Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux Beginners' Guide
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux is a rewarding, but often vicious dungeon crawler from the studio that brought you Persona. The series share some common mechanics (like demon fusion and dungeon crawling), but Strange Journey differs from many Shin Megami Tensei series touchstones.
In this guide, we’ll offer some useful tips and tricks for wrangling with the stranger aspects of this adventure.
Understanding Co-Op Attacks
Most Shin Megami Tensei games reward you for attacking enemy weaknesses with a free turn. Not Strange Journey. Early on, you’ll learn that Co-Op Attacks trigger instead. These follow-up strikes are based on alignment. If a Neutral demon or player character strikes a weakness—say, hitting a demon that’s weak to fire with a fire spell--any other Neutral party members will initiate a Co-Op Attack.
Those are the basics, but there are a couple more useful wrinkles. For instance, Co-Op Attacks also ignore enemy resistances. So they won’t bounce off a foe that otherwise repels physical attacks, for instance. This is particularly useful (even vital) to some late-game bosses that can shift their strengths and weaknesses on the fly.
Recruiting and fusing parties with a full spread of fire, ice, wind, and electric spells (as well as your player character’s physical and gun attacks) is a huge help thanks to this free damage.
It should be noted, though, that dark and light spells don’t trigger Co-Op Attacks at all. But they do retain their high chance to instantly kill enemies weak to those damage types.
Explore Every Nook and Cranny
Strange Journey bears a strong resemblance to another series in Atlus’ stable, Etrian Odyssey. That is to say, you move in first-person through dungeons and map them into colored tiles. The satisfaction of filling in every square is half the fun.
But there are more tangible reasons to explore, too. Side quests, or EX missions, are scattered throughout nearly every dungeon. Just make sure to talk to every NPC demon you meet. These missions are often difficult, but offer unique rewards like unlock rare Forma, which in turn unlock special sub apps that add entirely new gameplay options. The Doctor Magus app, for instance, nullifies poison and other kinds of trap tiles when you walk over them.
Exploring is also a good way to hoover up common Forma. Money isn’t easy to grind in Strange Journey, but you can sell surplus Forma for a pretty penny. That cash can go towards buying equipment and re-summoning registered demons. Those get awfully expensive as their average level and quality of skills increase.
The downside is that not every area in a dungeon can be explored right away. Even areas in the very first dungeon will be locked at first. But progressing the main story will unlock better lanterns for lighting dark passageways, keys to unlock more doors, and the ability to “phase shift” into secret portions of each sector. If you can’t figure out how to get somewhere, odds are you just need to keep playing.
Adjusting your alignment
Speaking of alignments, don’t fret if you don’t like the one you’ve got. There’s a way to goose it towards Law and Chaos for free (assuming you haven’t reached the point of no return). However, it takes a bit of work.
The quest begins in Sector Antlia. Early on in the game, you’ll likely encounter a Pixie in need of a Bead. Complete this quest for her. Then, after getting the Unlock B upgrade in the main story, return to the sector’s northwest corner. You can now open a door into a hidden set of rooms overseen by the Pixie--now a High Pixie.
She’ll send you on various quests to collect fairy-type demons. Once you collect a Goblin for her, you can return to the area and find the creature in one of the adjacent rooms. Using the right dialogue choices, speaking to him can alter your alignment towards one end or the other. The choices go as follows:
(You notice a goblin digging.)
Watch it. (No Change)
(It found an item.)
Good for you. (No Change)
Hand it over. (+Chaos)
You’ll likely have to repeat the process multiple times, as the alignment change for each dialogue choice is minuscule. But it’s extremely useful. You can equip alignment-specific swords, for instance, then change your alignment without removing them to get the best of both worlds. This method is also the only way to complete two series of side quests at the top of Eridanus--which reward you with strong Law and Chaos demons for defeating hidden bosses.
Here’s the rub. At some point, Strange Journey “locks” your alignment, and you can no longer use this trick. The aforementioned “point of no return” is shortly after you enter Sector Horologium. So make sure you’re happy with your alignment before then.
Forma Crafting and Collection
One often annoying facet of Strange Journey is Forma. This crafting material is needed for nearly every item in the game. It’d be one thing if Forma were only necessary to craft equipment, but you need to grind these semi-random drops, plus cash, just to buy healing items from the lab aboard your home base.
Some Forma drop from enemies. Some can only be found on the ground. Other times, it’s a special reward for beating bosses. The game does a solid job of explaining the basics, but here’s a useful tip. The next time you’re at the lab, and looking to craft a specific item, hover over it and press Y.
This shows a list of what kind and how many Forma you need to craft that item. You can also cursor over each Forma individually. If you’ve ever collected that kind of Forma before, the menu will tell you which enemies drop it, which dungeon it’s found in, and even which level of search app you’ll need to obtain it.
That said, some Forma still have a greater chance of appearing on specific floors of a dungeon. The same goes for enemy spawns. So if you’re not having luck finding specific Forma, even though the location is right, check a different floor.
Check in with Dent
At any point in the game, you can speak with your various crewmates aboard the Red Sprite. Most don’t have much useful to say. Some will offer tutorials that are then added to the in-game menu for you to peruse anytime. But one teammate offers a very special service.
The man called Dent is found on the Deck section of the Red Sprite throughout the game. Speaking to him unlocks a pair of nearly pointless minigames, but also the ability to ask if there’s anything you can do to help the rest of the crew.
Keep checking this option throughout the game. Dent will periodically assign you fairly simple side quests with great rewards--like the ability to fuse otherwise unattainable demons.
You want to complete “Black Box Retrieval I” in particular. This side quest sends you on a hunt for corpses in the game’s first four dungeons. The reward is the Omen Bug app. The app warns you when you’re about to step on a teleportation tile or trapdoor. It’s an absolute godsend for dungeon crawling--particularly in Sector Eridanus and parts of The Womb of Grief.
The Womb of Grief Unlocks the New Endings
Early on in Redux, you’ll meet a character that’s new to this 3DS remake of the game, Alex. After a brief and violent cutscene, you’ll be sent to The Womb of Grief. This new dungeon is optional and absolutely massive. Its six floors unlock roughly in sync with each new main story dungeon.
There’s something special about The Womb of Grief. It’s not terribly well-telegraphed, but beating this dungeon unlocks any one of Redux’s three new endings. Which ending is still determined by which alignment you “lock” early on in Sector Horologium. But you’ll need to beat the Womb’s sixth floor boss before beating Horologium’s (which would normally trigger the ending) to see the new conclusion on your alignment.
There isn’t much fanfare to indicate you’ve unlocked the new content, but don’t let that fool you. Once you’ve beaten the sixth floor boss, the new story and dungeon content occur after beating the lord of Horologium. Just be patient.
The last two bosses need multi-alignment teams
Here’s a quick, mildly spoiler-y tip for you. The last two bosses of Strange Journey Redux all but require a mixed team of Neutral, Law, and Chaos aligned party members. This includes the final boss of Sector Horologium and the secret boss revealed by completing The Womb of Grief. So try to get one of each flavor of demon to between level 75-80 by then. If you don’t have them already, check your Special Fusion library for one of each alignment around that level.