Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
"Peaceful days have died," so let's have a great time.
on August 18, 2015
It's a great JRPG, a great SRPG, a great SMT game, and a lovely improvement over the original DS version! Most of the features from Devil Survivor 2 made their way into this upgrade of the first game (except DeSu2's Fate system, sadly) and it really helps. I used to think, before these recent remakes, that DeSu had the better story while DeSu2 had the better gameplay - this remake evens the playing field a bit. As such, this game combines great gameplay with useful features/additions and a great atmosphere-driven story with interesting characters.
That said, since this is a Shin Megami Tensei spin-off, be warned: it's difficult. Patience is not only a virtue but a must with these games. Certain monsters can and will one-hit you, and some bosses will need to be repeated until you get your strategy down. That said, the game is really fun once you get over that learning curve, and the story and characters really help push you along in that regard.
The game is set in a modern-day Tokyo, where you and your companions have just been trapped in a government lockdown/quarantine of the area. You quickly learn that this has to do with the demons you discover, and in fact acquire through strange portable electronic devices (called "COMPs," but clearly resemble a Nintendo DS/3DS) that are able to summon them. Communication is severed, demons start causing chaos, people start to panic, and your party finds themselves simply trying to survive day-to-day. This leads you to finding the cause of the lockdown, the origin of the demons, the COMPs, etc. and your decisions ultimately decide how, or even if, you try to fix things and end the lockdown or not. There are quite a few endings as a result that are, again in typical SMT fashion, often alignment-based (e.g. chaos, law/order, neutrality, etc.). You can even get a bad ending, but that's easy to avoid if you pay much attention at all.
The gameplay is divided into two parts: non-combant and combat.
Non-combat gameplay has a list of areas you can go to in the lockdown, with people you can talk to or events/battles to partake in. This all happens according to a 24-hour clock, meaning certain people can only be talked to at certain times and battles likewise can be time-limited. As such, you can leave characters to die if you know in advance they are in danger at a specific time and refuse to help them out. Your choices in this regard, i.e. who you talk to and such, will help shape and determine the course that your game takes and the final route and ending you get. So a general idea is to talk to plenty of people early on until you have an idea of who you agree with and ultimately want to help achieve their goals the most. And don't worry - you're not locked into a decision or anything until much later in the game, and it's black-and-white when you do finally decide what route you'll take.
And also out of combat you get to buy demons (via "Auction" or the compendium of your past/current demons), fuse them (two demons become a third demon, with you losing the two you fused), changing up your teams/skills, etc.
Combat gameplay takes place in individual skirmishes or fights that are made up of a local area, overlaid by a grid that determines movement. The flow is turn-based, with each player character (up to 4 at a time) and enemy character taking turns according to their speed. So you don't control all of your characters at once before ending your turn, and you don't get to choose which character of your goes when. This adds a need to strategize, of course. Once your character engages in combat with another, the gameplay momentarily departs from traditional grid-based SRPG games as it opens into a turn-based JRPG combat where you choose the actions for your character and their demons (up to two) and it happens at the same time as the enemy's actions - chronologically carried out by each individual's Agility stat. The actual fighting involves a very interesting (even if sometimes frustrating) system of elements, resistances, and "extra turns" (i.e. extra actions, usually gained through critical hits or hitting an enemy's elemental weakness). This is something you'll definitely have to get a handle on in order to get through the game without rage-quitting.
While it's a game where you absolutely need to have patience and be willing to learn the ins-and-outs of combat, I would recommend it to anyone that likes RPGs, JRPGs, SRPGs, or even other SMT games.