Follow TV Tropes

Following

YMMV / Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey

Go To

  • Acceptable Professional Targets: It's probably no surprise that the single most vile character in the game is the Private Military Contractor.
  • Anvilicious: The game drops a lot of anvils about everything wrong with humanity, especially in conversation with demons.
    • Played for Laughs when you fight Kanbari the toilet god, who just wants humanity to have a little bathroom etiquette.
    • And then, in a genius move, this is actually Deconstructed. At the end of the day, the demons are just trying to guilt trip and manipulate the humans into giving them what they really want: the gods of old are sore about their loss to the Great Will, and they want their old stomping ground back. The Neutral path involves the realization that humanity can learn from its mistakes, while following the Law and Chaos paths basically involves throwing up your hands, saying humanity can't change, and taking drastic measures to 'fix' it by force.
    • Advertisement:
    • And in Redux, All of these "solutions" get deconstructed further; Law lead to humanity losing it's free will and killing everyone who rebelled, Chaos lead to every human save one killing each other. Even the original Neutral becomes a Downer Ending with the revelation that humans ended up repeating the same mistakes anyway. The Law+ and Chaos+ endings give you a chance to avert these fates by exposing the hypocrisies of the people pushing these extreme ideologies.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • In a rather inexplicable case of Gameplay and Story Segregation, the full-demon Soil Jimenez fought on the Law route is actually far easier than the half-demon "Awake" form fought on Neutral. The former form doesn't change his weakness and will only use his strongest attacks if you're dumb enough to let him buff to full, while you'll have no such luxury with the latter.
    • Advertisement:
    • The Bonus Boss can be this if you know the trick. Unlike III and IV, Strange Journey doesn't use the Press Turn system, meaning enemies, like you, can only take one action per round. This particular boss is programmed to always use Dekunda, the debuff-canceling move, if his stats ever drop below three debuffs, and if you bring two or more demons with Debilitate or Antichthon, you'll reach that point in two turns. Or, in other words, it's quite simple to cheese him into wasting every other turn. This strategy costs a lot of MP, however.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • This game and the IV duology faced criticism for a Neutral bias at the cost of painting both Law and Chaos as irredeemably evil, to the point where the Law and Chaos endings in Apocalypse were early bad endings. Redux shows that all three original endings lead to the downfall of humanity, and the new endings not only all give humanity a happy ending, but Law and Chaos involve Zelenin or Jimenez getting jolted out of their extremism and regaining their faith in humanity. All while Neutral gets a more bitter tone.
    • Advertisement:
    • A major one that applies to the whole series: The new Law ending is widely considered the best Law ending in the franchise and is a viable choice next to Neutral and Chaos. While the final villains are still Law-aligned, Zelenin helps you in fighting them and replaces God. Rather than removing free will, Zelenin only removes anger and hostility, with disagreements solved by discussion and peaceful arguments rather than violent conflicts.
  • Awesome Music: Detailed here.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The EX mission where you fight the god of toilets.
  • Breather Boss: Kanbari, guardian deity of the privy. Being weak to physical attacks, you can just spam basic attacks and get a Demon Co-op every time. He does sometimes cast Tetrakarn (which reflects one physical attack on the turn it's cast), but if you can outspeed him it just wastes his turn.
  • Breather Level: After what you had to go through in Delphinus and Eridanus, Fornax is relatively simple and straight-forward. Of course, Grus follows after to pick up the slack...
  • Broken Base: The fandom is divided over whether this game is main series or a spinoff. Those who call it a spinoff refer to the lack of a number, the absence of Tokyo, and slightly different gameplay. Those who count it as the fourth main game claim that there are enough similarities with the main series for it to count, as well as the fact that this game was going to be a part of the numbered series until Atlus decided against it.
  • Complete Monster: The greedy Captain Jack proves that even in the demon world, sometimes the worst monster is humanity. A Private Military Contractor loyal to nothing but his own pocketbook, Jack is hired by an unnamed client corporation to pillage the demon world of its natural resources, a job he takes a twisted pride in. Though initially appearing as an uneasy ally to the protagonists, it is eventually revealed that he plans to manufacture a demon army for his client and himself, regularly performing painful amputations on any demon unfortunate enough to fall into his clutches and fusing them together into unstable forms that leave them in constant pain. When the protagonist's ally Jimenez tries to stop the experiments, Jack sends him to be tortured and fused with his demon friend Bugaboo to use him as a slave. When finally confronted by the protagonist and Jimenez, Jack's only action is to scold them for costing him valuable men and equipment before engaging them in a final battle.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: There's something darkly hilarious about seeing Horkos with the entirety of the Elve in his belly.
