Saturday, October 17, 2009

Review: "Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor DS"

Saw my friend BakaHiki reviewing this great DS game, so I thought I'll give it a spin too. For starters, this is a grid-based TBS game, so I tend to be a little biased since it's one of my favorite game genres.

Devil Survivor is about your characters being trapped in a 7 day area lockdown in the middle of Tokyo area. If you have played "The World Ends With You", you would've already noticed the similarities, though that's as far as similarities goes. As the story progresses, it begins to spin off from the norm and lead you down a rather deep rabbit hole.

Since the story concerns bible stuff, I'm rather surprised nothing much is being mentioned about the game online. I guess the world out there is getting more open-minded?

Anyways, unlike most TBS where each character is a unit, in Devil Survivor, each unit is a team of 3 consisting of 1 human and 2 demons. This allows lots of space for customization. You can have a team mainly for physical attacks, or even specializing in fire and healing magic. The possibilities is almost limitless.

Grid-based TBS

Due to the teaming system, two teams engaging throws them into a classic RPG style combat. The best thing about this is that everything uses the initiative system, which means if your character is fast, he will still attack faster despite the enemy being the one who initiated the fight, although they do get a bonus to their speed when they do so.

As the game progresses, you will be able to unlock the Auction house (which is used to purchase demons) and the Citadel of Shadows, which allows you to combine demons to form another. Before combining both demons, you are allowed to transfer a few of its existing powers to the new demon, so long as the new demon has enough empty slots for you to insert. There ARE sandbox demons which has like 3 empty 'attack' slots and 3 empty 'support' slots for you to fill as you like! For optimization, it's best to get the combining list online and plan, but you can still win the game if you are as clueless as me.

An auction is sold!

There are also other game mechanics in play like "Cracking" a skill and allowing it to be assigned to your character, but I shan't delve on that too much. Basically, human characters can equip any skill they want as long as they have the slot and the stat requirements for it. You can 'Crack' (aka obtain) a skill by assigning a team to the monster with the skill and defeating it with said team. The rest are frivolous details, but you need to note that no 2 humans can equip the same ability.

Speaking of stats, there are 4 stats in this game. You can add 1 point to anyone of them
- Strength governs your physical attack, as well as some ability to cast fire spells
- Agility governs your speed, which is universally useful even for casters. It's nice to see you destroy everything in one spell before the opponent can react.
- Vitality governs your hp and defense. Honestly, I only get it for the stat requirements
- Magic governs your magical ability.

good ole RPG combat

This game has a New Game+ and fortunately, there is some replayability value. There are like 5-6 paths in this game to choose from, so to see how each path goes and ends, it's quite worth it to just play through it again, especially since you keep your old monsters from the previous game, so you can easily clear everything.

Devil Survivor is one of the better games that a DS owner can play. If you are into lots of customization, TBS and a good story, this game is definately for you. It can very well enter my list of favorite TBS games ever.

- Lots and lots of customization
- Good story overall
- Good pace, for a TBS

- Can heavily punish players who doesn't have a plan, or doesn't care much about skill cracks, especially at late game

NeetGeek gives "Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor DS": 9/10

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