By now, ATLUS’ long-running Shin Megami Tensei series should be a familiar name for 3DS owners; from the Sega Saturn-remake of Shin Megami Tensei Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers to Shin Megami Tensei IV and its direct sequel Apocalypse, these darkly stylish, demon-collecting JRPGs have delivered some of the most engrossing experiences on the platform. It may be getting on in years, but the 3DS isn’t quite done with MegaTen yet, thanks khổng lồ latest entry: Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey Redux, a remake of a 2009 DS dungeon-crawler. While the nâng cấp lacks some of the bells và whistles we’ve come to expect - such as stereoscopic 3D and an English dub - this is still a top-tier, atmospheric adventure, a standout Shin Megami Tensei title, and a must-play for RPG fans.

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Trading in MegaTen’s typical Tokyo trappings for something a bit more remote, Strange Journey sends players straight down to lớn icy Antarctica. Something’s not right on the southern continent; a mysterious blight called the Schwarzwelt is slowly creeping its way up from the South Pole, threatening lớn envelop the entire globe in darkness & destruction. As part of a secret, international crew sent down to investigate, you’ll fill the shoes of a young cadet charged with protecting the team from any potential dangers. It doesn’t take long for things to lớn heat up from there, starting with the revelation that the Schwarzwelt is hiding more than just darkness, instead appearing khổng lồ be a multidimensional war zone for angels, demons, & the unfortunate humans caught up in the middle.


Strange Journey is aptly named, và its twisting narrative makes for an engaging, winding ride. It features the allegorical storytelling Shin Megami Tensei is famous for - with characters that represent ideological ideals lượt thích Law và Chaos as much as their individual personalities - but its unique setting also allows for a genuinely intriguing sci-fi. It deals with themes of artificial intelligence & agency, environmental disaster and religion, và it’s all backed up by excellent worldbuilding và memorable characters.

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Once you settle into Antarctica, you’ll be able to lớn head out from your ship & explore the Schwarzwelt proper, and it’s here that the main gameplay loop opens up. Strange Journey is a dungeon-crawling JRPG that plays a bit lượt thích a cross between mainline Shin Megami Tensei games and an uncharacteristically dark Etrian Odyssey. From Shin Megami Tensei, it takes the demon-gathering team-building (think biblical Pokémon), weakness-based battles, & moral alignment system (more on all these in a bit); from Etrian Odyssey, it takes an expedition-based mission structure, discrete dungeon areas, and intricate, dynamic cấp độ design. Instead of the navigable overworld of most MegaTens, here you’ll jet off into discrete ‘sectors’ from a menu, exploring and mapping out (automatically) each area as you go, pushing your team as far as you can before heading back to lớn retreat, refuel, and jump back out again.


It’s a satisfying cycle, và the excellent level design keeps everything feeling fresh, with traps, mazes, portals, and plenty of NPCs and on-field scenarios to lớn keep you on your toes. More than most MegaTen games, there’s a sense that the bản đồ is as much an enemy as the demons in Strange Journey. There’s also an addicting feedback loop of rewards, as resources you’ll find in the Schwarzwelt can be used to lớn develop new items, armour, and weapons, và to tăng cấp your high-tech Demonica Suit with new ‘apps’ - programs that xuất hiện up new locations, new game play features, and tweaks to lớn adjust everything from difficulty lớn drop rates.

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Of course, the Schwarzwelt is more than just empty space, & along with mapping out its multidimensional mazes, you’ll spend plenty of time fighting for your life against its inhabitants: the angels, demons, và mythological creatures that 3d Shin Megami Tensei’s massive menagerie of monsters. You’ll use these monsters to fight as well, putting together a team by negotiating with enemy demons to convince them lớn join your cause.


Demon negotiation can be a bit hit or miss in Megami Tensei games, but Strange Journey is on the more satisfying over of the spectrum. The dialogic gymnastics you’ll engage in lớn court your creatures range from abrasive khổng lồ flirty to downright absurd, but they’re always a good time. Once you’ve gathered a few monsters, you can also ‘fuse’ them together to create more powerful creatures, passing down skills as you go. Demon fusion is oddly compelling, và it’s easy to lớn spend hours trying lớn manipulate the system lớn put together a perfect team.

