Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call Reviews

Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call

Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call

Sympathy for the devil?

For someone who plays a lot of videogames - whether you're a reviewer or simply a games fan - there's a lot to be said for any title that does things a bit differently. Nowhere is this more true than in the world of RPGs; console RPG detractors may bang on about the "spiky-haired hero waking up on a beach with no memory and then saving the world from an ill-defined plot to destroy it" stereotype a lot, but even the most dedicated fans of the genre, myself included, have to admit that there's a grain of truth in there. Console RPG storylines are often excellent, but very often their creators fall back on the comfortably familiar faux-medieval setting and clichéd central character set. Witness even Star Ocean - set thousands of years in the future - which still found an excuse to dump you into medieval swashbuckling at the first possible opportunity.

That's part of the reason why, although it was deeply flawed in some other respects, we liked Shadow Hearts Covenant so much; the early 20th century setting was simply a refreshing break from what we're used to seeing in our RPGs. It's also unquestionably the main hook of Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call, the European name for Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne and the first of the much-vaunted and expansive SMT (or "MegaTen") series ever to arrive on these shores.

SMT (can we call you SMT? I think we can, since we can't be bothered setting up a Word macro for your lengthy and almost entirely nonsensical untranslated Japanese name - no offense) eschews all sign of medieval settings, beaches or indeed spiky-hairedness in favour of being set in present day Tokyo, complete with many of the districts, buildings and landmarks that will be familiar to anyone who's ever visited the eastern capital. It's populated - for the most part - with a cast of resolutely 21st century people, who dress in fashions you wouldn't be surprised to see in Tokyo's more upmarket districts, and it follows a plotline that wouldn't be out of place in a horror novel or particularly dark graphic novel or manga.

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