  • Demonic Spiders: Enemy Search results may give a pushover UMA demon that yields forma that sells for a pretty penny, but from time to time you instead get surprisingly tough enemies.
    • Take-Minakata serves as one the moment you get the Enemy Search Sub-App, being level 23 while the player is just over half that number, and having a lot of resistances that make him difficult to take down. His normal attacks will hurt like a truck, and Zan-ei can instantly kill anyone if it's currently a New Moon.
    • Futotama sometimes spawns with a crowd of Mandrakes which are prone to inflicting Mute on your team with their normal attacks, on top of healing him or each other with Diarama. All the while, Futotama himself has no weaknesses, is immune to Expel, Curse, and petrification, and is level 42, a good dozen levels higher than the usual random encounters. He has the ever-loathed Macca Beam to empty your pockets, Strange Beam to vaporize your MP, and Diarahan to heal himself back up just when you think you've finished him off. If you try any buffs or debuffs, he'll invert them with Tables Turned. And when he's not annoying you with the above moves, his normal attack strikes the entire team.
    • King Frost downplays this trope due to simply being really resilient by fully healing him and his cohort with Mediarahan. Unlike Futotama above, King Frost lacks Macca Beam and Strange Beam, and his weakness to Fire subjects him to many beatings from Co-Op attacks.
    • Any random encounter that sports a Mudo skill can become this, as an unlucky player can lose lots of exploration progress when a One-Hit Kill attack connects on the protagonist.note  This gets mitigated when the player picks up the Rasetsu Vest from an early EX mission, which also grants them Curse immunity, but Mudo can become an issue again when the player changes to other armors.
    • Decarabia is a regular random encounter that's only weak to Gun, and comes with a couple of moves — Tetrakarn to reflect the Gun attacks you're using to get Co-Ops off them, and Megido, which hits the whole party pretty hard. As an individual enemy, they're probably not too tough, as a single Megido is nothing an Amped Mediarama can't handle. The problem is when they spawn in groups of three to five, putting your entire team at risk of death if they all decide to cast Megido at once. Fortunately, they're recruitable, so if you talk one into joining you, it pays off to keep it in stock as a guaranteed escape from a five-stack.
    • Tao Tie nullifies Phys and Gun, preventing you from exploiting Rock Bullet to dispatch it quickly. When it starts swinging, it does this with one of two skills: Bomb Knuckle, which inflicts the infamous Bomb ailment, or Tyranny, which can spread fear across the entire party and interrupt your ability to deal with the bomb ailment. Your line of hope is that it's weak to a lot of forms of magic, but it also has a habit of getting some hits in before your team can exploit its weaknesses.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The inclusion of Maria from Shin Megami Tensei NINE has been well received, especially since she's retaining her original design by Kaneko.
    • Anthony, for being pretty much the most relatable NPC in Shin Megami Tensei as a whole.Note 
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • While it's probably debatable how "evil" they are, Jimenez and Zelenin's One-Winged Angel forms are equal parts unnerving and alluring. Asherah is a straighter example.
    • Mastema managed to gain quite the fangirl following.
    • On the other side of the villains you have the Mother Goddesses, in particular Mem Aleph, Maya and Tiamat.
  • Fan Nickname: From Redux, Shekinah is sometimes called "female YHVH".
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: There is a surprising amount of Mithras/Asura fanart, which comes in both het and slash variations since Asura has an alternate female form. The two don't even interact onscreen, but are mentioned to be close friends and collaborators in mad science.
    • Also Arthur/MC is gaining a surprising amount of popularity thanks to Redux's New Neutral ending, which has them living together in the Moon- and the main character leaves Alex's ring near Arthur before leaving to wreck the Schwarzwelt again...
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Victory Cry + Jihad/Antichthon (or any powerful Almighty-type spell) on a demon. The Eternal Rest spell in conjunction with any sleep spell is also effective, as status ailments work quite often on a surprising amount of enemies, and the combo can lead to a near Disc-One Nuke if you get it early enough.
    • There are several guns that come with Rock Bullet, a skill that can inflict petrification. This counts as instant death. Almost everything that isn't inherently immune to Gun, except bosses, are susceptible to this attack. Your Main Character gains 4x the EXP he would normally get if you have no demons out. Manshonyaga (an early game weapon that can cause Stone) will allow you to gain levels every 2-3 fights for a while.
      • The 4x EXP bonus can also be gotten by softening up an opponent with your demons, then giving them the return order and finishing the battle on your own. This makes it trivial to break the game in a different way.
