Game Review: Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux (3DS)
For their 25th Anniversary, Atlus decided that it was a good idea to give an updated port of their wildly beloved DS game Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey. Is it worth it to get the remake? Read on to find out.
Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey Redux plays similar to the game it was remade from. The first-person dungeon crawler requires you to navigate through sectors, collecting, and defeating demons. While that description may seem oversimplified, with the game’s content being massive and mechanics being complicated, those three points are perhaps what you only need to finish the game.
New players who fear the level of complexity, as with any JRPG, need not worry much, however. Atlus eases the players well into the game, adding in bits and pieces of the game’s mechanic as you move along.
Players start off with a demon companion, and from it, they will need to recruit more demons onto their side to fight off the other demons in the overworld. There are some things to learn like type weaknesses, attack types, and how to better utilise the team’s attack, but those are things that can quickly be picked up.
One of the game’s essential mechanic ties in with the game’s story strongly. The alignment mechanic tries to filter you between one of three alignments, “Law”, “Neutral”, “Chaos”. Choices that players make within the game will put them under of the three categories and depend on where they align in the end, a different ending will present itself. The mechanic also governs what kind of demons might play nice with you and which demons will not, however, it is not a mechanic that will really impede your progress. If you are a hardcore player, it might take some playing around to get all the endings but if you are a casual player, the alignment mechanic that can take the back seat without you needing to understand it.
Atlus made considerable changes and upgrades for this Redux version. In fact, the enhancements by itself justify the purchase of the game.
Gameplay wise, not only did the roster of demons collectable increased to an astounding 350, despite just being able to carry up to 18 at once (up from 12), the development team also did significant works with the save systems, bringing the total number of save files from 2 to 20. Players who wish to finish all the six endings (up from 3) would see the save files useful.
If the mention of the increase in the number of endings did not sound off any bells yet, then it should because even though Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux is a remake of an old game, Atlus has added tons of new story content, creating whole new characters and dungeons in the process. Returning players will be surprised at the appearance of Alex, as well as, the large six-level “Womb of Grief” dungeon. All of which are new areas for them to explore, adding a couple of extra hours into the game.
Overall, the game will feel fresh, for both new and returning fans alike.
Slowness and Redundancies
For all its improvements, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux still face similar problems as its predecessors. The dungeon crawling process is still somewhat slow, with the top screen bringing limited utility to gameplay. Players are better off looking at the bottom screen to navigate around the dungeons than the first-person view of the top screen. In fact, the top screen is redundant most of the time during dungeon exploration.
The player can also seem slow, even when running, across the dungeon map. This can get a little frustrating at times, especially when you navigate your way through dungeons with a ton of teleportation points.
Still, these gripes are not game breaking in any way. They do interfere with the enjoyment mildly, but nothing major tarnishing the Shin Megami Tensei brand.
Graphics and Sound
Returning players of the game will be happy to know that the game has got a graphical boost since they last saw it on the Nintendo DS. Although it is much clearer, it is still limited by the screen quality of the 3DS.
One of the things that did not make it to the 3DS is stereoscopic 3D. Much like other Atlus remakes on the 3DS, Atlus has decided to skip 3D with the Redux edition. The game still plays well without the 3D, not that it needed it in the first place.
When it comes to audio, Atlus has decided to give characters some voice. Japanese language voice acting with English subtitles makes an appearance in the game. Although it doesn’t add much to me, some players will enjoy the added immersion the voice acting provides.
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux is a good entry point for newcomers to the franchise, as well as, a good remake for returning fans to bask in nostalgia. The game sees more than enough improvements to justify its price tag. And even without considering the improvements, players can enjoy upwards of 60 hours of fun with the game. Unlike some JRPG, it is not wildly complicated so just remember the basics, Navigate, Collect Demons, Defeat Demons, you’ll still be in for a good time.
- Plentiful new content
- Quality of life enhancements are well appreciated
- Well catered to both beginners and returning veterans
- Might be a little slow at times
- Top screen is still redundant during dungeon crawling