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Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor (DS) Review

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Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor ReviewShin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor is an unpredictable RPG with an easy hook that can grab a player for the game's 60+ hour run almost instantly. No matter the route you take, the game has a fantastic story. It helps that your choices mean something in this RPG, never will there be a forced dialog option to take that gives the illusion of choice. Devil Survivor let's you run wild and pay for your choices as you crawl towards one of the 5 endings.

Unlike most SMT games Devil Survivor plays out as a combination of Strategy genre grid movement and classic turn based battling. The keys to success revolve around cracking skills for your human party members by having that specific character defeat a demon that is 'offering' it in the battle's pregame. Each human and demon can hold 3 command spells, 3 passive spells that revolve around nullifying or bouncing back elements, and 1 auto spell which casts an effect as the battle begins.

Battles become equal part preparation and choice of attack. Most monsters have a weakness but they also can block an element or even a physical strike. The key to getting the edge is hitting their weakness even if your attack isn't too strong. Devil Survivor rewards hits on a weakness with a bonus turn before the battle ends.

This gets a bit deeper with demons who inherit skills based off their type and parents through fusion. Demons can grab skills that humans can't which ties into travel speed for the most part. Most if not all command and passive spells I encountered were attainable, but the auto's were a bit scarce.

The story picks up with the hero, a internet geek named Atsuro, and a airhead redhead named Yuzu going to meet the hero's (You) cousin Naoya. The game shortly after starts to resemble A World Ends With You clone of being trapped in an area of Japan with a limited amount of days. The twist early on is your controlling demons by using a Nintendo DS; called COMP in this game. The plot follow a standard we must escape from this lock down story until after the 2nd Day when the game takes that familiar maddening SMT turn. Just try and count how many biblical and mythological stories start intertwining into the story. Good luck.

After Day 2 you have met a good chunk of the characters and it's here that agenda's of these characters come into play. Midori, a cosplay girl takes up a lot of your time as she causes trouble for instance. Likewise the singer Haru is consistently trying to commit suicide by demon or military cause. It never becomes too much to juggle while playing except trying to piece it all together.

An issue with making a choice early on to follow a specific character is that not every character reveals themselves right away. There are a few characters that do a complete 180 in personality and agenda midway through the game. If you follow Atsuro or Yuzu too quickly in their agenda early on, you could end up stuck with them by the end game.

Acquiring Demons is done through an Auction service provided by your Comp. It essentially can be considered a store because bidding 200 under the asking price will always net you the demon. Letting the AI try and stay in a bidding war will usually result in getting beat and losing the demon you sought out. There are also Accidents in the Auction process which don't occur often but can be extreme annoyances. Essentially you'll either overbid, or the demon is swapped with a really terrible one.

Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor  ReviewThe music is fantastic and holds up with the rest of the series entries in the past decade. Giving both upbeat and chilling tunes the soundtrack can really mix it up on either end of the happy and sad spectrum instantly. Without spoiling much the opening song seen when you turn the game on is the song Haru sings throughout the game.

The graphics are not impressive in the sense they feel like cardboard cutouts most of the time. Characters when talking have three expressions on the emotional scale and some characters just seem off in the drawing. The bartender Gin just seems freakishly drawn compared to the rest of the cast, his image seems stretched the entire game. I actually was more impressed when battling named characters like Gin at points in the game. I got a better understanding of his design or the fact the cult maiden Amane was a teenager and not a ten year old. The demon's look great and battle maps for movement don't hurt the eyes, just a bit too much stiffness to handle.

Devil Survivor is the poster boy for replayability offering 4 other endings to go after in the New Game + mode. If you have the patience for multiple long playthroughs this is your RPG. Most gamers will probably be satisfied by one play through though. Also for those curious all money, demons and auction ratings transfer over to your new game.

Is this game amazing? It is. Devil Survivor provides the perfect balance of excelling in every area. The battles are fun and always remain speedy by keeping both your team and the enemy to having only a single round of turns not including bonus moves. The story is the crutch of this game though and if you don't like a ton of dialog this won't be the title for you. The action of this game aside from maybe two scenes is told through words and background music. It can get a bit weird but as long as your expecting that you'll be prepared for anything. Because the way this title can end, you'll have to be.








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