    • While Jihad/Antichthon is commonly considered the ultimate skill, it isn't necessarily the most damaging. That falls to the ultra-rare skill Desperate Hit (only naturally on Demonee-ho, and can only be passed on via demon source), which does a random number of almighty hits. If it does 3 or more to a single enemy, that enemy takes more damage than it would from Antichthon. VERY useful against bosses. Not to mention it's only 40 mp.
    • Grand Tack (Grand Piercer in Redux) is abnormally strong. Costing just 10MP, it's a Gun skill that hits as hard as Zan-ei on a New Moon. Remember how hard Take-Minakata hits with that skill? You now get to use the same power without any conditions. You can unlock it as early as level 26, through a D-Source from Pabilsag. When you get to level 55, a D-Source from Kresnik unlocks Riot Gun, which is almost twice as strong as Grand Tack.
    • It's possible to fuse Rangda so she reflects everything but Almighty and the two instant death elements. This means that almost any time an enemy casts a hit-all spell at your party, a chunk of it will bounce back and damage them. Gets even funnier if they target her with an ability that has a chance to cause a status effect, as it also bounces back; they can wind up inflicting Charm, Petrify, or even Instant Death on themselves.
      • Mad Gasser in Redux can do something similar, with him innately reflecting fire, ice, elec, and wind. Since you now only need to cover phys and gun, this leaves room for more skills to support the team.
    • The password system lets you share demons with other players without the need for any network support, and while it has restrictions with Macca costs and needing the player to be at a high level to avoid Disc-One Nuke usage, it can be exploited in a couple of ways. Fuse a demon, generate its password and jot it down, then revert to a previous save and use the password to get that fused demon without using up its fusion components and D-Sources. This method is great when customizing demons through repeated Mitama fusions. One can also look online for password generators that let them create any demon with any kind of skill set and stat spread they desire.
    • Redux introduces Forneus, whose signature Death Bite deals "light" physical damage 4 times, unlike similar skills Megaton Press and Madness Crush that can hit anywhere between 1 and 4 times. It's easily one of the strongest and most consistent physical skills in the game, outdamaging single-hit "heavy" physical skills, while Megaton Press needs to roll 4 hits to match it, and Madness Crush needing 3-4 hits to beat it. He also has Charge and Acid Breath in his natural skill set to make him hit even harder. Impart Phys Boost and Phys Amp through D-Sources and watch Forneus tear up anything without physical resistance!
    • Several accessories become available in New Game+, but none stand out quite like the Solomon Ring. It grants the protagonist immunity to Expel and Curse on top of reflecting all other magic elements! Slap this on with the Armor Vest (which resists phys and gun, but has an elec weakness that's automatically covered by the ring), and the protagonist is now Nigh Invulnerable.
    • Redux adds the Lucifer equipment set, all of which are exceptionally powerful but must be obtained by defeating the new Bonus Bosses. Granted, they are worthy prizes for beating the toughest bosses the game has to offer. To note:
      • The Lucifer Sword, a single-target sword that pierces through any resistances to physical damage. This trivializes any enemy that resists, nulls, absorbs, or reflects physical.
      • The Lucifer Gun, a multi-target gun that has the obscenely-powerful Final Seven skill, which becomes great for triggering Co-Ops all the time.
      • The Lucifer Mail, a vest that gives Curse immunity and resistance to Fire, Ice, Elec, and Wind.
      • The Lucifer Ring, a ring that nulls all status ailments when equipped, even Rage (which normally cannot be protected against).
  • Genius Bonus: Mastema frequently makes a big deal out of the fact that the team's ships are made out of iron. This would seem to be a reference to one of the stranger verses in The Bible, which depicts the Israelites, with all of God's power behind them, being unable to defeat an enemy armed with the then-latest technology, iron chariots.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: At the end of the Neutral route in the original release, Williams wonders if humanity will learn from the experience of the Schwarzwelt or not before deciding it's not really your problem. In Redux, it's revealed humanity learns nothing and is annihilated when the Schwarzwelt returns, leading Alex to travel back in time to make it your problem.
  • Jerkass Woobie: The Demiurge has some Woobie traits, being played very similarly to a mentally-disabled person. Though, he used to be YHVH so you can't feel too sorry for him.
  • Les Yay: After Zelenin becomes an angel, Dr. Zoe goes off on a tangent about how she would like to "examine" every inch of her.
  • Love to Hate: Mastema, despite (or perhaps because of) his rather manipulative personality and outright Hate Sink nature, has ended up among the games' most popular demons, ranking in 4th place in Atlus' official popularity poll.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Bugaboo fascinates Jimenez's ass.
