This game is NOT for everyone. I decided based on the average rating but did no research on this game prior. I'm a lover of JRPGs and Japanese games in general. But I'd put it in the same category as a Dark Souls where most people probably won't enjoy this game based on the barrier to entry. No loss though, I'll just say check this game out before renting.
After experiencing Shin Megami Tensei fusion heaven with SMT 3: Nocturne and Persona 3 and 4, I gave SMT IV a go. I can honestly say after playing it, I'm left with bittersweet thoughts. Mainly having to do with the story overall. It was very bland all the way through and has definitely one of those analogy types of endings that may seem deep but isn't really. Then again it is about angels and demons so the religious stuff is very heavy here. I can imagine a devout Christian playing this game with a blank expression on his face.
Anyhow, the addicting aspect to this game comes from the fusion and leveling system. I was never bored grinding at all because every single level that you gain means something. The ability to fuse new demons each level is awesome, albeit not so much rewarding if you grow attached to using some of the demons. I hate to have to let go of my Metatron due to the higher level demons that come down the line.
The essence of Shin Megami Tensei is here and yet everything feels meh... it felt like this game was just to get my demon fusing fix before they release another Persona game.
I like this game, but I don't love it, it's just okay. Unlike the rest of the series, this game is played in third person and is not tile based in movement, which confuses me as to why they decided to do so. Leveling up takes forever, it's hard to find enemies that you can battle and win and gain enough experience to level up in order to beat the next boss. It's also pretty inaccurate to the timeline it's supposedly based on. It's supposed to take place in Japan in 1492, however the setting seems quite Mideival Europe and most of the names are not even Japanese, plus there's still a few cyberpunk elements to it which is inaccurate for the time. I find it strange, but it's not bad, it is a little fun, definitely good for a fan of the series, but not for hardcore fans of the series or big fans of dungeon crawlers. I recommend trying it, maybe just renting it.