Note: This’ll contain some Major Spoilers for Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne and Shin Megami Tensei IV.
I am incredibly excited for the SMTIII: Nocturne HD Remaster. I intend to buy both versions when they come out and I hope it comes with a Collector’s Edition. If you believe its just an “upscale” as some detractors have wrongfully said, then take a look at these graphical differences:
The PS2 version:
The HD Remaster version:
Source of the second image is from Gematsu.
Of course, this brings me to my next topic of discussion, I’ve since abandoned using Siliconera entirely and have been using Gematsu exclusively for my JRPG game news. I was initially reluctant until I noticed the nice edit feature for making news content as large or as small image-wise from their interface system next to “Latest News” and their dark / light change-up option on their website. It took a bit of time to get into the habit of going instantly to Gematsu to check out gaming news, I lapsed twice in my automatic behavior patterns by clicking Siliconera instead before I was able to adjust. I discovered Gematsu from checking Siliconera’s Alexa ranking and found that their audience matches the most with Gematsu for news. If any are wary of Gematsu introducing nonsense identity politics into their journalism, I can safely say I haven’t found any but I welcome any new evidence of such if they show up. Now, to be clear, Politics in games isn’t inherently wrong. For instance, gamers should distinguish video games that have their own Fantasy Politics (such as Mass Effect and Dragon Age based on story-driven player decision-making) versus Real World politics. Usually people are referring to the latter and not the former when arguing that politics in gaming is bad. However, even in the case of real world politics, it isn’t inherently bad. For example, let’s say a game gives a particular viewpoint towards a real world political conflict such as World Wars or Civil Wars. Does that make it inherently bad? No, it’s only when they force in modern-day politics to those historical events that it becomes stupid and cringeworthy. From what I can see, the real grey area that is the most divisive is if games talk about and give views toward modern-day politics. The main failure of most of these gaming journalist websites is that they already believe themselves to have all the “correct” answers to appeal to their specific mob audiences, they explicitly lie about Japanese created content (Allegra Frank’s lies in her articles on LGBT representation in Atlus) or otherwise demand Japanese developers kowtow to Western politics even in their Fantasy games (such as Jenni Lada’s racist and tone-deaf demands to the Eiyuden Chronicles game creators which laughably ran afoul of White Man’s Burden due to the narcissism of the demands that Japanese developers must somehow know everything about US culture and follow its political trends), and as such, they seem more keen on promoting a nihilistic view where nothing can ever be improved than any genuine critique in politics.
But back to the remaster of one of, if not THE, best game ever; SMT3: Nocturne. I personally hope they don’t change skill inheritance as many whinier fans hope because it would make the game too easy. Making you redo the skillset for however many minutes discourages the exploitation of the system and helps balance it out. Whereas manual inheritance would make the game far too easy from the early and middle portions similar to the latter-half of the game once you get used to the system and gain access to more powerful physical attacks. The visuals already look like a vast improvement, so I have no problems there. I really don’t want any story additions or extra content for any of the Reason endings especially since I think it would ruin the entire purpose behind Isamu and Chiaki’s Reason endings. Whiny Western fans are already whining about having to pay for Dante despite a voice actor being made and Western fans not knowing the prices yet but choosing instead to jump to conclusions. If they do make a “manual skill inheritance” keep it in easy mode for those whiners. However, if there is any story additions, then perhaps let it be something very minor such as confirmation on Lady in Black’s identity and perhaps the addition of an extra Lucifer boss fight after you take down his Fallen form in the True Demon Route. Nothing would change in the story itself and they could easily add another form, perhaps the “true form” that fans say Kaneko has alluded to, since SMT3: Nocturne should have been the game to showcase that form. Since we’re getting a “mercy” mode, I would like for there to be a Merciless Mode that’s even more difficult than hard mode and maybe have an exclusive extra Lucifer boss fight in that mode. There needn’t be any story changes since immediately after beating Lucifer, the scene goes to Lucifer in child form congratulating you on showing your awesome power. Overall, I’d just love for SMT III: Nocturne HD Remaster to be the game that showed this mysterious “true” form of Lucifer that Kaneko alluded to so many years ago, if it still is relevant to the series lore. It’s possible the second form of Lucifer in SMTIV exclusively was the “true” form, but it only had six wings like the other Lucifer forms. I think adding the true form of Lucifer in the HD Remaster, where Lucifer and the Lady in Black take such prominent roles, would be best and it would certainly offer a surprise challenge to fans who want to replay our beloved game in HD. I don’t understand why that never happened since SMTIII: Nocturne obviously seems like the perfect game to introduce it, but it is possible that they just dropped the idea of a true Lucifer form altogether.