    • "Earth is a planet."Explanation 
    • "Doi can't draw cheekbones"Explanation 
    • M O M M Y.Explanation 
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Jack's Squad crosses it when they set up a lab to mutilate and "fuse" demons in their own violent and flawed way, and prove they—Captain Jack included—are well beyond it when they try to fuse a human (Jimenez) with a demon (Bugaboo).
    • Mastema is revealed in the Chaos route to have been morally bankrupt a long time ago, but his current plan to make Zelenin his pawn and start a World of Silence in order to transcend angelhood started very soon after the two met in Bootes. It's just not revealed that he crossed the Horizon until Horologium 5F on the Chaos route.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • "[Demon Name] became your demon."
    • A successful Mudo or Hama going off on one of your enemies.
    • The "splutch!" of an enemy being Charmed or Muted.
    • "Unidentified forma successfully analyzed!"
    • The rumbling when a boss demon is defeated.
    • The blip from earning a D-Source. It's doubly satisfying if you're regaining that D-Source by leveling that demon up.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Some subtle, in that the game has no problem gutting optimism and human achievement in light of human atrocity. Some overt, in the hideous monster designs and grim plot twists. Some self-inflicted as you stumble around low on health and magic points looking for the next healing fountain. All detailed on this page.
  • Nightmare Retardant: Pay close attention to the Ominous Chanting in the soundtrack, and you will quickly realize that it's not Latin- it's nonsense language that resembles nothing so much as "hee-ho hee-ho hee-ho," Jack Frost's Verbal Tic.
  • Older Than They Think: Antichthon/Jihad, the game's ultimate spell, did not debut in this game. Demon Fury, a combo move in Digital Devil Saga, was a move in a previous game in the franchise that had the same effect, except it required specific moves and took up a whole turn.
  • Player Punch:
    • Captain Gore's death hits the crew, and probably the player, pretty hard.
    • In the Law and Neutral paths, having to fight Jimenez, who saw you as the only friend he had on the Red Sprite. In the Neutral route, it's at least mitigated by Arthur comforting you after the battle—though it is what you have to do, he's aware of just how heartbreaking it is to have to kill a former comrade.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Unlike other games in the series, the player's stat point allocation on level-up is random. You do answer a questionnaire at the beginning of the game to determine your initial stat spread, but the "build" only subtly influences the likelihood of a stat receiving points on level-up. For example, it's entirely possible for a Luck-focused build to have Agility be its highest stat, and this generally renders the whole questionnaire moot. You can correct this with the use of Incense, but they are rare to come by and can be costly to produce.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • In the final Neutral path, Commander Gore's return to the Red Sprite, his kind words to his crew, and his plea to save mankind instead of siding with the angels or the demons. His crew's responses after he dies for good prove just how much they admired and appreciated him.
    • Any situation where the appropriately-titled track "Sorrow" plays, such as seeing the results of Jack's Squad's experiments in Jack's Squad HQ or Arthur malfunctioning and self-terminating just after the Point of No Return in the Law and Chaos routes.
    • If you lock yourself into the Law or Chaos paths, Arthur, the AI who has been assisting you and your comrades for the past eight sectors, suffers a critical bug in his personality matrix and shuts down for good. Just to twist the knife further, the Red Sprite crew are then brainwashed to fit the alignment you've chosen—even if you were aiming for the Law or Chaos paths because you wanted to, you'll probably feel a sense of regret when you see the personalities of your crewmates overwrote with unquestioning worship of God or primitive savageness.
    • Having to fight Jimenez in the Law and Neutral paths, who until alignment lock regarded you as his best friend on the Red Sprite. Turned into a Heartwarming Moment in the Neutral path, where Arthur acknowledges the Player Punch factor and grants you some words of comfort and encouragement.
    • The fight with Zelenin on Chaos and Neutral is also quite sad, but for a different reason: unlike Jimenez, she doesn't even get to die as herself, being subsumed too far into angelhood.
    • Alex in the Law+ route begging Zelenin to acknowledge and accept the lives of herself and the others who will be "evil" enough to resist the effects of her song in the future, while describing how fighting for her life against the angels is a hell worse than the inside of the Schwarzwelt. Her desperation actually causes Zelenin to falter in her Knight Templar ways.
  • That One Achievement: The mapping achievements. Since you have no way of manually drawing maps like in fellow Atlus series Etrian Odyssey, this means you have to walk on literally every tile of a given floor to get the achievement. Get used to those damage files, status effect tiles, and pitfalls! And that's without getting into Sectors Eridanus and Grus and their damned teleporter mazes. You can use Red Carpet on a New Game+ to remove the Random Encounters, but it doesn't erase the sheer tedium of having to set foot on every last tile on each floor.
