Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne HD Remaster Review

Atlus has crafted a very intentional aesthetic between its two biggest JRPG franchises, especially in how they relate and build upon each other. While Persona took big ideas and grounded them in social issues, Shin Megami Tensei remained committed to broader philosophical challenges. Nowhere is this more evident than in Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne HD Remaster, a game built for Atlus that, for better or worse, has been remastered with great fidelity.

Bringing some very welcome and very useful changes in form and function, the Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne HD Remaster keeps the spirit of the original version, with a few but key changes that make it worth the investment. Significant gameplay enhancements bring Nocturne impactful quality-of-life improvements, but those expecting anything beyond performance upgrades over the original may be disappointed. This is the Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne that fans will remember, both literally and figuratively.

Nocturne The story of Nocturne begins with “Conception”, a disaster that shocked the world, like many other examples in previous Shin Megami Tensei games. Tokyo collapsed on itself, becoming a spherical entity known as the “Maelstrom World”, with nearly all humans dead and demons roaming the apocalyptic ruins of society. The player is infected by parasites and becomes a half-human, half-demon half-human, half-demon, entering the doomsday survival mode.

This is when players immediately realize Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne’s cult-classic status stems from : Learn to survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, gather demons to fight alongside your Magatama-powered protagonist, all with the player as the Herald The role of the end of the new world. Accept all sorts of “reasons” to shape the new world, whether from the player’s friends, their teachers, or other greedy beings looking to fill the power vacuum; it’s the half-demons who can create (or destroy) this vortex in any way they please world, although it takes a lot of effort and time.

Exploring Nocturne’s labyrinthine world can be a bit tedious and confusing, but it’s worth noting that the thoughtful design really fits with the game’s theme. Even though exploring endless corridors of similarity can be tedious at times, the atmosphere of Nocturne intentionally instills a sense of isolation in the player. The game’s strange, spooky adjacent environments only exacerbate this, though player mileage may vary depending on player preference.

The philosophical nuances in Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne haven’t gone away in 2021, even 18 years after its original PS2 release date. Forcing morally ambiguous conundrums on players without an objectively “correct” answer makes Nocturne’s storytelling almost timeless. The addition of full English/Japanese voice acting in Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne HD Remaster only enhances the game’s atmosphere. JRPG fans looking for a philosophically disturbing story with branching endings and enough player agency to guide the story shouldn’t skip the Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne HD remake.

shin  megami  tensei  nocturne  hd  remaster  battle Fans of strategic turn-based combat will also particularly enjoy Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne HD Remastered, as the game mechanics changes are most impactful here. Those who have never played a Shin Megami Tensei game, or Persona fans who are curious about the series, may know that Nocturne has a reputation for being very difficult.

That’s still the case in the second half of the game, but with key changes to demon fusion and abilities, build optimization and party composition are more manageable. Players can recruit and fuse demons to form their party, but in the original version of Nocturne, the skills gained through fusion are completely random. Now, in Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne HD Remake, players can choose to inherit skills through fusion, and it becomes more convenient to optimize Demon Fusion. Also, auto-battle moves faster, which means grinding in certain areas/battles/etc. It can be more streamlined for players.

The first half of Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne HD Remaster isn’t difficult, but the difficulty spikes in the second half of the game are the real boost. Nocturne’s remake also offers some accessibility features, including giving players the freedom to switch to the new “Merciful” difficulty at will. Nocturne HD Remaster also features a Paused Save feature, which allows players to set a one-time save state anywhere in the game, which is removed on reload. It’s not abuseable, but great for those who need to get out of a game quickly without a save point.

shin  megami  tensei  3 nocturne  remaster is true for Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne HD Remaster, there are some decisions that are almost inexplicable on the technical side of this remaster. Nocturne’s remaster did to all rendered 3D characters, environments, in-game cutscenes, and UI elements, but the upgrades faded from there.

Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne HD Remaster still runs at a locked 30 FPS, pre-rendered cutscenes and graphics are still 4:3 aspect ratio, and certain in-game interactions like opening chests or talking to NPCs. Most notably The game’s soundtrack, which still features compressed audio from the original PS2 release in 2003, although the soundtrack itself was released separately at a higher quality.

None of these are game-breaking issues, but their baffling choices are certainly intentional, especially for Nocturne’s remastered form. Despite these decisions, Nocturne still maintains an incredible atmosphere, but those aspects are certainly jarring compared to the remaster’s other improvements.

shin  megami  tensei  3 nocturne  remaster  preview Returning to this pivotal Atlus JRPG more than a decade after its original release, the Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne HD Remaster has never been more accessible. Nocturne is unabashedly old school, in good and not-so-good ways. Gameplay tweaks and options allow for decent customization of the experience, but some omissions in this re-release are pretty glaring. It’s not perfect, but as long as players can get used to its rustic edges, Nocturne’s remake has a good old-school JRPG packed full of quality-of-life changes worth playing in 2021.

Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne HD Remaster will be released on May 25, 2021 for PC, PS4 and Switch. Game Rant obtained the PC code for this review.

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