Review: SMT Devil Survivor 2

It’s finally out, the second Devil Summonor 2, and on the (old) DS! Of course I got it the instant I could, and since then I’ve been playing it as much as time would allow. So, without too much ado, here’s the review!

Let’s dig in, itadakimasu~

Alioth, one of the Septentriones. This bad boy is as big as Sapporo.

I’ll start off first with the premise, which is pretty run-of-the-mill for MegaTen: you are stuck in an apocalyptical situation, more or less caused by the wrath of a higher power who has decided to punish mankind for its overall badness by throwing demons upon them. Nothing special, and like in the first game, you and your group of friends manage to avoid your own deaths because you are in possession of a device (this time it’s your cellphone) that can predict the future. Furthermore, after defeating your first demon (with your bare fists, like a Viking), you forge a contract with it and are able to summon stronger demons as you level up. Thereafter, you have a week to fight off special enemies called Septentriones, and save the world.

First, I’ll comment on the differences between the first and second game. There isn’t really anything different in the gameplay/controls, though there are some differences in plot, obviously. In this game, the creator of the Demon Summoning App (Nicaea) isn’t your crazy cousin but an equally shady character who will first introduce himself as “The Anguished One.” Also, I feel like this game is much more linear compared to its predecessor. In Devil Survivor 1, there were 5 routes to take, with some obviously harder (or more like, more demanding) to complete than others. In comparison, in DS 2 there seem to be ultimately only three routes (only 3 were obvious to me) four routes and it’s not very hard to attain any of them. These routes represent the factions your friends end up splitting into, and for whichever faction you decide to join, you will have to battle the others. However, I think no matter what route you choose, you will have to battle “God,” in the end, whose name is Polaris.

A feature that I would’ve liked for the game to have added is an auto-attack option like the one in Persona 4 (the one you could toggle with the triangle button during battles). Just a slight annoyance when I’m lazy and my characters are buff enough to kill everything with normal attacks. What the second game did have that was similar to P4 was a “Fate” system, which was basically a Social Link systems. Everyone’s Fate levels max out at 5, and after you decide on your route and beat the other factions, you will be able to convert the friends who you’ve defeated if their Fate level was 4 or more before the fighting. This game also has different features for the second playthrough that make it a little harder than the second playthrough of the first game: the bonus features you get in the second playthrough depends on your completion percentage of your first playthrough, and not all of your monsters/macca carry over. The Mitama buffs also need to be unlocked through the second playthrough; instead of them, you get add-on sets that let you give your demons more skills.

And that is pretty much it in terms of the major logistic differences I noticed. Onwards!

Row 1: (L to R) Io, Makoto, Fumi || Row 2: Hinako, Otome, Airi

The game graphics are more or less like that of the first game; the character designs were even by the same artist. As I will mention in the Characters section, the Protagonist has ridiculous curly hair, and most of the girls who have big boobs also have something weird about their boobs. I’ll let you look at the pictures rather than explaining.

Lastly before we go on to that long spoiler’d section called ‘Characters’ we have the music. DS 2 has a full OP sequence for its title screen, with actual singing! However, the song is only mildly catchy, but I’ll give them points for actually having a song at all. The actual game OST is pretty mediocre in my opinion, and sometimes it gets pretty annoying to hear the same battle music every single time (it’s just not as good as the Pokemon battle theme). The music does signify special events, and a different theme plays when you’re facing a boss or in the last boss stage. Overall though, nothing particularly impressive here.

Row 1: (L to R) Protagonist, Anguished One, Daichi, Joe || Row 2: Ronaldo, Yamato, Jungo, Keita

Finally, Characters: (which ARE safe-for-work, but IS a long section and has some spoilers)

NSFW (Not Safe For Work):   Show

Protagonist: Like in all MegaTen games, the protagonist has the name of your choice, everyone will eventually fall prey to your charms (even men…kind of?) and he has whatever personality you want him to have depending on which of the approximately three responses you choose to say when prompted. I decided to be pervy and silly every chance I could, but what you say doesn’t particularly matter unless you’re toggling a Fate-flag. The Protagonist, Daichi and Io are all 18, surprisingly. Something interesting about him is his ridiculous hair, though without the hair he looks exactly like the protagonist of DS 1. I focused on keeping his Attack twice his Vitality and Agility at all levels, and more or less never leveled his Magic. (my stat counterpart is Otome, who maxed Magic and has very low Attack; she’s awesome)

Tico/Tico: The male and female (respectively) personas of your Demon Summoning App. They have the same name. The male looks and talks like a typical butler, while the female looks and talks like a typical bunny-waitress. I chose the guy though, because the girl looked really creepy. These personas will present to you your new emails, explain your battle and phone functions and summarize your day for you at Bedtime. Otherwise they don’t play a role at all.

The Routes:

Daichi Shijima: He’s part of your original team-of-4, and is your best friend. Nowhere as cool as his counterpart in DS 1. Daichi is a major loser and wimp, with very few moments that slightly up his coolness. Seriously, just look at his picture, he has no backbone. But, he’s one of the factions you can follow (and I did, because I’m a bro), and his faction basically believes that people should just try to solve problems by talking things out… even though they end up fighting everyone in the end anyways. Daichi’s stats focus on Attack and Agility, and end up more or less exactly like Hinako’s stats (so use her instead, she’s way cooler).

