After the reviews and so on, I could no longer resist - I’ve been itching to play a new RPG and finally picked it up (I traded in the damnable “Odin Sphere” for store credit). I’ve never played a Shin Megami Tensei game before, but I understand that their fans tend to be rabid.
The game is pretty great so far - it’s basically “Bully” if it were a horror RPG, with a little Buffy the Vampire Slayer thrown in. By day, you’re a student going to high school and making friends, joining clubs and sport teams, answering questions in class, talking to cute girls at the mall after school, etc. - and at midnight, your school turns into a gigantic dungeon that you and your crew explore, killing demons and monsters. Awesome!
I’m enjoying it a lot so far - though the actual “progress” in the game is dungeon crawling through a randomly-generated dungeon, the true story is woven by who you choose to talk to and spend time with during the daytime. There’s an overarching storyline, but it reminds me very much of one of those classic Sierra adventure games in the way that you can direct what happens by who you choose to talk to and deal with. The battle system is fun and QUICK, which is nice, though my inner control freak doesn’t like that your two accompanying characters are AI only (though they do tend to make the best decisions in battles). The game’s style is particularly nice - it seems superflat-informed rather than anime or manga in nature, and the menus follow. It almost reminds me of something like the case/poster designs FLCL or Cowboy Bebop.