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  #1    
Old January 14th, 2014, 12:43 AM
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Altairis
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Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2
Turn-based RPG for the Nintendo DS
Game art AND awesome OST from Devil Survivor 2: The Animation, which I highly recommend for anyone who enjoyed the game or cannot get their hands on it (because watching LPs takes sOOO long) because it was pretty true to the storyline, while being unique. Okay, advertisement over!

Another sidenote before I start (sorry) I have not played any of the other games in the Devil Survivor or even Shin Megami Tensei series, so I didn't have any knowledge of the game or franchise before I started playing, and so my review is mostly written so that those who haven't played the series will be able to understand somewhat. Okay, continue!

With all of the other tactical RPGs on on the market, it's unfortunate that Devil Survivor 2 seems to have taken the backseat while letting other popular tactical RPGs such as Fire Emblem rule the market. DS2 is a hidden gem among other DS titles, and any fans of games such as Fire Emblem should definitely give this a try.

The premise is very intriguing: a website named "Nicaea" suddenly appears which claims to show you the "death clips" of your friends before they actually happen. Everyone seems to be pretty dubious of this until you and your two friends Io and Daichi witness a death clip of themselves dying in a train station minutes before the train actually crashes into the station. However, instead of dying, a demon appears to you and asks if you want to die - and of course you answer no! - and so starts your journey in order to save Japan (and possibly the world?!) from this supernatural invasion and discover the origins and purpose of Nicaea!

--

The way this game is played is that you have a main screen similar to a phone with its apps - you can go on missions or complete events, edit your team, fuse demons, buy demons, and a lot more. The game is played through the previously stated "missions" (battles) or "events" (story-progressing dialogues) which you can select to go on. Events are usually your character talking with another, and your "Fate" (or Relationship) with that specific character can grow and you'll get some added perks. Missions are battles where you either have a specific goal (Flee without any of your allies dying, don't let the rioters escape, etc) or just a kill-everything goal. There is also the option to participate in "free battles" which are, essentially, ways to grind without progressing in the story.

However, this setup seems to backfire on DS2 sometimes. It is way too easy to make game-changing decisions on accident if you do not know what you are doing (ex. almost everybody who is playing this game for the first time). For example, sometimes you are requested to be at a certain place at a certain time in order to prevent somebody's death clip from coming true, and if you happen to not select that mission when the ingame time comes, then there will likely be consequences. By likely, I mean that the character will die because you arrived too late. This feature of the game was only really implied, and not explicitly stated (although this could just be me) because the game does not delete the optional events from the selection screen once the mandatory one shows up. While ultimately you can still complete the game if any character dies, (the game even makes sure you can't let more than 3 die), it is a shame to accidentally make this mistake and lose a potential team member.


Almost all the game's playable characters with the protagonist in the center

Speaking of characters, the diversity is something to be praised for. I find each of them intriguing at least a little bit, since they all seem so different from each other. In games like Fire Emblem, when I was given a selection of characters, I often trained a handful and never really touched any of the others. In certain missions, you are forced to use some characters which you might not have picked (don't worry, all their levels match yours!). This almost keeps you on your feet because it's easy to create a working strategy with 4 members and just plow through the rest of the game executing said strategy, however, by forcing you to use certain characters requires you to think of new strategies and it's a nice way to mix up the playstyle. Each character has different stats and therefore some will be more inclined to use certain magic type attacks or just physical ones.

The types of Command skills (attacks, or "Affinities") are split into magical and physical. Characters with high magic mainly use Fire, Ice, Electric, Force, Curse, Almighty, and Healing spells. Characters with high physical stats mainly use Almighty and Physical attacks. In order to use Magic attacks, your character has a certain amount of Magic Power/MP (just like PP from Pokemon). However, there is really not a reliable way to recover MP in the midst of a battle, so once you run out, sometimes you're kind of, for lack of a better word, screwed, especially when there are many demons that resist Physical attacks. Yeah, there are demons that can recover your team's MP but with the cost of some of their HP (which they'll need MP to restore) or some demons will even heal the rest of the team's using their own MP.

Now, back to the demons you fight with: in the beginning you mostly start off using demons you purchase in the Auction, yet once you unlock the fusion system, a whole new world of demon possibilities become available to you. Two demons can be fused together to create a whole new type of demon, and the skills the original demons know can be passed on to the new one. Pretty sweet. Since there are basically no restrictions when it comes to Command (or attack) skills, literally anything is possible, and you can basically get almost any attack on almost any demon.



