Game spoilers relating to SMT IV will be discussed, so proceed at your own risk.
With 21 hours to go in February, I've finished my final game for Four in February: Shin Megami Tensei IV.
So, SMT IV.
It's most definitely a game.
If you were to tell me that I would play a game that would challenge me in every fight, that would kill me at a moment's notice, that would force me to make several hard choices at many points in the game, I'd have laughed and gone on my merry way.
But I knew beforehand that the SMT games were... different, I guess?
My sole experience with an actual SMT (i.e. not a Persona title) game prior to this was Devil Survivor: Overclocked, which turned out to be a SRPG.
Long story short, SRPGs hit a nerve with me. I tend to go on tilt pretty fast and hard with them. Once I had reached a point I couldn't pass (the first night in the graveyard), I gave up and gave the game away to a friend that would appreciate the game more than I would.
So, knowing nothing about what style of RPG SMT IV was, I was super hesitant to play SMT IV when it came out.
Then I started it, and I realized that I could do this. I could beat the game. It would take me a while, but I could do it.
That was last July, when the game came out in North America.
After my first initial major push through the game, which ended just before the Medusa boss fight, I kind of just... stopped. For no good reason.
After that push, I moved onto other games. Other things required my attention, and I focused on those things. Then in January, one of my favorite comedy groups, LoadingReadyRun started streaming on Twitch on a consistent basis. One of them, Kathleen, does a stream where she plays JRPGs. She has a fondness for Atlus JRPGs, and thus she started playing SMT: Nocturne.
Watching Kathleen stream that game gave me an urge to go back to SMT IV and give it a go again. To go and finish it. So, I continued playing it from where I left off.
I was about halfway through the game when February had started, and I had already had a pretty good idea of how my Four in February was going to go. I was going to play through 'Spec Ops: The Line' starting at midnight, which was fantastic; I would continue the month by playing through the 'Doom 3' (main campaign, RoE, Lost Mission) content in the 'Doom 3 BFG Edition'; followed by Assassin's Creed Liberation HD; then end the month with Dragon Age: Origins.
Well, I got through the first three in about 2 weeks, and then I started DA:O, where I realized that I need way more time in DA:O to actually do anything, because being an archer is apparently just the worst thing and leads to not doing much of anything useful at all in the early game. So I gave up on it for my fourth game.
But I needed a fourth game. I needed to finish something for my Four in February. So I looked at games I was in progress. Wind Waker? Possibly, but that requires me to be in a Zelda-y type of mood, which I wasn't in at the time. Any of my 359 other games on my Steam account? No, I wanted to be able to keep up with the streams I had been missing due to playing the other games.
So what could I play?
I was still kind of playing it on the side as I was going through my other three games, so I wasn't hindered by the game's average-ish 60 hour gamelength (I wound up doing it in 67 hours).
I finished it today, at three in the morning, on the Neutral path.
SMT IV has four endings, which are : Destruction/Chaos/Neutral/Law. The only truly "bad" ending is the Destruction end, so I reached it, but I didn't consider it to be valid for the constraints of my Four in February, and reloaded the save prior to that ending. I wasn't paying terribly close attention to my alignment throughout most of the game, so I mostly blindly chose a bunch of choices, and I wound up on the Neutral path, which was where I actually wanted to wind up in the first place.
Having to fight both Jonathan and Walter, two characters I grew to like and appreciate throughout the course of the game, was a bit sad, but I feel like it was a necessary end to this long journey.
I'm glad that I got to play this.
I'm also relieved that I managed to finish the task of clearing out my backlog by that much more.
You guys should participate in Four in February next year. It'll be fun!