Inside Pulse 12

THE TRIBUNAL: Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (PS2)

The official review gave this game a 7.0. But how will the game fair in…THE TRIBUNAL?!?!?

THE SESSION HAS NOW BEEN CONVENED

*The crowd gathers into the fabled Inside Pulse Tribunal Stadium*

Attention! Attention! All will come to order!

*The crowd refuses to quiet down.*

We meet in the fabled Tribunal hall today to pass judgment on a game that rarely sees releases in America, but is greatly appreciated for its intellectual components. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, rise and step forward.

*The game does so.*

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, you’ve been brought forward to prove yourself to us, and to the world. You come from a series with a strong cult following, and a strong Inside Pulse presence thanks to people like Alex Lucard. You are an RPG series that does not put the focus on superficial elements, but on a story based on theology that will make the player think. Not many SMT games have been released in the US, but those that were have garnered good reactions from the public. But will YOU? That is the question we shall answer today…

Your judges today are Alex Lucard, Lee Baxley, and Chuck Platt. What will be their judgment in…THE TRIBUNAL?!?!?

LET THE JUDGEMENT COMMENCE

JUDGE #1: Alex Lucard

SMTNM: Quite possibly the longest title in the Megaten series since Shin Megami Tensei Revelations Persona: Be Your True Mind (Which is a damn hard title to beat in length, eh?)

I was surprised Atlus brought over my second favorite series of all time. It’s amazingly intellectual and only the best of the best scholars will recognize every reference they place in this game.

The plot is brilliant and very fluid, containing multiple paths and endings and a level of customization you rarely find in a non tactical RPG. The graphics are good, but nothing groundbreaking as it did take some time for Atlus to bring it to the states.

At the end of the day though, the game may be too much for the average gamer. Most gamers aren’t looking for a highly intelluctual metaphor for Metaphysics or Theology. They might not also have the patience for a game as LONG as this one, and it’s doubtful that anyone but Megaten fans will go back and try to get all the paths possible or all the endings.

Like Misha said, it’s a niche game for Americans due to our style and preferences in gaming compared to those of Japan, where Megaten stands as an equal to Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest in terms of popularity and sales figures.

THE SCORE: 7.0/10

JUDGE #2: Lee Baxely

Shin Megami Tensei is one of those series that I have been interested in for a while (thanks to a Mr. Lucard) but haven’t been able to play due to a lack of Japanese reading skills. Sure, I’ve gotten a taste with Persona and Demikids, but it’s not the same. Thankfully, Atlus has decided to release SMT: Nocturne in America. And boy am I glad.

The game overall is a ton of fun. It has one of the best RPG stories I’ve seen to date. I’m a fan of dark and nasty, where everything doesn’t always end happily ever after, and this game is a lot like that. The graphics are great, with a nifty shading approach with a great style. There are no voices, but the music is awesome. Overall, the game is a ton of fun, and I hope that we’ll receive more in the states.

One thing worth noting: the Doublejump guide for this game is brilliant. If you want to learn how to become a total badass, and completely maul any boss in the game, go for the Doublejump guide. It has great maps and strategies that will help you win. And speaking from experience, it’s awesome to get 100% in the demon compendium and have badasses like Dante, Metatron and Beelzebub in your party to rip up anyone. Oh, and for some it may be a turnoff, but for me, I thought it was cool as hell to have Dante from Devil May Cry in my party in an RPG.

THE SCORE: 9.0/10

JUDGE #3: Chuck Platt

Shin Megami Tensei Nocturnes. A game that does three things very well. First off, SMTN gives the discerning gamer a traditional style RPG in a non traditional setting with a deeper than most novels plot, great combat, and fun character designs (Jack Frost commands me to kill all the neighborhood cats and eat them!). Nocturnes also looks hella sweet on your game shelf, what with it’s red and black spine and matching hint guide. More than anything, though, Nocturnes makes you look like either the hardest of the hardcore or the weakest of the weak sauces when you ask for it at the game store, depending on if you say it correctly, the clerk has a vague idea what the Hell you are talking about, and if the checkout girl laughs at you or swoons when you wink.

Seriously, though, I figure a gamer must know whether or not they are in this game’s target audience from the moment they hear about it. Either a near future RPG with allusions to mythology and all sorts of paranormal phenomenons, including the Hollow Earth theory, that plays like a dream appeals to you or it sounds like an excercise in pain. If there is one caveat, it must be this: do not pick up this game if you have a short attention span, like myself, or are put off by a crazy number of fights in your RPGs. This game will make you it’s sweet little bitch when you least expect it. (I very nearly threw up after Matador slaughtered my party to the demon.) SMTN would be in my top three games of the year, with Front Mission 4 and Katamari Damacy, if only I hadn’t thrown it aside to play Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I guess demons and Dante ain’t got nothing on gangstas and Dr. Dre.

THE SCORE: 7.0/10

The Tribunal has spoken! And now, to the final judgment…

SCORE #1: 7.0
SCORE #2: 9.0
SCORE #3: 7.0

FINAL JUDGEMENT: 7.67

It is the decision of this Tribunal that Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne is a nice addition to the SMT series, and a grand alternative to most of the RPGs in America today. You are incredibly long game, which is enticing for some, but may put off others. You also bring your unique combat system to the table, allowing you to obtain, train, and fuse amazing creatures. While you cater to a niche audience, that niche audience won’t be disappointed. So you may go now, and spread your intricate story to all those who will listen.

THIS SESSION HAS NOW BEEN ADJOURNED

We now dismiss all the attendees to this gathering. But we shall require your presence again, once The Tribunal deems another to prove itself…