Thursday, March 11, 2010

SMT: Nocturne, part 1

I am about ten hours into Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne right now, and I'm enjoying it so far. The combat system seems to me to be a mix of Persona 4 and Devil Survivor (which is interesting because both those games came out after this one). This is because you have one human, and the rest of your party is made up of demons as in Devil Survivor. It is not a strategy RPG, of course, though, and battles play out using the "Press Turn" battle system, which was seen in slightly altered form in the Persona games. It is turn based, and places heavy emphasis on enemy weaknesses, and battles can sway from easy to extremely difficult very quickly if you screw up.

Similarities aside, the game does have a few problems, at least so far. What I had heard of the game's story before I played it made it sound amazing and dark; and I suppose it is, but it is presented very simply with very little exposition. You are one of (apparently so far) three or four human survivors of the apocalypse, and the world is being rebooted and the creatures left have to figure out how it will turn out. Since the overwhelming majority of creatures left seem to be demons, who knows how things will turn out?

Sounds like a pretty decent setting for an RPG, right? By and large, it is, but the story is so bare-bones I find I'm not very interested. Right now, I only care about the battle system, and leveling up my main character and demons, which again, works a lot like Devil Survivor.

As an aside, I really like how the SMT series plays with its mechanics. What I mean is, they don't stay the same from game to game, but build upon each other in interesting ways. You've got your live-action Devil Summoner stuff, your strategy RPG Devil Survivor stuff, and your dating-sim-like Persona stuff, all with demon fusing (and a little negotiation) thrown in. It makes the series very cohesive, even if the stories aren't related.

Anyway. March is looking to be like a very busy videogame month. Strange Journey comes out in two weeks, and Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver will be out in just a few days. I'm skipping out on Final Fantasy XIII for now because of these games, and I just ordered Etrian Odyssey II and the Miles Edgeworth games as well, which should both be here next week. Hopefully then I can write about something non-SMT for once this year!

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