HOW SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI III NOCTURNE CHANGED MY PERSPECTIVE ON JRPGS

in gaming •  last year  (edited)


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Usually when you play a game that's so "balls to the walls" hard you either break your controller or the TV screen or both or just whine about it online or something and never play it again. But what if the opposite happens? Have you ever played a game so hard, that you just can't help but play it again and again until it consumes your life for almost 100 hours of gameplay? Besides Darksouls or Bloodborne... or anything From Software related. Casing point SMT III Nocturne, ironically also infamously known as "The Darksouls of JRPG." If you haven't heard of this game it is considered one of the hardest JRPG game ever created. Having experienced the game myself a few years back, I can truly say, that it is more than deserving of its reputation. This game literally changed the way I approach JRPG's and I just don't mean the difficulty, this game is the shit, and here are some reasons why.

An Unusual Start.

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Nocturne's story unlike most JRPG's does not pit you against a big bad in a quest to save the world. The world already ended, your mission is to make sure that when it is eventually reborn, it's actually a nice place to live in. The problem is everyone and their mother has their own opinion of how the world should be and no, democracy isn't a thing in this game. From demons to weird marionette puppets called "manikins" to the Goddamn Horsemen of the apocalypse, everyone has their own plans and if you are not with them then you are against them. You, the hero or rather the Demi-fiend, was once a human that was turned into a half-breed demon by some weird kid who might or might not be the actual devil, during the end of the world. Oh and did I mention the actual Gods of the multiverse are involved somehow? Final Fantasy eat your heart out, you ain't got nothing on this game.

There Is No Real Antagonist

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Let's talk about alignments. According to... well, uh... the internet, there are 9 moral alignments that govern all the different characters in a particular story. (refer to the picture above) Among all the JRPG's I've played in my lifetime, Nocturne is the one game I truly remember that adapts this idea and truly runs with it. (Granted SMT has always done this sort of things) Instead of a big bad, there are multiple factions with different ideologies in this world. Unlike most JRPG's there is no clearcut definition of who is good and who is evil in this game.


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There's the Shijima headed by Hikawa, who believes that a world of perfect harmony is one without passion and conflict, and thus no destruction. The Shijima basically believes in a utopia where individuality is erased and everyone is equal to God. So that's lawful evil...


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There's Musubi headed by Isamu Nitta, who believes that everyone should just be left alone and not be controlled by anyone, basically a world of solitude and isolation, a world where anyone can shape their world at will into anything they want, without consequences which in retrospect actually sounds good however the catch is you don't actually get to interact with anybody and I mean anybody. So that's chaotic neutral...


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There's Yosuga Headed by Chiaki Hayasaka, who believes in survival of the fittest. Only the strong rules and the weak is there to either die or serve the strong. Basically just like the purge only its 24/7. So this is either neutral evil or chaotic evil...

Source for Yuko
Source for Futomimi

Then there are the Manikins headed by Futomimi, who wants to create a world of perfect harmony and lastly there's Yuko Takao, who has, other ideas I guess... Yuko is weird.

This Game Changes The Way You Play A Turn-Based JRPG.

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I've been Playing JRPG's for almost 2 decades now, and when you've played as long as I have, you kinda get hot-wired to play a certain way. You must always complete every dungeon map, you must always get all of the loot and/or open all the chest, you must never use rare grade - A items, among other things. SMT Nocturne throws away all preconceived notions of the unspoken rules and guidelines of JRPG gaming and instead encourages you (well, force you really) to play outside your normal comfort zone. On the surface, Nocturne may seem like your typical turn base/ pokemon-isk JRPG, and you're not exactly wrong, however, it's the "Press Turn System" that makes this game a lot different. The rule behind this system is that any action will cost one full turn, but if a combatant scores a critical hit, exploits their opponent's weakness, or passes on making an action, their turn will be considered half used. These half-used turns allow a character to do anything that a regular turn can. In layman's term if you're playing well, then you're playing great, and if you make a mistake then its most likely game over just like that. A double reward, double punishment system that rewards you for playing smart rather than just forcing your way into any situation. Combine that with a high difficulty level and high encounter rate with booby-trapped rooms and unrelenting bosses and let's see if you still want to play by the rules. In this game when I get on a dungeon I try to get out of there as fast as possible. If I have an item regardless if its a potion or a goddamn elixir/bead imma use that shit to keep me alive. A battle is not saved via a stronger attack but rather de-buff skills. You know how in most RPG's you get to pick one stat and you can just focus on that and make an overpowered unbalanced powerhouse of a character? Yeah, you do that in this game and you're better off starting a new game. Gameplay wise it just goes against almost every instinct you have as a JRPG player and basically teaches you a new way to play.

It's A Case Study On Different Philosophies.

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You know how most JRPG's insert these subtle ideas about religion, politics, and philosophy. Well, Nocturne decided, they're going to do it outright. The whole idea of the world ending and its reconstruction is in direct parallel of the idea of the Judeo-Christian lore of the rapture. If you want to go one step beyond, the actual adventures of the main character the Demi-Fiend seemed to have been inspired by the religion of Zoroastrianism. If you don't know what that is its because its a very old religion predating Christianity, Islam, and even Judaism. To simplify it a bit, it's a religion that believes in one God, called Ahura Mazda (roughly translating to "Wise Lord") they believe that this God created the world and design it to exist and evolve in a way that is "perfect" and "righteous." I would indulge in this a little bit more but I'm not exactly a philosophy major graduate, I would, however, suggest you read up on its history to truly understand its direct parallel to the game. The factions themselves serve as a representation of different Ideologies of different religions and philosophies. Shijima basically believes in the concept of Nirvana so you get your Hinduism covered. Musubi is basically a copy and paste of isolationism, so you got your Rene Descartes covered too. Yosuga's idea of survival of the fittest is basically survivalism from the 1950's... or maybe it was inspired by Koushun Takami, who knows? The point I'm trying to come across is that you can literally create a thesis out of this game's lore, and you wouldn't even have a hard time finding the references. This game represents the concepts of philosophy in a way I have never seen before (and since then) in a game. The amount of depth you can indulge in by simply paying attention the small details in the story is more than enough to keep you going until you eventually get to the end of the game.

In Conclusion.

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If you enjoy JRPGs, if you enjoy a hardcore kind of challenge, if you like long-winded conversations about existentialism then my friend this game is definitely for you. Actually, scratch that, this is a must play for any JRPG lover, you owe it to yourself to experience this. I'm sure a physical copy of it is still floating around the internet, or you can download it on PSN like I did. This game is amazing so get your game on, and prepare to die, over and over and over and over and over...

Thank you very much for reading and I hoped you enjoy.
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Congrats Abet! Galing hardwork pays off

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True! worth it ung effort >:))

Great review @roballendematera. This post is filled with so many insights about gaming culture, specifically the gamer's mindset and how sometimes a game goes beyond being just a game. Congrats on the curie upvote! Hope to see more of your posts in Steemit.

To those who would like to support @curie, consider voting for her as a witness. Just click curie in the page here

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Wow I never expected this. Thank you very much for the support! Im so happy haha!

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  ·  last year (edited)

This is a great gaming post that's more than just a review :) You really deserve the curie vote. I hope you'd get encouraged to write more often. Haha. Keep it up po, lodi!

P.S. Really liked that Gon post too. I just read it now :D

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good review of the Jrpg and his future! a great gaming genre