  • That One Attack:
    • Bites the Dust (and other similar attacks later) inflicts the new "Bomb" status ailment; it makes the afflicted physically fragile. If they get smacked around too many times, they explode, and do damage to all other party members equal to their own total health. Just one "Bomb"ed party member (including yourself, for an instant Game Over) can wind up blowing up your entire team. Your only protection against this is an accessory or passives that explicitly protect against Bomb, but using the Cohesion Ring also leaves you unprotected against other annoying things detailed below. Also, the Bomb ailment is exclusive to enemies.
    • Mithras's Mabufudyne. You didn't expect a third-tier party-wide attack spell to be used by the second dungeon's boss, did you?
    • Asura Roga inflicts Rage on your party, which increases their attack but also causes them to attack anyone at random. If it lands on the whole party, you'll be left a sitting duck watching all your teammates tear each other to shreds, or at least injure them enough for Asura himself to finish them off. There's also nothing that can defend against it except for the Command Skill Brave Heart, which you only get after beating Asura, and the Lucifer Ring, which you can only obtain in a New Game+ sidequest exclusive to Redux.
    • Mother's Kiss turns the final boss for the Law and Neutral routes into a luck-based mission. Mother's Kiss is a 3-8 hit (random target) physical attack capable of total damage above 1000 on capped characters. You will need physical resistance for this fight to not die too easily to this, and the best armor that covers this also exposes you to the full brunt of her elemental attacks. The only way to render the protagonist immune to physical attacks is an accessory available in a New Game+.
      • MA is 100% guaranteed instant death for whoever is targeted. In the original you basically have a 1 in 4 chance of getting a Game Over every time it's cast (in the Updated Re-release there's a subapp that prevents instant death from the MC being K Oed). It also heals the boss, but that doesn't matter when you're DEAD. At level cap, if the Random Number God is feeling merciful you can dodge it. You have one method of insurance against this attack: the Dragon Ring that gives the protagonist Endure, but the sheer damage from the boss's attacks can expend this once-per-battle protection before you even see the first instance of MA.
      • Mem Aleph the attack will return all demons of a random alignment to your stock. This attack will cripple you if you have more than one demon that shares your alignment out as she can and more often than not will use her other attacks while you're trying to get your team out on the field.
    • Pillar Zelenin's Requiem can do what MA does but to the whole party. It's not as accurate, but it can't be protected against, so you're praying that the Random Number God will spare you.
    • A different sort of horrid attack: Macca Beam. It'd be one thing if it stole a set amount of Macca, but it doesn't. It takes away one fifth of your current cash. If a Preta in the second dungeon hits your New Game+ party with it, you can lose six-digit amounts of money. Kangiten, found off high-end Enemy Searches, carries Wastrel Beam, which instead vaporizes half your money on-hand.
    • Anything that can cause the Stone ailment. Petrified demons/characters count as dead, since they cannot move and the effect does not wear off without external intervention. Unlike Expel and Curse skills, Stone cannot be prevented with Tetraja, Sacrifices, or revival accessories, and the best you've got is an accessory or passives that explicitly prevent it. Was the unlucky victim you? <your last name> fell...mission failed.
    • A set of Bonus Bosses in Redux, the Wardens of the Womb of Grief, all share a move called Overdrain. It's Energy Drain, but it's stronger and hits the entire party. While they're still affected by buffs and debuffs, they can bring this out immediately, and just one use of the move has the potential to turn what seems like a guaranteed victory to a near-hopeless situation. To add insult to injury, unlike Meditation and Soul Drain, Overdrain is not learnable by any of the Wardens when you can fuse them.
    • Several bosses in the Womb of Grief possess unique moves that apply a "field effect" that lasts for a few turns. Among them is Sol Canus by Zeus, which purges buffs and debuffs on top of preventing them from being applied for 3 turns. Considering how vital buffs and debuffs would be to a player's strategy, sealing off their bread and butter can cause the fight to go south real fast.
    • If you finish the Womb of Grief in Redux but refuse to help Alex change the future, she empowers herself and fights you. She only has one attack — Claimh Solais — which she uses incessantly in-battle. It's a physical attack that hits like a truck and ignores resistance, letting her easily kill you or your demons in one or two hits unless you spam buffs and debuffs. Meanwhile, her companion demons are throwing out buffs and debuffs of their own to counter your efforts, while you're also pretty much dedicating one party member to spamming healing items to offset her damage output.
    • Another set of Bonus Bosses in Redux, superbosses Belial, Nebiros, Beelzebub, and Lucifuge, have two in particular. One, Calamity Cycle, is a favorite of Beelzebub and Nebiros, and as the name suggests, it's a buffed Disaster Cycle. But one shared between all of them is Doomsday, which goes back to the PS2 spinoff method of superbosses one-shotting the party if you break one of their unspoken rules, some of which can be as major as "no debuffing."
