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    Gamertell Review: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor for DS

    by Jenni Lada on Jul 7, 2009 at 07:14 AM

    Title: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
    Price: $29.99
    System(s): DS
    Release Date: June 23, 2009
    Publisher (Developer): Atlus (Atlus)
    ESRB Rating: “Teen” for Fantasy Violence, Language, Mild Blood, Partial Nudity
    Pros: Nice variety of recruitable demons. Wonderful blend of visual novel, RPG and strategic RPG. Interesting characters and situation. Dialogue changes effect the ending/destiny. Challenging.
    Cons: Only one save slot
    Overall Score: Two thumbs up, 99/100, A, * * * * 1/2 out of 5

    After spending two weeks with Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor, there’s no doubt in my mind that it is one of the blockbuster DS games. Devil Survivor is one of those games you can play over and over, discovering new things every single time. Not only that, it’s one of those rare games which successfully blends multiple genres (visual novel, strategic RPG and RPG) into an entirely new gaming experience.

    Every time I’d pick up Devil Survivor to play, I’d get caught up in the virtual version of Tokyo and the characters’ plight. Just one more hour to level up characters and work on fusing and developing demons. One more hour to find out how to prevent the events in that day’s Laplace Email. It’s delightfully deep and addicting!

    Seven days to change your destiny and stop a demonic invasion.

    The seven days start out normally for the hero and his two friends Atsuro and Yuzu. The hero’s cousin Naoya has called the three to come visit him in Tokyo. When they arrive, Naoya gives Yuzu three Communication Players (COMPs), DS-like devices used for games and communications. The three learn that Naoya has put custom firmware on all three. Atsuro uses his laptop to hack into them and set them up. Suddenly, a program starts running and three demons emerge from the COMPs.

    After the hero, Atsuro and Yuzu defeat them, they learn they have become demon tamers. A strange email from The Observer with the subject Laplace Mail arrives. It states a man will die in Naoya’s apartment building from mysterious causes at 4pm, an explosion will happen at 7pm in Minato-ku and the whole Tokyo area will experience a blackout at 9pm. Then, the things in the email start coming true.

    Demons are flooding into Tokyo. The government has locked down the area, claiming poisonous gas is the reason. Almost everyone in the area has a death clock over their heads, stating how many days they have left to live. However, Naoya tells his cousin and his friends to survive, and the three find that if they work hard enough, they may be able to change the predictions in the Laplace Mail and cheat death.

    With all the branching paths, multiple save slots should be mandatory.

    Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner is nearly a perfect game. It’s constructed in a fashion where beginners and advanced RPG and strategic RPG players will have no problem navigating through the game. The story is dark, yet offers hints of optimism depending on the path you choose. There are five different endings to trigger, depending on the hero’s responses to people and actions the party undertakes. Players can also customize their human characters with skills learned from demons, and completely customize their owned demons through fusions. Demon acquisition is also simple, since they can be purchased through auctions.

    The most unique aspect of Devil Survivor is, naturally, the battle system. Movement takes place on a strategic RPG style grid, and there are certain skills that can be activated before or after a fight on this grid. Battles with enemies, however, shift to a brief turn-based affair. Each party has a leader, the center character, and two assistant characters. To take down a fight quickly, eliminate the leader characters to make the whole party disappear. It offers the player much more control over battles, and makes it more personal.

    Another great aspect of the game, which isn’t often mentioned, is just how customizable the main character is. You not only decide everything he says to people, you decide how he grows. After he levels up, you’re able to upgrade him however you like. I made my main character a magic using tank, only adding agility points if a spell I wanted him to have required it. Since all opponents have elemental weaknesses, I decided an additional magic user would be best for my party. It’s a nice feature that players can customize the hero to fit their playing style.

    The only downside I can possibly see to Devil Survivor is the lack of save slots. A Devil Survivor cart only has one save position, so you can’t have a backup save to explore one of the other roads not traveled. Since there are multiple endings, this means you have to replay quite a few times to see them all. Thankfully there is a New Game + option after you beat the game. In New Game + keep all demons you had at the end of your first game, all money left over, your auction rank and all the demon skills you learned from battles. If you didn’t get the Yuzu ending in the previous game, the main character’s range of movement increases.

    All DS-owning RPG fans should own Devil Survivor.

    Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner is a great game. It has loads of replay value, an interesting story, lots of customization options and an interesting gimmick that’s new and works! It’s one of those games you can buy and constantly carry with your DS to replay, because each time there’ll be something different to see or experience.

    Also, despite the somewhat dark subject matter, Devil Survivor doesn’t have a depressing tone. Yes, a lot of horrible and scary things are happening in the game, but the moral for most paths seems to be that the future isn’t set in stone. As long as you try your hardest and are willing to stand up for yourself, you can change not only your destiny, but others as well.

    Site [Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor]

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    • Janine Dong from Japan said:

      I’m at a total loss as to which ending I’m currently headed for 😛

      I doubt I’m going to play this game again though….unless, I can’t find any interesting imports to play over here 😀

    • Jenni Lada from Chicago said:
      Avatar for Jenni Lada

      Pretty much the best advice I can give is talk to EVERYONE and try to say what you think they’d want to hear. Worse comes to worse, you’ll always have Yuzu’s sucky ending as an option.

      I’m absolutely hooked on it. I got Yuzu’s ending yesterday and just restarted today. First thing I did was fuse Remiel and now I’m hopefully working toward’s Gin’s ending. (If it doesn’t go well, I’ll see if I can have Naoya or Kaido’s endings open as well.)

    • eggfried said:

      I’m enjoying this game but jesus christ those annoying teeny boppper characters are retarded. I just want to smash Yuzu’s head in with a hammer and feed her to a demon.  The only joy i get out of the interactions is being as rude as possible to Yuzu. i really hope i can change characters soon and not have to read reams of ######## by retarded ‘optimistic’ morons anymore.  Why do the japanese always create such retarded characters.  Why do they have to be so ####### young???  what would be wrong with a slightly depressing tone? why does everyone have to be so ####### happy despite the fact that demons are murdering people everywhere. it kinda makes me wish that demons really would invade Tokyo, or at least just the video game narrative departments…

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