Article first published as Nintendo DS Review: on Blogcritics.
Los Angeles based Atlus U.S.A. has released another Shin Megami Tensei game, Devil Survivor 2, the sequel to the 2009 Nintendo Ds tactical role playing game Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor. Devil Survivor 2 makes gameplay improvements all around to the handheld series even though a remake of the first title was released on the newer 3Ds. However the technical upgrades of Overclocked are missed in Survivor 2.
SMT: Devil Survivor 2 starts off with you, your friend Daichi, and soon thereafter the buxom La, all Japanese high school students. Your friend Daichi shows you an email and phone app from a website foretelling deaths and that’s where things start to get weird. If you have any experience with SMT games, you know they’re all a little weird. The formula is that you get sent an email foretelling death and then you and your friends set out to prevent it, using your devil summoning phone app.
If this were any other Japanese SRPG, Devil Survivor 2 would basically work like a Pokemon/Disgaea hybrid but, it’s not. The Shin Megami Tensei games all have a way of interweaving a mostly ordinary school life with demonology. As such, the conversations you have will alter your relationships with characters and subsequently change the story. In addition to travelling around Japan and collecting demons for seven days, you’ll have to put a good amount of thought into your conversations.
That being said, the real work in this game is the combat and it can be lengthy and difficult at times. Your group of friends and your collected demons will have to fight your way through this adventure. Combat is executed on a grid map with each character able to move within a limited area. Attacks and special commands can be performed on the grid. Once an enemy has been attacked, the screen flips to a three on three duel. Each team in the skirmish features a summoner and two demons with their own abilities. Although, once the primary is defeated the battle is over.
The combat in Devil Survivor 2 is probably the deepest in a tactical role playing game on a handheld system. Players can get their Extra Turns or Double Extra turns in the battle resulting in almost Capcom-like combos. Players can also decipher enemy skills and in turn, assign these skills throughout their party. If that weren’t enough, Devil Survivor 2 features a demon fusion allowing a combining of demons and acquire up to 24 demons, by winning demon auctions using the Macca collected in battle.
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