Yamato Hotsuin: The pragmatic and utterly logical Chief of JP’s, the government’s anti-demon project. He discards civilian lives with ease for the sake of the bigger picture, and charges your group for being suspicious and tries to confine you in a cell. Afterwards, has a total hard-on for you after he sees your superior battle techniques. So, aside from being really gay, Yamato was a character who got a lot of development. At first he just seems really cold and uncaring, but you learn that his character was greatly influenced by his upbrining, and he actually cares too much (about the future of Japan and the world). If you level up his Fate enough, you convince him to try some takoyaki (which he is hesitant to do), but he wolfs it down after trying it and is surprisingly honest with admitting to his mistakes. Yamato has his own faction, in which he wants to create a world based on merit (I really couldn’t understand the logic of why it was immediately evil, but then they specified that it’d be a strong-kills-weak world). He was actually the hardest battle for me; his stats focus equally on Attack and Magic, so he’s pretty useful for dealing with demons with Tetrakarns and Makarakarns.

Ronaldo Kuriki: The ideal communism route. Ronaldo wants to create an ideal world of total equality, where everyone would help each other out. He’s the civilian rebellion leader who is Yamato’s exactly opposite, and he and Makoto had a love-hate thing going on. I never used him since his stats weren’t compatible with my team. Ronaldo focused on Attack, but everything else was pretty evenly spread out (I think… as I said, I didn’t use him). Also, something interesting about Ronaldo… is his name. According to Wiki, his mother was Brazilian, which explains the name.

Al Saiduq/Anguished One: My favorite route, although in this route the only other route-leader you get to keep is Daichi. At least, to my knowledge. Ronaldo and Yamato more or less both refuse to acknowledge their defeat, and choose to kill themselves rather than to ally themselves with your mysterious friend. I can’t remember their Fate levels during my Al Saiduq playthrough. However, this is more or less the true Protagonist route, in that you have your own idea of how to change the world. First, his name is ridiculous, yes. His route is actually the most difficult if you haven’t probably allocated your Protagonist’s stats, because during the first battle of the whole battle sequence, it’s just you and him against Daichi’s team plus Shiva (assuming Hinako is alive). But Al has pretty good stats (that focus on magic, I think) and he has great auto-resists/nulls. And you later find out he’s actually a Septentrione who, due to his doubt of “God,” despaired and gave birth to a human mentality. But because he’s a Septentrione, Polaris has complete control over him at one point during the battles. It’s fine as long as you have stronger demons with you, but if you’re not up for a challenge I suggest you do this on one of your later playthroughs. If you complete this route, Al becomes the new God and he creates an entirely new world for you to govern as you see fit.

Just a note, I let Keita Wakui and Jungo Torii die, so I actually don’t know what happens there. I assume Keita goes with Yamato and Jungo goes with Ronaldo, but this is speculation. Keita does go with Yamato, but Jungo actually goes with Daichi. Both are strength based, so I didn’t use them at all unless I had to.

Daichi’s Route:

Io Nitta: Also part of your original team-of-4, she’s the token popular girl, with smarts, looks and big boobs. She’s cuter than her counterpart in DS 1, but I realized that it was a trend in DS 2 that all the girls with fully covered (you’ll see why I had to specify) big boobs have weird boob quirks. Io’s seem too … high in the air, and it greatly decreased her appeal for me. … Jokes aside, she lacks a backbone as well, just like Daichi, until you level up her Fate to 4 or 5; there’s a scene where she saves a boy from committing suicide by voicing her opinions, and after that she decides it’d be a better idea to not just agree with whoever she’s talking to (wow, really?). Also, Daichi totally digs her (and her boobs). Io’s stats focus on Attack and Magic, but more on Magic, so her stats are just like Airi’s. I didn’t end up using her because I used Yamato and Otome instead (and even if I wanted someone with her stats, I’d pick Airi instead).

Hinako Kujo: A scantily clad dancer with glasses and a great sense of humor. Her boobs look absolutely normal, hence I specified the “fully covered” part in the previous section. She’s needed to summon Shiva at one point because of her dancing skills, and she becomes the older sister figure for Airi. As I’ve mentioned, Hinako’s stats are just like Daichi’s, so I used her since I liked her more than Daichi.

Jungo Torii: A kinda-hearted and awkward guy. He loves cooking chawanmushi, he dislikes unnecessary violence and he loves his cat (you get to name the cat). He and Keita often bicker about their values. He’s a cute guy, but frankly I didn’t use him that much unless I had to since his stats overlapped with my Protagonist’s.