You can field a party of up to three demons at a time alongside your human avatar, & with physical attacks and guns, an elemental magic system, & an outsized focus on debuffs và status ailments, the turn-based combat in Strange Journey is a snappy, fun, and satisfyingly strategic affair. It’s also one that stands out even from other Shin Megami Tensei games, thanks lớn the particular importance it places on alignment. The alignment system is a key piece of Strange Journey in general; dialogue choices you make & actions you take throughout the game affect your character’s moral compass, which runs on a spectrum from Law to Neutral to lớn Chaos. That alignment in turn affects the story progression, the endings you’ll see, and even your battle and recruitment strategies. Not only is it significantly easier lớn recruit demons of the same alignment, once on your team your ideological allies will also help you out with additional ‘Demon Co-Op’ attacks after you hit an enemy’s weakness.


These follow up attacks - Strange Journey’s version of SMTIV’s Press-Turn system - allow you to lớn pile on any time you can suss out an opponent’s weak point, & learning khổng lồ exploit them to their fullest is an absolutely essential part of battle. You could field an all-Neutral team & get three follow-up attacks to lớn every critical hit, for instance; or you could spread out the damage potential by fielding a 2-2 split. It’s a wonderful little wrinkle that helps ensure you’re changing your strategies as you progress through the game; conversational choices we made had us hopping between alignments several times, so that the all-Neutral team we fielded in the early trò chơi quickly became no help at all after we made one too many Law-abiding decisions.


Between the ever-shifting alignment system, the dynamic cấp độ design, và the difficulty of the combat - it’s easy to party-wipe even from standard battles, and bosses are beautifully brutal, try-again affairs - Strange Journey nails the feeling of tension that makes the best dungeon crawlers so hard to lớn put down. As one example of this that will tax even franchise veterans, the first time you fight a particular demon it appears only as a ghostly glitch, with no information about what quái vật it might be. This means you won’t be able lớn see a Jack Frost, instantly call on years of Shin Megami Tensei experience khổng lồ know that Agi attacks will hit a weak point, and cheat out a cheeky victory; instead, you’ll have to lớn first fight a round blind, bringing back the thrill of seeing a new foe for the very first time even if you’ve been summoning demons since the Super Famicom.

Of course, this was all true of the original DS release as well, so what’s new in this remake? Most importantly, Redux adds a significant chunk of narrative content, including a new key character and storyline, an excellent new dungeon, lots of new demons, & several new endings. It’s a sizeable addition, but even better, it’s smartly integrated into the game; rather than a tacked-on epilogue or extra episode, Redux’s new story beats are woven relatively organically into the experience. Whether that’s worth a replay in & of itself will depend on the player, of course, but for us, Strange Journey’s already-engrossing game play and branching paths make a return trip an appealing proposition.


Another significant nâng cấp is the addition of multiple difficulty levels. The ‘Normal’ default is plenty hard, so while masochists will get some mileage out of the new ‘Hard’ mode, the rest of us will appreciate being able khổng lồ drop down to ‘Casual’ when needed. That welcome option is accompanied by several smaller quality-of-life tweaks; you can now save anywhere in a dungeon, for instance, & many of the new Demonica apps are geared towards lowering the challenge level. Strange Journey is never going khổng lồ be an easy game, but we very much appreciate these extras making it more accessible.

Graphically, Redux isn’t a massive leap over the original release, but it is a noticeable one; crisp new character portraits địa chỉ cửa hàng a lot of expression khổng lồ dialogue scenes, the newly dynamic battle backgrounds are much more exciting, và the updated HUD makes for a gorgeously stylish interface. A few lower-res textures và blocky objects betray its DS origins, but overall, this is a very attractive game.


