Game Review — Shin Megami Tensei: Devil SurvivorJuly 7, 2009 at 11:50 pm | Posted in Console | 3 Comments
Tags: devil survivor, game review, made of win, nintendo DS, shin megami tensei, shin megami tensei: devil survivor, SRPG
Let me tell you, I have not put this game down for over a week. It’s challenging (Either that or I fail at strategy, both are options), has a plot that grabs you in, and a wide spectrum of interesting and realistic characters. I really enjoyed this game, despite the major agravation and frustration it gave me to finish it. I do plan later on to go back and complete every route (There’s 4 major endings), but right now I’ll enjoy my victory and take on some other games (Like Project Diva, which should be arriving at my house someday soon!)
Follow the cut for a review of sorts, warning spoilers may be included.
Firstly, a quick summary of the plot. You play a headphone’d main character who is going to meet his cousin, the renouned computer whiz Naoya. Along with you are your two friends Yuzu and Atsuro. You soon enough are given these COMPs, and after Atsuro cracks them, a message appears across the screen.
Which, actually, sums up the entire idea of the game into two relatively small words. But anyways, following that, the main characters receive an e-mail fortelling events to happen. Turns out by the end of the day, just about every one of those things comes true. That night a blackout strikes Tokyo. When everyone wakes up, they find Tokyo to be locked down. Soon enough you find out what the numbers above everyone’s head mean, it’s the days they have left to survive. And everyone has no more than 6 days.
Now, before I move on, I’d like to crush the “This sounds like The World Ends With You” idea. Firstly, the location. TWEWY takes place in purely Shibuya, while SMTDS takes place within the Yamanote Circle. While the Yamanote Circle includes Shibuya, it’s many other areas. And secondly, the 7 days thing. TWEWY was actually 21 days (3 weeks), while SMTDS is litterally 7 days (if it had been more, DEAR GOD SAVE ME). I will, however, admit they have a similar feel. But at the same time, SMTDS’s story is much darker than TWEWYs, which can either be good or bad, depending on what you’re looking for. So, with that out of the way, onto more important things.
As far as graphics go, it’s your standard isometric sprites across an isometric grid. They do have more than just the “idle” pose however, and the sprites are more often used for certain scenes because of the amount of work put into other animations. As for the visual novel style portion, the text box is well designed (And fits 3-4 lines of text when not an option selection) and the character cutouts are well drawn. Each character also has a wide range of emotions which change dependant on what’s being said (like any usual VN).
Music wise, as Tijuana mentioned on my post earlier, they do tend to repeat a lot of tracks. All the songs fit the theme, but after a while the same ol’ battle theme may get a tad annoying (However, the boss fight music is very epic). The OP song is really nice too. I do have one gripe with the music though. They really should have picked a track that wouldn’t repeat itself 20 times for the credits.
Now onto gameplay. The system seems simple enough (and not unnecessarily complicated) and follows a usual turn-based system. It’s sort of like a dual turn based system I guess. You have turns to move and do outside-of-battle-actions, and then when you attack a demon or enemy team you have another set of turns to actually attack everything. That’s really the only part worth talking about, since the VN portion doesn’t stray from usual VN play.
As for plot and characters, wow I really loved it. Every character was well balanced, even the minor characters were made to be realistic! ATLUS did a nice job capturing the panic and mass hysteria that would break out in these sorts of ordeals. And nice translations too, ATLUS USA! The dialogue was very well translated.
And lastly, challenge and enjoyment. If you like SRPGs and play them often, you won’t have nearly as much challenge as I did (I’m not a big SRPG person), but it still does get tough and you will probably need a little trial and error (Or at least going halfway through the battle, the conditions change and you realize “Oh crap, I needed [skill/demon/character]”). As far as enjoyment goes, mine is always based on the plot and characters. If I didn’t like the characters or felt the plot fell short, I won’t really like a game. In this case, of course, I loved both. I have to say Midori gets a nice spot in my favorite character list, and this game is pretty much my favorite DS game ever. I enjoyed working harder and trying to figuring things out every time the chance arised. Also, as a note, my path was Haru/Gin. I never was one for the extremes of argument sides, I like somewhere right smack in the middle, because 9 times out of 10, it’s the most sensible choice.
And with that, I say, “We Survived”.