Shin Megami Tensei Imagine, or Megaten as it is known, is a free to play MMORPG based in an alternate future. The game is published by Aeria games and can be found at http://megaten.aeriagames.com/. The game is based in a futuristic Tokyo after a massive nuclear war has wiped out most of humanity. The survivors live in massive underground cities and are all waiting for the time when they can return to live on the Earths surface. Prior to the nuclear war, known as the Great Destruction, an experiment with teleportation went worng and allowed demons to come through into our world. These demons are now roaming the surface world and it is your job, as a demon buster, to help wipe them out.
Megaten begins by having you create your character. There are not a huge number of choices to begin with. Choose the look of your character and his/her cothing, then decide on a weapon (choice of machete, conbet knife or battle hammer) and a wrist computer. Your character is then taken to Home 2 (one of the underground nuclear bunker cities) to help investigate an incident. This will basically serve as the first of 2 available tutorials. Follow the instructions and you will soon come across your first demon, a green jelly type creature that will be your introduction to combat. To begin with combat consists of targeting your opponent and then selecting an attack. At this point in the game you have access to basic attack, Vulcan hit ( a rush based attack that can break through your opponents guard), Dragon sweep ( a spin based attack that can damage multiple enemies in your vicinity) and Tethra counter ( a counter attack that inflicts damage after your enemies attack). Also soon after this you learn Basic Guard that will serve as your defensive move. Some of these attacks need to be charged up, some even cost you health. The combat system works ok and is easy to understand, however it can seem a bit clumsy at times.
After your little adventure in Home 2 you are greeted with a cut scene and then you awaken in home 3. A guy calling himself Snakeman, complete with demon companion, states that you are a demon buster in training and the you are offered more tutorials in a virtual room. It is worth doing these ( do you have a choice?) as they will run through some things that were not covered in the home 2 adventure. Also you will be taught about magic attacks, expertise, levelling up and the three different types of demon buster. They are fighter, magician and gunner. Also when you complete a tutorial, of which there are four, you receive rewards. These can be cash to spend, potions for HP or MP, or demon cash, used for transacting with demons.
After the tutorials, you will be given your first mission. This is part of an Act, the main storyline that runs through the game. There are also quests to do that will reward you with items you may need, but will not further the story. Visit the Cathedral of Shadows before leaving Home 3, to learn about demons. On the surface there are demons roaming everywhere. You discover that it is possible to negotiate with these demons and have them fight with you against other demons. These can be summoned from your wrist computer after you have â€œcaughtâ€ them. Also you will be able to fuse demons together in order to create even more powerful demons to fight at your side.
Leave the Cathedral and explore. Pick up quests by chatting with the people around you and then venture outside to follow the main story when you feel ready.
The game interface is not the best I have seen in an MMORPG and I must confess to having some difficulty getting the game to run. The graphics are of a typically anime style that most people will recognise and be happy with. As with most MMORPGâ€™s , I feel there will be a lot of repetition in the gameplay and the quests (deliver this, collect that, defeat so many of these etcâ€¦) However I think that the shining beacon for this game is the rich world in which it is set. This story has been around for ages in the form of the Shin Megami Tensei games and as such has developed into a deep and full world for people to enjoy. With the new Shin Megami Tensei Persona being released in North America in September, I can see this game picking up many more followers.
At first I thought I would not enjoy this game, however I found myself pulled into the world of Megaten and I can see myself returning to this world before long. I score this game a surprising 7 out of 10.
Download the game client at http://megaten.aeriagames.com/