There is, however, one significant flaw in Redux’s presentation on the 3DS: it’s not actually presented in 3D. While this seems khổng lồ be turning into something of a trend in the system’s twilight years, it’s especially disappointing here; a first-person dungeon-crawler with a slick visor-based HUD is practically crying out for stereoscopic support. We kept instinctively trying khổng lồ turn the slider up when we’d come across new Schwarzwelt sectors, hoping to see them pop in 3D like Etrian Odyssey’s labyrinths; it isn’t a dealbreaker, but it is a notable disappointment.

The audio is also a bit of a mixed bag in terms of upgrades. Most significantly, Redux adds full voice acting khổng lồ the story for the first time - but only in Japanese. The Japanese track is excellent, & it certainly adds lớn the experience, but if you’re used to playing 3DS Shin Megami Tensei games in English, the lack of a dub here feels lượt thích a missing option. The music, on the other hand, required no updating at all, và remains as hauntingly brilliant as ever. This is a special soundtrack from Shoji Meguro, with orchestral instrumentation, ghostly choirs, & occasional bursts of memorably melodic riffs. It’s appropriately unsettling, và delightfully different.


In fact, ‘delightfully different’ is a good descriptor for Strange Journey Redux in general. It’s very much Shin Megami Tensei - with demon negotiations, dungeon crawling, & weakness-based combat - but from its setting và soundtrack lớn its gameplay and story, it stands out in the series. That unique nature makes it a rewarding play for series veterans, but also a perfect place to lớn start if you’ve never played a MegaTen title before; no matter where you’re coming from, you really can’t go wrong.

Conclusion


From its demon collecting và killer combat lớn its sci-fi South Pole setting, Strange Journey Redux is a fantastically engrossing adventure, and an excellent reason to get lost in your 3DS once again. As a remake of a DS classic, Redux adds in enough new content to make a trả lời worth your time, along with plenty of welcome accessibility tweaks lớn help let newcomers in on one of Shin Megami Tensei’s best kept secrets. The lack of stereoscopic 3D & English voiceover is disappointing, but these are small complaints; Strange Journey is a can’t-miss trip for JRPG fans.

Excellent 9/10

Scoring PolicyReview copy provided by Atlus


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Tue 29th May 2018

Certain buy for me! Now gimme some Shin Megami Tensei on the Switch!


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Tue 29th May 2018

I didn"t notice there was no stereoscopic 3 chiều or English voiceovers when I bought it. That really is a bummer. I"ll still play it & probably enjoy it, but it"s gonna be weird since most of the cast are not Japanese...


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Tue 29th May 2018

One of my absolute favorite DS RPGs, now on 3DS. Naturally I bought this, haha. Strange Journey rules.

There is such a ridiculous amount of SMT remakes at this point, but I don’t mind. I’m glad this one isn’t going as far under the radar as Soul Hackers did a few years ago.


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MattFox Considering how much SMT the 3DS has, I have a good feeling the Switch is gonna get a lot more than just SMT V.


Tue 29th May 2018

I enjoyed it but I wish the localisation was the same high standard as the other SMT games on the 3DS.

Bring on SMT V!


Tue 29th May 2018

I wish the Persona series eventually come lớn Switch, it"s already have a decent fanbase on Nintendo consoles with all those SMTs, Persona Q & Tokyo Mirage Sessions, c"mon, only a little step left, Atlus.


Tue 29th May 2018

The original was an amazing game, one of my absolute favorites on the DS. I"m sure this version is just as good.

But boy was this game rare in Europe, not a single retailer that I often use seemed to even acknowledge this game existed. I pre-ordered the PAL copy from Play-Asia và luckily got my copy sent, after that the pal version was immediatedly out of print/out of stock in that site too. Talk about a limited release, sheesh. Now waiting for my copy to lớn arrive with baked breath.


oji I’ll be very pleasantly surprised if they ever announce a mainline Persona trò chơi that isn’t a PS exclusive.

I’d even be happy with remakes. Persona 1 and both Persona 2’s are kind of rough, and would benefit from an overhaul.


Tue 29th May 2018

I so regret not buying this right at release. I seriously LOVE these games và are some of the best/top RPGs out there, as far as I"m concerned.

I"ll be getting this in just a short while and hopefully it"s still the "first-run" version that includes extra stuff — I have pretty much all the other Atlus games lượt thích this và my Collection OCD is creeping up so that I have all first-runs of Atlus games.


