3DS
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Game Info:

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux
Developed by: Lancarse
Published by: Atlus
Release date: May 15, 2018
Available on: DS, 3DS
Genre: RPG
Number of players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Mature for violence, blood, language, partial nudity, sexual themes
Price: $39.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Atlus for sending us this game to review!

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey was originally released in North America for the Nintendo DS in 2010. Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux for the 3DS provides better visuals, Japanese voice acting, new endings, demons, characters, and a fresh dungeon to explore. Other than a mysterious new female character named Alex, the main story remains the same.

In the near future, a strange phenomenon dubbed the Schwarzwelt appears in the South Pole. Populated cities suddenly appear and replace existing structures and establishments. Anything in the way of this growing mass disappears. Several squads are sent in to investigate this matter but only your ship, the Red Sprite, arrives intact. It doesn’t take long to realize that demons are inhabiting these cities and their aim is to reclaim and reboot the Earth. The fate of humanity rests in your hands.

A handful of humans against cities of demons have the cards stacked against them. Thankfully, they didn’t arrive unprepared. With the help of their Demonica suits, they can survive the strange atmosphere and analyze the demons nearby. The technologically advanced suits allow your squad to speak with, form contracts, and battle alongside demons. In order to survive you will need to befriend demons and have them fight on your behalf.

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux
Highlights:

Strong Points: Interesting story that changes with the choices you make; fun gameplay; good Japanese voice acting
Weak Points: Difficult boss battles and confusing dungeon designs that practically require using a walkthrough; repetitive battle music
Moral Warnings: Lots of language with every word used except for the F-bomb; violence and bloodshed; some of the demons are wearing revealing clothing or nothing at all; other demons are modeled after genitalia; forming contracts with demons is required for survival; ethical/lawful behavior is comparable to brain washings; references to many gods of various religions

Your male character (whom you get to name) has an alignment assigned to him that changes along with his decisions made throughout the game. Demons have alignments too and if the alignments are identical or close, it’s easier to form partnerships with them. Most demons will require some form of bribery to have them join your ranks. Sometimes they will request a certain item, money (macca), life or magic energy from you. Even after handing over said items, some demons will change their mind and run away. Along with the alignment affecting compatibility, there are also phases of the moon that change the mood and sometimes the directions of warps in the game. On a new moon, demons will behave differently in battle.

The demons you fight alongside and against will have different strengths and weaknesses. Whenever a weakness is exploited, those who share the same alignment as the attacker will get a free co-operative attack. This comes especially in handy during the boss battles. Be warned that your character and demons also have vulnerabilities that can be used against you in battle. Thankfully, your Demonica suit and demons are customizable.

As you explore and gather items in dungeons, you will unlock the ability to craft new weapons, armor, and apps for your Demonica suit. Most weapons have an elemental affinity or two. The same goes with armor but they usually have a weakness to counter it. Make sure you have the ideal gear before starting a boss battle. At the very least, save before you proceed into the ominous room so you can re-equip as necessary to guard your vulnerabilities and exploit theirs.

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 32%
Violence - 2.5/10
Language - 1/10
Sexual Content - 5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 0/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7.5/10

While there are not many dungeons, the handful that are present are pretty complex. Many of them have hidden doorways and passages that will require repeat visits once your suit is upgraded enough to open those passageways. There are several mazes and pitfalls and I was thankful for the online maps and FAQs available to help guide me through the tricky situations.

Many of the bosses besides the end one are on compilations of most annoying bosses ever. To succeed in this game you will have to grind to power up your character and party of demons. Fusing/customizing demons is critical to make them more powerful and immune to specific attacks from the bosses you will have to face against. It took me about eighty hours to get to the final boss only to realize that my party was underleveled and requires several more hours of grinding and customizing to survive multiple attacks let alone multiple forms.

There are lots of demons with various powers and abilities. Some of the demons can reflect or even counter physical attacks while others can negate or send back specific elemental spells. The demon designs are pretty similar to other SMT games out there. Not surprisingly, the scantily clad and genitalia themed demons also make an appearance in this title. There are demons based off of gods and fallen angels as well. Violence is a given and some puddles of blood are shown as bodies of crewmen are discovered. Lots of cussing is heard and pretty much every curse word besides the F-bomb is used. Characters in this game who are lawful/good are considered mindless brainwashed beings.

If you don’t mind the many moral issues, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux can you keep you busy for quite a while. I would just have a couple of bookmarks of helpful maps and FAQs handy before delving too deep into the dungeons. While the maps are not out of date, I did find that many of the demon summoning passwords available online no longer work in the newly released version of this game.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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