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SMT: Nocturne

Discussion in 'jRPG Weeaboo Discussion' started by Silva, Jul 17, 2018.

  1. Silva Arcane

    Silva
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    Any tips/hacks/emulators for someone trying this for the first time?

    Well, it's not really my first time, as I tried a short before Persona 5 and found it's barebones all-dungeon crawl boring. Then I've spent a dozen or so hours in P5 and found that cat excruciatingly painful and now I want to give Nocturne another chance.

    Thanks bros.
     
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  2. L'Montes Educated

    L'Montes
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    SMT:regular-flavor lacks a lot of the guided story elements and teens-problems elements of Persona 5. That said, Nocturne does feature a few high school students prominently - their problems just are more end-of-world related instead.

    If you don't like the dungeon crawl and/or Wizardry-type aspects of some games, then it may be that SMT:3 is not for you. The core part of the gameplay is exploring different dungeons with random encounters, and a combat system that was copy-pasted for the later Persona entries (Press Turn). The combat in Nocturne is less hand-holdy than the Persona flavor, and it's a lot easier to just lack good party options and get hit with a wipe in some later dungeons. Later dungeons will also feature a lot more Wizardry-esque mechanics in the exploration (false walls and the like).

    If you don't really like both elements (the combat and exploration of a pretty plain-looking dungeons), then I wouldn't play it, honestly. I say this as someone that's a big fan of the game (and Wizardry-likes/blobbers in general). The first two SMT games are basically more direct Wizardry-like games with the Demon-summon mechanics. The third's big innovation is Press Turn combat, the dungeons aren't that different really.
     
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  3. Matador Savant

    Matador
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    Tips for the start:

    - Try to recruit as many demons as you can in the first dungeon to avoid a lot of pain in the Amala labyrinth.
    - If your demon stock is full start fusioning the least useful ones trying to get an upgrade and/or new skills for your party.
    - Change your magatamas acording to the common threats you are facing, and to get the new skills they provide when you level up.
    - Later start searching for fusions that provide you with skills and demons that are great for the next boss or tough foes in the area.

    My opinion:

    This game is a survival dungeon crawler, in the vein of Wizardry. SMT4A may have the more refined combat and fusion mechanics but they lack the tense resource management that Nocturne has. If you like min-maxing and power gaming a more balanced game try that.

    For me overall Nocturne is a better game because I like the survival aspect, aside from atmosphere, art design and dungeon complexity. Differences with SMT4/4A:

    - Only 8 demon slots. In the later entries you have like 20 slots that give you a lot of flexibility to fuse demons, versatility to fight encounters and endurance because you have a lot of overall HP and MP to travel long dungeons. Here when a important demon dies it really hurts you to invest the MP to revive it. And you will need it because you have few demons to travel.

    - No mana regen. In SMT4/4A you can get somewhat easily a party skill to regen mana while you walk, this means of course HP regen. This makes the crawling A LOT easier.

    - Longer journeys between save points.

    - Less control over fusions. This can be seen as negative, but in SMT4/4A you will always have exactly what you want to dominate, while in Nocturne you would have to be more ingenious with the imperfect team you have.

    - Less demons to collect. It links with last point, can be negative, but reduce redundancy and makes you focus on searching for utility in fusion, instead of endless OCD fusing.

    - No assists from friends buffing or healing you. You are alone summoning 3 demons to fight.

    TLDR: Nocturne better campaign and overall game, SMT4A better pokemon powergaming toy.
     
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  4. L'Montes Educated

    L'Montes
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    Without spoiling things too much, there's an easter egg/bonus of sorts if you held onto the original Pixie that's your first demon in the game (in some form or another).

    You can keep a demon or two in the backline to use Estoma (I think that's it, encounter rate down) and heals for restoring the party without dipping into your party's limited MP allotment. Both of those can make your life a lot easier when grinding, moving around, or trying to make it to the next save spot. It's enough of a difference that I'd keep a shitty demon with those options in the backline over not having a back-up healer/estoma option at all.

    You need some varied attack options, and you can't rely on demi-fiend + one strong demon to carry you generally. Trying to build Demi-fiend to be an all-rounder is usually a bad idea (imho), either build him as a physical *or* magical-focused attacker, and pick your Magatama accordingly (the game only has so many, and some abilities are a bit trash). There's a relative time investment in use of the magatamas, and I don't think of it as being too spoilery to take a look at the skills in advance. Some enemies will reflect physical attacks (and you'll lose turns in the process of getting the shit beaten out of you), and a fair number have instant kill attacks.

    All that to say, the game rewards planning and strategy to some extent, but be prepared to start from a prior save if you get fucked by instant death or a reflected attack you weren't expecting. Still, I'd personally say you'll likely not enjoy it if you don't like crawlers like Wizardry. Especially if you're already tapped out on it once (it's not going to become markedly different).
     
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  5. deuxhero Arcane

    deuxhero
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    Since you'll be emulating, abuse save states when demons ask to change skills and when magatama react (demons asking to talk to you is, as far as I know, always helpful so there's no reason to refuse). These are pure RNG bullshit that 90% of the time ruin your demon/curse you and 10% of the time give really good rewards (early access to high tier magic, free stats boosts).