Tue 29th May 2018

I love these games but I have such a hard time navigating dungeons in first person. Still an awesome series though


Eagle9 I haven’t beaten most SMT games, but the most popular seem lớn be:SMT 3: Nocturne (PS2)SMT IV (3DS)SMT: Digital Devil Saga (1 & 2) (PS2)

I really enjoy Strange Journey, the Devil Survivor games, and Soul Hackers also.


Alto If you’re looking for extra stuff, you’re gonna be disappointed.

The DS version had a cool slip cover và a soundtrack tucked inside. This 3DS version has nothing except a reversible cover.


Tue 29th May 2018

I love my Switch but the sheer depth of RPG"s on the 3DS means I still play it almost daily & with releases like this I can see that continuing for at least another year or two.

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Tue 29th May 2018

I can"t get into the SMT games at all. The rng of it and constant reloading from saves just astounds me. SMT IV was unplayable in my opinion. Kudos to anyone with the patience for this sort of game, not my cup of tea.


bolt05 Yeah the beginning of SMT4 is harsh but you can unlock an easy mode after dying twice. It"s worth giving it another chance. It"s a fantastic JRPG.


bolt05 That"s fair. SMT games are purposely hard on the player. Once you pass the first boss, the game balances out a bit. Now, getting past that boss can take a while...


Tue 29th May 2018

How is it for a jumping on point for the series. The trò chơi looks lượt thích a lot of fun but, I don"t want lớn get into something too confusing that would make me not want khổng lồ play it.


Tue 29th May 2018

Even though I already received the trò chơi a week ago, a little while ago I went back lớn finish SMT 4 Apocalypse & ended up playing it instead, it"s just so good và a step up in every regard in comparison khổng lồ regular SMT 4. The original Strange Journey was one of THE best titles on DS, though, so it seems like I won"t be getting off the Shin Megami Tensei train for quite a while. Now I only need lớn figure out which path to chose this time around.


Tue 29th May 2018

Skipping this one. Don"t really like 1st person dungeon crawlers. I"ll take SMT IV and SMT IV:A over this any day.


Tue 29th May 2018

The lack of english voiceovers and stereoscopic 3d is actually perfect for me. Atlus games have terrible 3d implementation, so I never make use of it, và their English dubs... Aren"t awful, but the way they butcher Japanese names can get incredibly annoying.

With that said, this is the one SMT game where English vocals would have made a lot of sense.


Preposterous SMT IV: Apocalypse is probably my favorite 3DS game, full stop. I wasn"t not expecting it khổng lồ be as fully engaging an experience as it turned out to lớn be.


bolt05 SMT IV"s initial difficulty curve is a bit steep, but it got easier for me the more I played. The Minotaur was easily the hardest part of the game for me.

If you ever get a chance, try SMT IV: Apocalypse. The difficulty curve is much more fair, và it starts out with difficulty options. There are also numerous QOL improvements that make it less intimidating than the previous game.


Preposterous Gameplay-wise it"s one of the best SMT until now (If only they added Attacks Combos like Digital Devil Saga 1&2, it would be perfect). Story, in the other hand... Meh. "Shoehorn neutral path which one is Persona-kawai-waifu-friendship-plot-armor". Dagda had so much potential, but in the end he"s just an edgelord. //

Sector E now, the one thing that bothers me it"s the alignment bs (just because I cooperate with ONE angel in sector Carina doesn"t mean I"m a zealot).


Eagle9 I"ve played almost every SMT game starting with SMT 1. My favorites are SMT 1, SMT IV Apocalypse and Nocturne. As far as spin offs go, Devil Survivor Overclocked is amazing as well as Digital Devil Saga and Persona 3 is pretty fun. (I also really liked Soul Hackers và Persona 1 but I don"t believe that"s a popular opinion.) The best place khổng lồ start is with SMT IV or with a Persona game (either start with P3 và then move on lớn 4 or just play P5).


