Matching intereviews, this page is a disorganized list of paragraphs describing games and other media that I've played and liked or didn't like, with a focus on MegaTen titles. I won't be giving synopses or basic descriptions of each game; Wikipedia is much more suited to that.
- Shin Megami Tensei. An RPG with simplistic core gameplay but a novel alignment system and some nice atmosphere. The Sega CD version doesn't improve the game's flaws, but doubles down on that atmosphere. The main plot is somewhat loose, but this allows the game to incorporate scenarios from being arrested and brought to a hospital so that demons can experiment on you, to summoning an octopus to explore a flooded city. The game feels like walking out of one horror story and into another, in sequence. Worth playing? Maybe. Best comparison? Ham sandwich.
- Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei II. The predecessor to SMT above, and in my opinion a better game. The core gameplay is similar, but the balance is much tighter and the dungeons are more compact and dense with things to find, making for an overall better game. The atmosphere, in both the Famicom and Super Famicom versions, is excellent as well. The game is just as experimental as SMT but doesn't feel experimental — it feels focused, complete. Worth playing? Yes, either version. Best comparison? Saratoga chips, the original potato chip.
- Shin Megami Tensei II. Compared to Shin Megami Tensei and to Megami Tensei II before it, Shin Megami Tensei II is even more experimental and even less focused in its design and writing. This made SMT a downgrade to MT, and it makes SMT2 a downgrade to SMT as well. The game's strategic elements are somewhat improved by demons having more skills and fusion inheritance being introduced to the series, but the battles are even easier than they already were, and the dungeon design is very uninspired. The game has a lot of setpieces — a dystopian cyberpunk theocracy, an underworld full of mutants made out of the shell of Tokyo, and the demon world itself — but none of it comes together to make a compelling story or a cohesive setting. The game has more player-named characters than SMT, which again had more than MT2, and yet it does less with almost all of them. SMT2 just doesn't hold together, like a mediocre sandwich falling apart in your hands, and that's a shame. Worth playing? No. Best comparison? Wackily-named "UFO Burger" from a gimmick restaurant.
- Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei. From the trend described with MT2 to SMT1 and then SMT2, you might imagine that Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei is the best game in the series. That's not quite true, unfortunately. The game is a pure dungeon crawler without a world map set in a megadungeon without the atmosphere or theming of MT2's post-apocalyptic wasteland, with no truly memorable story beats. Its encounter design is rather rough, though the game is difficult enough to stand out, and its dungeon design varies between fun, to repetitive, to outright brutal. The Super Famicom remake is much more playable, with the Famicom version having one less party slot, a password save system, and slower scrolling. Even so, the game makes for an enjoyable enough dungeon crawler with demon fusion. Worth playing? Maybe. Best comparison? Jawbreaker.
- Majin Tensei. An oft-overlooked and very interesting game. It was released just before SMT2, and probably developed in parallel with it. It features a traipse through post-apocalyptic Tokyo, a journey into the demon world, and other elements more common to Megami Tensei II than its Atlus sequel. It makes references to other games in the then-short series, such as creative game over screens based on DDS: Megami Tensei's. All of that is wrapped into a package that resembles a classic Fire Emblem with simpler units, larger hordes of enemies, and the series' signature fusion system. Topping that off is a slowly unfolding plot focused more on raw morality than on one's worldviews, unique within the series. Worth playing? Yes, if you're patient. Best comparison? Minimalist three-course meal.
- Majin Tensei II. A prototype for many things, an experimental game that parallels SMT2 by comparison to SMT1. It has good music, better graphics, one of the largest lists of demons in the series, a complex skill system, five alignments, and more dialogue than any other MegaTen game of its vintage. But it's dragged down by major flaws, such as long "thinking" times for its fairly weak enemy AI, a lack of enemy variety, a slow first half, and a lack of exposition that helps the player understand the story. Worth playing? Maybe. Best comparison? Oysters.
- Kyuuyaku Megami Tensei. Not a game in its own right, but a remake of DDS: Megami Tensei and Megami Tensei II. Better than the original DDS: MT and about on par with the original Megami Tensei II. Adds mechanics from the latter to its version of the former. As the final Super Famicom game from the series, it has an excellent user experience, but at times it feels almost too sleek and modern for the games included.