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While the aesthetic elements of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey are only slightly above-average, the incredibly strong gameplay elements make the game so addictive that this doesn't matter. If you love RPGs and don't mind seeing quite a few game over screens, there isn't much to dislike about Strange Journey. All of the systems are simple enough to grasp for the handheld gamer, but are deep enough to be incredibly worthwhile. Atlus has struck a great balance with Strange Journey, and they've crafted a game that's more than addictive. There's not much about the game that's new, but that doesn't keep the gameplay from being absolutely fantastic. If you're a fan of any previous games with the Atlus logo on the front, you'll want this one.
The dungeon design is top-notch, and combat is fast-paced and intense, especially since your party makeup has such a huge impact on tactics. The plot is engrossing and interactive, encouraging players to carve out their own story and giving their choices actual gameplay effects. Perhaps the only weak point is the unimpressive visuals, which are fortunately bolstered by the atmosphere and a well-crafted soundtrack. The difficulty can be high, especially in some of the later areas, but it's easy to get help with the password system. If you're an RPG owner with a Nintendo DS, Strange Journey is a must-have and easily one of the best games on the system. It may not have the visual charm of a Mario and Luigi game or the high production values of a Square Enix title, but it's hard to name another game as challenging and engrossing as Strange Journey.
A word of warning, however: If you got into MegaTen just to ogle the ladies in Persona, this may not be your idea of a good time. But if you've loved the challenges of MegaTen and Etrian Odyssey separately, you'll definitely appreciate their innovative fusion in Strange Journey. And I find it particularly appropriate that Strange Journey releases so close to the divisive Final Fantasy XIII. I realize that game has its defenders, but if you were especially disappointed with its on-rails exploration and excessive handholding, Strange Journey will serve as a welcome antidote.
Even as I stoically hold my breath for an Xbox 360/PS3 MegaTen game, scoffing at Strange Journey due to its placement on the DS would be a tragic mistake. Yes, the three-dimensional dungeons are grainy and the soundtrack (included on CD) repeats to the point of annoyance. But, unlike more famous Japanese RPGs, MegaTen never has to fall back on visual and audible spectacles to impress. The combination of a compelling and ideological narrative with complex combat, not to forget the outright fun of collecting demons, makes Strange Journey an incredible addition to the series.
Strange Journey is easily one of the best RPGs to come out this year, which should come as no surprise to the SMT faithful. While diehards may find the frequency of which save points and health stations appear in the game too high, there’s actually a pretty good balance of challenge there for people who aren’t as familiar with how punishingly difficult SMT games usually are. Thanks to how well it eases new players in, how well it plays, and how it has just the right amount of fun and challenge, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey is a game I can easily recommend to anyone.
As far as Nintendo DS role-playing games go, this is my new favorite, hands down. But then again, I'm a huge fan of both dungeon crawling and Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei series games. For me, Strange Journey was a match made in heaven, with its unique blend of science fiction and demonic themes. Even beyond that, it's the "more" I've been craving since Nocturne, and despite being on a portable, feels like a huge console game. But, as I said before, this is not a light-hearted romp that has you dating high-school girls and working part-time jobs. You've got to know what you're getting into. If you do, Strange Journey is highly recommended.
Cheat Code Central
Expect at least fifty hours of game time, depending on how much you mess around with cooking up demonic combinations. The alignment system and its effects on the story make for additional playthrough potential. There is no online mode, but you can trade demons with your friends. There is no risk of any of these trades unbalancing gameplay, as you can't use demons whose levels are higher than your own. In fact, there are so many demonic combinations, and so many challenging battles ahead, that a little help from fellow demonic chefs would add a great dynamic to the solo dungeon-crawling experience.
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey is a wonderful follow up to last year’s Devil Survivor, and it will likely prove a to be a better value for fans hungry for a more conventional-RPG experience. The dialogue can occasionally be a stumbling block, but the underlying theme and gameplay ease past any bumps in the road. The game has its own quirky nature, though, and some folks might not fully appreciate its brand of monster collecting. Strange Journey does its own thing, but boy, does it do it well. If you’re looking for an interesting challenge that will keep you rapt from start to finish, this is one adventure you won’t want to miss.
Game Informer Magazine
Uncovering all the Schwarzwelt’s secrets will keep you glued to your DS for hours of intense RPG action. It will be worth all those hours to experience Strange Journey’s masterful blend of an intricate, unique storyline with the addictive demon-hunting gameplay for which the Shin Megami Tensei series is known. As for whether or not humans control technology or vice versa, I’ll leave it to you to discover the game’s well-developed insights. All I can say is that if Atlus is in charge of the software, then technology has already won.
Strange Journey is an ambitious project for the DS. It has a tough, old-school feeling to it, but it does feel more accessible compared to other Shin Megami Tensei games. Trying to get every demon is addicting, and knowing which one to use in battles adds a strategic depth that makes the party mechanic more interesting than the average RPG battle system. If you get it early enough, you can get a soundtrack along with the game. If you are a fan of the Shin Megami Tensei games, you will definitely enjoy Strange Journey. If you haven't tried a Shin Megami Tensei game before, then Strange Journey is a great place to start.
