Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 42
  2. Negative: 0 out of 42
  1. 100
    Behind the cool art and bizarre story is a fun, addictive and challenging RPG with great gameplay systems and a lot more variety and choice than most of today’s, cinema-heavy RPGs. Games rarely stray this far off the beaten path and actually work out so well, making Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne a must for the adventurous RPG fan.
  2. What I love about Nocturne is that the game forces you to play intelligently all throughout. At no point do you feel as if you are taking a backseat to the story or the occurrences on-screen. Absent-mindedly progressing through every battle will bring you straight to the Game Over screen. You have to strategize to be able to get through the game.
  3. 92
    A rare title that manages to do most everything right. Gamers who have been craving a dark, mature RPG experience will find satiation this fall when Nocturne is released stateside. [JPN Import]
  4. 92
    Atlus has taken advantage of the PS2’s capabilities to the utmost, with just the right ratio of puzzles and side quests to plot advancement to keep both novices and veterans of the series happy.
  5. The gameplay is pure "old school" and makes no apologies for it. Without a doubt, this is a "Love It or Hate It" game. If you can weather a challenge, then be sure to invest in this title.
  6. It's good because it offers some refreshing gameplay, lots of variety, and a sublime world in which to conquer or destroy. It may even represent the evolution of the role-playing game genre, which has needed a shot in the arm for years now.
  7. With an imaginative story, characters rich in personality, a beautiful design, and an impressive array of themes to explore, this game shines in a genre that already knows how to make video games the best they can be. I can’t recommend it enough.
  8. Quibbles aside, Gamestyle would be hard-pressed to name a better RPG it has experienced on the current crop of consoles.
  9. One of the best RPGs to come out in a long time. It's an amazing game that blends shades of grey with capable gameplay.
  10. This game truly has multiple paths with multiple choices to make that can affect the conclusion of the game.
  11. Ultimately, Lucifer's Call is a brave RPG and for that, it deserves both your admiration and your gaming time.
  12. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    The game constantly kicked my ass, but the content is so good that it just motivated me to try harder. [Nov 2004, p.122]
  13. One of the best and most refreshing console RPGs to come out in years, and is definitely a worthy candidate for RPG of the year.
  14. While Nocturne is slightly flawed because of its straightforward battles and disappointing sound quality, it is a flame that will hopefully reignite a trend of creativity in RPG storytelling and concepts.
  15. Highly recommended for a fan of the genre, someone who loves the gothic style of gaming or just anyone who wants to add another Dante-related game into their collection. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne is a must have.
  16. Pelit (Finland)
    An entertaining and highly atmospheric, although at times extremely challenging, RPG. The interesting storyline and deep gameplay make it one of the best RPG titles on PS2 this year. [Sept. 05]
  17. The games real draw is its character customization and ally development via fusing and negotiating with enemies.
  18. 86
    It's outright fun, with some genuinely creepy moments and a conclusion that's not only interesting, but also, ultimately under your control.
  19. Along with the recently released "Shadowhearts," Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne is a breath of fresh air. It has a unique premise, great game play, and high production values. Then there is the gripping storyline, the most important part of any RPG.
  20. A refreshing, challenging change of pace in a genre that all too often treads the same well-worn, well-loved territory.
  21. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Nocturne is flat-out stunning - to my mind, it's one of the most distinctive-looking games of the generation. [Dec 2004, p.161]
  22. 85
    The most exciting RPG to come out this year. It has a different setting, a different focus, and different structure than anything else for consoles, and that's ultimately what makes it so appealing.
  23. It’s both unique and rehashed, and though it’s a solid RPG, not everyone will get into it.
  24. 85
    One of the most refreshing RPG games for quite some time. A number of shortcomings only slightly hurt the usually spectacular game. It’s a tough cookie, and one that fans of older RPG games will adore.
  25. A very enjoyable RPG. It definitely takes a mature tone with the story, random dialogue, and character design.
