How the end of SMTIV’s Chaos path disappointed me

WARNING: This post contains some endgame spoilers

And Lucifer’s new design in this game isn’t even the star.

I gotta be honest, I meant to write and post this yesterday but I was far too busy with university-related tasks. But now here it is nonetheless.

Anyways, don’t get me wrong, playing the Chaos path in Shin Megami Tensei IV was great, until I left Monochrome Forest that is. After me, Walter, and Hikaru/Lucifer returned to Tokyo, Hikaru/Lucifer gets ready for us to storm the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado, but after mentioning that the Law forces would bring out the chariot of God, Merkabah, she tells us that she needs to be at the full power of the Demon Lord. Unfortunately, she can’t do this fusing with a “son of man”, which basically meant either me or Walter (but actually, it just means Walter), and when you fuse with Lucifer, your consciousness becomes merged with his/her’s, a process described by him/her as “basically dying”. Even after Walter’s final speech, there’s something unsettling about seeing Walter, who was a very good friend for me in the game, die and get fused with Lucifer.

All I can do to show you that is through this video (though its in Japanese), or you could just play the game and see.

Believe it or not, Lucifer’s extraterrestrial design isn’t the thing that irks me the most. The first sign that something might not be right is the fight with Isabeau, namely after the fight. He doesn’t show a whole lot of respect after her death, treating her as nothing more than someone without power seeking dreams beyond her grasp, never mind her accomplishments as a freaking Samurai. Yes, she wasn’t the best of characters, but she was a helpful ally, and despite her indecisiveness she wasn’t all bad to be around. Lucifer on the other hand, while he is a great ally in battle, he invariably takes away the human touch in the game, and while his demonic voice is seriously cool, it still has that lack of human touch going on here. But that’s not the worst part.

In the last stretch of the Chaos path, you visit Purgatorium, which is now the space between Naraku and Mikado, Lucifer’s personality does still shine amusingly, and he seems to feel disdain for the angels parroting the same words repeatedly without personality, but also sorrow for their submission, and he only gets more admirable a character during the fight with Merkabah. However, this changes after Merkabah’s defeat and during the actual Chaos ending.

After defeating Merkabah, you’ll find that Lucifer is now in female human form Hikaru again, saying the power of the Demon Lord is no longer needed, and we arrive at Mikado. She then sees the ruined statue of Aquila, who she refers to as a puppet of God who only allowed one god to be worshipped by the people. All fine and dandy, but then she tells you to go to the rooftop. The weird thing is that this part is actually interactive. You can still go to the Barracks and heal, and visit everything in Merkabah including the Terminal (so I assume, I haven’t done anything at that point other than rest in the Barracks), and save your game before going to the rooftops, but you can’t do side-quests at this point anymore. All that aside, you go to the rooftops, and you’re treated to an ending cutscene. The player and Hikaru look on as Mikado is sacked by demons, and as the vision shared by her, Walter, Lilith, and presumably the Chaos-aligned player, of a world where the strong can shape it as they see fit, but then says that the people would only murder each other and deep down seek order and a king, and invites the player to be their king.

What?

Seriously? For all that talk of freedom and the laws of man being arrogant and unnecessary you’re treated to on the part of Walter, Lilith, and Lucifer, this right here really renders that whole thing undone. What’s the point of going on about “God’s order” spoiling the universe and then inviting the player to rule the people? I thought the Chaos path was about creating a world where individuals could create their own order and shape the world without anyone ruling over them, albeit if they are strong enough to do so, not about a goddamn power grab with liberation as a mere cover. And I know that if you were king you could do whatever you want, including seeing that vision through, but why go on about liberating mankind and then go on about ruling mankind under the cover that they will only murder each other otherwise. It’s just like Vergil in DmC Devil May Cry opposing Mundus’ tyranny, only to talk about ruling mankind himself!

You probably know where this is going if you’ve played DmC Devil May Cry.

All that’s left for me now is to take the Neutral path on my second cycle and see if that ending is any better. I know it’s hard, you have to balance your alignment and complete a set of side-quests, but will it be worth it? Only time will tell for me.

One last thing: in the “Chaotic” Infernal Tokyo, why does the demonoid Akira go on about power shaping everything, only to do nothing but have you and your party do his work for him? Shouldn’t he be doing his own dirty work if power shapes things? Why do the Gaeans in this game go on about the importance of power and then when you go to the Ginza 4th District Crosswalk you find them going on about proving your power by paying increasing amounts of Macca? What the fuck?

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