Shin Megami Tensei IV is a difficult game. It’s a great game, but the starting difficulty level is going to shock people who aren’t used to this series. I’d say it’s even Nintendo Hard. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about being repeatedly beaten down by your opponents any longer. All the DLC you need to breeze through the game is now available, and it’s exactly the kind of DLC more games should employ.
See, Shin Megami Tensei IV DLC isn’t just about unlocking new outfits or scenarios, like you’d expect from standard RPG DLC. There are three specific add-ons designed to make the game more manageable. Think of it as a way to eliminate the grind, for those who want to experience the story, but may have other obligations like work, school or relationships that get in the way. It’s a godsend, and exactly the kind of thing more games should offer. After all, with the number of older gamers increasing, it’s a good way to ensure people actually get to finish the games they buy, without ruining the challenge for other players. If someone wants to simplify their adventure, they can, but those who don’t aren’t penalized.
The first DLC is one that, after much thought and deliberation, I acquired. Oh, who am I kidding? I grabbed “Experience of the Afterlife” the day the game launched, (virtually) threw $1.99 at Atlus and said, “I’ll be back next week for the rest!” This pack is a Challenge Quest that takes players to an area where they can fight an assortment of demons for Light Grimroires and Heavy Grimoires. Used outside of battle, six Light Grimoires can provide enough EXP to boost Flynn or one of his demons to the next level, while one Heavy Grimroire can do the trick. Think of it as a shortcut to not only powering up Flynn, but unlocking the ability to fuse as many high-level demons as you want. The pack also allows people to fuse Fairy Oread, but that’s a secondary bonus. I was at level 35 when I got this DLC. Within a half an hour, I was at level 99.
Which is helpful, because Shin Megami Tensei IV is a grind-heavy game and I have a life. I have work, friends, family and Animal Crossing: New Leaf obligations. “Experience of the Afterlife” made it easier for me to enjoy a game I loved. It may sound bad, but I’d never be able to manage the replays I so dearly want to attempt without it.
The other two, game-breaking Shin Megami Tensei IV DLCs are “Death Has Its Applications” and “Underworld Money-Maker”. Each one is $2.99 and offers a similar incentive. the former provides App Points, to upgrade Burrough’s bonus apps, and the later gives items that can be sold for in-game Macca. You also get the ability to make the demons Fiend Plasma and Beast Asterius as well, but again, that’s secondary. Personally, I haven’t grabbed either of these, but I understand the mindset of the people who do. Some of them want to enjoy a game they purchased, getting through the adventure without wasting a lot of time grinding their characters. Others may not have the time to get these items legitimately. In either case, it’s a nice option to have for people who do need it.
Shin Megami Tensei IV isn’t the only game to realize game-breaking DLC isn’t such a bad thing. Fire Emblem Awakening offers similar alternatives, in the form of “EXPonential Growth,” “The Golden Gaffe,” and “Infinite Regalia.” The way I see it, the creation and option of such add-ons doesn’t hurt the game, or players, as a whole. It just shows that developers realize a certain segment of the audience may not have the time or desire to spend endless amounts of time on their game, but still would very much want to experience all of it. So, they give people the option of buying bonuses that let them enjoy the game they’ve played. It’s about accessibility, it’s a good thing and I’m glad to see games offering this option.