Alex90 I think that was the point of Dagda"s character, based on his design, personality and manner of speech (at least the English version fits that image), instead of being a true representative of neutral path - Krishna and the Divine Powers fit that role much better.The supporting cast seemed likeable khổng lồ me & unlike Persona, you vị get an option khổng lồ betray them, which is pretty cool.Even though the chơi game is really good, I wouldn"t mind SMT 5 bringing even more improvements.


Ralizah Exactly. I would"ve been perfectly fine with it if it was a Persona game, since that takes place in Japan, starring Japanese High School students. Even when it"s in English, you have khổng lồ assume they"re speaking Japanese, và the English is a convenience for the sake of the player.

In Strange Journey, however, they"re an international UN task force sent khổng lồ research a global threat, so it would make sense if they all spoke a common language, which you would figure would be English. Instead they"re all speaking Japanese, despite there only being...I think two Japanese characters, one of whom mostly spoke through Dialogue choice selections, assuming that he hasn"t gotten any new speaking roles.

So once again, we have to lớn assume that they"re all speaking a different language, presumedly English, and the Japanese is there as a convenience for the player...most of whom are probably not familiar with Japanese, so it"s subtitled in English. It all comes full circle!


Tue 29th May 2018

I have the original DS version but man it"s balls hard. The 3DS remake is much more friendly and I am really enjoying it.


Executer66 Most SMT are standalone so from a story perspective, you won"t miss anything. If talking game play difficulty, that may be a barrier khổng lồ you. The first time I played SMT Strange Journey, I somehow managed to defeat the first boss, however, something happened to lớn my save and I had lớn go through it again. This time, I met the monster too early và it defeated me quite easily. It took me several tries khổng lồ get passed it. Combat can be easy or very difficult depending on the demon types you place in battle.


Tue 29th May 2018

Eh...the tư vấn for this trò chơi kinda baffles me. It"s not terrible, but it"s not really that good either.


Tue 29th May 2018

This game is great. I"ve been chipping away at it little by little since I"ve gotten it. It doesn"t seem as hard as SMT4. That Minotaur shivers


Tue 29th May 2018

Nice, as with pretty much all SMT games, I was expecting a 9. Man, the 3DS turned out to lớn be quite the machine for SMT fans; I"ve enjoyed them all and it looks like this one won"t be any different.


bitleman I didn"t know there was an easier mode, so thanks for that.

I was defeated in the first fight about 6 times straight & though omg this is a bit nuts and I just don"t have time to trả lời a battle quite that much.


ChibiNinja 1. Story was đứng đầu notch! The opening scene, alone, draws you in from the beginning. As you go through the labyrinth, some of the area"s descriptions are so disturbing. 2. One of very few rated M games for the 3DS! 3. Couple of ways to capture demons. 4. The first SMT game where your character is directly involved in battles.


Thu 31st May 2018

1. I will give you that the opening is fairly good. The rest of the story is just "okay" - not bad, but pretty typical for the series, and unless they cleaned it up in redux the writing was a little rough at times. Again, not bad, but nothing I would consider "top notch" personally.2. Rating doesn"t really mean anything for the quality of a game.3. Not much khổng lồ say here. Pretty typical series stuff - the trò chơi doesn"t particularly mess anything up here or the like, so I don"t really have any arguments.4. Okay, I"m sorry, but this one just isn"t true. The character was directly involved in battles way back in Shin Megami Tensei on the SNES. And if you mean first one that was brought lớn the west...I believe that"s Nocturne, for the PS2.

Like I said, the trò chơi isn"t terrible, but I just don"t think it"s all that fantastic either. I am glad the trò chơi came khổng lồ the west though - too many things never make the jump and that"s sad.


Wed 6th Jun 2018

I passed on the early purchase because of the lack of stereoscopic 3d. If it drops down to lớn 19.99 I might pick it up. I am a bit bitter about the lack of 3d in these late release titles. I love the 3d. Its why I bought the system.


Windy Me too! (about being bitter about lack of stereoscopic 3D support on later 3DS games). I refused to lớn buy the last Pokémon Sun and Moon because of it.