      • Nebiros and Beelzebub also have some unique moves that can and will ruin otherwise successful attempts against them. Nebiros, at below half health, will bust out Zero Mortality, which is Asura Roga with a 100 percent success rate. What makes it especially devious is that in addition to Rage making party members hit each other, Nebiros himself will instantly kill anyone who hits him with a physical or gun attack (making him pretty much an inverse Maya), so getting hit with this unprepared is pretty much a Total Party Kill. Beelzebub, on the other hand, has Demonic Sigil, which is an HP to 1 to the entire party and inflicts poison, in a game where poison damage can kill you. If he goes first and uses this and you didn't have a healing spell ready, kiss your party goodbye.
      • Belial, meanwhile, is packing Dawn Chariot, effectively a super-Rampage that pierces resistances (and unlike most SMT games, pierce goes through repel in this one). He also has a maxed Strength stat of 99, and even an endgame party is unlikely to have enough Vitality to survive more than two hits of this attack without grinding for Incense.
  • That One Boss:
    • This being an Atlus game, there's quite a few of them, but the one that gets the most attention is Ouroboros, the final boss of the fifth block. Her first form isn't terribly hard, except for the fact that she heals about 160 damage per round, which is more damage than you can do to her unless you exploit her weakness to fire. Her attacks include Wild Thunder, a powerful group lightning spell, and Disaster Cycle, a spell that hits for moderate physical damage and inflicts random status ailments. That last one is really nasty because sometimes she gets really lucky with it and manages to either leave you with a dead weight party or petrify the main character (instant game over). Fortunately, your chances of seeing Disaster Cycle are slim. All this is just her first form, however. Her second form no longer regenerates every turn, but now she uses Disaster Cycle almost every turn, and whenever she's not using Disaster Cycle, she's using Wave of Death which hits the whole party for nearly 300+ physical damage per hit! Her liberal use of Disaster Cycle almost makes the fight a Luck-Based Mission. Ouroboros in both forms likes to spam Mahama, which luckily doesn't have a chance on you (unless you are wearing armor weak to light) but can kill any demon in your party that isn't completely immune. And she usually uses it often enough that the odds aren't bad that even a demon strong against light can get wiped out eventually.
    • Maya, the boss of Sector G also qualifies. For starters, if anyone on your team uses an Elemental- or Almighty-skill, they're dead. No exceptions. She can safely be damaged with Phys. and Piercing skills, the latter of which she is weak against, but just hitting her can be a problem as she has a tendency to use Illusion Ritual, which doubles her agility. Oh, and she knows pretty much all of the single-hit -dyne spells, extremely powerful Gate spells which can one-shot anything vulnerable to their element, and Ultraviolence, a hit-all attack that deals gobsmacking amounts of physical damage. Basically, if you don't have the ability to nullify her stat changes and/or have demons that block or repel Phys, you're not going to win.
    • The final boss of the Law and Neutral paths. When you reach it, you will probably be around level 75. At that point any of its attacks will kill you in two hits (three if you're guarding). It has extremely powerful spells of all elements as well as a particularly nasty physical attack that hits up to eight times (random target each hit) which is perfectly capable of killing a guarding protagonist at full health. It is also capable of cancelling all buffs and debuffs (healing about 600 HP in the process) and possesses the Disaster Cycle attack of Ouroboros. This in addition to two separate 100% instant death moves. This is its first form. The second one, which is a Clipped-Wing Angel in appearance but a One-Winged Angel in gameplay, does about twice the damage the first form did and gets the ridiculous MA attack, which instantly kills a party member and absorbs their HP without fail.
    • Captain Jack also qualifies. Unlike many of the bosses in the game, he has no real gimmicks. Just absurdly high damage output and the ability to heal himself to full whenever he wants. The battle is basically a matter of doing as much damage to him as possible in a short amount of time.
    • Commander Gore on the Law & Chaos routes. His normal attack does 5 hits to one party member (enough to kill if you're not careful), and his abilities don't help either. Self-Denial heals him and boosts his attack. His other abilities do very high random-target phys or gun damage... and when he Turns Red, he starts spamming Charge + Adaptation, which is fatal if you're not both strong to phys and guarding (and still can be even then). Not to mention that when he hits 0 hp the first time, he heals back up to full health. He's got 7500 HP, by the way. That puts his total (15000) as the highest in the game. The only thing going for you is he's weak to wind, and if you were smart, you picked up something with Garudyne (differing by alignment) back in Grus, and maybe the Reaper Colt gun while you were at it. In Redux he gets a bit of a nerf: thanks to the new mechanics of support spells activating faster than offensive spells, spamming Tetrakarn is a viable tactic, as most of Gore's heaviest attacks are Physical or Gun and his AI isn't smart enough to keep him from slamming into a reflective shield most of the time.
