Megami Tensei, a franchise that had a troubled start in the US, and slowly started getting more mainstream recognition during the PS2 days. That was when the franchise started appearing in the West. In Japan, it started way back on the NES with Digital Devil Story Megami Tensei (first impression on that game will come out later). The series basically pulled a Metal Gear Solid by changing the franchise name by going with Shin Megami Tensei ever since. Seeing how I enjoyed the later games in the franchise, I decided to start with the first SMT game on the SNES.
Comparing Nocturne and SMT4 to the first SMT, one of the biggest differences is that it’s entirely first person. This can make navigation a bit confusing in the dungeons, so you either have to keep pulling up the map menu, or casting the mappara spell. You could do what others did back in the day, get graph paper. If you played either the first Persona game, SMT Strange Journey, or Soul Hackers, this won’t be unusual for you, albeit with better interfaces.
The difficulty of this game is definitely higher than the newer games. One of the reasons is because you have to have magnetite to keep your demon allies alive, and walking around drains magnetite. I’m honestly not sure why this mechanic exists, but it does get annoying when you start running out of it. Having more demons in your party drains your magnetite faster, it’s almost like its a punishment for having a party. You also lose it faster when you’re trying to recruit demons, because the majority of them constantly ask for magnetite. It essentially doubles your time grinding. You earn magnetite at the end of battles, along with your typical EXP and money. Though in some areas, you earn very little to no magnetite. I was in one area where I grinded for 30 mins straight and only earned 25 magnetite. It was ridiculous.
The press turn system the franchise is known for isn’t in this game, but what this game goes overboard with, is the status effects. It’s almost like a 90% chance of being inflicted with most of these effects, paralyze being the most annoying as it’s the most frequently used. If your party gets hit with mazio, you’d be lucky if only one party member doesn’t get paralyzed. This becomes incredibly frustration at one part of the game. Here, you get teleported to a new area, and your party gets spread out in the dungeon. Your job is to find them. This part was ridiculous. While partially it was due to me being underleveled, but I was constantly getting in the encounter with a party of demons that cast Zio. With the obnoxiously high rate of being inflicted, I got paralyzed every single time, and they continuously wailed on me until I died.
The original SMT is really good so far, but this game is definitely not one to recommend to anyone who’s only casually into RPG’s.