What if an unknown territory threaten to consume everything in its path? What will you do in order to discover a solution to the end of the world? Which path will you take to save mankind?
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey is created by ATLUS which gives a whole new meaning of the end of the world. It starts with a report generated by the United Nations stating about an unknown place triggered after a sudden massive atomic collapse in the South Pole. The strange place is named “Schwarzwelt” which causes space abnormality. It threatens everyone and everything, as it grows at a steady pace and consuming everything in its path.
A group of researchers were deployed as soon as possible to investigate the unknown territory. There, they discover that the place is full of demons who seek to control the entire human race.
Players get to be the silent protagonist who is sent with the researchers which acts like a bodyguard in case there are
enemies on-site. Demonicas were deployed to everyone as means of surviving the harsh environment of Schwarzwelt. Demonicas are also handy for talking with the demons who reside in the mysterious place.
The game has dungeon-crawler elements with a first person perspective, random encounters and turn-based strategy. During battles, the player can choose to attack, use items or skills, defend or speak to one of the demons on the opposing side. Just like any other Shin Megami Tensei game, players need to strike a deal with the demons in order to advance to the next place in Schwarzwelt. While this is all well and good, the main difficulty is that players NEED to give specific items to persuade the demons to fight with the protagonist. Items include HP, MP and Macca (in-game money) that the player has, but regardless of how much the player sacrifices, it doesn’t guarantee that the demon will join in the fight.
Another factor that is memorable to Shin Megami Tensei franchise is Demon Fusion. Fusing two (2) or more demons can create new demons with stronger powers. A Demon Compendium is also available to summon any demon for a certain fee.
Arthur, the ship’s artificial intelligence will provide the missions needed in order to advance the storyline. Some missions can also be accepted from other crew members that will reward you items that are needed for battle. The AI also provides save point and upgrade of Demonicas.
Equipment and items are dependent on the Forma gathered in areas in Schwarzwelt. These Forma can be taken to the Lab in the ship to have the NPC check on it and create a new item to be used. Sub-apps are also created here to help players in traveling the unknown land. These sub-apps range from MP restoration to prevention of demon fusion accidents.
The music is really eerie that keeps the blood pumping as players try to explore dungeons. Players tend to feel as if the world is really going to end and everything must be done accordingly.
The graphics on the other hand are still 2D but a little more serious unlike it’s predecessor: Devil Survivor. The graphics are impressive as the protagonist get to travel areas in the Schwarzwelt and discover that every area are mankind’s carnal desires.
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey are not for players who abhor dungeon crawling and slow-paced story. Catered to a more advanced players of the series, this game’s main setback is the demon gathering, as most of the time frustrates players when demons reject invitations regardless of the sacrifices given.
The story in itself is original but not unusual for the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, as the series always have an end of the world theme in it.
Despite of these, the game’s music and graphics are beautiful that let player’s feel the atmosphere of the game itself. Multiple endings are also available to let the players decide the fate of mankind.
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey might not be as appreciated as Devil Survivor but it can hold its own when it comes to its unique gameplay and characteristics.