Game Review: SMT 3 Nocturne

Game Review: SMT 3 Nocturne

Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne is a game that was released back in February of 2003. It is highly regarded among fans of the series and fans of turn based games as being not only one of the best but also one of the most difficult. Nocturne is a game that doesn’t pull its punches and isn’t afraid to put the player through the most difficult obstacles in order to progress through the game with bosses in the game such as Matador and Mot earning a reputation for their difficulty. SMT Nocturne is a turn based game meaning that action takes place in a linear pattern with a player turn and an enemy turn. How Nocturne differs from other turn based rpgs is in its mechanics. The turn press battle system used in Nocturne is very unique and very satisfying to master, here is how it works.

As stated before both player and enemy get a respective turn to use actions these are represented by a symbol showing you how many moves you have left in your turn. Every enemy in the game has a weakness of some kind as well as a resistance, if you are able to hit the enemy’s weakness you will be given another move in your turn allowing you to string together combos. If you hit the enemy’s resistance, however, you will immediately lose all other moves in your turn and it will pass to the enemy to make a move. This system is both rewarding and stressful to use as you may never know if you’ve hit an enemy’s weakness or if you have hit their resistance causing you to lose your turn. Of course enemies have to follow the same rules as well which may be lucky for you or even more detrimental.

One thing that is key in knowing if you wish to beat this game are buffs and debuffs. These are pretty self explanatory: a buff when used will raise a stat of whoever is using or it or their ally while a debuff will lower the stat of an enemy unit. If you can utilize these skills properly you will have a much easier time beating this difficult game just make sure you know how to strategize when and how you use the moves available to you; that is key to victory.

Now I have explained the battle system and the reasons it is very strategic and fun to use I have yet to mention the most important part of Nocturne and every Shin Megami Tensei game and that is their demons. Demons are your main enemies in Shin Megami Tensei but they can also be your closest allies. In a battle with a demon you may choose to negotiate with them and doing this will allow you to try and talk them into joining you as a party member. Sometimes demons will ask for something specific from you like an item or money or even some of your health so if you want them to join be careful about what you choose to give the demon as it could make or break the deal. If you are able to successfully negotiate with them they will join you as an ally but if not you will be forced to continue with the battle. Some people may compare collecting demons and adding them to your party to games like Pokemon, but what many people don’t realize is that the SMT franchise predates Pokemon by quite a bit. The first true SMT game came out in 1992 while Pokemon didn’t come out until 1996. One thing that you should know about demons is that they can be fused to create more powerful demons which is a mechanic that should be used often to ensure your team is up to level with you other demons. Now of course I have explained all this but what is the story to this game exactly?

In Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne you play as a silent protagonist whose name you choose, however for purposes of convenience we’ll call him by his most commonly used name, Demi-Fiend. As this character you start off as a somewhat normal teenager, and you and your friends decide to meet up at an abandoned hospital. However, when you arrive you notice that you may not be the only ones there. This hospital is being used by an evil cult to bring about the “conception” or in other words the end times and trigger the rebirth of the world. Many people would expect the game to follow the protagonist in stopping this event from taking place but no, the cult is successful in bringing about the conception and the game largely takes place in a post apocalyptic world where all of the humans have been replaced by demons. The only human characters in the game are the people who were in the hospital when the event took place. After the conception wipes out most of humanity and the world has now become the “vortex world” the main goal of the game is to actually be the one to choose how the world is reborn leading to many different paths and multiple endings to go down as you make choices in the game. Oh, and I should mention, our main character is now half-demon, hence why he is given the name Demi-Fiend and is now able to recruit and control demons. This story while confusing is intriguing and does a good job at keeping the player focused and pushing them forward through gameplay The apocalyptic setting is unique and gives off an oppressive atmosphere and the choices you have to make throughout the game feel impactful.

Overall SMT 3 Nocturne is one of the most difficult games I have ever played, truly testing my skills and making me think twice about my actions. It also has an intriguing story with good characters and a unique setting. I would recommend this game to anyone who is interested in tough turn-based games involving strategy. 9/1o

If you are looking to play Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne you can currently purchase it on PS4/5 Nintendo Switch and PC through Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne HD Remaster.