    In addition to what L'Montes said, try to get Watchful (earn XP when not active) on that backrow demon and keep Watchful demons in your backrow whenever possible. About 1/5th or so into the game you get acess to the Compenium which will allow you to, in exchange for money, to reproduce a demon that's no longer in your party. You can combine this with sacrifice fusion (enter the cathedral during the full moon, essentially allows you to fuse 3 demons and give the result all the XP of the third one) to add lots of XP to your summon results by registering a demon just before sacrificing it, then buying it back. By the mid-point of the game there isn't much use for money besides this.

    There actually are some ways to get MP regen, but they're pretty late game or early but tricky. Get a demon with a high MP, Makatora and Mana Refill to sit in the back row and you can use them as a battery. Earliest to set this up is Uzume learning Mana Refill at level 23, but that's the last skill it learns and demons take forever to gain XP. Combine a (Sudama with Maktora*Mononofu=Pyro Jack)*(Koppa with Watchful*Lilim=Archangel), set a sacrifice that has acquired good XP and reroll till you inherit both skills (and ideally non-force offensive spells. Pyro Jack learns Agilao at 22 which is nice to inherit.) She's a useful ally in her own right, but you can retire her to the back bench when she stops being useful.

    I forget if Mana Drain was practical or only drained a very small amount of MP in this game, but that's obtainable fairly early.

    Build the main character as a magic user the first time around. Extra turn presses are very useful, and there's no way to bypass physical resistance till just before the final boss.
     
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  6. aweigh Arcane

    aweigh
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    also Nocturne has amazing visuals and a fantastic story that's light on plot but fucking amazing in presentation and delivery and execution.

    I consider it the pinnacle of modern SMT games, and it will almost definitely not be surpassed ever again.
     
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  7. Silva Arcane

    Silva
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    Thanks for the tips bros.

    I was coming here to say exactly what aweigh said above: the game presentation is superb, it's setting exotic, and has something I loved in Persona 3 that I think was lost in P4/P5: an eerie and unsettling atmosphere. I think here it may even better than P3 though, I must play more to confirm.

    By the way, can the protagonist use a weapon of some sort?

    And how to make demons use skills from "the back" as someone said above? I can just summon 3 demons to my side, no way to keep them behind or something.
     
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  8. aweigh Arcane

    aweigh
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    yo this shit low-key goes hard AF

     
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  9. Vorark Savant

    Vorark
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    I played Nocturne right after Persona 3 (which I'm very fond of) and my mind was blown by how good it was. I believe it'll be right up your alley, they both share the doom and gloom atmosphere and the combat system alone is miles ahead of any Persona game.
     
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  10. Average Manatee Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Average Manatee
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    Fuse 2 or 3 low level demons with skills like watchful/buffs/debuffs. For example I made a pixie with Sukukaja/Rakunda/Rakukaja/Tarukaja/Watchful/Dark Might. Watchful means they gain XP while benched. Every time you fuse any real combat demons, do it on full moon and sacrifice this demon (register it first of course, then pull it out again so it keeps gaining XP). This ensures generally great skills spread everywhere, and the result demon gets the extra XP the sacrifice had. You don't get the immediate skills the result demon would learn but as soon as it levels once it will gain all of its available skill pool (e.g. if a level 20 demon would learn a skill at level 22,23,24 and your XP takes it to level 24.5, it'll learn em all at 25). This is important since lots of the best skills are only accessible early on through demon leveling, which is a downright pain without sacrifices.

    Also Dark Might is a huge cheese skill, but enjoy.

    You can do both physical and magic main character at the same time, the way is by HP-based physical attacks which don't need strength and only deal damage based on your max HP. So you just level magic and vitality and become a god early game (where Tornado kills everything) and late game (where focused physical attacks destroy entire groups), on top of being very tanky (game end on MC death). A few utility skills and you're easily the star of every fight.

    Out of battle you go to the menu and can use skills directly. In-battle you can have to waste turns summoning them.


    BTW, anyone tried https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/3299/ ? Looks like it does a lot of interesting stuff.
     
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  11. oddech_wymarlych_swiatow Arcane

    oddech_wymarlych_swiatow
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    How to broke geam in two steps:

    1. Fuse Daisoujou with Makatora spell - thanks to his unique Meditation skill you'll gain HP/MP battery for everyone.
    2. Fuse Trumpeter - his Evil Melody (instakill enemy of lowest HP) allows to finish any random encounter in max. 2 turns (doesn't affect bosses), just skip turns to make Trumpeter act twice a turn.

    PS. KEEP FIRST PIXIE or just any demon made from her, there will be a prize in last Kalpa.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
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  12. Hobo Elf Arcane

    Hobo Elf
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    Do NOT ignore the "social" skills that demons learn to help you recruit other demons. You'll definitely want to keep a couple demons in your party with some of those skills since they help demon recruitment by a significant amount and make your life a lot less miserable.
     