Shoutout to my favorite boss

Now, I have a confession here, which brings me to mention one of DS2's large drawbacks (in my opinion of course). I haven't actually finished the game yet, and that is because some levels are almost near impossible to do without grinding, or even just in general. The demons in the free battles (grinding battles) don't exactly level up with you, so it becomes like that point before Elite Four in Pokemon games, where the Elite Four are 10-20 levels higher than all the wild Pokemon or trainers around, and so you are forced to attempt to level up with a pitiful amount of EXP each time. Some battles also require strategies that seem ridiculous to the non-expert such as myself. (... Wednesday's boss. o.e) However, once you beat a boss, you definitely feel a sense of accomplishment that makes you want to continue with this game. Even after losing probably a dozen times to this boss (I probably do suck though) I still feel at least somewhat motivated to try again, since there are so many different strategies I could create by using certain team members and equipping them with different demons and skills each time.

So there you have it! I think I covered everything important about this game. Here's a tl;dr even though you should probably read it for explanations!
(+) Good story
(+) Characters
(+) Demons and fusing system
(+) Unique playstyle
(+) Multiple endings to the game, unique playthrough each time!
(-) Too easy to make game-altering decisions on accident
(-) You will probably have to grind. A lot.
(-) Some levels are really hard, even with grinding.

Overall, I will give this game a score of 7.5 / 10. Despite its flaws, DS2 is still a great game and anyone who is a fan of these types of games or anyone just looking for a new DS title to pick up should definitely check this game out!

Also, just as a sidenote: it may seem like I talk about a lot of the negatives of the game in this review instead of just the positives, which I guess is true, however, I wanted to make sure the game's flaws were explicitly explained because, for example, I would have liked to have known about the permadeath before I accidentally let the game's best physical character die. (tears)

Thank you for reading! Hope you give this game a try.
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Last edited by Altairis; January 15th, 2014 at 12:03 AM.
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  #2    
Old January 14th, 2014, 05:06 AM
Satoshi Ookami's Avatar
Satoshi Ookami
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Very good review!
I'm glad that someone enjoys DS2 =) Even though in SMT universe, you started pretty weirdly =D 'cause there are pretty much 2 groups, one starts with SMT and one with Persona =D

But let's concentrate on the DS2 =D

ad Character dying: That's in a way helping you to get through endings because if those characters die, they won't be against you in the ending-towards event battles =) But yea, I was also pretty sad when I let Keita and Jungo die in the first playthrough :/ But if you do all the story-wise events as quick as possible, you won't have a chance to miss a save chance =D

Quote:
Originally Posted by Altairis View Post
(the game even makes sure you can't let more than 3 die)
Actually... that's not it... Game only allows you to have 4 member party everytime except for the ending-lead events. As only 3 characters (I won't spoil them but you can guess from the spoiler down) + Daichi as Hibiki's best bud don't get death clips.
HUGE spoiler.
Spoiler:
if you go the worst route (yea, you actually need to do this very carefully so it's almost unachievable but it can be done ), you can let all these characters die: Keita, Jungo, Joe, Otome, Io, Ronaldo, Makoto, and Yamato. All achievable through Anguished One's route.
In "normal" ways everyone mentioned above can die + Anguished One and only one of Ronaldo/Makoto/Yamato or Makoto + Ronaldo/Yamato depending on selected ending.


ad Magic: Actually... you know... in DS2, physical built Hibiki (MC) is pretty much preferred =D I always go 40 Magic and own everything with Holy Dance but physical built is very useful So I wouldn't say magic is that overwhelming in the game =)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Altairis View Post
Some battles also require strategies that seem ridiculous to the non-expert such as myself. (... Wednesday's boss. o.e)
That's because you have encountered newgame+ recommended boss =D
The week bosses (Monday -> Sunday) are very high leveled demons that shouldn't be encountered in the first playthrough where you are accustoming yourself with the game and you don't have ideal partner demons.
But... the "beauty" of Atlus bosses will be shown in the final boss =)
After you get the first ending, everything is gonna be slowly easier. As the week bosses will have good exp giving minions, you will surely get to level 99 in your 2nd playthrough.
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Last edited by Satoshi Ookami; January 14th, 2014 at 05:12 AM.
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Old January 14th, 2014, 11:55 PM
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Thank you for replying! I would have waited to write the review until I had finished but since I was going to write it anyway I thought I might as well write it now since I had free time and I had pretty much somewhat gotten the hang of it anyway. Glad to have someone else who has played the game input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Satoshi Ookami View Post
Very good review!
I'm glad that someone enjoys DS2 =) Even though in SMT universe, you started pretty weirdly =D 'cause there are pretty much 2 groups, one starts with SMT and one with Persona =D

