Sunday, July 19, 2015

Game Review: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker

Strategy RPG; Nintendo 3DS; Atlus; 2015
Well it's been a while since I had the opportunity to review something. Sorry for all the delays, but it's finally here, my review of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker, and Atlus really needs to keep some titles' length to a minimum. Seriously, this is almost as bad as Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, but not as bad as Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs the Soulless Army. Anyway, this past weekend has been kind of hectic. I went to see Ant-Man on Saturday (which was your typical Marvel Studio movie, pretty much dead in the middle with the rest of the Marvel cinematic universe), but before that I had to take care of some financial issues. See, some one got a hold of my Debit card information and started using it to make fraudulent charges. Fortunately, it was caught in time and my card was frozen immediately, but it did mean I had to go to my bank and get a new card. And just when I had finally gotten my old card's number memorized. Anyway, I got a new card, and the few charges that weren't mine are being taken care of. With that out of the way it's time to get this review on the road.

Why the Bunny ears?
Nicaea, a website where you can see videos of the deaths of your friends before it happens. On a whim you sign up for the site, but after it predicted an accident that almost killed you and your friends, there is more to this site than just some hoax. Now, with the power to summon demons from their phones. A small group of youths must survive in a world that is slowly crumbling around them. But surviving this ordeal is just the beginning, what awaits our heroes when the world was suppose to have been saved? Peaceful Days have Died. Let's Survive.

Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker is an enhanced port of Devil Survivor 2 for the DS, and much like Devil Survivor Overclocked (the enhanced version of the original Devil Survivor) it makes it's value in the post game content. However, while Overclocked had a bonus 8th day for some of it's endings, Record Breaker features an all-new scenario that takes place after the original game's conclusion (think "The Answer" from Persona 3 FES). This new scenario doesn't follow after any of the original game's endings, so it feels like a "what if" scenario that is rather jarring going from the first arc to the second. Also, despite the fact that the new campaign is shorter than the original story, it does suffer from a lot of repetition. While the story's great, so many scenes just play out as "We need to do X. But in order to do X we need Y. We don't have Y. But we need to do X." and so on and so on. It makes the short campaign feel like it takes twice as long as it needs to, which is a really frustrating thing. I mean, it's a cool story, but I don't want to hear about stuff I already know.

Either that or it's a starfish.
Devil Survivor is Shin Megami Tensei that ran head long into a Strategy RPG (that some how DIDN'T become Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem). The gameplay is broken up into story events and battles. Story events come usually in large batches, and you only have a limited amount of time to view them as each take up a portion of each day. Here you can chat up with your friends with your silent protagonist that can have up to three different reactions to any given situation, and strengthen you bonds with them. Battles are where you, and three of your allies, form teams with demons to battle other likewise teams of humans and demons or full demon teams. Battles start off on an isometric grid where each team moves as one unit, when two teams are within striking distance the game switches to a more traditional Turn-Base Battle system where each member of each team selects an attack, and the results play out. However, given this is a Shin Megami Tensei game, exploiting weaknesses and suring up strengths is key as hitting an enemy's weakness can net your characters Extra Turns while robbing the enemy of theirs. Hitting a elemental strength does the opposite, and while you can do this all you like to the enemy, the ENEMY can do the same against you. Always be prepared is the name of the game here, as a perfectly suited party can run rough shot against the enemy while a power but poorly planned group while falter. And of course, what SMT game would be complete without Demon Fusion. Bid against other demons tamers in auctions to get new demons, and then fuse two demons together for combined skills and bigger Stats. And you will HAVE to do this as demons will slow down in terms of leveling up, so always fuse the latest and most powerful demons you can.

All this action is happening on the bottom screen.
Unfortunately, much like Overclocked, Record Breaker has one glaring flaw. Since it was original a DS game, most of the gameplay happens on the bottom screen. This means the 3D effect is nearly worthless as it only affect the status display up-top. There are also cases of BAD 3D, since while the all new opening sequence is entirely 2D, all of the original movies from the DS version of the game have be post converted into 3D, and it is AS BAD as most post conversion 3D movies. Actually, it may be worse since the original movies where blurry as hell thanks to the compression required to get the movies onto the original DS carts. Only a few ending still shots are worth the 3D effect. And as always with SMT games, these are NOT for the faint of heart. The difficulty is real and it spikes like crazy at some points. There is a new "Blessed" Difficulty setting which makes the game easier, but for those who want a challenge, oh it IS here.

Despite my ranting on the new story, this game is seriously worth it's Atlus tax. If you never got a chance to play the original Devil Survivor 2, then this IS the version to play. It's the entire game from start to finish with a few additions along the way. And even if you have played the original this new version should be worth your while since the new campaign, while repetitive, is still enjoyable as the new character Miyako is instantly likeable and very complex. I just hope now that Atlus has remade the first two Devil Survivor games, they can now work on a Devil Survivor game designed FOR the 3DS. Just think what they can do with that. Anyway, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker comes highly recommended.

Until Next Time.

-CRES, Miyako Hotsuin has rocketed up my list of cute girls who will probably kill me if I give them a reason to.

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