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Megami Tensei
Megamilogo

Developer(s)

Atlus
Cave

Publisher(s)

Atlus
Namco
Aeria Games

First Game

Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei (1987)

Genre(s)

Role-playing

Platform(s)

Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, MSX, Nintendo DS, NES, PC Engine, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Sega CD, Sega Saturn, Super NES, Virtual Boy, Wii, Microsoft Windows, Xbox, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS

Megami Tensei (Japanese: 女神転生, "Rebirth of the Goddess"), commonly abbreviated as MegaTen (メガテン), is a Japanese role-playing video game metaseries which was originally based on the novel series Digital Devil Story by Aya Nishitani (taking its name from the title of the first of those novels) and has gone to become one of the major franchises of the genre in its native country. The games are published by Atlus with the exception of the Famicom games, which were published by Namco.

Although most games in the series have independent stories, the Megami Tensei series has many common elements. Demons and mythology are prominent in each installment, usually giving players a chance to recruit demons into the battle party. Other common elements include certain game mechanics and plot themes. Most games in the series feature nonlinear gameplay offering freedom of choice between branching paths and multiple endings, a conversation system allowing players to engage enemies in conversation, the ability to use or capture monsters, and a moral alignment system.

Megami Tensei games have met commercial and critical success and the series is usually known as the third main RPG series in Japan, after Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. Several games from the series have been released in the west and found praise from critics.

GamesEdit

The first game, Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei, was based on the novel of the same name by Aya Nishitani. It was released in Japan in 1987 for both the MSX and the Famicom. Alongside its sequel, Megami Tensei II, these are the only two games in the series to have only Megami Tensei in their name. Kyūyaku Megami Tensei (旧約・女神転生), the title of the Super Famicom remake of the first two MegaTen games, translates to "Old Testament Reincarnation of the Goddess". The flagship series then became the Shin Megami Tensei (真・女神転生) series, which translates to "Reincarnation of the True Goddess", the Shin in this case being a pun on the shin (新) meaning "new". As a spin-off of Megami Tensei, it eventually became the de facto subtitle of all non-Japanese Megami Tensei releases.

Other games under the Shin Megami Tensei title include Shin Megami Tensei II for the SNES, released in 1994, Shin Megami Tensei if..., also released for the SNES in 1994, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne for the PlayStation 2, and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey for the Nintendo DS. An MMORPG, Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine, was released in January 2008, developed by Cave and published internationally by Aeria Games. The game takes place between the first and second Shin Megami Tensei games, and players assume the role of a Devil Buster who ventures into an apocalyptic Tokyo in light of humanity's resurgence, as well as a sudden onslaught of demons. The fourth game in the main series, Shin Megami Tensei IV, was released in Japan on May 23, 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS.

Devil SummonerEdit

The Devil Summoner series started on the Sega Saturn with two titles: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner in 1995 and Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers in 1997. The series returned in 2006 with the release of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army and its 2008 sequel, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon, both for PlayStation 2. Unlike the previous entries in the series, which are traditional turn-based games, the Raidou Kuzunoha series consists of real-time action games with role-playing elements. Raidou Kuzunoha, the series's titular protagonist, is a detective living in early 20th-century Japan and the 14th in a line of demon summoners. Devil Summoner is also being made into a manga by Atlus called "Kuzunoha Raidou vs. The Lone Marebito." In 2012, the game Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers was released again, this time to the 3DS, with improvements such as full voice acting and new demons.

PersonaEdit

Main Article: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona

A spin-off from Megami Tensei, the Persona series centers around groups of teenagers who possess the ability to summon facets of their psyche, known as Personas, into being. Megami Ibunroku (女神異聞録), the title for the original Persona game released on the PlayStation, translates to "Record of the Goddess' Strange Tales", denoting a side story or alternate universe. This first game was released in North America in 1996 as Revelations: Persona. The next title in the Persona series was released as two installments: Persona 2: Innocent Sin, released in 1999, and Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, released in 2000. Both games were released on the PlayStation. Only Eternal Punishment was localized and released in North America at first, until September and November 2011, when the PSP remake of Innocent Sin was released in North America and Europe.

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, first released in 2006 on the PlayStation 2, represented a drastic change in design for the series, as it introduced elements of simulation games. The player controls a high school student, who attends classes during the day; after school, the player's character is free to engage in a number of activities, such as seeing a movie or spending time with a classmate. These actions all have effects on the game's combat, which takes place at night. Persona 3 is also known for the use of Evokers, gun-like objects the game's characters fire at their heads to summon their Persona.

A similar idea had appeared in the 2002 "Dark and Light" anime adaptation of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children where guns called "Devilizers" were used to summon and power up their fighting monsters. They were simply aimed at the air though, not at the user's head.

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, released in 2008 on the PlayStation 2 and on PlayStation Vita in 2012, expanded on the combat and simulation elements of Persona 3. The game did not, however, include the Evokers of its predecessor; instead, the game's playable characters shatter Tarot cards to release their Personas.

Digital Devil SagaEdit

Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga, known in Japan as Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner is the first of two games in the Digital Devil Saga games. It was released in Japan in 2004 and in North America the next year, being released again in the PAL region in 2006. Digital Devil Saga differs from other Megami Tensei games in that the player cannot summon demons, but must utilize a party of characters and their demon transformations. Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2, known in Japan as Digital Devil Saga 2, is a direct sequel to the first game. It was released in 2005 in both Japan and North America and in 2006 in the PAL region.

Devil SurvivorEdit

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor is the latest spin-off for the Megami Tensei series. Devil Survivor uses a Tactical RPG system, mixing the traditional RPG gameplay and modern-day setting. The game was praised by critics and described as a "welcome addition" to the Megami Tensei series. A remake of Devil Survivor for the Nintendo 3DS, titled Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked has been released in both Japan and North America. A sequel, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 has been released in Japan in July 2011 and February 2012 in North America. Devil Survivor 2 quickly became popular in Japan and the manga adaptation, Devil Survivor 2 -Show Your Free Will- began serialization in Comic Earth Star with Nagako Sakaki as the artist. The series uses the Megami Ibunroku (女神異聞録) prefix in Japan.

Other GamesEdit

Majin Tensei, one of the numerous spin-offs, can be translated as "Reincarnation of the Demon God". In the Megaten franchise, Majin / Demon God is usually a clan title used to categorize the chief deity from various pantheon like Vishnu, Horus, and Baal who are not demonic in nature. In the Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne English version, 魔神 is translated simply Deity. Giten Megami Tensei, commonly abbreviated as GigaTen, is a more SF-oriented installment for Japanese personal computers. The title translates to "Pseudepigrapha Reincarnation of the Goddess". The Megami Tensei Gaiden: Last Bible series is another side series, most of which is for the Game Boy Color. The Last Bible games replace the modern setting with a fantasy world. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children is another side series consisting of handheld games. Devil Children games were aimed at a younger target audience and are generally brighter and less complicated.

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