But let's concentrate on the DS2 =D
Really?? I just started with the newest DS one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Satoshi Ookami View Post
ad Character dying: That's in a way helping you to get through endings because if those characters die, they won't be against you in the ending-towards event battles =) But yea, I was also pretty sad when I let Keita and Jungo die in the first playthrough :/ But if you do all the story-wise events as quick as possible, you won't have a chance to miss a save chance =D

Actually... that's not it... Game only allows you to have 4 member party everytime except for the ending-lead events. As only 3 characters (I won't spoil them but you can guess from the spoiler down) + Daichi as Hibiki's best bud don't get death clips.
Yup, I figured that's why. I just decided to write about this because I feel like this should be made clear to people who haven't played any of these games before, such as myself? Since games shouldn't just be marketed to returners but also to newbies and yeah, or maybe I'm just an idiot and I'm not very good at the game lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Satoshi Ookami View Post
Spoiler:
if you go the worst route (yea, you actually need to do this very carefully so it's almost unachievable but it can be done ), you can let all these characters die: Keita, Jungo, Joe, Otome, Io, Ronaldo, Makoto, and Yamato. All achievable through Anguished One's route.
In "normal" ways everyone mentioned above can die + Anguished One and only one of Ronaldo/Makoto/Yamato or Makoto + Ronaldo/Yamato depending on selected ending.
Yeah, exactly, lol. "You actually need to do this very carefully" is something I didn't like about this game playing it the first time because I kinda messed up a lot of things I didn't want to. I guess I can play it again and I won't make the same mistakes the second time around, but imo I just dislike games that have that this feature and there's no way to do anything about it once you screw up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Satoshi Ookami View Post
ad Magic: Actually... you know... in DS2, physical built Hibiki (MC) is pretty much preferred =D I always go 40 Magic and own everything with Holy Dance but physical built is very useful So I wouldn't say magic is that overwhelming in the game =)
I think what I meant was, Physical is good but there's this chunk in the game where a lot of demons are Strong against it, and anyway just looking at the distribution if you have higher Magic than you have waayy more options than Physical. /shrug I guess it's not that big of a deal since your MC isn't your only character haha but I've had an easier time with Magic than Physical

Quote:
Originally Posted by Satoshi Ookami View Post
That's because you have encountered newgame+ recommended boss =D
The week bosses (Monday -> Sunday) are very high leveled demons that shouldn't be encountered in the first playthrough where you are accustoming yourself with the game and you don't have ideal partner demons.
But... the "beauty" of Atlus bosses will be shown in the final boss =)
After you get the first ending, everything is gonna be slowly easier. As the week bosses will have good exp giving minions, you will surely get to level 99 in your 2nd playthrough.
?? I thought this was a boss you had to face?? I'm talking about Megrez. What is a newgame+ recommended boss? I haven't beat the game yet so I'm unsure as to how I could have gotten ng+...
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Old January 15th, 2014, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Altairis View Post
?? I thought this was a boss you had to face?? I'm talking about Megrez. What is a newgame+ recommended boss? I haven't beat the game yet so I'm unsure as to how I could have gotten ng+...
Oh... this one =D Megrez was pretty annoying 'cause he was instantly moving from place to place forcing you to waste turns =D
You will also have chance to face special bosses on each day that's what I meant =D
The one I was talking about is Lilith =D You can battle her from 14:00 to 16:00 on Wednesday =)
And you don't need to be in ng+ to meet her =D It's just recommended to beat her in ng+ =D

I'm looking forward to your finished game report =)
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Old January 15th, 2014, 12:32 AM
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Ohhh whoa I didn't even realize that there were special bosses lmao. I just read your post really wrong wwhooopsies. Thank youu! n_n
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Old January 15th, 2014, 03:34 PM
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Good review, you should Overclocked or Devil Survivor 1 next. Overclocked is a remake of the first one for the 3ds though
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Old January 15th, 2014, 03:37 PM
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Okay, thank you! I'll check those out next :3
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Old January 16th, 2014, 12:20 AM
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Satoshi Ookami
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Okay, thank you! I'll check those out next :3
Or finish all endings in DS2 xD
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