Megami Tensei / Megaten universe
Group DescriptionMegaten (abbreviation of Megami Tensei, 女神転生, meaning "Goddess Reincarnation") encompasses all games that feature themes, characters, and gameplay elements first introduced in Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei. With a few exceptions, these games belong to the role-playing genre. This includes games under the Shin Megami Tensei label, sub-series such as Persona, and others. It is commonly considered the third major Japanese role-playing series (together with Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy).
Atlus' flagship series, Megaten includes games and sub-series that were created by many different designers; the most notable of them are perhaps Kouji "Cozy" Okada and Kazuma Kaneko. Though the first Megaten game was based on a series of horror novels by Aya Nishitani, subsequent installments developed fully independent storylines, usually not connected to each other and even set in different time periods. The dominant setting of the series, however, remains Japan in present day or near future, often with post-apocalyptic elements.
ThemesGames that belong to Megaten universe are distinguished by their preference for dark, "gothic" themes, almost total absence of characteristic Japanese "cute" elements, and the abundance of supernatural characters taken from various mythological systems of the world, collectively referred to as "demons". Beside the purely mythological creatures, these games often feature prominent figures from widespread religious systems as characters, including for example Vishnu, Vairocana, Lucifer, and even God of Judaism and Christianity. The protagonists of Megaten are usually young people (often high-school students), who acquire particular skills that allow them to communicate with demons and defeat the antagonists with their help.
GameplayTraditionally, Megaten games are heavy on "dungeon crawling". Much of the gameplay in these games is dedicated to exploring complex, maze-like environments, fighting randomly appearing enemies in turn-based combat. One of the series' trademark gameplay elements (not present in all the games) is the ability to contact regular enemies (through direct talking or other means) - and either recruit them as playable party members, or make them serve the player-controlled party in other ways.
Front cover for Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 - Innocent Sin
Front cover for Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable
Front cover for Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
Screenshot from Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 - Innocent Sin
Screenshot from Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable
Screenshot from Persona 4 Golden
Screenshot from Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey