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SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI:  DEVIL SURVIVOR 2



 
General Description

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 is a strategy RPG developed by Atlus and released for the Nintendo DS in March 2012. It shares many details and other mechanics with other games in the Shin Megami Tensei series, though its characters and plot are original.

 

Players control an unnamed protagonist, a high school student who quickly gets caught up in a strange mystery; he and his friends begin receiving videos depicting each others’ deaths. As they race to prevent these events they are attacked by demons, and they’re soon given access to mysterious cell phone applications that allow them to summon their own demons to do battle in what quickly becomes a post-apocalyptic Japan.

 

Players can purchase and fuse new demons between battles, and each member of the player’s party is accompanied by a pair of demons. When battles begin, players choose their character-demon teams and take turns moving around on grid-based maps. Combat between parties is done with traditional turn- and menu-based mechanics, though a typical battle lasts only one turn, allowing the player to retreat or make other strategic choices between attacks.

 

Player creativity and problem solving are the game’s strongest points. Players manage four parties at once in battle, and can customize these parties in great detail when fusing demons. This gives the player plenty of freedom while allowing the game to put together a wide range of challenging puzzles.

 
Grade by Game Type Overall Grade
C C-
Ratings at a Glance
 
Facts: 3 Title: SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI: DEVIL SURVIVOR 2
Creativity: 5 Publisher: Atlus & Ghostlight
Business: 3 Developer: Atlus
People: 1 Year: 2012
Problem: 5 Genre: Role Playing
Simulation: 0 Strengths: creativity, problem, extra
Popularity: 8 Platforms: Nintendo DS
Extra: 0  
Rating Details

Classroom Facts

 

Devil Survivor 2 contains some small value in classroom facts without ever focusing on them outright. There’s plenty of dialogue in the scenes between battles, which means that there’s plenty of reading to be done. Mathematics are an integral part of many of the game’s mechanics. They’re limited to addition and subtraction, but there’s a lot of it.  Some of the names used in the game are from the name of stars from the Big Dipper constellation.  In addition, the game contains a little geography using the names of real Japanese cities.

 

Creativity & Imagination

 

By the Player:

 

Purchasing and fusing demons is a large part of the game, and it allows players to experiment and form their own teams from early on. Demons are categorized into different types and levels, and any two can be fused to create a new demon of a specific type. In addition fused monsters can pass on a portion of their stats, as well as any abilities they possess. The window for passing skills is tight, though, as any given demon can only hold a handful of skills, and many come with their own mandatory skills taking up space. This means that getting any given combinations of skills can require a complex series of fusions planned from an early stage.

 

These skills are often just ways to do more damage when attacking, but many offer more strategic options - different ways to move around on the battlefield, or heal members of another party when they’re in trouble. Players eventually control four party members - each of which can be outfitted with skills stolen from enemies during battle - and each of those moves and fights with a pair of demons from the player’s collection. This gives players a wide range of options and, unlike in many other games, almost all of these options can have a significant effect on battle. The range and complexity of options when it comes to team-building can make the process highly satisfying, and as the game continues players are given access to a wider and wider pallet of options to work creatively with.

 

By the Developer:

 

Devil Survivor 2 does fit into certain molds, though it also has a way of sort of stretching them into one another. Its turn-based battles offer terrific depth, and they are tucked into strategy-RPG that is just as solidly designed. The game also embraces the inspired mish-mash of lore found in the Shin Megami Tensei series, and offers a compelling story that starts with high school students in an apocalyptic Japan and quickly proceeds to directly visit themes ranging from friendship to class warfare.

 

Business Skills

 

Players collect money - as usual - for defeating enemies, as well as larger bonuses for winning battles. Devil Survivor 2 doesn’t include any kind of items or equipment; players spend it exclusively to purchase and fuse new demons. Most demons are sold through auctions, and auctions conclude with the player making a blind bid against estimates of their competitors.

 

The game springs other costs on players seemingly at random; sometimes a purchased demon will demand more money at the last second, and fusing one specific variety of demon requires a thousand dollar bonus. Players actually need to start planning on possibly encountering these costs, as money can be extremely tight for players that want to experiment with their teams.

 

People Skills

 

Devil Survivor 2 is a single-player game, though the relationships between its characters are integrated significantly. The game takes place over the course of a week, and players advance half-hours at a time by choosing which characters to interact with. Each party member has his or her own plot that players can uncover piece by piece over the course of the game, though they’ll have to pick and choose which characters to meet with as the days go on. As the player gets closer to each character they also unlock bonuses in combat, like elemental strengths or the option to pass demons between characters. The specific plots eventually unlock specific demons that can’t be accessed otherwise.

 

Problem Solving

 

Successful players need to incorporate a varied selection of attacks into their team. Each demon has strengths and weaknesses; while having a team dedicated solely to physical attacks can be extremely effective, there will occasionally be a challenge against which physical attacks are completely useless. This applies to magic attacks and even specific elements just as well, meaning players will benefit most from building their teams as diversely as possible.

 

This largely involves tinkering around with buying and fusing demons between battles, but players also need to understand how to use their groups in battle. Many missions use the game’s rules pretty creatively, adding bosses that attack in wide areas or points that players need to defend from attack.

 

In fact there’s almost always some new twist or enemy with a particularly powerful skill being introduced. Many of these are sprung in the middle of a mission, requiring players to think on their feet and persevere over longer periods of time.

 

Players are also constantly multitasking on multiple levels; figuring out how to deal damage while defending is always a concern, but most missions add specific areas of maps or AI-controlled characters that need to be defended. These ideas as well as the increasingly wide range of skills and demons available continue to twist the game’s already complex battle mechanics further over the course of the game.

 

Simulation

 

Devil Survivor 2 is not a simulation game.

 

Popularity

 

The game was largely praised, both for its mechanics and its story. At most, reviews criticized the game for feeling too much like its predecessor.

 

Controls & Options

 

There are a few standard audio/visual options, and players can control parts of the game - menus, mostly - using either the touchscreen or the DS’ buttons.

 

Tips

 

Devil Survivor 2 was rated Teen by the ESRB with descriptors for Alcohol Reference, Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco, and Violence.