Progressively less enthused by Atlus Japan’s direction of the Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster

I understand it is a Remaster of the second re-released version in Japan meaning the Amala Labyrinth was the extra bosses and dungeons from years prior. We’re getting Dante as DLC likely for licensing reasons pertaining to Capcom along with the addition of voice acting, but the direction of these other planned DLC has really doused the initial enthusiasm of the HD Remaster’s announcement. Even if I wanted music DLC, why on earth would they choose Shin Megami Tensei IV Final / Apocalypse’s Tokyo theme instead of something that could fit with Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne’s tone and setting? Even for the Shin Megami Tensei IV DLC, the Tokyo theme as overworld music doesn’t fit. I’m confused why they didn’t use the songs in SMTIV that could have fit like Infernal Tokyo’s theme. Also, it might just be personal preference, but reusing the same theme they added for the Persona 5 costume DLC related to SMTIV seems pretty lame; they could have easily used the A3 battle theme instead of the regular Tokyo battle theme:

I really wanted either a harder difficulty or a superboss, I’d even say I somewhat expected it, but it seems like the director Yamai took the most wrongheaded approach to the HD Remaster of Shin Megami Tensei III by making this shitty Merciful mode without any equivalent Merciless mode and adding, of all things, level up and macca DLC to frickin’ Nocturne. They’ve even added suspend save similar to Strange Journey Redux’s Field Save, which makes Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne even easier than ever before. If it acts as a Field Save, then Mainline is dead. However, to better understand my annoyance with all these boring DLC options and why my expectations have fallen flat, let’s make a comparison:

Shin Megami Tensei IV had an extra difficult level upon completion of New Game Plus and its DLC superbosses were:

  • Clipped Wings 1 and 2 consisting of all Four Archangels
  • Ancient of Days DLC
  • Sanat Kumara DLC
  • Masakados Shadow DLC

In total, 7 extra DLC superbosses as DLC content.

Keep in mind, this is not counting in-game Chaos and Law routes had their own exclusive Superbosses too with Demiurge and Mastema respectively.

Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse had received an extra difficulty level that was much harder than all previous ones as FREE DLC via Apocalypse mode.  Its DLC bosses consisted of:

  • Cleopatra
  • Mephisto
  • Deformed Abbot Hugo in the Slay Mikado DLC
  • En no Ozuno via the Eternal Torus DLC
  • Stephen

In total, four DLC superboss fights not counting the in-game superbosses of all the 8 Fiends in Twisted Tokyo.

But wait! Wait! What of Strange Journey Redux? The most recent Shin Megami Tensei prior to the announcement of the HD Remaster of SMT3: Nocturne?

Strange Journey Redux comes with:

Impossible Mode, a difficulty much harder than the original version of Strange Journey from what I’m told by people who played and beat it. If we ignore the new final boss and extra dungeons since they can be credibly argued to be equivalents to the Amala Labyrinth of SMTIII: Nocturne. Alongside the new Womb of Grief dungeon is four extra Superbosses in the New Game Plus mode to acquire the best equipment in the game, the superbosses are:





By comparison, SMT3: Nocturne HD Remaster’s DLC is….

Four Music DLC, a free Easy mode called Merciful, and Level up / Macca DLC (which the others also had).

Please don’t mistake my annoyance; I understand many superbosses are already in SMTIII: Nocturne and that we’re getting a mix of the first and second re-release for those of us purchasing the Dante DLC. We’ll also have magic piercing skills and Dante will have pierce too. The SMTIII: Nocturne HD Remaster, even without any new boss additions, would certainly still qualify as a complete game and it does offer an equal amount of Superbosses with Beelzebub, Metatron, the Four Heavenly Devas (Bishamonten is even fought twice), and I understand it’d be problematic to add new assets which may not look as good for a much older game . . . but, they could still try to add something cool. Heck, the Bandou Shrine of Masakados seems perfectly in line with a surprise Superboss fight for the TDE route since Demi-fiend’s motto is “Tokyo died, and I was given life.” via Atlus Japan’s new motto that they’ve given him. Masakados asking you to protect Tokyo isn’t really in line with statements like Tokyo died. So I don’t see why they can’t add Masakados as a surprise superboss fight in SMT3: Nocturne HD Remaster for the True Demon route (perhaps even the normal Demon route too), whereas the other routes would concur with the idea of protecting Tokyo. I get they already added plenty of superbosses in the re-release back during the PS2 era, but if all they’re doing is making the game easier with DLC and giving cosmetic DLC, what is left for lifelong Atlus fans who’ve grown-up with and enjoyed SMT Mainline games by Atlus?

Atlus claims to be about going above customer expectations, but they’re really just disappointing long-time fans if there’s no equivalent Merciless Mode or even a single extra Superboss (TDE exclusive or no). The music DLC doesn’t even seem to have much thought placed in it unless it has more than just one overworld and battle track for each of the games, but that doesn’t seem likely from how they’ve advertised them in the Japanese website. All of it seems like very boring add-on content and I already played and experienced Dante from back when I played the PS2 version. Overall, my views have gone from highly enthusiastic to lukewarm. Hopefully there’s no censorship, because that would be the final nail in the coffin for disappointments related to this HD Remaster.  I really don’t care if Sony wrangles Atlus West into it, if there is any censorship, even sentence changes meant to censor comments by side characters like shopkeepers, then I’ll only buy the game used for the friends and family I intended to purchase it for and Atlus West won’t get my money.  Anyway, barring censorship, I still intend to purchase the game but I’m just not as excited as I would have been if the DLC had actually been something thoughtful or cool. Even the Level-up DLC could have been made hilarious by having the random encounters be the DDS Cast, but there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of creativity or ideas for the HD Remaster of Nocturne by Atlus Japan.

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