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Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne HD Remaster, analysis

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Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne HD Remaster, analysis

We analyze the high-definition version of a cult game that comes to PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

Despite being a great unknown for a long time, Atlus has already engraved her name in gold letters in the history of video games. Their biggest barrier was leaving Japan, due to the Japanese spirit of their games and how difficult it is to transmit certain themes to Western markets. In fact, one of the main milestones was the original launch of the game at hand, Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, which was presented as a contact with the western market to see how it could respond to the great role-playing works. that were being developed on the Japanese island. Although without much fanfare, the reception was good enough that the company was encouraged to continue launching its works.

Since then, the company has not stopped growing thanks to the great successes it has accumulated, especially thanks to the fact that the developer herself matured enough to offer better and better works, which was fed back with the increasing depth of her titles in the market, starting with the entire Persona franchise and its ramifications and continuing with titles such as 13 Sentinels, Catherine, Dragon’s Crown, Odin Sphere, the Etrian Odyssey franchise, Tokyo Mirage Sessions, the Devil Survivor… It is within this more promising panorama that Atlus has taken the opportunity to recover some of his previous works, as happened with some revisions for 3DS, but the strongest bet is, without a doubt, to recover Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne.

On its original 2005 release, the game concealed the numerical delivery in question as it was the first game in the franchise to reach the West, so an attempt was made to avoid confusion for the user; however, after the launch of the fourth installment and with the fifth chapter about to hit the market, the full title of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne has been chosen. In fact, it was already at the time an improved version of the original Japanese game, which in the Japanese market would be launched with the title of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne Maniax. Therefore, this remastered version uses the best possible version of the original game as a base and, incidentally, becomes an excellent opportunity for as many people as possible to enjoy it, since, although it was originally released only for PlayStation 2, this remastering will come to PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC.

A bespoke apocalypse

The entire Shin Megami Tensei franchise (and many of its ramifications) revolves around a basic concept that is repeated from one installment to another: the devastation of Tokyo due to an eternal conflict between good and evil, with the main protagonist of each chapter as a link that should help tip the balance to one side or the other. Such is the argument also of Nocturne, where we are caught in the middle of the said apocalypse with the extra of having become a half-demon. The story is set today (albeit on an undefined date) and revolves around the idea that the world must be destroyed before it can be reborn.

Our objective will be to understand why we have undergone this transformation and to understand the role we play in all this, since the end of the game that we will obtain (out of the 6 possible) will depend on our actions, in such a way that this rebirth or, In other words, the life or death of the city of Tokyo itself will be in our hands. It is a fairly deep trap that, within its somewhat psychotropic future setting, presents us with countless theological and moral debates within the tone of darkness and the general gravity of the production (although that does not mean that there are not certain touches of humor black).

The most interesting thing about the game’s plot is, precisely, the ability that we will have to influence the events of the game through a much more complex moral system than the traditional one, in such a way that not everything is black or white. That is to say, when we choose an answer when talking with the other characters (friends or enemies), this answer will not inexorably mark the relationship we will have with them, but rather that will be defined by the vital philosophy that we transmitted throughout of the whole game. This means that not everything depends on an answer (although some may weigh more than others), but we will have to create a defined character throughout the entire story to shape our personality through the millions of shades of gray that exist. (same as in the real world). In this way, our interaction with the world and the end of the story that we will see will be determined.

The game system

Nocturne is divided between two very basic plans: the city map (which is very basic and not very detailed) and the dungeons that we will go through. Although the general map is a little exploited and gives the feeling that it could give more of itself, it is in the dungeons where the game shines. It was the first time that Atlus abandoned the first-person view in his role-playing games and the truth is that the change was great for his works. Despite being linear (with a labyrinthine shape to complicate things a bit), all of them will have their own spirit beyond the visual, with elements such as investments of the environment, areas in which to memorize patterns to move forward, and so on.

As for the fighting, it is fair to recognize that this game system was groundbreaking at the time for the franchise, although today there are already more refined formulas. In fact, outside of the franchise itself, already at the time, you could see how some role-playing games from other companies were betting on such fun dynamics as Shadow Hearts, whose combat system, despite being in turns, forced us to be aware at all times. At Nocture we have a fairly basic system with a series of basic options to choose from; however, beyond the initial simplicity, the truth is that it has a lot of depth in things like trying to take advantage of the weaknesses of the enemies to obtain additional actions and have an advantage in combat, something that will be essential in the higher difficulty modes.

