Shin Megami Tensei III

Once again returning to modern-day Japan, Shin Megami Tensei III is a dramatic shift in the overall tone of the Shin Megami Tensei series; the first to be a three-dimensional dungeon crawler, the combination of amazing modelling of Kazuma Kaneko's artwork and stylization of the layouts have kept the game looking remarkably polished, even after it's original release date of 2003. The story ends up once again following an ordinary youth and two friends as they set out to visit a favorite teacher - but that's when things erupt into chaos.

After a meeting with a strangely familiar reporter and a menacing magnate, the world is once again destroyed - only to be recreated later. Where other installments ask the player who they might cast their lot with in an apocalyptic world, Nocturne instead asks the player what they, as an individual, would do to create their perfect world, and examines the fissures that power - as well as the isolation of being completely alone, save for demons, would have on even good friends.

The art direction and story are aided by an updated combat system that features the first arrival of the Press Turn system, where the player can earn extra turns by targeting a weak point or getting a critical strike. The negotiation system is similarly enhanced, with both the main character and friendly demons able to lend a word edgewise, threatening, cajoling, buddying up and bribing their way to victory. The ability for favored demon allies to level up, some even learning new skills or transforming at certain levels, allowed for players to create their own favored party, without the restrictions of prior alignment-bound games. In addition, the game is the first to begin with difficulty settings, proving that no matter how much SMT III changed from it's predecessors, some things never change, as the only options are a normal mode, or a mode for those that seek the thrill of death.

As a rich and engaging game in the franchise, SMT III was released in the NTSC region as Nocturne, and in the PAL region as Lucifer's Call; the first iteration of the franchise proper to receive an official international release. It is also available on the PS Network.