'Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne' Is a Throwback to a Weirder, Evocative Era of RPG

This review contains broad spoilers about the conclusion of the game.

Whenever I start an encounter in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, first I look at the phases of the moon—which is not actually a moon. What hangs in the sky now is Kagatsuchi, a false moon that sends pulses of energy through the remnants of Tokyo. This energy changes the temperament of the demons who now live there. When you talk to demons in the throes of Kagatsuchi's energies they won't be able to understand you. They'll moan and growl at you like wild animals. When Kagatsuchi is at its least powerful, a new moon, demons don't seem all that different from the humans who once called Tokyo home.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/dyv7x7/shin-megami-tensei-3-nocturne-is-a-throwback-to-a-weirder-evocative-era-of-rpg

Great review. I was kind of unsure about this game, but Gita sold me on it, even if I won’t be able to pick it up for a few months.

Really awesome piece. I had completely forgotten this was coming out and now wish I had the time and funds for it.

1 Like

Great review Gita!

I think one thing that is worth mentioning is that this release has what they are calling merciful mode which should make the game incredibly easy for anyone who wants to play just for the story.

Does this game have a notable story or is it fairly rote for a SMT game? I only ever hear it talked about in terms of its infamous Matador fight and being a generally tough game.

Between the discussion of mystic eschatology, asides about ill-fated Romanovs, and the righteous shitting on Francis Fukuyama, it seems Gita has written an article specifically for me.


I think it’s a fairly standard SMT game that came out at a time with a mood to it that a lot of people clicked with. Beyond the Matador fight it’s not too much more difficult then your standard SMT/JRPG as long as you take the idea of buffing/debuffing to heart with the exception that yeah there are enemies who will one shot you. The combat is better then your standard JRPG and kind of set the style of combat for the rest of the SMT/Persona games but as Gita points out you do run into a lot of enemies through random encounters.

The thing that makes Nocturne a good game to me is the atmosphere. It’s just overall depressing in a way I can vibe with. If you don’t like the atmosphere or the soundtrack I don’t think the game is worth playing.


Thanks! I like to think of myself as someone who has thoroughly enjoyed every SMT game I have been able to play (IV, Apocalypse, Devil Survivor 1 and 2) and generally like the narrative of the games and general doom and gloom vibes. Found out I extremely don’t like the subreddit devoted to the games but that’s not the fault of the games.

Nocturne is something I will definitely keep an eye out for as Altus is usually pretty good about big sales.


@Alveric Persona 5 and Strange Journey are some of my favorite games I’ve ever played, and I cannot distance myself far enough from the Persona/SMT fandoms


I’m sure the game is good and all, but $50 for a port of a game from nearly two decades ago is just a lot for me.

1 Like