Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturn for PS2  » Games  »
4.5
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  • But again, the big problem with this is that you can't fuse a demon of a level that is higher than yours, so it forces you to keep the demons at the same level and therefore gives the game another good level of challenge
  • The music definitely fits the mood of the creepy world, and the battle theme is just phenomenal

    • by Goombasa
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      Games run the full gamut from cute and cuddly to completely horrifying. RPGs demonstrate this to the fullest extent with games like the Chocobo Dungeon series demonstrating just how cute an RPG can be, but at the other end we have the Shin Megami Tensei series, which demonstrates the dark, gritty, horrifying side of the gaming world. Few of these games, focusing on demons, hell, and the rulers of such places, were released in the States prior to the release of the Playstation. One of their most critically acclaimed games was released for the Playstation 2, known as Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturn, one of the darkest and yet most stylish RPGs for the system.

      Story: 9/10

      Taking place roughly around our time, in Tokyo, the story revolves around a young student, whom you name, and his friends and teacher. His teacher, aiding a strange businessman turned demon summoner brings about the apocalypse, destroying the known world and turning it into what is known as a vortex world, a world populated with demons and angels. The main character is captured by Lucifer himself and turned into a half-demon with the help of the Magatama, an strange parasite that can change the powers of those that it infects. However, the laws of the vortex world state that only a human can shape and recreate the world in their image. One by one, the main character’s friends start to adopt their own ideas about what the world should be, and gather their own armies to make their worlds reality.

      It’s dark. And at times horrifying. Everything about this story just screams scary of biblical proportions. The characters can be just as creepy. You control the actions and choices of the main character, so his personality is shaped by the player completely, to the point where it will effect the ending,


      and even which bosses you fight towards the end of the game. But everyone else has their own personalities that slowly change and deteriorate as time goes on. Each of the characters changes and forms their own philosophies about the vortex world and how the new world should look and act. A world of silence, knowledge, strength, and so on. They all feel believable, if a bit eccentric, and their changes are all pretty understandable. After you get past how crazy they sound, you can actually find yourself sympathizing with their reasoning to a point. It all works great, and it’s all perfectly complimented by the story.

      Gameplay: 10/10

      It may seem to a casual viewer to be a typical turn-based RPG, but it honestly couldn’t be further from the truth. For starters, you do not gain any other permenant allies on your team. It is only your main character… and the demons you can command. During combat, you have the option to talk to demons you are fighting and they will sometimes join you if you give them an item or answer a question that they ask correctly. But it’s not usually that simple. Demons won’t always converse with you at all, some will get hostile, and others may just leave. But, demons on your side will sometimes try to assist with the conversation. If a demon likes you, he’ll join your party until you dismiss them. It’s a lot of fun, but it can sometimes be very frustrating when you’re trying to build up your forces. And, if a demon is a higher level than your main character, they won’t join you, ny matter what you do. Again, this is kind of annoying because you can’t see the demon’s level when trying to talk to them.

      In actual combat, you are given a certain number ...


      • of turn tokens. The game alternates between your turn and the enemies turn and each character on your side gets their own turn token. But this is where the strategy begins. Using moves that are effective against your opponent, such as water against a fire demon, will reward you with extra turn tokens, but using moves that the enemy is strong against will take turn tokens away from you. The same holds true for your opponents as well, so you need to try and balance your team with moves that will be effective against your enemies while being resistant to their attacks. This adds a whole new element to the battles, which can be extremely difficult if you are ill prepared to deal with a specific type of demon.

        Then, there is actually moving around the field. There’s plenty to interact with, and you can talk to and fight a lot of different demons and characters in certain parts of the game, and there is always a lot to explore, but it’s always very cryptic and often times a lot of experimentation is needed to figure out just what to do for a certain puzzle or how to get to a certain place. The entire game has a great level of challenge that rewards you for customizing your team, but punishes you if you don’t.

        To make it even more fun, there’s also a large shrine in most parts of the game where you can fuse your demons together to create newer, stronger demons to help you. It’s a very helpful system because fused demons can learn the skills of both the original demons, which can lead to huge possibilities for mixing and matching your demons to become awesome killing machines. But again, the big problem with this is that you can’t fuse a demon of

        a level that is higher than yours, so it forces you to keep the demons at the same level and therefore gives the game another good level of challenge.

        Graphics: 9/10

        The best way to describe the graphics in this game is to say it’s kind of like dark cel-shading. It’s extremely stylish and beautiful, but feels dark and demonic, just like the world they make up. All the backgrounds seem to shimmer and strobe, giving the desolate vortex world life and spirit. Everything has substance and feels very beautiful.

        Every single character in this game was given substance and life, and feels authentic and lovingly crafted. Every single demon has roots in mythology, making all of them very believable, looking like they just stepped off a comic book page. The game looks great, end of story.

        Music and Sound: 9/10

        The sounds in this game are great. Most of the sound effects feel solid and sound rather amusing at times. At least they all fit the situation. There aren’t many voices in this game, aside from a few grunts and groans, so we can’t really bring voice acting into this.

        The music definitely fits the mood of the creepy world, and the battle theme is just phenomenal. It sets the mood just perfectly. It’s a very memorable sound track that is perfect for every situation. Highly recommended.

        Overall: 9/10

        The game feels great and original for what it is. The plot is engrossing, the combat and demon systems feel amazingly fresh, and the music is catchy and easy to like. It’s a real winner for the PS2 and I feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t tried it yet. I will warn that the challenge level can get amazingly high at points, particularly during the boss battles, but for a hardcore gamer, it’s a great challenge. It’s a perfect example of a Japanese RPG.




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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in July, 2009. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 282807779440431/k2311a0728/7.28.09
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