After being told that was one of the better games in the Megami Tensei ‘brand’ I was excited and eager to try, especially after loving Persona 5 so much. I obviously lowered my expectations knowing this was a PS2 remaster, and yet I was still slightly let down. I’m approaching this game/review from the point of view of someone who has only played Persona 5 and strikers in the Megami Tensei series, nothing else, and from the point of view of someone who knows little about this game. First off calling this game a remaster is extremely generous. I never played the original on PS2 but I’ve gone back to watch footage and there really isn’t a tonne of difference. The visuals have obviously been sharpened (but brely) and the audio has hardly had a remix, Now the game is £45 digitally, however it is available for around £35 physically. My personal opinion is it’s worth about £20.
The game takes place at the end of the world, which i suppose is opposite to most games where you’re trying to prevent that. You start in a very eerie and empty Shibuya/Tokyo as a normal human bean, where the end of the world is about to take place. After spending a while giving customised names to what seems like every character you’re made to explore a hospital looking for your teacher, after a certain series of events the world is made anew and you come back as a demon. As a demon you obviously have to fight other demons (if you’ve played persona games these are the same as those personas, and this umbrella of games uses these demons/personas as their personal pocket monsters) and along the way you’ll find some to make friends with who will come along and fight with you in your party. I did like the fact that as you used certain demons more they would become more friendly towards you and give you gifts, or evolve….or in this case go through a ‘change’. The demons have some sort of personality, which seems to be a highlight of these games.
You’re really just tasked with finding out exactly what the hell has gone on and before long you discover that you are indeed the one person who can get back the normal world (I’m still not sure if it’s completely gone or if you’re in a different universe) because you’re half demon and half human, or something like that….this game is honestly really hard to follow. One of the first things that I didn’t like about this game is the fact that it’s just so empty and it’s never really clear what you’re supposed to be doing. Even the eerie atmosphere is lost because the game just feels so old and the dated BGM doesn’t do a great deal to sell it. I got tired of talking to NPCs who had nothing of interest to say or offer to me and the open world itself was just too empty, and also with the janky movement and transitions. Even the damn cut scenes haven’t been updated!
Most of the time with a JRPG the first hour you struggle to get into it, then something clicks and you can’t get enough of the story and the combat system, like opening a tube of pringles. I did get that sensation with this game however after about 4 or 5 hours i found myself putting the battles onto auto and just not really caring about if I won or not, and nor about fetch quests or getting the world (Tokyo) back to normal. The combat ends up being very bland, and it is probably unfair to this game that I’m coming fresh off of playing 2 of the best games they’ve created. This just feels too basic for this day and age and if they had done a true remaster and added in more to the combat system, or updated the way the combatants, and protagonist, moved it would be fresher and more enticing. They do add in the ability to alter your demon powers, or magatama, so you can be stronger against certain magics at the cost of being weaker to others, but honestly this just felt a bit pointless (I’m probably missing something). I really needed there to be something that grabbed me by the cojones and made me want to dive in for 50/60 hours, and to get really into the grind as you need to with every JRPG, but it just wasn’t there, and after 10 hours I just switched it off because I knew I’d played enough to make up my mind, and because I also knew i didn’t want to spend another 40+ hours of my time on it.
I can see how this game influenced a lot of games that came after it and there are so many nearly great elements to it, however I wouldn’t choose to play it over the other JRPGs in my backlog (Strikers, Astral Chain and Bravely Default 2 to name a few). I’m sure there will be a lot here for long time fans of these older games in the series but as a fairly-newcomer to it all I’m not overly impressed. This isn’t an awful game but it most certainly is not worth it’s £45 price tag nor is it worth being played over the other games in my libraries.
For me Shin Megami Tensei 3: HD Remaster get’s a
However it’s possible that if you’re a long time fan, or if you have no other JRPGs to play (lol) you’ll have a whale of a time with this. Just please let me know what’s good about it….