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Episode 747: Like the Plane

by James Jones, Greg Leahy, Jon Lindemann, and Guillaume Veillette - November 14, 2021, 7:47 pm EST
Total comments: 5

I'm too sad to know the episode number.

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It's Xbox Game Pass Season on RFN. James starts the show with a duo of games on Xbox Game Pass: Project Wingman and Star Wars: Fallen Order. Project Wingman is what happens when fans of Ace Combat try to make their own game, and Star Wars: Fallen Order is what happens when the developer of the best shooter of a generation gets Star Wars. He and Jon then get revved up for Forza Horizon 5. A vehicular Olympics in Mexico hides a dark, "pay to win" secret. James, a martyr stood up to oppose such plans. Jon, a natural follower, happily gave Bill Gates his money. Jon also has been playing Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, also on Game Pass. It's not a Wonder Boy, and Gui is finally able to explain to us how all these series are related. Guillaume gets us back to Switch, with Ys Origin and WarioWare: Get It Together! Ys Origin is a prequel to the Ys series, and returns to the more traditional game play, rather than the 3D world of VIII and IX. Greg closes out New Business with a look at the 3DS port of Kirby's Epic Yarn, Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn. It is one of a bunch of Wii and Game Cube games that found their way to 3DS, and he's got thoughts on its place in that pantheon.

After a break, we dive in on a couple Listener Mail. First we propose some Joy-Con Alternatives for the discerning (and cheap) consumer, then we talk a little bit about IGN's review of Persona Shin Megami Tensei V. You can ask us to critique other people by sending an email.

This episode was edited by Guillaume Veillette. The "Men of Leisure" theme song was produced exclusively for Radio Free Nintendo by Perry Burkum. Hear more at Perry's SoundCloud. The Radio Free Nintendo logo was produced by Connor Strickland. See more of his work at his website.

This episode's ending music is Large Map from Shin Megami Tensei IV Final. Composition by Ryota Kozuka. It was requested by Syrenne. All rights reserved by ATLUS Co., Ltd.


TOPHATANT123November 19, 2021

SMT 5 is lightyears ahead of Strange Journey in terms of design. If you decide to go into Strange Journey and find that it's annoying and frustrating, that's a totally normal reaction in 2021 and isn't a reflection on how 5 is.

(5 is incredible by the way, can't put it down)

OedoNovember 22, 2021

Quote from: TOPHATANT123

SMT 5 is lightyears ahead of Strange Journey in terms of design. If you decide to go into Strange Journey and find that it's annoying and frustrating, that's a totally normal reaction in 2021 and isn't a reflection on how 5 is.

(5 is incredible by the way, can't put it down)

Lightyears ahead how? It's an apples to oranges comparison: I'm still relatively early in SMT V, but the exploration is largely open spaces, and the first dungeon was very basic. Strange Journey, on the other hand, is a pure dungeon crawler. It's more that the design is vastly different than better or worse (I think both games are great in very different ways).

I do agree for that same reason that a negative experience with Strange Journey should not deter someone in the slightest from trying SMT V though.

TOPHATANT123November 22, 2021

The fusion mechanics in Strange Journey suck compared to other games in the series, you can't carry over skills so the movesets you can create are only ever the basic moveset plus one demon source.

Strange Journey's late game dungeons are horrible. Filled with trial and error designed to annoy the player. Invisible walls, blackout rooms where you have no idea where you're going, constant conveyor belt puzzles. Teleport puzzles are infuriating, to call them puzzles would be an overstatement, it's pure trial and error.

The battle system isn't press turn, instead you have co-op attacks if you're the same alignment. It's more simplistic and involves less strategy.

The MC is less interesting to develop because all of their skills come from equipment.

There are an abundance of Atlus RPGs and dungeon crawlers on the DS and 3DS that compare unfavourably to Strange Journey.

OedoNovember 22, 2021

Which other games in the series? Most games in the series were restrictive in terms of fusion (albeit in different ways) until IV. If you played Strange Journey before IV, I'm not sure how that would annoy you. More importantly, the game was balanced around that fact.

That's disingenuous. That's like saying just give every demon you intend to use in V one skill of every element, get 8 turns, and just stomp everybody before they get a single turn in. It's not that simple in practice all the time. The strategy shifted more towards building teams for each floor in Strange Journey.

The only sector where this was egregious was Eridanus. That's not the only late game dungeon in the game though. Every Atlus dungeon crawler has some trial and error and many of the mechanics you mentioned. That's the nature of those games. It's not a Strange Journey exclusive, and it definitely didn't stop there.

I'm not really trying to defend the merits of Strange Journey (I can understand how some people wouldn't like it), it's just a bit weird to make a 1:1 comparison like this to a decade old game that I would argue is basically a different genre (or sub-genre if you want to call it that).

My point still stands that it shouldn't have any bearing if James or anybody else is debating whether to pick up V, but more because it's much more different.

TOPHATANT123November 22, 2021

Devil Survivor has great fusion mechanics, that was before Strange Journey and 4. In Strange Journey it doesn't matter what you use as fusion material because the skills don't carry over anyway.

In SMT 3, Persona 3 & 4, it's restricted by how many times you're willing to exit and re-enter the menu, but it still matters what you use as material.

Yeah, there are annoying parts in other dungeon crawlers. But this is on a whole other level.

For example invisible doors that are mandatory to progress. To see them you need to look at the wall in question, just standing on the tile isn't good enough. So what are your options here? When faced with a long corridor I would take one step forward, turn to my left to check for an invisible door, press right twice to check for an invisible door, turn back to my left then carry on forward one tile.

On the other hand you could face the left wall, hold down the R button and do a sweep across it. Then turn around and do a sweep across the right wall, then turn and head back in the direction I was going. You've now walked the corridor 3 times.

That's not good design. For optional content sure, a little secret to stumble across, but for the critical story path?! What were they thinking? It doesn't happen often, only a handful of times during the game, but it's enough to reinforce the habit of bumping into every single wall of the maze.

What about the black out rooms? It's essentially Pokémon caves before you learn flash, but at least with Pokémon you could learn flash before you have to go into the cave. In Strange Journey there is no such luxury.

But nevertheless, you push forward, try and error your way through the dungeon and finally learn the Strange Journey equivalent of flash. Great you've done it! Now you don't have to worry about those annoying areas anymore! Yeaaaah about that, just kidding, the blackout room gimmick returns for some inexplicable reason and the flash you learnt in the other dungeon no longer applies here. Have fun fumbling around in the dark, again. This is mandatory, not an optional area.

Strange Journey is a throwback, it's got simpler mechanics in the vein of something like a Soul Hackers or Persona 1 PSP. But those games didn't feel the need to waste my time with infuriating dungeon design, they were fun and inoffensive.

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