Negotiating with SMT: Strange Journey

Ah Shin Megami Tensei, you keep reincarnating yourself in more truely goddess like ways. (For those lost on the meaning here, look up what the name means).

One of the more interesting parts of the older SMT games according to long time fans (who would have needed very good Japanese) is that in nearly every fight you have the option of talking to the demons you are fighting. It might be as simple as “Do you think I look scary” or as complex as “Why is your world so screwed,” and in theory at least you have to make a decision based on what you think the demon wants to hear. This is rather like the social links in the later 2 persona games where certain answers will advance the link better. Part of the problem here is that different demons of the same type respond differently to the same answers. So telling one Jack Frost you are here to play, and the other the same thing the 2nd might attack you and the first might join your party.

However, despite this inconsistency that does hamper the gamy element a little, it does present the rather nice notion that all these demon’s are unique, and mostly Jack Frosts will like people who want to play or aren’t afraid of mascot characters. And the uniqueness is a great notion to present because the negotiations are nearly always interesting the demons are relatively simple characters but enjoyable to talk too. This enjoyable to talk to aspect really is what makes the game shine, when you see a new demon I always try and talk to them because I want to know what they speak like, what kind of views do these demon’s mostly have? Are they pro human (rare), curious about us, or just hate us and would rather die than help?

One of the other interesting things that Strange Journey brings to light is that if you have a complex deep growth/formation system in an RPG, and a deep battle system, you risk making the game too hard to see where you need to improve. Was it my tactics or my planning that was wrong? By having a simple battle system you always knew failure was more from planning than in combat options, although you could still have made choice in combat causing you to loose, but those would be more obvious.

Here is an the interview that talks about this.

More later on Strange Journey most likely! (probably on how the low tech helps it stay creepy!)


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