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Oh yeah! Accomplishment.

Even if it's something as simple as a book or ::gasp:: a video game, I always get a charge out of finishing things. Maybe it's because I seldom do! Over the past two weeks, however, I did manage to finish a few things. I finished a long scene in my story, I finished some scarves and I finished reading Volume One of Po no Ichizoku. Compared to Barbara Ikai, Po no Ichizoku was harder to read and took some time to get into, but I'm looking forward to the remaining volumes.


I don't know if I can feel that much accomplishment from finishing Nocturne because I started it before VPS came out and took a break after that. In retrospective, I should've continued with Nocturne rather than dump it for Silmeria. It turned out to be a much better game. It must've been, because I actually finished it!



I went for the Maniacs Only ending and finished with my main character two or three levels higher than 99 (they stop numbering at 99 but the characters' max level is actually 255). The party I used against Lucifer consisted of the main character with Masakado's and the Pierce ability, Level 99+ Futomimi (ported over from Kristen's playthrough, with abilities like War Cry, Randomizer, and Mediarahan), Metatron and Level 99 Shiva (also with Pierce). I had only two characters who could do damage to Lucifer, but I had Futomimi do War Cry twice and Randomizer four times, had Metatron cast Taru Kaja, and had both Shiva and the main character use Kiai with their special physical attacks. Main was doing 7000 damage with each attack, and Shiva did 5,000. I heard Lucifer can do some bad stuff but he didn't do much to me and I beat him easily. I think I was just lucky! Kristen had made a great Futomimi for her game and he was definitely the key to winning this fight.


All right, enough babble. Onto the review!



Gameplay: I loved the Press Turn battle system, loved abusing it to throttle the enemies! Towards the end of the game that was harder to do, especially with those freaking elephants that reflected physical attacks. I had played Avatar Tuner (Digital Devil Saga in the U.S) and the battle system in Nocturne is much faster. Plus, the demons you can get in your party all look interesting and arty! I'm really showing off my lack of intelligence here, but I think that this game has the ideal turn-based battle system. I'll give it a 10 for this category, because every battle felt like a dance routine. ^_^;



Characters: With the exception of Futomimi and the Manekata, they were all hateful. I have no problem with purposefully hateful characters, though, so I thought that they were better than what you'd see in most PS2 games. They do a good job making you, as the Main Character, feel miserable and alienated in the Vortex World; I could write thesis papers about how much I despise Yuko, Isamu and Chiaki. I applaud Atlus for making characters that really pushed my buttons! I'd give the game a 10 for characters, but Hijiri was a complete waste of space and Hikawa was a Megaten cliche. So I'll settle for a 9. I'm not factoring Dante into this, he added absolutely nothing to the game.



Music: When it was good it was great. There was a lot of repetition, though, and in some areas I could barely hear the BGM at all. I especially liked the BGM and battle music in the Amara Shrines, and the battle music in the Amara Deep Zone. I'll give it an 8 for music, for a soundtrack that was effective but sparing.



Graphics: Nocturne is probably the only PS2 game I've played that hasn't aged at all. The cel-shaded characters looked blocky in the hands and feet but other than that they were beautiful. Too many games nowadays have dungeons that look like they were puked out of the post-apocalyptic RPG-maker. In Nocturne they all had a distinctive artistic feel, and as the player I appreciated the care taken in designing every twisty passage. I'll give it a 10 for graphics, because even though this game originally came out in 2003 you can play it now and not feel like you're dealing with a relic.



Story: Excellent. You're given a lot of freedom of movement and the cutscenes are short but effective. Unlike in a lot of recent RPGs, I didn't feel like I was just playing from cutscene to cutscene. The game has a large world but it doesn't waste any time with the story. I love games where mystery surrounds the entire world and not just the main character. I wasn't always happy after story events, because like in most Megaten games the NPCs use you and treat you like crap. I give the story 10 points for successfully manipulating my emotions. I would've loved to form a party of invincible demons to kick Chiaki, Yuko, Isamu and Hikawa's asses and create a Manekata paradise with Futomimi as my bride. I didn't get my chance, but thanks, Atlus, for making me care!



Fun Factor: A 10. I tried to do every little extra thing with this game and will look back on it with fond memories. Sure, it was dark, but it was never gratuitious and the most offensive thing about it was the sounds the Succubi made when they cast spells...



My Overall Score: 9.5. Some day, I'm gonna give something a 10.