I’m super excited and eager to play both it and Shin Megami Tensei V. I’m a bit more excited for SMT3: Nocturne HD Remaster because I suspect SMT5 will have a “re-release” just like every other Atlus game nowadays, so that makes me a bit wary of that game. Fortunately, the HD Remaster most likely won’t have any such issues and I really want to buy it for all consoles that it comes out in. My brother is also excited and interested in playing it for the first time. Having it on the go on the Switch seems particularly awesome. I can’t wait! 😊
Due to my enthusiasm for this HD Remaster, I made a video pointing out how each of the lyrics in SMTIII: Nocturne seem to foreshadow future plot events in SMTIII: Nocturne itself. While it may seem like an odd claim when the vanilla version of Nocturne released in Japan didn’t have the True Demon route, I’d like to point out that not only did Atlus say that they had unused ideas, but the vanilla game itself has unused content proving it. Here’s the video I made:
As for my personal desires for the HD Remaster and response to some fans who are more skeptical of the HD Remaster:
Manual Skill Inheritance would make the game way too easy. Even if you want to argue the game is easy enough and that random skill inheritance just makes you waste time, there are still degrees and scales on the challenge of what is an easy game. Just because you find a game somewhat easy doesn’t justify making it even easier which would further ruin the challenge. Making it random inheritance, when you already have very good base skills from new demon fusions, helps to discourage making the game braindead easy. If you want a more nuanced perspective, consider watching this video on how negative fan feedback can sometimes ruin a game’s challenge. If your time is limited then consider watching from here to 12:22. While the context isn’t fully the same, I think the general issue is. If there is a manual inheritance system, then it should be relegated to the new Merciful Mode and not the higher difficulties because it would ruin the challenge of the game. Furthermore, the only other way to balance it out and not make Manual mode into a braindead easy feature that ruins all semblance of difficulty would be to instead force only the weakest skills to be inherited and remove the option for the stronger skills to be inherited at all. That would make it more challenging and would be an even trade-off from Random skill inheritance.
Fans are making way too many wild assumptions on the pricing of DLC. Just because people in S. Korea, China, and Japan have to pay for Dante as DLC, it doesn’t say anything about Western prices. People are already jumping to conclusions to find things to complain about. We don’t know what we don’t know and acting as if we do isn’t justified. As soon as Dante was announced, people began whining about him not having pierce and how stupid it was to have a weaker character as DLC, when in fact he was announced to have the Pierce skill shortly thereafter. Some fans seem to just be keen on looking for something to whine about. We don’t know what we’re getting insofar as DLC yet, we don’t know about price, and we don’t know if there’ll be a Collector’s edition or not. So, let’s not jump to conclusions?
