A quick , as per forum regulations: this post contains mentions of suicide.
You hear a voice calling you Akira…
If you’ve played SMTIV, these faces will be very familiar to you. Even if you haven’t, you can probably put together that something weird is happening here.
Not yet. I hope he’s not doing anything rash…
What about you, Skins?
Nothing. I asked the boys to check the security footage, but no luck so far. I don’t like it, Fujiwara.
We’re unable to establish communications with either of them.
What about the US?
No good. They’re not responding.
Surveillance satellite detected a missile on course to Japan! ETA five minutes!
This is it…
It’s him! Is he in Ginza?
He’s got Masakado’s Katana… Get him on the radio. Now.
He’s not responding…
Damn it! What the hell’s he doing?
I want to protect them all…no matter the cost.
So, we just had a guy who looks oddly familiar get his head eaten by a demon, which then grew massive enough to body block a nuke. Just your average, ordinary, every day event.
Did he commit…suicide?
What just happened? Someone give me an update!
I-I don’t know. But…it appears something has covered the entirety of Tokyo.
That’s it, I’m going outside. Come on, Akira.
FINALLY… Hurry, we’re gonna be late! Don’t tell me you forgot about the morning meeting…
You wake to find Asahi standing over you. Seems you were dreaming…
Tell Asahi about the weird dream?
Well, of course. Psychic visions of the past aren’t really that weird in a world where you can carry around creator deities in your cell phone.
You tell Asahi about the dream.
Someone who looked like Flynn…killed himself? And then rock covered up the sky?
Sounds like Nikkari’s “history lesson” from yesterday, but what’s this about a guy committing suicide?
I can see why that’d rattle you. Maybe tell the others about it when we get to the Association?
I really like this little scene for exactly what I said a few lines up. Rather than have Asahi dismiss the whole matter out of hand, she accepts the fact that really strange and disturbing things can happen in a world where almost all myths and legends happen to be true. Way too many pieces of media go for the immediate skepticism route.
Speaking of that meeting, though, it’s time to go on a little tour of some of the facilities and objects in Kinshicho that will keep being relevant throughout this journey.
On the other side of this locked gate are three item boxes. Item boxes contain consumable or sellable items, perhaps unsurprisingly. The identity of the contents of these ones will vex us for a while, as that gate isn’t going anywhere for now.
If you see a yellow sword and shield symbol, that’s a black market. This is where you buy new weapons and armor. Right now, though, it’s closed in order to funnel us towards where we’re actually supposed to go.
Item shops sell the same sort of things you find in item boxes. You can decide for yourself what that symbol looks like, but I think it looks like a toolbox myself.
Terminals are teleporters that act as your fast travel system. Visit a settlement, register its Terminal, and never have to worry about walking to that location again.
Finally, you’ve got the local Hunter’s Association bar, all of which have the same yellow signboard map symbol and graffiti’d door. This also happens to be where we need to go to progress the plot.
“Don’t call you ‘Dad’ at work.” Right, right. Boss.
Come on now… If my own daughter can’t get it together, I’m really in trouble.
A little help, Nanashi?
Show your dad some respect.
Asahi’s dad is good people. He’s also closer to Nanashi than even his jovialty might imply. Namely, his design is actually based on the original design for Nanashi, back when the protagonist of Apocalypse was supposed to be an adult rather than a 15 year old. Makes you wonder what could have been, doesn’t it?
Nikkari’s around here somewhere. Better not keep him waiting, cadets.
Now scram. And be sure to give Nikkari your full attention!
Asahi’s dad – Boss – nudges you along.
Hunter’s Association bars allow you to do several things. “Heal” lets you fully restore HP and remove status conditions from your entire party; it’s on the house here in Kinschicho as a perk of knowing the boss, but costs a few hundred or so macca in other bars. “Deliver” lets you deliver items for delivery quests. “Talk” lets you get snippets of dialogue from a bar member or two. And in this case, it’s also our progression, as we need to chat up Nikkari. “Talk to Boss” lets us talk to Asahi’s father, and is obviously only in the Kinshicho bar.
