Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker 3DS Review
Those who live in America, or those savvy enough to know Japanese, saw this game come about much earlier in the year. Being a British JRPG fan means you sometimes have to exercise your patience. Those who did wait for Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker are in for a good experience, as long as you don’t mind being challenged every step of the way.
It’s a port of a game that already did see release over here on the DS, but not in large quantities and a few years after everyone was caught up in playing 3DS games, so it’ll be no surprise if this is your first time coming across it. Though if you played the previous Devil Survivor game, you know exactly what to expect.
Yep, Devil Survivor 2 is much more of the same, and reading Dominic Sheard’s review of the previous game would give you a very good idea of what to expect. While the story details are different the core game is very much the same, a hardcore strategy RPG.
Build up a team of demons, obtained either through auctions or fusing others together, in order to take on difficult fights. Each character represents a team moving on a grid, and when you attack another enemy on the field, it starts a traditional-looking turn-based system. In this both you and the enemy are able to attack, meaning that unless you’ve assembled the perfect team of demons, combat is risky.
Taking cues from the standard Shin Megami Tensei battle systems, demons have their own specific strengths and weaknesses, and the ones that you summon may also be the ones you’re up against in the field. Building teams that take proper advantage of enemy weaknesses is key to winning all encounters, so a stock of varied demons will be a big help. Exploiting enemy weaknesses can The enemy will also be very ready to exploit any weaknesses you have, so be sure to come prepared for that as well. This version comes with an easier difficulty option that wasn’t in the original game, it can be switched at any time and while it does lessen the game’s difficulty a bit, it is still a challenging game.
In terms of story it’s a pretty standard tale of teenagers trying to prevent an apocalypse. Throughout the game, the characters will be sent videos of their friends dying, this serves to emphasise the branching path nature of the game, as it’s possible that you could fail to save some of them and the game will carry on without them. Your dialogue choices and relationships with other characters will also decide the potential outcome in the end as well. The story is fairly cliche but well told. Many of the characters act like typical anime archetypes, and while the localisation seems to a okay job with making them seem a bit more believable through the dialogue, they still are predictable.
What this version also includes that didn’t appear in the DS original is a second story arc that can be selected from the beginning of the game, in case you already spent so much time with the original. It pretty much doubles the length of the game, though if you can’t stomach 60 hours of tough battles.
And they really are tough fights. Without a well put together team and good strategy, there’s no chance of making it very far. If the idea of having to go through a battle for 30-40 minutes only to lose and repeat again, potentially multiple times, sounds too stressful to you then maybe give this one a miss. However if you have the patience to sort out good teams and plan out the best ways of taking on enemies, there’s some satisfaction to be had here in toppling the difficult enemies.
As a 3DS port is doesn’t feel like it takes much advantage of the system. If I was told it was a DS game from looking at the screenshots I’d believe it. Most of the on-screen action doesn’t even make use of the top-screen so there’s next to no 3D support, not it’s at all necessary. Most of the game is text boxes and menus, and while they do look cool and stylish, it feels like a functional graphical style.
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker takes an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach as a sequel. It feels largely unchanged from its predecessor, but the general core systems it is based on are well refined enough that it still offers a good challenge for those with the patience to tackle it.