Please note, this is obviously just my personal desire for this game and I’m not claiming it is going to happen. If they’re adding a braindead Easy difficulty called “Merciful” then they should add a Hardcore difficulty that’s way more difficult than Nocturne’s Hard mode called Merciless. Otherwise, the naming just looks off and is obviously pandering to those crybaby casual Persona fanboys and fangirls, like a family member of mine, who are too afraid of any difficulty to try games that just give off the presence of being difficult. We need a more hardcore mode called Merciless that’ll actually provide a compelling challenge to us ye olde Nocturne fanboys and fangirls. We should get a difficulty that is evermore challenging, evermore teeth gnashing, evermore controller throwing, and evermore Merciless! That’ll quiet even those whiny Mainline crybabies who state the game is too easy but are too afraid to actually play Hard Mode. 😛
The Reason Endings and most of the story shouldn’t have any extra content add-ons. Some fans want extra scenes or perhaps an extra image at the end of the Reason endings because they seem barebones, but I think it defeats the entire purpose of them to do that. You experience what Yosuga will be like firsthand in the main story. First by the trial by battle against other demons and then finally Thor in the early game and then by fighting your fellow Yosuga enthusiasts when accepting Yosuga’s Reason. That was pretty satisfying and told me all that I needed to on that Reason’s pros and cons. Isamu’s Musubi was even more brilliant in the final dungeon; not only does he lose to Chiaki in his own route, but you only realize too late the flaws of the route. You do all the work for him and unlike the other Reason endings where you’re given an enthusiastic congratulations, you read Isamu’s gravestone where he tells you that he doesn’t care either way. The implication I took from that after doing the route was that Musubi – the idea of living in your own world – leads to suicide or is fatally inseparable from metaphorically committing suicide. That is brilliant writing and I don’t want it touched or taken away or ruined. Clubbing people over the head with such realizations would ruin the narrative, the story implications, and the whole point of the narrative journey to find your own meaning. How many of you even trust Atlus to do a good job with so many complaints about “neutral bias” in recent games?
This one is pure wish fulfillment on my part, but . . . if they do add anything, I want it to be an extra Lucifer boss fight in the True Demon Route after you beat his fallen form. To be clear: I don’t expect this to happen. However, it would be so fucking cool if it did. Perhaps have this specific addition to the aforementioned Merciless mode as an extra challenge for players seeking it. Many of you have heard of the old interview where Kaneko mentioned we’d see Lucifer’s “true” form with 12 wings which would be an amalgamation of all his previous forms. We can’t know what happened with this idea, but it does seem like it was abandoned. In Shin Megami Tensei IV: We’re told by Lucifer that his form created via sacrificing Walter is his truest form, yet the version 2 of the form that you fight in Law and Neutral only shows 6 wings and doesn’t comport to Kaneko’s 12 wings quote. So either this idea was dropped or they’re still waiting to add it to something. SMT3: Nocturne gave substantial narrative focus to Lucifer and his aspirations, it seems really odd that they wouldn’t choose to use Nocturne as the game to reveal this mysterious true form. Perhaps they wanted to create excitement over future SMT releases and it is just empty pabulum, but if it never materializes then it served no purpose. I can understand there were issues with adding it to Nocturne after the vanilla version had disappointing sales and they couldn’t be sure of how well Maniax would do, and adding it to Chronicle would have probably led to player backlash and disappointment. But this HD Remaster seems like the best opportunity to have Lucifer’s “true form” as a Final Boss for the TDE route after you beat the Fallen form. There’d be no narrative fallout, because the scene immediately after is Lucifer in child form congratulating the Demi-Fiend on his awesome power. The ending of the TDE route could be entirely the same and nothing would be lost. Adding a surprise extra boss fight with Lucifer’s mysterious “True Form” seems like the best way to celebrate the HD Remaster and reignite interest for fans who have beaten Nocturne already, but aren’t sure about whether to get the HD Remaster.
For more Shin Megami Tensei material:
Consider checking out Larrue’s video of his examination of the making of SMTIII: Nocturne and reading the 9 initial plot concepts that Atlus Japan had written which vary wildly and seem closer to resembling Shin Megami Tensei IV’s plot concept even prior to the creation of SMTIII: Nocturne.
Or, if you’re interested in powerscaling in SMT, then consider checking out this blog examining the Lore of the franchise and how demons essentially exist. I have a few disagreements, but overall this analysis seems spot on in understanding how Gods and Demons in the Shin Megami Tensei franchise function.