    • Pillar Zelenin, the Final Boss of the Chaos path. You thought Mem Aleph's One-Hit Kill move was bad? Try a One-Hit Kill that hits the entire party. It is literally a Luck-Based Mission where you and your demons pile onto the boss, doing as much damage as possible while praying that Zelenin doesn't bust out Requiem.
    • Redux adds a new dungeon, the Womb of Grief, and with it, a few new headaches that will ensure you need everything the bonus content offers.
      • Ishtar, the boss of the Second Sphere of the Womb of Grief. She opens up using Berserker God and Garudyne, the third-tier single target Physical and Wind moves, at a point where you'll only consistently have access to second tier. She uses Silent Prayer to nullify your stat boosts if you reach +3, and when that's the move you want to see, you know you're in deep trouble. When she gets low on health, she starts adding Magarudyne to the mix, which does Garudyne level damage to your whole party. She also has Daunting Maul, a physical attack that hits your party and lowers their attack by one stage. The most brutal move in her arsenal, however, is her Alluring Squall/Soul Steal combo. Alluring Squall does 1-3 hits of Wind damage and charms whoever it hits. Soul Steal deals a One-Hit Kill to anyone who is charmed and heals Ishtar by the amount of damage it deals. You have our express permission to weep Tears of Fear.
      • Zeus, the boss of the Fifth Sphere. He has Keraunos (Electric damage and four Rakundas to one target), Adamant Sickle (Physical damage to one target and two Tarukajas to himself), and enough raw power to put you down in one shot. Bring Luster Candy, War Cry, and the Reaper Colt (which gives you Storm Shot, a heavy Wind attack that hits his weak spot) or die horribly. He can also choose to be completely obnoxious by using Sol Canus, which actively prevents buffing and debuffing for a few turns.
      • The True Final Boss in Redux can easily make the original Final Boss look like a walk in the park. While it lacks instakill cheapness (on top of aversion of We Cannot Go On Without You to take out the bite of having your protagonist instantly killed), it makes up for it by being a long Marathon Boss. You have to beat through about 24,000 HP, and for the latter half of the fight, it gains resistance to everything, including Almighty, with your one solace being Co-Op attacks which do boatloads of damage to compensate. This also means that your almighty-spam team that would trivialize nearly everything else in the game become much less effective and you actually need to go back to exploiting elemental weaknesses to get anywhere with the boss. The boss also regularly shifts its weaknesses to mirror those of previous bosses (and even use their signature skills), but its base form has no weaknesses and will throw up a long-lasting barrier that reflects all attacks from combatants of a specific alignment, so you will need to dredge up a secondary team to let you keep fighting while the barrier's up.
  • That One Level: Sector Eridanus doesn't seem so bad at first... until you get a particular plot-character to move out of the way to get to the bulk of the level. Suddenly, you're dealing with unavoidable poison floors, enough hidden pits to turn the maze into Swiss cheese, one-way doors and a series of teleportation rooms with no rhyme or reason that forces you to memorize sequences just to figure out what'll let you finally move on. It's a dungeon-crawler-player's nightmare made manifest.
    • The game even lampshades it. Jimenez says he hates the area.
    • There are later levels that pull similar annoying stunts, but with much less frequency and intensity. After Eridanus, they seem like cakewalks.
      • Sector Grus mixes a one-way-door maze on one floor with a teleporter and conveyor maze on the other. There are no shortcuts midway until you pick up Unlock C, which is positioned at the end of the Sector. If you needed to return to base to restock midway, well, hope you remembered the way forward.
      • When you access eastern Grus, available on a New Game+, you find similar mechanics that you've faced in the rest of the Sector — teleporters, pitfalls, and one-way doors out the wazoo. It's a lot more unforgiving, as several parts of the one-way door maze force you into one of its four corners, which sets you back a long way and needs an absurd amount of backtracking to pick up where you left off. Also, if you want to pick up all the treasure it has to offer, you've got two Sanctums to navigate in the one-way door maze, which force you into one of the severe-backtracking corners. The Guidance Angel and Omen Bug Sub-Apps of Redux make this barely tolerable; the original game doesn't have those luxuries.
      • Let's face it, the developers love torturing us. They haven't had a chance to make a ridiculously complex dungeon since Nocturne.
