November 7, 2019 at 7:40 PM #868
Rating: 1.0 – Terrible
Yet another tired brand circling the drain while doing its best to prevent finally being sucked down the pipe.
This review is based on 10 hours of playtime. While I would consider myself a fan of Atlus – at least a fan of their quality works – I’m so tired of this entry and the extremely low quality of its PS4 release that I felt this was a good place to give an adequate summation. If I ever get around to finishing it, I will update the review to reflect that, but as is, this release has left me feeling very bored and soured by Atlus in general. Seen enough to make a good call.
Overwhelming sense of "been here, done that", but I’ve also been playing SMT games since the 90s. Tons of recycled assets and concepts, while the soundtrack is new in general, I’ve heard repeats of tracks and/or segments of tracks I’ve already heard many times before. I get it makes sense, it’s like how Zelda has recurring music, but it’s the same reason that brand has more or less become dead to me now as well. Treading the same ground over and over and over again. Gets old!
The low score is largely based on the extremely low quality of this port, since this is clearly a lousy port of a PS3 title, which is another huge sore spot with this release. This was clearly a PS3-centric title in development that got a PS4 release with nothing to differentiate it but a resolution bump to 1080p and 30fps lock, which is quite easy. And while it is locked 30fps on PS4 vs the PS3 version’s spiky performance (proven in videos) with a ceiling of 30fps, they could have made this 60fps which would have made it pop far more on the PS4, which could have easily handled this framerate – the textures are low quality, the LoD is low, the effects are low quality. It’s all clearly a last-gen title with a resolution increase. They even kept in the lousy PS3 joystick deadzone size – massive, which plagued the entirety of the PS3s lifespan. Sony backed out of this error with the PS4, but Atlus couldn’t even be bothered to polish up the port by making the deadzone tighter to reflect the newer control scheme. Again, it’s a straight dump of the PS3 version minus the resolution bump and 30fps lock (both of which are really easy to do, the latter especially so since it’s just the PS4 brute forcing the PS3-designed engine with better hardware) and they couldn’t even take the extra 10 – 15 minutes to make the stick controls tighter. Sure, it’s a JRPG, but you still have a character to steer and are still turning the camera plenty, while only about 10% of the joystick space is actually recognized. It matters and is very frustrating that they couldn’t even be bothered to take that very small time requirement to brush this up.
Regardless how good the story may or may not be (there’s a *ton* of dialogue bloat here however – again a symptom of the "bigger not better" development mentality), this is a PS4 release at a (at the time of this writing) AAA pricepoint. At that level, far more is to be expected, and at that level, it falls flat on all technical fronts. As far as gameplay is concerned, it’s really just a watered-down old-school SMT – *severely* watered down, might I add – with a *ton* of story added on to try and cover up those flaws due to people becoming attached to characters, but all the typical anime-archtypes are here. In a nutshell, this is just another run-of-the-mill dark anime, but then it has JRPG elements to it and the Atlus flair to spice it up. Except it doesn’t, because it’s all so bland now. All they can do is go bigger, but going bigger with something bland isn’t a good idea. It’s spreading something tasteless over more space for people to chew and feel less of anything because that already tasteless spread is being spread over so much space, what is it anymore?
Would love to see a SMT Nocturne Remaster. 1080p with the PS2 motion-blur mask removed and HD font with nothing else changed. $20USD. Peak of this corner of the genre Atlus has carved out and it’s clear all they can do is repeat themselves and go bigger. Not better. It’s very telling how little they care about this property when they can’t even take advantage of the modern hardware it *should* have been designed for with the simultaneous multi-plat release. Or delayed this release to give it a proper PS4 upgrade that could then get an ultimate release as an "Extended" edition (like P3 has FES and P4 has Golden). This PS4 release has "fine, here" written all over it, and nothing more. If it wasn’t worth their time to do properly, it isn’t worth giving them your money for something they didn’t do properly to have your time wasted with something that’s sub-par compared to their prior works anyway.
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