Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne

Who knows how to pick 'em? Am I right, or am I right? Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne has proven to be this week's PlayStation 2 Classic release after Atlus teased us all about it, but all is forgiven now that we have a viable option to play this marvelous game on our PlayStation 3 consoles.

In the overall arc of the main Shin Megami Tensei series, Nocturne is actually Shin Megami Tensei III. In 2004, Atlus dropped the Roman numerals in America to avoid confusion as the previous two games had not yet been translated for American audiences. In fact, the first game was only just recently translated and released for iOS, so now only Shin Megami Tensei II remains.

Atlus skipped the PlayStation and SEGA Saturn to establish a few side series like the insanely popular Persona games, but it leaped back on the bandwagon of the main series once the PlayStation 2 became the biggest thing in existence and 3D was a far more viable dream.

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne is a fabulous game that sadly wasn't as well received as Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 or Persona 4. I wouldn't put it on the same level as those two, but it comes awfully close. You control a young man tattooed with slick electric green stripes who survives the apocalypse in Tokyo, and like most Shin Megami Tensei games, you are tasked with rebuilding the world in your own image and forging alliances with demons to meet your goals.

Don't jump into this expecting the same friendly learning curve that accompanies most JRPGs. Like other games in the series, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne is really hard and even normal random battles can bring the most powerful of parties to their knees.

The version we got in America is actually the second version released in Japan, meaning it comes loaded with bonus content. Sure, the protagonist is pretty awesome looking on his own, but back in the day, Atlus went out of its way to hype the fact that none other than Devil May Cry's own Dante was a secret character in the game, fresh off his disappointing release of Devil May Cry 2. He more than makes up for it here.

To celebrate the release, Atlus has also knocked down the price of Shin Megami Tensei IV on the Nintendo 3DS to $29.99 until May 12. Chances are you won't beat Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne by then, but if you like what you see, you'll more than likely be able to pick it up at a sale later this year. Atlus loves discounting Shin Megami Tensei IV. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES is also on sale for $5, so with all three games, you'll have enough play time to last the rest of 2014.

Be sure to check out Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey if you can find a reasonably priced physical copy on the original DS. It's part of the main series even though it doesn't have a number. Atlus couldn't make this franchise more complicated if it tried.

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne is an amazing game easily worth the $9.99 Atlus is asking for, and it ranks way up there with Final Fantasy X, Dragon Quest VIII, and the two Persona games as the crowned kings on the JRPG heavy PlayStation 2. If I wasn't trying to lay off the digital purchases, I would download it in a heartbeat. Man, I wish I could play it on my Vita.

Now that this heavily requested game has finally been put out there for the fans, Atlus might be surprising us down the road yet again with its PlayStation 2 hits Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga and Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2. Both are worthy JRPG releases, but not half as worthy as Suikoden II. I still haven't forgotten, Konami! I'm waiting on you!