Here we are, internet. Today we get to continue our five part series talking about the top five DS/PSP games that came out in the previous generation.
4.) Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey (DS)
Shin Megami Tensei (SMT) is the greatest series you’ve never heard of. It is a series made by Atlus that has been slowly gaining popularity in the west after the release of SMT: Nocturne in 2004. However, the series never gained true popularity until the release of Persona 3 and 4 for the PS2. Interesting fact: Persona 3, 4 and the Devil Summoner games are not actually related to the main SMT series, but are merely spinoffs; however, in the west, Atlus attached SMT to the titles in order to get brand recognition. Strange Journey is the most recently released, new SMT game. It is theorized that it is supposed to the the fourth game in the main series, but that has not been confirmed. Whether it is the fourth game in the primary series or just another spinoff, Strange Journey is most definitely an excellent game.
|He’s not going to run out of ammo, but, at the same time, the fashion capital of Milan will forever be closed to him.|
Strange Journey is a hardcore first person dungeon crawler in the most serious sense. What I’m referring to here is difficulty. Almost all SMT games are known for their difficulty and Strange Journey is no exception. This game is so hard that it makes Dark Souls look like Mario Galaxy. Of course there are exploits, and tricks that series veterans will know, but to the layman, the game is not easy to get through. Like many JRPGs, Strange Journey involves a huge amount of random battles. What makes this game/series unique is your ability to recruit your enemies to your team and fuse them together to make new teammates.
|By “enemies” and “teammates” I, of course, mean penis demons.|
Your enemies and allies in this game are demons, and by that I mean mythological creatures taken from mythologies all over the world. This series is the only place you are going to be able to put the Seraphim Michael on the same team and Ganesha, and Dionysos. You can get new allies by engaging in negotiations with demons in battle or by fusing them together to make new ones. Half of the charm in the game is the huge variety of demons to bring onto your team. Unlike Pokemon, demons are disposable. You have to keep fusing up to higher level demons, so you are unlikely to end the game with a pixie (Keep in mind, series veterans like to do this kind of thing).
|Gender equality for pervy demons|
In Strange Journey, an anomaly called the Schwarzwelt has appeared in the south pole and is spreading. Your character is part of the team that were sent in to investigate the phenomenon. In the Schwarzwelt, the investigation teams discover a land of demons that mirrors certain aspects of the human world. Surprisingly, Strange Journey is a pretty major commentary on modern developments in human culture. One section takes place in a replica of a supermarket. The graphics and the gluttonous boss are criticisms of modern consumer culture. Different sections have different themes, but the main story isn’t about human vice. It is about the nature of humanity and the value of free will. Like other games in the series, your character can have one of three alignments: Lawful (Pro-order), Chaotic (Pro-change), and Neutral (Values humanity in its current state). Throughout the game, you will deal with angels striving to control humans, demons who want to dominate the weak, and the very best and worst humanity has to offer. Your choices throughout the game will change the last section, and has a marginal effect on gameplay and recruitment.
|Racial diversity for the win.|
Strange Journey is one of the best handheld games of last generation for the exact opposite reason as Pokemon, even though they share the monster collecting aspect. The game isn’t as easy to pick up, but its story is not only present, but extremely well done. Despite the pictures I’ve showed you, internet, most of the demon’s designs are very well done and it is a pleasure to encounter new ones. This is easily a game you can sink 100 hours in and then start a new game. Thus, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey takes my number 4 spot.
– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer