Reviews - Updated on April 2, 2022

With Japanese games, this is not the first time that spin-offs are more popular than the main series. For example, few have heard of Drakengard, but millions of gamers know about NieR: Automata. It’s the same with Atlus publishing house: Persona is known all over the world, and Shin Megami Tensei is just a set of incomprehensible words for many. Apparently, in order to prepare players for the upcoming Shin Megami Tensei V, the developers decided to remind them of one of its predecessors. True, Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne HD Remaster is unlikely to be able to interest a large audience.

Plus to minus

The name is not deceiving – it’s just a remaster with high resolution support, and there are practically no significant innovations or changes in it. The game looks nice: the textures are better than in the original, the locations are prettier. But the frame rate is not increased – everything still works at 30 fps. And the videos are played in 4:3 format and stand out against the background of everything else with bad quality.

Sound also has pros and cons. On the one hand, many dialogues important for the plot are now fully voiced. Initially, the game was created without taking into account voice acting, so you can change the names of some heroes at your discretion and they will change in the subtitles. Accordingly, in the remaster, the actors do not read your fiction, saying instead “he”, “she”, “teacher” and so on – this is the norm for Japanese games. On the other hand, the soundtrack was not touched at all, and the music of the PS2 era remained compressed.

Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster: Обзор

The English translation, by the way, was slightly tweaked in the remaster.

Old school

The graphics and sound upgrades may appeal to players who have never played SMTIII before, but the gameplay will likely turn them off. This game is an antique from the world of JRPGs, one of the best representatives of the genre with a long story, dark atmosphere and amazing cut scenes. The way she interspersed plot points with gameplay was in many ways ahead of her time. When you go through a remaster, you understand that such JRPGs are no longer made, but this is not always a compliment.

Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster: Обзор

After the apocalypse, you find souls everywhere – some of them are even useful.

Those who were not familiar with the series before Persona 5 (or Persona 4 Golden, released on computers) will feel relatively comfortable. The structure will not be quite familiar to them – no relationships with team members, no gatherings in the classroom and outside the school. But as soon as the apocalypse occurs in Tokyo, and the main character turns into a half-demon and begins to assemble a team of various creatures, you understand where the legs of the “Persona” grow from.

The combat system here is turn-based. During battles, it is necessary to pay great attention to the weaknesses of opponents. Your squad has a limited number of actions, but they can be increased if you think carefully about the battles. When you simply pummel an opponent, each member of the team makes a move, after which the enemies respond in kind. And when you purposefully use your weak spot abilities, you get an extra turn and can win before either of you get hurt. If suddenly the enemy has resistance to your attack, then you lose moves. All this is true for the enemy squad – they either make mistakes and give you a head start, or hit on weaknesses and leave no chance.

Critical hits also give a bonus turn, but misses lead to a complete failure.

The game is difficult and ruthless – it is desirable to prepare for the bosses every time, and even ordinary demons can ruffle your nerves. Especially when you consider that this is a project of the PS2 era with random battles. It is because of this that I wrote above that such games are no longer made – the user is used to seeing enemies in JRPGs while walking around locations. And here you don’t even want to once again check all the rooms in search of loot – you will constantly launch battles in which you don’t want to participate.

On the other hand, it is in these battles that you find new recruits. When you defeat all the demons except one, you can talk to him – invite him to your squad so that he speaks on your side. Demons are often very intractable, they immediately start asking for a bunch of things: give them a first-aid kit, and money, and even more money, they ask tricky questions. But they can not only be made your comrades, but also combined with each other to create new, stronger individuals. Here you come across one of the few innovations of the remaster – now the abilities, when combined, allow you to choose yourself, and not rely on “random”. This, of course, greatly simplifies the process of creating a dream squad.

Finally agreed.

Little things

The hardcore and depth of the combat system impressed many years ago, and even now it will captivate those who like high complexity. And if you are primarily interested in history, then a Merciful difficulty level has been added especially for you. True, it is more like a mockery – opponents inflict half as much damage as on “normal”, and your entire squad becomes twice as strong and dodges blows more often. As a result, cool well-thought-out mechanics are no longer needed – you can defeat everyone with the demons found at the beginning of the game, using basic attacks, and not experience any problems.

The last notable innovation is the Suspend function in the menu. It is not allowed to save at any time here, for this you need to find a room with a red sign on the door. But there are times when the console or computer needs to be turned off, but you don’t want to lose progress. This is what Suspend is made for – it creates a temporary save, which will be deleted the next time you start the game. Not the most elegant solution, but it’s good that there is at least one.

Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster: Обзор

Often the game is not shy about unleashing large groups of enemies on you.

Otherwise, it’s still the same classic of the PS2 era. Here, monotonous and boring “dungeons”, overflowing with dead ends. Gameplay mechanics, which have been developed over 18 years, have remained in their original form – for example, it is not as easy to see the weaknesses of opponents as in the same Persona 5. And a bunch of mechanics are not explained at all. What are the numbers in the top left corner? How does the Press Turn system work? What are magatams? But without them, the game becomes more difficult. The interface is sometimes annoying – buying several items from a merchant is accompanied by unnecessary dialogues.

You forgive shortcomings – after all, this is a guest from the past, and numerous advantages outweigh the disadvantages. But the game deserved much more than what happened. This is a port that was visually tidied up, voiced and just a little improved gameplay – so that you won’t notice without a magnifying glass. Why Atlus is asking $50 for this when it released the more recent Persona 4 Golden on PC for just $20 is completely incomprehensible. Moreover, the remaster even has paid DLC – the one that adds Dante from Devil May Cry to the game. This is probably related to Capcom’s deductions for the use of the character, but it still looks strange.

Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster: Обзор

The camera was also not touched – it constantly strives to return to its place when you twist it.

Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne HD Remaster is hardly worth the money, especially on Russian Steam, where they forgot to set the regional price. However, there are no other opportunities to evaluate the JRPG, which is considered one of the best in the history of the genre, you have to take what they give. Longtime fans of the series will be pleased with the few innovations, such as easier merging of demons and the ability to pause the game before shutting down, but newcomers will have a hard time integrating. It is a pity that the re-release was not given more attention and did not make the game a little friendlier.

Pros: Great old school JRPG with a long history; a deep combat system that requires you to study the weaknesses of opponents; hiring demons and combining them to create strong individuals is no less exciting than in the last “Persons”; improved picture and sound sound.

Cons: in some places, the archaic gameplay has not been changed in any way; a new level of difficulty makes the game overly easy and looks like a joke; unreasonably high price.

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