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Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne HD Is A Classic Remaster

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Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne HD Remaster

Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Sega
Release Date: May 25, 2021
Available as: Digital and Physical

Shin Megami Tensei 3 Remastered -- A Return To Tokyo’s Roots

With the release of Shin Megami Tensei 3 HD, the past year and a half have been an amazing one for Atlus. Especially for fans of the Shin Megami Tensei series in general, as an entire host of games, news, and content have been announced and released. It would begin with the Western release of Persona 5 Royal, an updated re-release of the highest-selling Shin Megami Tensei game, Persona 5. This would follow by the surprise announcement and release of the PC version of Persona 4 Golden a few months later. Later on, news for Shin Megami Tensei 5 would finally reveal itself, promising a 2021 release, with a release slated for Autumn. 

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Shin Megami Tensei 3 HD Remaster - PlayStation 4 Direct Capture

SMT3: HD Still Looks Great Almost 20 Years Later

Aside from the impending Shin Megami Tensei 5, an HD remaster of 2003’s Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne was released for PS4, PC, and the Switch, just in time for the Spring quarter, leaving fans enough times to sate their appetites until SMT 5. Truthfully, for a game that’s 18 years old, it holds up surprisingly well. The graphics appear sharper on the PS5 than on the PS4 version, yet with its high fidelity it also shows how dated the graphics are in full view.

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Shin Megami Tensei 3 HD Remaster - PlayStation 4 Direct Capture

The Illusion Subsides With Certain Cutscenes

Do you know how some older games appear pixilated when ran on high-end hardware? Nocturne is spared this fate but only slightly, as the 2D textures appear heavily subdued, contrasting from the rich 3D models the game offers in the remaster. Even in this regard, the graphics can be compared to an emulator running the game on its maximum settings. Similar effects could be achieved, sure, but due to the advantage of the Unity engine, the game runs in a native 16:9 ratio. 

At least, in-game it does, as the FMV cutscenes show the remaster’s glaring flaws, reusing the same footage from the PS2 version but upscaled to the point where jaggies run amok. The original FMV videos also play in its native 4:3 ratio, yet it has that blurred effects on the edges to make the videos run at 16:9. Why Atlus couldn’t simply just redo the cutscenes from scratch is anyone’s guess. Maybe it was to keep the integrity of the game? Maybe it was laziness on their end as all hands were on deck for SMT 5’s release? Who knows.

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Shin Megami Tensei 3 HD Remaster - PlayStation 4 Direct Capture

Fans Used To Modern TItles Will Feel At Home

It’s surprising how much is retained in modern SMT games compared to Nocturne, released in 2003. Several familiar demons that would exist as “shadows” in the Persona series are featured in this game, with each demon having its personality and being the stars of the show. It is identifying the demon’s attitudes that make or break progress in-game, as talking to demons and negotiating them to join your cause is important to cover as much of your bases as possible.

The Demifiend, the protagonist, is severely underpowered compared to the demons he fights against, at least in the early game. Very early on, players will come across a Pixie who will prove useful in fights, taking advantage of enemies’ weaknesses to push the offensive. The more demons you have as allies, the higher the chance of survival, especially when it comes to the game’s “first” boss, Forneaus.

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Shin Megami Tensei 3 HD Remaster - PlayStation 4 Direct Capture

An Important Moment In Atlus History

Aside from the nuances and nitpicking about the graphics, the game looks great for its time and a retro game in 2021. It has the distinct Shin Megami Tensei feel that the current Persona games lack, with the former taking itself seriously within a brooding environment versus the latter focusing more on anime roots. Overall, once players figure out the learning curve involving negotiations and enemy weaknesses, Nocturne is a fun trip down memory lane and a great way for players to reintroduce themselves to the SMT series, months before SMT 5 releases.

Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne HD Remaster is now available on PS4, PC, and Switch.

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