Shin Megami Tensei - Devil Survivor (US)(OneUp) ROM
Nintendo DS / DS NDS ROMsGenre: StrategyRole-Playing
Rating: CERO: B, ESRB: T
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Game Description & Reviews:
Devil Survivor is a RPG developed by Atlus. This game is well deserving of a 5/5 rating, The gameplay is great, and the story is absolutely amazing. You use monsters that can be obtained via the auction, or by combining two different monsters together. The monster fusion feature allows you to create many different types of monsters, adding more variety to the game. Another great thing about this game is that there are different endings to it. The ending you get is determined by the things you do. The story is pretty straightfoward. Basically, monsters have appeared in Tokyo city, and the city is now under lockdown. Upon the lockdown, you find "comps", that allow you to summon demons. Using these demons, you and your friends must find a way out of Tokyo City. This game is an absolute must is you own a DS. Check this game out!
Tokyo City. Present day. You're going with your friends to meet your cousin. Simple enough, no?
That's before the lockdown. The entire central region of Tokyo is blockaded by the Japanese army: no-one goes in, no-one goes out. You're completely stuck, with your friends and the countless other innocent bystanders who just happened to be there.
Then you're attacked. By what, you don't know. Assuming you have the skill, you emerge victorious, the creatures (calling themselves demons) defect to you and all you know is that your COMPs - COMmunication Players, devices sent to you by your cousin - are the only thing that can help you. So, what do you do? Do you try to destroy the source of the beasts? Do you strive to control them? Or do you merely struggle to survive?
There are hefty moral choices abound in this game. The characters are so down-to-earth that it's possible relate with them very easily, and as the decisions get harder, so does the feeling of wanting to make the right choice. This causes you to stop and think quite a lot: "What would I really do?"
A good, riveting strategy RPG is hard to come by these days, and thankfully SMT: Devil Survivor delivers. You and your party members (up to 4 total) can join with up to 2 demons each, and these demons move around with that character as a full team. Battles are conducted in the usual SRPG manner, with each character taking their turn based on their speed and delay from their previous action.
However, once you step next to an enemy and select "Attack", the screen transitions to the usual RPG layout (most will relate it very closely to Dragon Quest), and each participant (leader and 0-2 demons) takes one action - however, in exceptional circumstances, like exploiting a weakness or landing a critical hit, that character may be able to use one more action before the fight shifts back to the whole battlefield. The usual victory conditions will be "vanquish all enemies", but a good proportion of the missions involve something else entirely, allowing for sufficient variety to keep you hooked.
To survive in such a world, you're going to need new, stronger demons to fight alongside you. This is where the Demon Auction comes into play. As you earn Macca (that game's currency), you spend it in the Auction to buy better demons; however, if you're too hesitant about it, or try to get a bargain, you may be outbid and lose your chance. In addition, fans and veterans of the SMT series will be glad to know that demon fusion is back in all its glory. This allows you to take two demons you already have and merge them into an even more powerful one, one that will prove invaluable to your quest. There are limits, though - you cannot create a demon whose starting level is greater than the protagonist's.
Your demons also have skills, whether they be physical attacks that rarely hit but always critical when they do, blazing fires to incinerate your foes to a crisp or a refreshing breeze to return a wounded ally to the fight. These skills are set (with the exception coming from fused demons, as they can gain extra skills they'd normally be unable to learn), but you can equip you party with any you've obtained the hard way. This method involves targeting them with one of your party members (each member can only target one skill from one enemy). If you manage to kill the specified enemy with the character who targeted them, you obtain that skill, and can equip it to any of your party. This is a lot harder than it sounds, but it is vital to succeed in living through your time in the lockdown. The game explains it better anyway, so you should be able to pick it up in no time.
The music is memorable, and in some cases brilliant, but generally it's nothing worth writing home about. Still, it's certainly atmospheric, so it sets the mood nicely, and it's not really enough to bring down the experience as a whole.
With a simple-yet-deep battle system, an impacting story and 6 different endings, you'll likely be back to play through the game again and again.
Apologies for the long description, but I believe a great game deserves a great review. Now go enjoy the game!
Overall, Devil Survivor hits all the marks of a great Shin Megami Tensei title: the story has a mature tone with plenty of twists and multiple endings, the setting and characters defy the genre's norms, and the gameplay mechanics offer some unique twists to well established formulas while demanding the player to think strategically.
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