Today is my birthday, and I wanted to share one of my favorite games of all time:
Nocturne is the third main entry of the Shin Megami Tensei Series. It was published by Atlus in 2003. The designs were once again done by legendary Kazuma Kaneko. Nocturne is called SMT III: Lucifer’s Call in Europe. There are multiple versions of the game. There was the vanilla version in Japan, and later a Maniax version, which was also the international version. One thing that is different from Japanese version to international is that in Japanese version, Raidou Kuzunoha makes a cameo, and in the international version Features Dante from Devil May Cry Series (get it, it’s a meme now).
I am gonna tell you straight up, Nocturne immediately became one of my favorite games of all time. It is dark and gritty, the demon designs are phenomenal, and atmosphere of it was all so amazing!
Hitoshura / Demi-Fiend is the protagonist of the game. He is a high school kid who gets caught up and survives the event known as the Conception. Then he is approached by child and is fed a bug like Magatama, turning him into half demon. Now look at him, he is wrecking demonic monsters and legendary heroes with his bare hands!!! He is by far my favorite SMT hero.
Old Man / Young Child are the mysterious characters that seem to be interested in the growth and potential of the Demi-fiend. The young child is the one responsible for giving Demi-fiend the first Magatama. The Old Man asks the Demi-fiend to collect the candelabrum from other powerful demons known as Fiends. What could be their intention?
The world of Nocturne is interesting. In most games, heroes try to prevent the end of the world. Nocturne STARTS with apocalypse!
The event known as the Conception is in place. So the world has ended, nearly everyone died. World has become this thing called the Vortex World, a world that is waiting to be recreated in someone’s image. And this someone can shape the new world and its order however he or she wants to.
It is also pretty cool in that the Vortex World seems to be the inner walls of a sphere, completely opposite of the regular world.
The demons in this new world divides into various factions, worshipping a more powerful god like beings. And these gods has champions trying to recreate the world in their image. And Demi-fiend can be a champion of such god as well.
Gameplay-wise, Nocturne is very traditional turn based RPG. But what it has is the Press Turn Mechanic which can instantly change the flow of the battle. How it works is you have turn points, and if you exploit an enemy’s weakness you get to go again one time. So if you play your game right, your team of 4 can attack 8 times in one turn. But if you use an attack that the enemy absorbs, you lose ALL your turn points.
And these rules apply to the enemies as well, meaning the enemy group of 5 can potentially attack you 10 times. This is what the entire gameplay is based on and it worked so freaking well. And this system became the fundamentals of future SMT games, for example: Persona 3 & 4, Digital Devil Saga, Devil Survivor, and SMT IV.
The game is massive, it took me over 80 hours to complete the game. Everything is taken very seriously, and fighting bosses can be terrifying. One mistake can screw you, or you can make a perfect team to never lose your cool.
The reverse difficulty was very interesting. The first couple of hours of the game was the hardest. The player starts with no team, pathetic skills, low health and no idea what to do. And as the player figures out how the game works, recruit literal gods, it feel empowering. The game got easier in the end, but it felt that I made it easy, I earned this.
There are a lot of gimmicky puzzles in number of dungeons. And they range from annoying backtracking to annoying Simon-Says.
When fusing a demon, the skills the new demon inherits from the ingredient demon is random. So there has been many times I had to cancel fusion and retry to get the right set of skills. Although this problem is addressed in newer SMT games.
- Will I play this again? Yes, I started a new cycle already actually.
- Do I recommend this? Yes! This was so good.
- Overall thoughts? This is one of my favorite RPGs of all time now
Nocturne was dark, serious, and post apocalyptic. You are thrown in a war between God and Lucifer. You get the right the change the world in your image or doom it and punch God in the face.
How can you top that epicness? I hope you enjoyed this,