3DS sale photo
Atlus 3DS sale

Three Atlus 3DS games are each $10 off on eShop

Code of Princess, Etrian Odyssey IV, and Soul Hackers are discounted until August 31
Aug 19
// Tony Ponce
Good news, cheapskates! Atlus is keeping the Nintendo love train going by dropping ten bucks off select 3DS eShop titles until August 31. This is in addition to other deal running through the end of the month, in which you'll...
Soul Hackers hits Europe photo
Soul Hackers hits Europe

Euro-in luck: Soul Hackers set for September 20 in Europe

Cyberpunked: SMT: Devil Summoner 2 hacks out soul European release date
Aug 19
// Steven Hansen
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers is a game with a name hard to squeeze into a headline. It also released for the 3DS in April in the United States (August 2012 in Japan). It will finally be released in Europe ...
Devil Survivor 2 Europe photo
Devil Survivor 2 Europe

Devil Survivor 2 needs 1,800 pre-orders to come to Europe

Ghostlight announces plans for standalone release and bundle
Jul 29
// Kyle MacGregor
Releasing a Nintendo DS game isn't as easy as it once was. Now that its successor has taken off, the venerable portable isn't receiving much support from retailers, and those looking to release titles on the aged system must ...

Look at me wearing Amazon armor in Shin Megami Tensei IV

Prime Coat? HA!
Jul 16
// Dale North
Happy Shin Megami Tensei IV day! How are you all getting on so far? Not to brag (brag!) but I'm well into my second go around, working to get a different ending. I hope you're loving it as much as I did. And if you're having...
SMT IV box set contest photo
You know you want this
[Update: Contest over! Winners are Option1Soul (for this blog) and TheSpookyGhost (for this video)! Thanks to everyone who entered!] Shin Megami Tensei IV is out today, and our friends at Atlus are celebrating by giving us t...

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