We’ll head out after the meeting.
Shouldn’t be long now. Just kick back and relax in the meanwhile.
You’ve got a little time before the assembly starts…
Want to mention your dream to Nikkari and Manabu?
As much as I don’t trust Manabu with any information of any sort, Nikkari has been nothing but helpful, so we’ll tell him about the dream.
No offense, but your dreams are suuuper boring. Try having cooler ones.
…Don’t mention this to anyone else. And forget the name “Akira”.
Why, what’s the big deal?
Akira’s not a name Hunters like to hear.
Akira ran with Skins and Fujiwara, the founders of the Hunter Association.
Fought alongside both of 'em, back in the day. I hear he was pretty well-trusted.
Awkward… In any case, after this, Nikkari quickly shuts down Asahi’s attempts to find out more about what that statement meant, and a further distraction comes in the form of the meeting starting.
We’ve suffered through “God’s Plan” in darkness for the last 25 years.
Now things have taken a turn for the worse.
Merkabah and his army have taken over the Sky Tower.
Merkabah says he’s following orders directly from God.
And you might remember him as one of the angels of death from 25 years ago.
Meanwhile, Lucifer is quartered at Camp Ichigaya. He plans on taking his troops to intercept the angels.
Basically, we’re about to be right in the middle of a War between Heaven and Hell.
That’s the bad news. But it gets better.
If you’re guessing that the goods hands it is in are Flynn’s, you’d be right. Flynn is planning on slaying both the Law and Chaos final bosses, as Neutral heroes are wont to do, and everyone in the bar is cheering as Skins announces Flynn’s plans and the Hunter Association’s intentions to put their full force behind Flynn on air.
Once upon a time, we humans made it to the Ceiling.
We made it, and they knocked us right back down to tear ourselves apart.
Tokyo was left to fend for herself from the corrupt Ashura-Kai and the anarchists in the Ring of Gaea.
A bit of backstory, since these groups are both almost out of commission by the time Apocalypse starts. The Ashura-Kai were SMTIV’s a lesser Law faction in SMTIV, more or less a bunch of authoritarian yakuza aided by the angel Mastema (unbeknownst to either the other angels or most of the Ashura-Kai). The Ring of Gaea, by contrast, were full-on “survival of the fittest” Chaos monks in service of the demon Lilith. A few members of both organizations are still limping around, but the actual organizations themselves are crippled.
I think surviving this long has earned us the right to live above the Ceiling.
Our freedom depends on our victory, and our victory depends on Flynn.
Unsurprisingly, this speech gets the Hunters at the bar in an uproar again. The remaining bit of the speech instructs all Hunters to keep to their assigned duties until they are given specific tasks in “Operation: Drop Everything You’re Doing and Help Flynn”.
For all I’ve ribbed at the verboseness at the start of this game, it really does do well at hammering in the atmosphere of being a small part of a bigger whole. Even though Nanashi is the playable character, it nonetheless feels like Flynn is still the actual main character, even without having seen him face-to-face yet.
Our mission is just outside Kinshicho’s north entrance, in Kinshi Park. More importantly than food, though, is that this is the first place we can actually encounter hostile demons.
These blue pixels indicate a demon fight. Go up and whack 'em in the back with X to get a first strike for some free minor damage.
Alright, it’s our first battle! It’s against a lone Katakirauwa, a measly level 1 demon of the Food race. In Japanese lore, this critter’s a ghostly black pig with one ear ripped off and glowing red eyes. If it runs between your legs, it can steal your soul. Fortunately they haven’t taken the opportunity of giving it that ability in-game.
Attacks in Apocalypse can have one of eight elements: Physical, Gun, Fire, Ice, Electric, Force, Light, and Dark. All we have right now is a basic sword and pistol, so Physical and Gun are all that we can deal.