    • Floor 5 of Delphinus, anyone? It's a massive maze of conveyor belts that you need the Visualizer to see; in other words, it requires a Rare Forma that can be easily missed and/or ignored, and the conveyors don't show up on your map even with the Visualizer in the original without a lategame New Game Plus sub-app. It's almost a Guide Dang It! to figure out how to get to the upper floors.
    • The Second Sphere of the Womb of Grief in Redux marks a significant Difficulty Spike in the dungeon. The previous two floors were not too tough — while the numerous currents carrying the player around in circles into teleport squares could get tedious, they were at least bearable. Past a certain point in the Second Sphere, the player is forced to traverse an enormous swath of damage tiles leading up to a series of pitfalls. Only one of them provides the way forward, and the rest lead the player back to the start of this torturous section. Even with the Nurse Sub-App to mitigate the damage tiles, the whole journey is certain to be draining on the player's healing sources. Enemy Search encounters can also include the infuriating Futotama, and the boss at the end is Ishtar, who is her own league of frustrating.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • Some EX missions involve battling against bosses with a stat restriction on your team. For instance, Kazfiel's request needs you to fight with demons whose total Magic is 60 or lower. Depending on how far you are in the game, you may be forced to fight at less than a full team, though on a New Game Plus, you can access strong enough equipment to go solo.
      • Kazfiel and Aniel later challenge you to beat them both while your team's average level is 45 or lower. Considering that you've exceeded level 55 by the time you can access this EX mission, this means you'll need to be fighting them with a team full of weak demons. You can't even cheese the restrictions by fighting solo.
    • All of Demonee-Ho's requests except for the last one share two restrictions: no changing your demons mid-battle and no item use. They are also difficult for varying reasons.
      • Demonee-Ho's first request: Defeat a tough set of three slimes without demons that have healing spells. These slimes have Megido, Makarakarn, and if the battle takes too long they will self-destruct to kill you.
      • Demonee-Ho's second request: Kill Ares while using demons that have 15 or less Vitality. This means that unless your Main Character is over-leveled, nobody on your team will be able to tank more than one hit before dying and Ares will counterattack if you use physical or piercing attacks.
      • Demonee-Ho's third request: Beat a specialized Thoth and Seiten Taisei within three turns, while you and each member of your team are reduced to 10 MP. It's possible that the outcome of the battle will be decided on when Trigger Happy activates.
      • Demonee-Ho's fifth request has you fight Azrael with demons whose total Magic is 70 or lower. Not too bad, until you realize that Azrael fully heals himself at the end of each turn, which may force you to re-summon and re-fuse a team of demons specifically to beat him.
      • Demonee-Ho's sixth request: Defeat Demonee-Ho and two Fake Demonica demons while your team's total level is less than 180. The two Demonica demons will deal damage and debuff you and if you kill them, Demonee-Ho will resummon them. Demonee-Ho himself also hits like a truck with his Breath and Desperate Hit attacks.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The art team reworking the art for Redux was meet with mixed to extremely negative reception from series fans with many thinking that the new art looks very Off-Model.
    • Likewise, the absence of an English voice track in a franchise that has typically favored them, especially considering the game's multinational cast of characters, was very poorly received.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Subverted. One of the trailers for Redux contained a trailer for a Jack Bros Metroidvania game taking place in the Schwarzwelt... that says it's fake and doesn't exist. Needless to say, people wished that it was real, until a few days later when it actually came out in Japan as a limited time offer.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Did you get your Demonica to be tuned around your Magic stat? Might as well reset, because your Magic stat only influences the power of single-use somewhat-common-but-not-exactly-spammable attack items, not your gun skills that are spells in all but name.
  • Ugly Cute: Several demons.
  • Unexpected Character:
  • The Woobie:
    • Zelenin. Unlike Jiminez who jumped into the Chaos path with both feet, Zelenin's transition to the Law side was a result of Mastema manipulating her and preying on her past trauma of being captured and experimented on by demons.
    • Bugaboo is another victim of Mithras' experiments who was further experimented on by Jack's Squad and nearly killed, only being saved by fusing with Jiminez.
  • Woolseyism:
    • Shifting the protagonist's nationality from Japanese to American in the North American version makes a lot of sense when you consider that the United States military is well-known for being one of the largest and highest-spending military forces in the world. Contrast the Japanese armed forces, which deliberately keeps its scope mostly limited to national self-defense and declines to refer to itself as a proper military. Aside from all this, it also adds a touch of closeness to the relationship between the protagonist and Jimenez, who is also American, especially if you side with him and pursue the Chaos route.
    • Louisa Ferre was called Strange Girl in the japanese version. In the US version she received "Louisa Ferre".

Alternative Title(s): Strange Journey

Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback