Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey offers a refreshingly thoughtful experience compared to most Japanese RPG plots
- Intriguing and mature story elements, lots of areas to explore and hidden secrets to find
- Demon fusion takes trial and error, thematic elements may offend some gamers
While it's engaging dungeons and mature themes are sure to please fans of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, Strange Journey suffers from a hit-or-miss Demon Fusion system and a somewhat tired premise.
The latest Shin Megami title certainly has an appropriate name. Strange Journey is a strange game for two reasons: one, it's an M-rated DS title, which is exceptionally rare, and two, it's about a futuristic multinational army that ventures to an Antarctica-like dimension to stop an impending demonic takeover of planet Earth. Strange Journey earns its 'Mature' rating not through depicted blood and gore, but by dealing with themes and story elements that could potentially make gamers feel very uncomfortable, something the franchise is known for. The Shin Megami Tensei series has also delved into various mythologies and depending on the choices you make during your time with Strange Journey, you might even end up having to fight the holy armies of the Judeo-Christian God (yes, the Biblical God, not some metaphorical figure). It's a refreshingly thoughtful experience compared to most Japanese RPG plots, but it's not for the easily offended.
The game's odd premise is also a departure from the established norm and it centres on a soldier who leads the expedition as he explores the ice caves and hellish mockeries of human-made locales that compose the strange world; everything plays out in a first-person perspective, similar to Atlus's own Etrian Odyssey series, and along the way, you can actually communicate with and recruit demons to join your team, as well as augment their powers and fuse them into more powerful fighters. You also make several moral decisions over the course of the game that determines which ending sequence you unlock.
Exploration of the varied dungeons throughout Strange Journey is exciting, and the strong enemy encounters force you to think carefully about risks and rewards when going into uncharted territory; it's a nice change from RPGs where non-boss encounters are nothing more than cannon fodder meant to bolster your experience level. While the turn-based combat engine is standard fare, there's still a lot of strategy to recruiting and creating powerful demons and crafting parties that work well together. One thing that disappointed me, however, was the demon fusion system: The previous DS entry, Devil Survivor, had an excellent "helper" utility that provided assistance in finding and planning various demon fusions. This utility isn't present in Strange Journey, and it is sorely missed -- you'll either have to commit the statistical information to memory, invest a lot of trial and error, or have a FAQ on hand.
The other big issue for me is a matter of personal preference. While the "futuristic military" theme is one that hasn't been seen much in the SMT series (or Japanese RPGs in general), it's so widespread in other gaming genres -- particularly here in the West -- that I found myself bored with it almost from the get-go. Some players will certainly appreciate the break from fantasy kingdoms and teenage anime heroes, but I like the "modern-day Japan" settings of SMT titles like Persona and Devil Survivor much more than this.
But while Strange Journey has its issues, it's still a solid game and one of only a handful of titles on the DS that truly is meant for mature audiences. If you're looking for a thoughtful, challenging RPG experience, this is a Strange Journey worth taking; those who take issue with the thematic elements, however, might want to go adventuring elsewhere.
Join the newsletter!
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Apple iPhone X
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
cloudandco Smart Cane
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Toys for Boys
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Lego Mindstorms EV3
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Bose SoundLink Micro
Google Daydream View VR Headset
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Xbox One X
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 TCL X2 review: QLED escapes the premium market
- 2 Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- 3 Acer Spin 5 review: Value for money but conditions apply
- 4 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 5 Sony LF-S50G review: Google Assistant and then some
Latest News Articles
- Overwatch League draws millions of eyes in first week
- CES 2018: Everything Announced By MadCatz
- CES 2018: Everything Announced By Razer
- CES 2018: Everything Announced By HyperX
- CES 2018: HyperX announces Wireless Cloud Flight Headset and RGB range
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- JBL Link 10 review
- Amazon Alexa and Echo set for Febuary launch
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTIT Security OfficerACT
- TPSolution DesignerVIC
- FTSenior Business AnalystOther
- FTFull Stack Web DeveloperOther
- FTSOE ArchitectOther
- CCSenior Project OfficerNSW
- FTLead Java Developer- DevOpsOther
- CCSQL DBAWA
- FT.Net DeveloperACT
- TPBusiness Intelligence AnalystQLD
- FTOpenText ConsultantNSW
- TPSenior Project ManagerNSW
- CCServer Support Specialist ? Performance and Capacity ManagementNSW
- CCSenior Project Manager - Infrastructure ServicesVIC
- FTSenior Project ManagerOther
- FTReporting and Compliance Lead (Security Practice)Other
- FTDevops EngineerVIC
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperOther
- TPBusiness Consulting Senior PrincipalACT
- FTICT Solution Architect - Canberra OpportunityNSW
- FTClient Delivery DirectorACT
- FTTechnical Support Rep - Maryborough QLDOther
- FTSenior Business AnalystOther
- TPSenior Project Manager (Applications & Business)NSW
- FTDevOps Developer- ElasticSearch, BitbucketOther