Getting all there is to get out of Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey requires patience and a willingness to experiment and explore. Provided that describes you, there's plenty to enjoy in this lengthy dungeon crawler. Though the game's turn-based combat system is standard stuff, fusing demons, launching co-op attacks, and exploring the environments keeps things interesting. There's also a surprising amount of personality in the game, as dialogue sequences develop the characters, bosses, and quests to an impressive degree. It's not without a few bumps here and there, but Strange Journey's depth and wealth of options for customization make it a trip worth taking.
The A.V. Club
You control the protagonist and a party filled with demons, which you must persuade to follow you. Gaining a new party member typically requires complex negotiations, like trying to figure out a pattern in what a demon likes, failing, and then just trying to get lucky by randomly picking the right multiple-choice answers to its questions. The questions rarely repeat, and even when they do, the desired response varies from demon to demon, so negotiations never become about memorization. Banter only gets your protagonist so far. Most demons also require bribes in the form of items, health, or mana. A string of bad luck can be frustrating, but the result is that each demon feels like a real prize. Getting together a team with the perfect lineup of abilities to take advantage of your enemies’ weaknesses helps make the game go a lot easier. But discovering you can turn two random demons into a healer that looks like a well-armored duck is just awesome.
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey is a worthy successor to the brilliant game that was Nocturne. While its difficulty has been leveled off to appeal to newcomers, it still retains the classic MegaTen touch that makes the series so unique. Its excessive dungeon crawling might not appeal to everyone, but the battles are fun and the fusions vast that even if you aren’t enjoying the why of the game, you’ll likely love the how.
Strange Journey est donc un représentant plutôt faible de la série Shin Megami Tensei, principalement à cause de son manque d'ambition aux niveaux scénaristique et technique. Mais son ambiance soignée couplée à un gameplay riche et passionnant en font l'un des meilleurs Dungeon-Crawler de la DS. Amateurs d'exploration et de gestion de personnages, vous êtes maintenant prévenus !
In terms of storytelling the MegaTen games pioneered moral choices in a role-player long before BioWare and there are some surprisingly dark subjects covered here. However, the basic dialogue and simplistic characterisation do sometimes lessen their impact. Even so, this is one of the very best role-playing games on the DS or indeed any current format.
If you can look past a few of Kazuma Kaneko's genital monsters (hey, at least Arioch stayed home this time) and aren't the sort to be turned off a by a hardcore challenge, especially with regard to the last two dungeons, then Strange Journey is a worthy MegaTen game and one of the better RPG experiences on the DS. In many ways it feels like an adult-themed Pokemon, complete with a cast of demons that, though not as adorable as Pikachu and company, nonetheless have their own dark charms. So, atrocious US boxart aside, this is one import worth the extra shipping.
Strange Journey war für mich ein recht durchwachsenes Vergnügen. Das Szenario wirkt frisch und unverbraucht, Story und Charaktere hingegen ungewohnt gewöhnlich, fast plump. Der austauschbare Protagonist bleibt einmal mehr das ganze Spiel über stumm, seine Abziehbildkameraden völlig uninteressant. Auch das nach wie vor gelungene Kampfsystem macht mehr Rück- als Fortschritte - die gesinnungsabhängigen Koop-Attacken wirken primitiv, die vorhersehbaren Zufallskämpfe à la Lucifer's Call geradezu antiquiert. Trotzdem üben die Erkundung der immer komplexer werdenden Schauplätze, das Rekrutieren und Fusionieren grotesker Schattenwesen und das Aufrüsten des eigenen Multifunktionsanzugs mit hilfreichen Zusatzmodulen eine motivierende Faszination aus.
I'm all for RPGs that ramp up the difficulty over the course of a playthrough, and Strange Journey gives you the tools to make a party capable of annihilating the latest threat, but when a game with brilliant storytelling pulls you in and makes you care about the dire situation, then breaks that in order to fill a requisite quota for frustrating, huge endgame dungeons, it is hard not to feel wronged when the setting and story are weakened. Many gamers will love the beginning, but take out the cartridge forever when the gameplay stalls in a convoluted hedge maze. And that is a shame, because the final stretch concludes one of the best stories on the DS, complete with multiple paths that shake the foundation of the game world, and Atlus USA wrote some powerful prose to give the game jaw-dropping emotional and philosophical moments. Unfortunately, those who stop playing at the first warp-filled labyrinth will never experience it all.
Pocket Magazine / Pockett Videogames
Bref, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey est un vrai jeu de rôle à l'ancienne avec la difficulté qui va avec. Sur Nintendo DS, on garde un œil constamment rivé sur le deuxième écran, notamment pour récupérer un certain nombre de bonus qui apparaissent aléatoirement et qui vous permettent ensuite de créer de nouveaux objets spéciaux (armes, armures, potions, etc.). Comme nous vous le disions, le niveau de jeu est plus que relevé. Comptez au bas mot quarante heures de jeu pour boucler l’aventure. Les amateurs du genre peuvent ajouter un point à la note finale.
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey may be the latest entry in the venerable franchise, but its outdated demon negotiation system and tedious dungeon-crawling action might have you think otherwise. Longtime series fans will no doubt appreciate its return to form for the dozens of hours its appropriately dark story will occupy them, but neophytes--especially those expecting something similar to games like Persona 4--are better off staying away.