Hey gang, Valkor here! Shin Megami Tensei has been one franchise that has eluded me. It’s not that I was never interested in it. It’s just that there were other titles that caught my attention or it never really came up on my radar. But then Strange Journey Redux walked into my life. And my world has never been the same since; if you’re like me and this is your first time with the series, then be prepared for one heck of a journey, because it's totally worth it!
With Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux, Atlus took the fourth game of the series, which originally appeared on the DS and gave it upgrade for the Nintendo 3DS. In this title, you’re part of a crew that went to Antarctica to explore this strange phenomenon known as the “Schwarzwelt”. The Schwarzwelt is an interdimensional portal that looks to eventually engulf the entire planet if it isn't stopped somehow. As your convoy enters the portal, chaos ensues as some ships get wrecked on the way in leaving your ship and a handful of crewmembers to try and piece together what has happened and to find a way out. To make matters worse, demons are everywhere! However, a mysterious being gives you and your crew the ability to talk to the demons. And depending on how you converse with them, they’ll either become your friend or foe.
Strange Journey Redux is a first-person RPG dungeon explorer, which is similar to that of Etrian Odyssey V (my only frame of reference other than Phantasy Star) in that the further you explore, the more of the map opens up. Unlike EO, Strange Redux auto-maps for you as well as show icons of certain locations such as portals, terminals and treasure boxes. Eventually, your helmet’s display will upgrade so that it’ll allow you to find hidden objects such as enemies and minerals, minerals that you'll use to upgrade your weapons and suit.
However, the key aspect of progressing through "Strange Journey" is your ability to talk to demons. The ones you can communicate with will ask you a series of questions; answer them properly and you can “negotiate” with them (ask for an item, money, or ask them to join you). Answer improperly and they’ll either walk away insulted or attack. There are some that’ll flat out attack you, especially when it’s a full moon. And there are even those who will just join you straight away just because they’re curious about you (or they don't want to get beaten to a pulp). Whatever their reasoning is, it does add an interesting and fun play mechanic to the game. Finally, you can fuse two demons together to make something stronger, which you can apply, skills from either demon into the new one.
Strange Journey Redux is given a big boost in terms of enhancements such as a graphical overhaul, some added Japanese voice work, new endings, a new area to explore, new difficulty levels, and a new character that gets in the way of your quest, which also applies to the new area. So, if you've already taken this journey, there's enough new content to warrant a revisit. On a recent trip to Japan, I got to spend a lot of time with Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux, which was most fitting, to say the least. But in the end, what did I think of the title? I’ll tell you all about it in the TOV Breakdown!
"Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux" shows that this won’t be my last romp with this franchise as the game is a blast to play! This story-rich RPG takes some time to get going, but when it does it’s a dark and gritty experience with a seriously creepy vibe about it. But what I most enjoyed about the title is interacting with the demons. My initial thought was that it would be a waste of time talking over and over with the demons. However, there were moments where I didn’t think about it as much and I was even more curious about what would happen in my next encounter – yes it can be that unpredictable. Since I’m not familiar with the original, I won’t go too much into detail on the audio/video comparisons. But the game looks pretty sweet and I love the Japanese voices tossed in, but it really doesn’t need it. The game itself is easy to pick up and play, plus it does a nice job guiding you through each of the game's mechanics over time. In the end, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux is a fun RPG that fans of the original will want to enjoy again. And if you’re new to the series and looking for a fun RPG, then you need to look no further.
My one issue with the title and this is something that could have been fixed with the Redux, is that demons aren’t allowed to use items – only the main character. Is that really something to gripe about? Yes! Considering they’re all on one team, why not allow them to use items?
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux is available now. And if you’re looking for a dark yet entertaining, story-driven RPG, then this is one title you’ll definitely want to pick up and enjoy. I highly recommend it. So, out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux for the Nintendo 3DS a 4.