Fortunately, that isn’t a problem, as Katakirauwa is weak to literally everything except Gun and Dark, so a mere bop on the head with a regular Attack will deal massive damage.
You may have also noticed that hitting its weakness made the little man in the right upper corner of the screen light up. That’s a Press Turn. This means that we’ve gotten a free extra action on this turn as a result of hitting the enemy demon’s weakness. Press Turns get more complicated (and more important) later on, but right now it means that we only need two turns to turn this porker into bacon bits in spite of our weakling body and starter gear.
Slaying another Katakirauwa after this will get us the prompt to go see Nikkari, who is behind some weird spiky wood nearby:
This thing’s a wormwood barrier. You have to slash the gem-looking core to destroy it and pass freely, which means hitting the back of it is useless. Surprise surprise, they happen to frequently be pointing away from you when you encounter them, indicating that you need to open it up later on in the area as a shortcut back to the start.
Was fighting hard, Nanashi?
Nah, no big deal.
You really held your own out there.
What the -
Horde battles are a special type of battle wherein all the demons on screen are technically one demon, but can still be hit multiple times by a target-all attack. They appeared in the first dungeon of SMTIV as well, but something’s a bit off about this one…
Shit, we’re surrounded!
Why’re there so many?
One of the demons emerged from the crowd and approaches the group.
One of the demons of the famed Dictionnaire Infernal, Adramelech is both president of the demonic senate and the guy in charge of Satan’s wardrobe. It’s likely that he is a demonization of Adar-Malik, a Mesopotamian sun god. And yes, he does happen to be a guy with a mule’s head and a peacock’s tail in the Dictionnaire. The makeup and jewelry, though, is pure Doi.
Masayuki Doi, to be precise. Doi has been an Atlus artist since Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, and the main designer of both the characters and new demons added in Apocalypse, including Adramelech here. He also had the task of making new art for all of the demons that were added in SMTIV and kept for Apocalypse; since those demons were all created by guest artists rather than traditional series artist Kazuma Kaneko or Masayuki Doi, it was felt that they needed a fresh coat of paint to match better with older demons in the series.
There’s been talk of Merkabah’s descent from the Sky Tower. We came to see.
Of course, after such a long and arduous journey, my soldiers and I find our stomachs howling with hunger.
I digress. Word is you humans have started feasting on the flesh of demons.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world, after all.
Adramelech looks over his shoulder at the other demons.
Besides, you don’t expect us to wage war while famished, now do you?
Get ready, here they come!
Which means weaklings like you will be food for the strong.
If you couldn’t guess, we are insanely outleveled by these guys. Hell, we wouldn’t even have that 1 HP if this wasn’t a scripted scene.
Manabu shields Asahi from the flames…
Goodbye, Manabu, I will probably forget your heroic sacrifice in about half an hour.
Nikkari slips in close and slashes at Adramelech.
What in the world? It bet that blunt butter knife couldn’t even cut through paper.
Adramelech looks down at the broken sword, then knocks Nikkari back.
Hmm. Quite the fighter, aren’t we?
Nikkari managed to bury his knife into Adramelech just before getting knocked back.
Adramelech casually yanks the knife out of his chest and spares it a curious look.
For all Adramelech’s boasting, the fact that Nikkari is still standing is a pretty big testament to his strength. Adramelech is level 68, way above anything we could even scratch.
One must constantly strive to embrace the new, the future. And chaos is what will bring it.
Damn it… You monster!
You must find this all so unfair.
In truth, it’s no different than you consuming the flesh of demons.
It’s merely…a law of nature.
No, no, that won’t do either. I don’t much care for giving chase…
And as Adramelech turns his fire on us, Nikkari pulls the same move Manabu did.
I’m sorry…I dragged you both into this…
You are surrounded by enemies.
What are we gonna do?
And so ends our first boss fight: dead in a pool of our own blood.