It has been a while since I did a game review. You must be thinking why would I want to write a game review? Well, I want to share my opinions on the game, and you can decide for yourself if you should play it or not.
What I am reviewing today is Strange Journey from the Shin Megami Tensei Series. What’s Shin Megami Tensei(SMT), you may ask? It is a series of RPG games, often compared to Final Fantasy(FF) games. However, these 2 series are completely different series, and SMT focuses on darker tones in terms of story. FF, however, focuses more on graphics, however…. SMT would lose to FF in terms of graphics. Well, each to his own.
Before I even launch into the game itself, I have to say, this is perhaps the most difficult and challenging game I ever played. All SMT games are challenging, but never have I faced such a challenging game like Strange Journey.
The story begins showing that South Pole has been overcome by some sort of black hole that is constantly enlarging and absorbing at an alarming rate. A investigation team is quickly assembled to dive into the area, named as “Schwarzwelt”, to find out what is causing the problem. You play as the main character(MC), an unnamed UN Soldier that is part of the special investigation team to provide combat assistance if needed.
The team is made up of 4 divisions, each division taking control of a vehicle that is capable of flight and the members are equipped with the latest technology, namely, the Demonica suits, which grants the wearer abilities.
Demonicas here are like iphones. You can customise it with applications to enhance it further, granting you additional abilities.
So, the team dives into the Schwarzwelt. They crash, and 3 other divisions are MIA. You wake up only to find the crew under attack by, of course, demons. It seems that demons inhabit the Schwarzwelt.
After a couple of tutorials, you are pretty much left alone. Your attacks come in the form of skills, which can be changed by the gun you equip onto the MC. The battle system is a simple turn-based form, exactly the same as the recent Persona(PSP). You input the commands, and the attacks are carried out.
In this game, demons are your weapons. You need to recruit demons and also fuse them to strengthen and get better demons. The game quickly gets very hard as your demons are constantly being outclassed by demons in other sectors. You need to constantly update your party and upgrade your skills. When you see the random encounters enemies casting higher level spells than you, it is time to upgrade your skills….
Also, another factor that makes it so hard is the lack of currency. Macca, the currency of the underworld is used as money to buy weapons, apps, etc… Healing too. Many a times when I was cash strapped and couldn’t revive my KO’ed demons or just heal them. Macca is very important here.
As you proceed to sector to sector, each sector gets even harder. Traps, hidden doors…..etc. Many a times I spent hours running around in circles, not knowing where to go. If not for walkthroughs, I would have probably have thrown my DS a couple of times. This is no joke, lol.
The soundtrack takes an interesting turn. Unlike the J-pop like soundtrack in Persona 4, the soundtrack here is creepy and dark, with chanting thrown into the surroundings. At first it may seem weird, but into the game, the soundtrack is actually pretty good in its own unique way.
This game is pretty fun if you can get over the steep difficulty, the story is packed with twists and turns. Gamers who are new to the SMT series may want to give this game a miss and opt for the MUCH easier SMT: Devil Survivor.
If you can tolerate the difficulty, you may want to give this game a try.