However, SMT Strange Journey was originally a DS game and I don"t mind ports of older games not having the 3d as long it has some other enhanced features.


ChibiNinja I only added the rating because there are so few adult rating games and it is joy for us adult gamers khổng lồ see one on a Nintendo system. I"ve not played SMT Nocturn in a long time but I believe your character was never directly involved in battles.


oninowon Ive still bought a few Late releases. I got MiiTopia which actually had the 3d & I found absolutely hilarious. I also bought dragon quest 7 & 8. 8 had no 3d but is still gorgeous. I will pick up This version of SMT I have all of them on 3ds. That wont change. I love this system. Its been my favorite console (yeah he said console) of all time. I have put more time into gaming on 3ds than anything ive ever owned. I just wish I was better at Mario Golf! How in the world do people shoot 25 under par on an 18 hole course? Yikes. I have recently modded my Wii lớn play online again and im really enjoying that. Yên hoping they will at least announce rồng Quest X or XI for 3ds in North America. I know X isnt going to lớn make it but I can dream..........


Windy I have DQ7 & 8 on the PS2. DQ7 was my very first DQ trò chơi although I"ve since played DQ3-5 on my original DS system. DQ5 is still my favorite of the series. Generally, I"m not a tín đồ of Mario sports but I did buy Mario Tennis for the GC and enjoyed it. Despite that I"m still on the fence about getting it for Nintendo Switch. Bad news for 3DS owners though. DQ11 will not be coming to lớn Western shores for the 3DS. If you have a Switch, the game is still slated to lớn come lớn the system but much later.


oninowon oh yeah I also picked up Mario sports & was very disappointed with it. It seriously feels like 5 demos that have online play. I will probably trade that in for SMT. Thats a bummer about DQXI not coming to 3ds. I thought it would send the 3ds out with a bang. But they never really vày send systems out with a bang bởi vì they?


Windy This +1. I loved SMT IV và was planning lớn play this one close khổng lồ release .. The no 3 chiều really soured me. I will still play it as I love the series , but I have not played SMT Apocalypse yet and I will know play that first và get this later on on price drop . Hate doing that as I want to tư vấn but no 3d is less value to me in my opinion


Windy This +1. I loved SMT IV and was planning khổng lồ play this one close khổng lồ release .. The no 3d really soured me. I will still play it as I love the series , but I have not played SMT Apocalypse yet & I will know play that first and get this later on on price drop . Hate doing that as I want to support but no 3 chiều is less value to lớn me in my opinion


HolyYoshi yên ổn the same way. Btw you should love apocalypse. Great graphics and excellent xuất hiện world gameplay. I have Shin Megami IV as well Apocolypse is identical. Its my favorite series on 3ds. Shin megami IV is my favorite 3ds game just ahead of Fantasy Life. You know if you havent bought Apocalypse yet you zhould actually get Shin megami IV if you havent played it. Its pretty cheap these days 14.99 or so. I think ive seen Apocalypse down khổng lồ 24.99 on Amazon. But the 2 games are Identical with Apocalypse having new quests. The 3 chiều is beautiful on both.


Thu 13th Sep 2018

Thanks Windy .. I actually did play SMT IV and loved it . Really wanted to lớn play strange journey as it has more of a sci fi theme ... Change of pace . But the no 3 chiều is a bummer as I really love it in all the games . Have heard alot of good things about Fantasy Life . I was kind of torn between that và ever Oasis. Played the test of ever oasis and really liked it . Have you by chance played Ever Oasis ? If so let me know your thoughts !


HolyYoshi yes I have Oasis as well and it is great. If I had khổng lồ choose between Fantasy Life và Oasis it would be Fantasy Life because of the online play. Whats nice about the Fantasy life Online is that its exactly the same as playing offline. The trò chơi doesnt skip a beat. They are both nice


Tue 17th Mar 2020

Just bought it on the eShop (UK) sale last week for around a fiver!! Total bargain since I already have Shin Megami Tensei IV và still think it"s one of the best 3DS games ever!! I was trying to lớn choose between Apocalypse & SJ Redux & think I"m pleasantly happy with the choice I made

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