Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call

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Valery Aloyants
@valeryaloyants
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Hellish pokemon

Shin Megami Tensei is probably one of the most atypical RPGs you will ever play, and thank you that for this new appointment Atlus has abandoned the classic first-person view, leaving the task to a more banal, but also functional, third-person camera. to observe our explorations. Unmissable random clashes, which here are resolved in fights to tell the truth quite monotonous, during which you will simply have to select the attacks of our fighters, knowing that by choosing them in the right order you will get a sort of extra turn. However, it is the actual gameplay between one fight and another that makes Shin Megami Tensei much more interesting than it seems: halfway between Pokémon and Jade Cocoon, we can try to recruit our own enemies, corrupting them with items or talking to them during the fight, and if we are lucky our little army will grow with a new element. Once we have a new monster, we will be able to use it in combat, and as it acquires experience points with us, its abilities and potential will also increase, up to even evolving into a new creature. And that's not all, because at a certain point it will also be possible to play with these infernal creatures, combining them with each other to generate new beings that will inherit some characteristics and abilities of their "parents". The game system therefore turns out to be more intriguing and varied than expected, leaving the fighting a marginal role of entertainment between an exploration and a genetic combination.
At the same time, another element that makes the progression of our alter-ego in Shin Megami Tensei quite unique is the so-called Magatama: explaining it in words is not easy, but in summary we can say that through these objects it is possible to obtain the new abilities of the protagonist, whether active or passive; in addition, depending on the Magatama equipped at the time of the fateful level-up, the new stats and abilities of our alter-ego will change accordingly. In short, we must carefully plan the growth of our "hero", taking into consideration the skills you want to learn and the statistics you want to increase, perhaps using as many Magatama as possible to create a hybrid and extremely versatile character.





A style not for everyone

Technically, Shin Megami Tensei presents a fluctuating combination of three-dimensional settings, deliberately rough and disturbing, and cel-shaded models. The carefully chosen and extremely well-chosen colors are probably what makes Shin Megami Tensei's visual aspect truly special: disturbing, claustrophobic, gloomy and demonic. The hallucinated character design can like it or not, it is perhaps a little too abstruse and bizarre for the tastes of us Westerners, but it is certainly a courageous novelty that breaks the clichets of the genre. Certainly, cel-shading is misleading: it may look like a cartoon, but it is by no means a show for children. Too bad in this regard for the rest: the woody and unnatural animations leave a bad taste in the mouth, and the special effects of the most spectacular attacks are a funny firecracker when compared to what is seen in Star Ocean 3, XenoSaga or Shadow Hearts 2. The camera , managed through the backbones of the Dual Shock, also tends to go a little on its own, confusing the player especially in dungeons and more complex locations, that is, as they all tend to be from 50% of the game onwards: a round of applause , among other things, Atlus really deserves it for the structuring of these labyrinths, complex and full of puzzles and elements that confuse the player specifically to make the exploration less linear and more intriguing.
The soundtrack is almost as alienated as the plot and the character-design: the frequent and excellent rock songs marry in a sometimes rough and sometimes refined way with j-pop music tracks that are a little less appropriate, but which contribute to creating that crazy atmosphere that it is the backbone of the product itself.



Shin Megami Tensei: urtante's Lucifer's Call not only has the bad-tasting subtitle, but also a number of factors that, overall, are a bold as well as risky move for us western players. Beyond the restlessness that can arouse only the cover of the game, Atlus hits the target by presenting extremely convincing atmospheres and playful-narrative situations, combining them with a game system that can seem little varied and decidedly monotonous if linked only to the phases of combat, but which explodes in the beauty of the expansion of its group and its management: the recruitment of new creatures, their evolution and possible merger with others, make the real gameplay of Shin Megami Tensei really brilliant and very pleasant. However, it remains a game recommended only for those who want to experiment with something relatively new, whose themes and some playful choices may leave you dumbfounded, but which are certainly worthy of attention and, often, even commendable.

    Pro:
  • Intriguing and complex plot
  • Technically more than good
  • Deep and varied gameplay
    Against:
  • Some audiovisual problems
  • The fights are downright monotonous
  • The overall style may not please everyone

The Megami Tensei series was born on NES more than ten years ago, inspired by a Japanese novel called Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei, and since then its fame has grown more and more, passing from one console to another, from generation to generation. generation, always characterized by that bizarre videogame that Atlus knew how to invent even before Disgaea. Yet, never an episode of the saga has seen the light of day in the West, except the delightful "spin-off" series Persona, which arrived in America and was ruined by improbable adaptations and very little faithful to the original script. With this Lucifer's Call finally Megami Tensei reaches not only the Yankee shelves, but also the European ones, and there's more: Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call is the European title of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne Maniacs, luxury edition of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, therefore in this PAL version of the new Atlus title we find additional dungeons, new cutscenes, an extra difficulty level, five endings and, for some reason, also the presence of Dante, the protagonist of Capcom's Devil May Cry. A lot of meat in the fire for an adventure that, at least narratively, is perhaps too complex and hallucinated: the protagonist is an anonymous (in every sense, since you will give him a name) Japanese boy, who while he is reaching a group of friends with the subway to visit a sick teacher in the hospital falls asleep and dreams of the end of the world. Eaten heavy? Perhaps, due to the fact that when our "hero" arrives at the hospital he finds himself in front of a deserted and disturbing place, in which he will learn that his dream was more real than the peperonata eaten for dinner the day before: the so-called "Conception" is about to occur. , a catastrophic event that will destroy the world and then make it resurrect. In short, as this unfortunate chosen one, we find ourselves back to sleep after receiving the mysterious "Magatama" and when we wake up the world as we know it no longer exists: in full "Conception", the new "Vortex World" it is a crossroads of ghosts, demons and supernatural creatures, and as if that were not enough we ourselves have become demons capable of teaching others and making them fight for us. At this point the adventure really begins, and our choices will determine the end or the beginning of the cosmos.



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