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  13. Grampy_Bone Cipher

    Grampy_Bone
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    SMT games are always really hard in the beginning but eventually you hit a tipping point where you become super strong and just faceroll the rest of the game. So the key is to stick with it.

    -You will have to get used to building teams around specific bosses. Don't get too hung up on one specific demon; use them for what you need them for and then discard them. You should always be recruiting, when your team is full, fuse extras and keep recruiting. Generally better to fuse than to level grind.
    -Every magatama teaches a unique set of abilities. Once you learn an ability, you can never re-learn it, and once you overwrite it, it's gone forever. Plan accordingly.
    -Generally build either mostly physical or all magic. Giving the demi-fiend healing spells will also negate the need to rely on any specific demon for healing (mediarahan is not MAG-dependent either). Physical is the overpowered moveset, once you get gaia rage everything just dies.
    -There is a super-sekret ending that requires you to finish the amala labyrinth before getting the (massively OP) masakados magatama. If you're not going for that ending don't worry too much about the labyrinth.
     
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  14. Silva Arcane

    Silva
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    Update: placed the first candle on Amala labyrinth after the old lady and cripple dude talking to me about bringing all candles.

    Btw, I have another candle in inventory but I didnt find the place to attach it? Is this right? I think I explored all the first and second floor of Amala and there are no more ways to go. Except the trap where you fall on a red hurting floor. Should I fall down and search for some passage there?

    How about that place full of Oni/red demons with weird name which are supposedly rivals of Assembly of Nihilo? Should I do something there?

    Great game, by the way. It has some cringey old schoold sensibilities like fetch-quests and unecessarily labyrinthine levels, but it's setting and atmosphere are top notch, and the combat is the best I've seen using this formula, much better than Personas.
     
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  15. L'Montes Educated

    L'Montes
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    "Should" with a lot of the things in the game is a matter of perspective. The game has some forking paths. There are a few different "factions" pushing to remake the world in specific ways. You're given a choice at various points in the game to align yourself with these factions. Some of your brush-ups are more-so about "meeting" the factions than having meaningful choices. The game has a "true" ending (sort of) and a sort of good ending (debatably)... but all the endings are basically valid (the true ending is more "challenging" than positive).

    Interesting thing about the combat/Personas: this game sort of became the asset source for an entire generation of games. All the demon models they made here (and the exact combat system, more or less unaltered) would be copy-pasted into Persona 3, 4 and Digital Devil Saga 1/2. They even reused the models in the Devil Summoner games, though there was a bit of jank sometimes there because it was an action game reusing/re-rigging RPG assets that didn't need to move much for turn-based battles.
     
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  16. Silva Arcane

    Silva
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    Ok, I've reached the leader at the top of the building, Gozu-Tennoh or something. Now he wants me to join him against the Nihilo.

    Question: if I join him, can I swap sides later or it's permanent?

    That's cool to know. One of the things that grabbed me since the first time I've played this series (in Persona 3) was the legends/myth-based figures, as I'm a mythology afficionado.
     
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  17. Silva Arcane

    Silva
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    Oh, and this game atmosphere reminds me of this other setting here. (the arena at the Gozu-Tennoh headquarters totally reminds of that Monolyth in the description)
     
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  18. Nathir Learned

    Nathir
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    Gozu-Tennoh is such a badass.
     
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  19. Deflowerer Arcane

    Deflowerer
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    The way the alignment works is that by answering questions you will accumulate points towards specific alignment. But for each alignment there is a major plot event at the last third of the game, and iirc that is the actual flag for determining which side you choose. If you have responded favorably to the Chaos faction but answer negatively in that important plot event later on concerning Chaos, you will not get a Chaos ending, even if point-wise you have more points towards the Chaos faction. Responding favorably to Gozu-Tennoh is not the important flag in question.

    Also, if you proceed sufficiently further down the Labyrinth of Amala, you get locked out of all other endings for a special ending.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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  20. Grampy_Bone Cipher

    Grampy_Bone
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    Do you care whether or not you get the "best" ending and are you willing to replay the game to do so?
     
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  21. L'Montes Educated

    L'Montes
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    As an aside, I didn't mention it, but there's technically a "bad" ending of sorts too. Being completely unaligned *and* being lukewarm about it gets you it, in a manner of speaking.
     
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  22. Average Manatee Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Average Manatee
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    If you want to keep all (good-ish) endings available you can agree with everyone in the first half, then in the latter half where the big decisions come up you choose one and spurn the others.
     
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  23. Vorark Savant

    Vorark
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    Don't fret about the endings, play as you want. If you like the game well enough, you'll eventually do another playthrough.
     
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  24. ghostdog Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    ghostdog
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    SMT III NOCTURNE spreadsheet I made with all the:

    FUSION TABLES
    SPECIAL FUSIONS
    EVOLUTION CHART
    DEMON LIST
    DEMON CHART

    http://www.mediafire.com/file/i57ulgi3342cr1e/shin_megami_tensei_nocturne_fusion.xlsx/file




    Some tips and PCSX2 settings:


     
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  25. Deflowerer Arcane

    Deflowerer
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    Probably one of the most aesthetically pleasing games ever created.
     
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