Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei 4 introduces smirking and skill whispering to the game's updated combat system, which will allow players to fuse with their demons and absorb their skills.
In the Nintendo 3DS exclusive — which is the first of the mainline Megami Tensei games to make it onto the 3DS — players will be able to activate smirking during battle, which then boosts their stats if they achieve a critical hit. If a smirk is carefully timed during battle, players can do more damage and gain the advantage over their enemies.
Also new to the series is skill whispering, which is where a player can absorb the abilities of a demon. In a demo of the game that Polygon played, when one of the demons in our party leveled up and learned its last skill, it whispered to us and told us that we could absorb some of its abilities. Players can either ignore this offer to skill whisper, or they can agree to it by selecting the skills they want to absorb from their demon. A player has a limit to the number of skills that can equip themselves with, so if they have already maxed out their skill slots, they will have to sacrifice one in order to absorb a new one. If a player and a demon have the same skill, absorbing the demon's version of that ability will then level the player up in that particular skill.
Players can also fuse their demons together and pick and choose skills from either demon to create whatever combination they want. For those who don't want to get into the details of fusions, the game recommends optimal fusions that players can choose.
The 3DS game is a direct continuation of the core series, but also has a brand-new, self-contained story so those who are new to the series can jump in and play. It contains Street Pass features and a 3D depth effect.
Shina Megami Tensei 4 will release in North America on July 16, 2013 and in Europe in the Summer. The game came out in Japan on May 23 and was reviewed in Famitsu magazine, receiving a score of 37/40.