  26. A quirky, memorable title that'll leave RPG veterans spellbound. [GamesMaster]
  27. GMR Magazine
    The design is impeccable and completely distinctive. Though the gameplay can be conventional, there's not chance you've ever played a game quite like Nocturne. You should. It's a stunning, mature fantasy. [Nov 2004, p.114]
  28. What it offers is a turn-based RPG with a relatively unique setting, entertaining party customization system, and lots of gameplay hours. What if doesn't offer is anything revolutionary.
  29. If Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne does anything right, it's the game's uncanny ability to show rebellious and confused teenagers across the globe just how cool the devil really is.
  30. 80
    What Nocturne does provide is an atmospheric and refreshing change to the angst-ridden-teen-saves-the-world, bread and butter adventures we’ve come to expect of the genre.
  31. A game that hardcore RPG fans should surely pick up, otherwise they will kick themselves for missing out on a game that is both a good story and extends the standard turn-based RPG play mechanics with some nice additions.
  32. On one hand, the game is an incredibly unique and original departure from the normal conventions of this genre, offering the kind of dark stylish twist that RPGs have lacked for so long and building onto it some very solid gameplay. Balanced against that, however, is the somewhat unforgiving battle system and, most crucially, the whole random battle issue.
  33. Play Magazine
    Strikes just the right chords for creepy gameplay, plus the inclusion of Dante is definitely cool. [Oct 2004, p.75]
  34. Game Informer
    Nocturne has truly slick and innovative concepts, but you've got to wade ankle-deep through some garbage before you can experience them. [Nov 2004, p.154]
  35. Players craving the classic Japanese RPG will probably find its eccentric identity empty and uninviting, but those patient few willing to find sustenance in the battle system, customization, and unique atmosphere will find Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne impressive and overflowing.
  36. PSM Magazine
    It's wickedly difficult at times. But, I was still driven to "catch 'em all", so the formula still works. [Dec 2004, p.90]
  37. 70
    Most of the gameplay aspects are solid, the graphics are beautiful, and the quest is long. However, the relative lack of narrative elements prevented me from truly enjoying the wonderfully bizarre world Atlus has created.
  38. Edge Magazine
    It’s an introspective RPG not just in theme, but in the outlay of time and thought it asks of the player to make sense of what’s otherwise a cosmetically unfair challenge. It’s a work of art, but one on such a dauntingly high pillar that only the most dedicated will appreciate it to the full. [Christmas 2004, p.87]
  39. It may not win too many original gameplay awards but the combination of distinctive visuals and interesting narrative makes Shin Megami Tensei stand out.
  40. games(TM)
    The new features ensure an involving - not to mention time-consuming - experience and the darker, more mature theme is a welcome change from the Technicolor characters that most games in the genre spew forth. [Aug 2005, p.102]
  41. Pelaaja (Finland)
    Because of the game’s slowly advancing but interesting storyline, creative visuals and fun combat, you try to forgive the incredibly unfair difficulty curve. [July 2005, p.67]

Awards & Rankings

#46 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2004
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 64 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Aug 25, 2010
    Completely unrivaled in story, depth, replayability and totally original. Absolutely amazing - there still hasn't been anything quite like itCompletely unrivaled in story, depth, replayability and totally original. Absolutely amazing - there still hasn't been anything quite like it in over half a Decade. Full Review »
  2. Jan 20, 2015
    I don't always review a game with a perfect score, but when I do I love to submerge myself in the sinister atmosphere of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne.
  3. Nov 7, 2013
    Absolutely brilliant game. Some of the best fun I had on the PS2. This game is like a demonic version of Pokemon *lol* Not to mention theAbsolutely brilliant game. Some of the best fun I had on the PS2. This game is like a demonic version of Pokemon *lol* Not to mention the brilliant cameo by DMC's Dante.

    But I will say the game's narrative felt a bit barren, almost non-existent. But still, the action is great, and experimenting with fusions to get the best creatures and move sets really make this game stand out.

    Overall: Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne is a really different kind of game that seems tailor made for Pokemon fans who are looking for something a bit more mature.
    Full Review »