Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

released on Feb 20, 2003

In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, the player takes on the role of a young boy who is caught up in the apocalypse while visiting his sick teacher, Yuko Takao, with his two classmates Chiaki Hayasaka and Isamu Nitta. The player must survive in the Vortex World with the new powers and capabilities given to the protagonist through Magatama obtained from Lucifer. With these powers, the player is given the opportunity to align themselves with a Reason that decides what the world will become.

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the world dies. but it doesn’t stop existing. its post-mortem is a decaying place, where demons full of different desires and wandering souls full of regrets roam around. the world is the way it is because a conception occurred. it’s on stand-by, waiting for someone with strong will to create a new world based on their reasons. “reason” is an individual’s inner philosophy. it’s not the first time that an individual with a “reason” creates a new world. it will not be the last. someone will always want to change the status quo. so the cycle continues, a new world dies and a new world is reborn, as god intended.
shin megami tensei: nocturne is a videogame about cycles.
it follows this idea to its core: kagutsuchi, the center of this universe, probably “god”, follows the cycle of the moon. it starts as a new phase, until it becomes “full” and goes down until it becomes new again, thus continuing the cycle. this translates to in-game events that vary according to kagutsuchi phases, as enemies becoming stronger or specific items being acquired once the it is in its “full” phase.
the concept of “reason” to continue the samsara is also something very important in-game. it is the mechanic of “alignments” from shin megami tensei but contextualized to nocturne’s setting, where your choices affect the course of the game’s narrative and leads you to a specific ending. each character represents a “reason” and is very interesting to see how each reason has its own implications on society (and i assume that early 2000s japanese society is the biggest parameter) and character’s motivations, as well some political ones (hikawa wants a world of peace where humanity will cease to desire. thus, there will be no evil. still he drops the equivalent of a nuclear bomb in a place to achieve his goals). as the game goes, the characters progressively get deeper into their ideals until abandoning their humanities (philo-phsyi-cally) and becoming ideas themselves.

you don’t have to go further, you can go back.
in the middle of all of this, there is a single character that is the most interesting one for me: yuko takao. she’s your school teacher that you visit in the hospital at the beginning of the game and, together with hikawa, she triggers the conception in order to create a new world. however, she regrets what she did: she does not believe in the reason of shijima. she believes in something else. what? well, she doesn’t know. still, she lives searching for her truth. what enchants me about her is how she doesn't sink into ideology, becoming only a vessel for a “reason”, but keeps struggling, searching for her own truth with hope in her heart that she will create a better world. she’s the most human character in this game.
and, while you have to be a human to create a new world, you must summon a god and become one with them in order to conceive a new world. believing in someone that keeps struggling the way she is to achieve her goals is the true way to break the status quo? or perhaps you are just regressing to the old world? is the old world really that bad?

you don’t have to follow the cycle. you can break it.
there’s also the enigmatic figure of a blonde boy/oldman with an old/young lady in black, who gives you “magatama” in order for you to become the demi-fiend and has its own views on the situation. following their path will lead you to the labyrinth of amala, where you commit the worst sin: search for knowledge. suffering through the most head-wrenching dungeons will lead you to the truth, even if you have to follow a dark path. the blonde wants to break the cycle, but instead of having hope, he is full of hate for being submitted to the eternal cycle of life and death of the universe. maybe it is the time for the oppressed to go against the oppressor, breaking the status quo, defying the great will and starting a new world where they are the ones that rule.
shin megami tensei: nocturne is a videogame about cycles.
it does not blame you for following the cycle and choosing a reason and does not blame you for the reason you choose. however, it presents you with the choice of breaking the cycle and following a different path. it does not matter which path you follow anyway.
someone will always want to kill the world you created.

Seems fun but needs a lot of time and attention, personally I'm not in the mood for a 50 hour binge rn

there is like some secret pact with god that every monster raising RPG/pokemon-like has amazing core gameplay but kinda mid everything else, but this one defied that pact, and we're all being punished for it

The combat system is very good but the storyline and dungeon exploration is extremely poor

Tamaño juegazo es está obra. Desde el estilo artístico hasta la banda sonora, este videojuego no puede ser más único, todo lo que lo engloba es simplemente precioso y profundo en muchas maneras, dando un videojuego que como mínimo es bueno y como conclusión es sobresaliente. La historia es buena, me agradaron varios de los personajes y el final que saqué (donde se salva al mundo volviendolo a como era antes) es una conclusión muy buena y permite darle un cierre magnífico. Lo que más se suele comentar con los Shin Megami Tensei es su dificultad, pero realmente no sentí alguna genuina clase de elevada dificultad en ningún momento, incluso vencí al jefe final a la primera y varios de los esqueletos que funguen como jefes secudarios como el Trompetista, quizá es mi manera algo experimentada de jugar, pero en cuanto a dificultad no diría que es un juego difícil. Como simple conclusión, es un total juegazo muy recomendable que se disfruta de inicio a fin.