First Impressions: Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne HD

Written by Louis

May 29, 2021

We never saw it coming.


It’s so dark, you’d think you’re in a DCEU game title. 2021 heralds the return of one of the PlayStation’s cult classics, Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. Originally released in 2003 Nocturne became a hit with fans both in Japan and in the West before being seemingly left behind in the archives of the PS library. For anyone who’s been familiar with JRPGs, Shin Megami Tensei is easily a standout name and is even considered one of Japan’s biggest role-playing franchises despite maintaining a seemingly low profile compared to the more popular JRPG games with its signature blend of art style, combat, music (to some extent) and the fact that it lets you live as a Japanese high schooler battling demons and gods in order to save the world.

Just be sure to read your messages

But how does the game fare in the modern era?

If you’re familiar with Persona games then you’re probably familiar with how things work in Nocturne, but if you’re not, well be sure that your memory keeps up as this game will not be holding your hand all the way through. Exploration can be a bit doozy as despite getting hints to where you should go next, there are no minimap markers or heck, even a minimap to guide you around. The game is pretty straightforward in giving you hints though, and the labels for each location are on the screen so you won’t get really lost.

This place is creepy so it must be the right way

In terms of combat, Nocturne, just like other SMT titles employs the turn-based battle mechanic as well as your other usual JRPG combat flavors and spices. Combat pacing is pretty fast and there is an auto-battle option should you want things to go faster. Battles can feel redundant though as you could battle the same enemy a hundred times over and over. But hey, it’s a JRPG and if there’s anything very signature about the genre it’s the grind.

Just like how exploration works, there’s not a lot to go through in terms of combat tutorial although ]hints are given every now and then. Enemies have specific weaknesses that you can exploit, and landing killing blows allow you extra turns in your combat phase. The same can actually be said for the rest of the game’s mechanics such as merchants and combinations although you will be compelled to try and interact with every floating ball of light that you encounter just in case they have something useful to tell you.

Take that evil spirit!

The whole combat experience isn’t exactly that bad though and you could have a certain level of freedom when it comes to your party composition. Additionally, Nocturne sees to it that you start with a party composition that’s strong enough to fight through the early stages of the game and even take on a few early game bosses without running into a brick wall. Overall, our initial experience with Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD is relatively pleasant with a few speed bumps along the way. We are gonna be releasing a full review on it, of course, so be sure to catch it here on Reimaru Files.

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