This system would be refined in later Atlus games and would reach its zenith in Tokyo Mirage Sessions and Persona 5, so this version seems, of course, a bit more dated. But the fighting is not limited only to this. Another peculiarity is that our team is made up of demons that we are recruiting throughout our adventure. But, unlike games like PokémonIt is not about capturing them, but about negotiating with them. It is a whole negotiation minigame in which there will be someone who asks for a couple of objects, who does not ask for anything, and who wants to see what members we have in the team, the morality that we show in our decisions, or other factors of the most diverse. Therefore, sometimes it will be impossible for us to get the creature we want if our path is far from what is expected.

The creatures evolve by reaching different levels, although there will also be a fairly elaborate fusion system, which is another hallmark of the Atlus games. Another particular element of Nocturne is the magatamas, some special orbs with the essence of elements, demons, or various entities that are consumed to give the character certain bonuses and weaknesses, depending on the magatama used. These orbs can be obtained in shops, by defeating enemies or being hidden in certain locations. The type of magatama used will also determine the skills when leveling up and, therefore, you can play with them to define the evolution of your character, as well as alternate between them to take advantage of the advantages they provide us when facing certain enemies.

The interesting thing about the magatama system is, above all, that it constantly forces us to choose what we want to prioritize, since you cannot equip everything and, therefore, you cannot have a super-powerful character that can handle everything, so So we will have to sacrifice things. In general, it is a varied game system but that becomes repetitive over the hours, since its tactical depth shines the first time we face each type of enemy, but in successive combats, it is limited to repetition. of strategies that work.

Technical section and news

Beyond the fact that on an artistic level the game is a delight, it is undeniable that the graphics are still very close to what is the level of PlayStation 2. This does not mean that they have not done real virguerías at a technical level, from the visual cleaning so that everything looks sharper and more defined to the improvement of the camera, going through more fluid animations for the characters. However, it is not possible to completely hide the passage of the years, especially in the polygons of characters and settings, in the lighting, or in the design of some environments (large and with few details). The soundtrack, yes, is spectacular and sounds better than ever. The work of Shoji Meguro, Kenichi Tsuchiya, and Toshiko TaakiIt is very varied, managing to be epic in certain moments, terrifying in others, and even with songs more typical of j-pop or waiting room melodies.

As we mentioned before, it is the Nocture Maniax version, the most complete of the game that includes new scenes, additional dungeons, new power-ups, and ending not present in the basic game and the presence of Dante, which he repeats in this remastering. Further to that, this remastered version includes easier Godly gameplay; the game is quite complex, so having a wide range of difficulties for all types of players is very satisfying. Also included is the option to change Dante to Raidou (something typical of the Maniax Chronicle Edition version and which will be available here in the Maniax downloadable content), voices in Japanese or English, and subtitles in several languages.

CONCLUSION

Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne continues to be a great game thanks to its great dark and deep history and its elaborate decision-making system that keeps an eye on our actions at all times. It is true that it is still a game with more than 15 years behind it and that many of its mechanics and approaches seem outdated, but it continues to work quite well and continues to be a satisfactory experience. Perhaps a remake would have suited him better than a simple remastering, but that does not mean that we are facing the best possible version to enjoy a classic of the role that at the time went more unnoticed than it deserved, except among the most enthusiastic of the genre. . Definitely a great aperitif before the arrival of the highly anticipated Shin Megami Tensei V.

The Best

  • Its argument and its various endings
  • The artistic style
  • The spectacular soundtrack
  • Strategic combat
  • Have various difficulty options

Worst

  • The years weigh on him
  • The fighting is very abundant and becomes repetitive over time.
  • The overview map could be used more

Very good 8.9/10

A game with a remarkable finish that we will enjoy and remember. A good buy, highly recommended for lovers of the genre. It is well cared for at all levels.

I enjoy playing games, and gaming is a passion of mine. Among my favorite games are Tears of the Kingdom, GTA, and Cyberpunk.

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