5 Things to Know Before Playing Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster

Planning on playing Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD? Here are five things to know before you delve right into the Remaster of this cult classic. Nocturne is known as a fairly difficult JRPG, and the HD Remaster has many features and options that could overwhelm newcomers. Here are some tips to help you have a smoother time during your first playthrough.

5 Things to Know Before Playing Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne HD Remaster cover

Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne HD: Remaster is right around the corner, arriving on a majority of modern consoles on May 25th. Nocturne is known as a brutal and difficult game for those unfamiliar with SMT‘s gameplay. Fortunately, Atlus has added some features and DLC to allow for a much smoother experience. If you’re a newcomer to the series and are unsure of what to do, don’t worry! I’m here to offer some tips and information to help those jumping into the game.

If you’re still unsure about picking up the Remaster, you can also check this article on whether or not it’s worth buying Nocturne HD at full price. 

1. Know Which New Game to play

This tip is more for those who have bought the Steam version, but it also applies to the other ports of the game. When you boot up the game, you’d have a few options on which new game to pick. In the PC port, you’d have the option to pick between ‘New Game’, ‘New Game: Chronicle’, and ‘New Game: Maniax’ if you have all DLC packs. Chronicle is the free add-on that has Raidou Kuzunoha, the protagonist from the Devil Summoner series. Maniax replaces Raidou with Dante from Devil May Cry series. 

Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster Dante Trailer [HD 1080P]

New Game: Chronicle is the recommended pick for first time-players. It’s the same one that most console fans will be playing through by default. It’s also the definitive version with all of the content within it and it’s free DLC for most regions. New Game: Maniax is for those who want to have Dante instead of Raidou. Both Raidou and Dante play virtually the same; the differences are mostly aesthetic. It has less content than the previous two, and you’re unable to have Raidou and Dante. That option is mainly for those who want to play it in its original form before its second rerelease that included Dante for the first time.

For more information on the differences between New Games, check out this in-depth Reddit thread.

2. Don’t be afraid to use Merciful Mode

One of Nocturne HD‘s new additions is Merciful Difficulty, a free DLC. It’s an easier mode for those who are having a difficult time with the game. If you ever feel like it is too rough on you, you’re able to lower the difficulty whenever you want. It is brutal, and it’s understandable for some players to feel overwhelmed. 

All you need to do is download the additional content, and you’ll be able to have all three difficulties unlocked. You are also able to raise the difficulty back up whenever you feel that the game might be getting a bit too easy or you simply want to lower it for a particular boss. There is also the paid DLC that allows for extra grinding if the player needs it. Nocturne isn’t grind-heavy, so it’s not completely necessary to have those map packs. 

3. Always Fuse your demons!

If you’re used to the Persona games, then you should be well-acquainted with the fusion mechanics. You fuse two demons to create a much stronger and powerful demon. Fusion is a vital mechanic, and mastering the system could allow you to have a much easier time. 

Whenever you feel that your demons are starting to fall off or if a challenging boss is halting your progress, fuse them! Managing your team and resources is the key to victory in the majority of SMT games. Pay attention to their stats and skills, and make sure you have the right demon for the right encounters. 

Make sure to recruit Demons as often as you can for fusion.

Make sure to recruit Demons as often as you can for fusion.

4. Buffs and Debuffs are your best friend.

In Nocturne and other SMT entries, Buffs and Debuffs are essential skills for dealing with powerful demons and bosses. Buffing your own stats and debuffing your enemies can allow you to change the tide of battle, avoiding devasting attacks and dealing extra damage to end the battle sooner. Tarukaja, for example, allows the ally to buff everyone’s physical attack and Rakukaja allows one to buff everyone’s defense.

It is especially is infamous for stressing the importance of making use of buffs and debuffs. Bosses such as Matador being impossible to hit without making use of certain skills. Similar to the last point, checking your demon skills can help you decided which type of buffs and debuffs you need. It’s one of the few ways to handle difficult battles and strengthen your party. 

Tarukaja is one of the many buffing skills that are important for any team comp.

Tarukaja is one of the many buffing skills that are important for any team comp.

5. Exploiting Weaknesses is key. 

Nocturne is one of the first SMT games to introduce the Press Turn System. If you’re able to exploit an elemental weakness of an enemy or land a critical hit, you’re rewarded with another action. These actions are shared among your party members, allowing for flexibility on how to spend them. You could use extra actions to inflict more damage or healing a party member that’s close to dying. Unfortunately, your enemies can also take advantage of the system, leading to some moments where they could destroy you if you’re not prepared. That is why learning and exploiting weaknesses can benefit you greatly. 

Exploiting weakness deals more damage and lets you control the battle

Exploiting weakness deals more damage and lets you control the battle

Fusing the right demons with the right skills and resistances can drastically change the battle. Simply grinding wouldn’t do you any good if you don’t have the right setup. Building the right team and constantly adjusting to situations will help you succeed. Fortunately, Atlus has given players new tools to make it easier to achieve those goals. Most of these tips wouldn’t apply too much to Merciful Mode, but it’s helpful to get into the habit of understanding these mechanics for future titles as Shin Megami Tensei V, coming later this year on the Switch.

Dante Trailer courtesy of GamersPrey.

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