• The original Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey came out on the Nintendo DS back in the West in 2010. Unfortunately, Europe never received the game in any country over there. The game was an interesting RPG dungeon crawler, but it had plenty of issues that were big barriers of entry for players. But now, in 2018, Atlus has decided to re-release the game on the 3DS, now with some enhanced features. Not only that, but many of the game’s issues have been scrubbed. The result is something that’s a bit more palpable.

    The plot of the game is about a group of special op soldiers from around the world who have gathered to investigate a strange phenomenon called the Schwarzwelt, which is encroaching upon the world, and is discovered to be uninhabitable by humans. The general idea is to find clues within it to see how to get rid of it. Unfortunately, their attempt sees the entire fleet get attacked by unknown assailants, crash landing or destroying most ships, and dispersing them throughout the anomaly. Now stranded, your specific team has to not only look for your other fleet ships and crews, but find a way out while still accomplishing the mission. Thankfully, you can use demons that attacked you to fight back against the hostiles with the Demon Summoning Program.

    The gameplay setup is similar to Etrian Odyssey, and even older Megaten games. You walk through dungeons in first person mode, and navigate areas which have a variety of gimmicks and traps like teleport, conveyor, and damage tiles. The game also automaps your surroundings instead of having to draw the maps yourself. Once you get into combat, you’ll engage in turn based battles. The player will make their party actions before combat actually plays out, with your agility stats determining who goes first. All of the familiar combat options from the Megaten series is present here. Attack with skills that use SP, use items, swap out demons, or talk with enemy to recruit them or get items or money. If you already have a demon of one type, that enemy will leave you alone and end the fight, but they might give you an item. This is a good way to avoid fighting if you are trying to be conservative. Unlike Shin Megami Tensei 3 however, there is no press turn system. Exposing an enemy weakness will have a follow up attack be activated by any demons that are the same alignment as the rest of your party members, provided you are using such demons. The more demons of the same alignment that you have, the stronger the follow up attack will be. It’s a pretty fun setup, and it’s one of the ways the game is a lighter experience than Shin Megami Tensei 3 was. This doesn’t mean that the game isn’t difficult though. Thankfully this release has made it easier for new players to get through the game due to the numerous tweaks.

    Firstly, the game actually now has a difficulty option, and you can play in Casual, Normal, and Hard options. But now there are also more save slots to choose from, so making sure that you don’t get too stuck in a dungeon is easier to manage. There’s also a new save slot that you can make in the field, allowing you to save anywhere. The sub-app system in the original allowed players to use various apps to get certain benefits, like making it easier to get more money or items from demons, or restoring HP or SP with walking, which later went on to be used in SMT IV. But you could only use one at a time, and had to switch them out at the base. Now that restriction is removed, and you can use more than one, and toggle them anywhere.

    The game also has voice acting, although Atlus has strangle elected to not use an English dub this time. This is a bit of a letdown, and makes less sense, since this is the one Megaten game that it would make sense, since you are a part of an international team, rather than a setting that takes place in Japan like the other entries. That’s pretty much the only blemish in the game, as while the quality of the voice acting is good, characters seem to lack any distinctive characterization that you’d see in something like Persona. At least this release has new story content in the form of a new dungeon involving a new character. Clearing this part of the game will allow you to view three new endings based on your alignment, as well as letting you take your pick of the old or new endings. This is especially since it’s much easier to change your alignment in this release. All in all, these enhancements make the game far more tolerable, and the game’s much stronger for it. If you played the original and hated some of the design decisions, it’s worth picking this up as most of those issues have been dealt with. If you are a new player, it’s a dungeon crawling RPG that’s worth playing. Either way, it will at least be something to hold players over until Etrian Odyssey X and SMT V. A solid recommend.

    Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux - Review
    A much more refined version of what the original should have been.
    Our Score8.5
    Positives
    • It's easier to see how this game influenced future entries.
    • The tweaks to the existing mechanics make this entry more palpable.
    Negatives
    • Japanese voice acting only was perhaps an odd choice.
    8.5Overall Score
    Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
    0.0

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