Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse Beginner’s Guide

shi megami tensei iv apocalypse

Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse is finally upon on us and we thought it would be a good opportunity to hand out some tips to help give our visitors an advantage when starting the game. This Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse Beginner’s Guide will be divided into two sections: one for main character builds and the other for general playing tips.

Main Character Builds

Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse Beginner's Guide - press turn

Your main character gains usable attribute points every time they level up. While you can assign them in whatever fashion you’d like, it’s generally best to begin building your character in one of three kinds of builds. Of course, once the DLC that breaks the level cap of 99 arrives, the need to focus on one specific build flies out the window and you can build a monstrous smorgasbord of power.

If you’re worried about your abilities being reflected by not using a widespread build, don’t. Once you reach the end of the game, the problem becomes moot thanks to a development. Even as reflecting buff become more commonplace before then, it’s only for a small amount of enemies and easily dispelled with the Dekuja spell or item.

What do stats do in this game?

Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse uses the character stats in the following way:

Strength – Physical attack power
Dexterity – Gun-based attack power
Magic – Magical attack power
Agility – Speed in battle and chance to surprise enemy
Luck – Critical hit rate

Unlike in previous Shin Megami Tensei games, there isn’t really much in the way of defensive stats or magical resistance. Your primary focus will be increasing your ability to kill your enemy as quickly as possible without giving them as many turns. This is done through increasing your firepower, your speed, and abusing the smirk system as much as possible.

As your Agility remains high, you’ll also have the option to Flee any undesired encounter, saving you some headaches and wasted time.


On every level increase, assign 2 points to Strength, 1 to Agility, and 2 to Luck.

A physical main character build is entirely feasible in this game. This is the path I chose for my first play-through.

I heavily recommend using attack skills that have a chance to critical. Some of my favorites to abuse in the physical build attack all enemies and have a chance to critical. This resulted in landing a critical hit on most of my main character’s turns and gaining smirk. Which resulted in a free half turn and a stronger attack when he

You complement this build by using demons with a decent spread of magical abilities. You’ll want to keep fusing demons so that your party is filled with demons with full skill sets. I actually kept a demon also focused on physical/gun abilities and power in my party at all times.

You make up for the shortcomings of this build by using the magical attack items you come across during your journey. There’s no real worry about running out, as in my first play-through I generally had the maximum available for each in my inventory without buying any.


On every level increase, assign 2 points to Dexterity, 1 to Agility, and 2 to Luck.

A gun build allows you to eventually use a widespread variety of damage types once a bigger variety of ammunition becomes available. You’ll be able to swap out your Ammunition to exploit weaknesses.

Your demons should be mostly focused on magical skills, with one additional strong physical demon. If you don’t have the additional ammunition, you can always spam the magical attack items as well.


On every level increase, assign 2 points to Magic, 1 to Agility, and 2 to Luck.

A lot of players recommend going the magical build route and, honestly, I think it’s a rougher path initially. You’ll be spreading your skill slots thin to have multiple damage types to exploit enemy weaknesses. This is a big problem initially until you increase your number of skill slots through apps.

Once fully powered, though, a magical build is just as effective as any other and your attacks will hit very hard when you exploit enemy weaknesses.

General Tips

shin megami tensei iv: apocalypse beginner's guide - hoard

  • You can pick any nickname for AsashiShin Megami Tensei veterans that played Soul Hackers may pause and wonder if selecting a specific nickname for Asahi might affect her character growth. Don’t even bother worrying about it.
  • Grinding for EXP – You shouldn’t have to grind for experience points very often in the game, but when you do, heed this advice. Focus on fighting the hoards of enemies once you start seeing them (example in the picture above). Use the skills that attack all enemies and has an increased chance to land a critical hit, like Megaton Press. This gives you an increased chance to gain smirk and completely wipe them out before they get a chance to attack at all. When reinforcements arrive, you’ll often find yourself already under smirk and able to mop the floor with them even quicker!All enemy versions of the Hamao and Mudo lines also do well in this situation, often instantly killing enemies when you have the smirk buff.These hoards of enemies dish out loads of experience points and are the best way to level up when you desire to do so.
  • Buy weapons first, armor later – If you take anything from this guide, it should be that your primary focus will be on maximizing your firepower to defeat your enemies before they get a lot of chances to return fire. If you are limited on money and come across a new shop, focus on buying new weapons first. You can often skip marginal armor upgrades and wait for the next opportunity for a bigger increase.
  • Keep a well-rounded team – Make sure you keep a well-rounded team of demons both in your party and in your stock. Having an extra couple of demons with decent skills available to swap in for dead or lost demons makes life so much easier.
  • Compliment your partner choice – You ultimately get to choose from many partners, all with their own special focus. For example, Asahi develops healing magic skills and spends her turns keeping you topped off. Build your team’s skills out to compliment your choice of partner.
  • Asahi stops sucking eventually – While Asahi initially has issues with her demons listening to her, the problem disappears not far into the game. At a certain point, you can count on her keeping your party’s life topped off fairly well in most encounters.

This Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse Beginner’s Guide should have given you a good starting point for this great RPG. If you haven’t picked the game up yet, be sure to read our review of the game over here. It’s most definitely worth playing!


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