Yamato’s Route:

Makoto Sako: The first JP’s member you meet, she saves you and takes you in to headquarters to treat Io’s sprained ankle. She later develops conflicting feelings towards JP’s, but ultimately joins Yamato’s cause out of loyalty and obligation. An interesting fact about her is that she used to be aiming for becoming a professional synchronized swimmer. She’s one of the females who has strangely shaped boobs in the game, though they may not be that weird, but her uniform is definitely too tight on her. I never ended up using Makoto either, although I liked her face a lot. She focuses on Attack and Magic, but more on Attack, so in a sense the opposite of Io.

Fumi Kanno: JP’s top tech-go-to chick, she was kidnapped at first by demons. You save her afterwards, of course. All Fumi cares about is researching and learning more; she joins Yamato’s faction because JP’s can fund her, and because she believes that even the weak can find opportunities to become stronger (she uses herself as an example). Fumi is very smart, so she grumbles a lot when people don’t understand her. She has the biggest boobs out of all the girls, but for some reason they look smaller when she presses them together (she does that when she’s annoyed). Also, her happy and annoyed faces look like two different people. Fumi’s stats are heavily Magic-based, but her Vitality stays awful throughout. Thankfully she’s quite speedy so for the most part she’ll knock out her opponents before they get their turns.

Keita Wakui: A tough-guy type, even though he looks like a kid. He’s always punching a sandbag or arguing with Jungo. His main goal is just to get stronger, so he obviously follows Yamato’s route. I believe he had some sob story about his family, but in any case, I wasn’t interested since his stats were strength-heavy, and useless to me.

Ronaldo’s Route:

Yuzuru ‘Joe’ Akie: A seriously flaky adult with great character design; he has a pin-striped cabbie hat and suit set. He has a dying girlfriend in Nagoya, but with your help he eventually comes to terms with feeling guilty about not being able to face her (and eventually kind of faces her) before she dies. However he misses her dying moments, and after that he is determined to become more reliable. I think he gets the most development, but that’s just me. Also, I have no idea why he wanted to be called Joe. His stats are similar to Daichi and Hinako’s, but he has some more points into Magic than either of them. He is the last of your original team-of-4, and I used him a lot in the beginning. Joe joins Ronaldo’s faction, for the sake of saving people like his girlfriend (i.e., the weak).

Airi Ban: A spunky high schooler who, before she was a JP’s member, wanted to become a pianist. Airi and Hinako always seem to be fighting, partially over Airi’s (small) breast size, so they have a sibling rivalry going on. Airi and Otome are the females who have smaller boobs, hence my needing to specify that comment back in Io’s section. Airi is also needed to summon Kama, who loves cute bellybuttons (that’s what his demon description says!). She joins Ronaldo due to her fierce sense of justice. Her stats are a lot like Io’s, and I may have used her in place of Hinako if I had been able to persuade her to join me for the final battle. Airi’s father has a side story, and he was actually Ronaldo’s mentor at one point. Both of them think he is dead, and he actually does die trying to summon a very powerful demon for you, if you follow his story.

Otome Yanigaya: One of the best characters of the game, in terms of her stats. She auto-nulls curse, once you Fate her up, which is really useful since she’ll never get any ailments. She is the ideal magic counterpart for an Attack-based Protagonist, and she maxes out her Magic, while her Vitality/Agility are kept decently high and her Attack very low. Equip her with Drain, Prayer, Megidolean and Phys Repel, and she will never die. Otherwise, Otome’s personality is very forgettable. She’s overly nice, and as Hinako will say at one point, she’ll probably end up with some useless guy like Daichi (not unless I can help it!!!). Otome is actually a very responsible adult as well; she adopted her niece and always tries to balance work and family. She joins Ronaldo to protect the children of the future. 

Your Demon Summoning App persona, Tico.

One thing I didn’t like about this game was that it rarely mentions the impossibility and very very possible downside of trying to achieve equality; that is, I only remember one instance in which someone realizes that there will be slackers in the world leeching off of try-hards in a world of equality. Yes, in a system of equality, there will be people who take advantage of everyone’s kindness, which is why I should mention everyone tries to avoid communism (and why it never really worked). I didn’t get to talk to Ronaldo enough to see if the game gave him a stance when it came to that, but I really doubt it did. Furthermore, if Ronaldo asked Polaris to create an ideal equal world, somewhere along the lines people’s personalities would have to be altered for that to work, and something about that really shouldn’t sit right with everyone.

It also doesn’t really delve into what a merit-system would consist of either; the game’s definition of “weak” counts as anyone who needs protection, but in actuality that would mean Yamato wants militarism, which is not the case. What Yamato seems to actually despise is the people the game fails to address in an equal world: the slackers who leech off of others’ hard work. He does not despise the weak who have potential to become strong (like the Protagonist); however, his harshness and lack of sympathy makes it hard to predict whether or not he’ll try to cultivate a “stronger” people and give people chances to become worthy of his respect. Consistency aside, I could get into how “strong” someone has to be relative to someone else in order to be considered “strong,” but that’d really be like beating a dead horse.

Finally, Daichi’s route is just a whole mess of hypocrisy. You want to talk things out peacefully, but when the opposing team refuses, you fight them (there goes talking things out!). I suppose that’s the only option, unless Daichi’s route becomes the “nonviolent protest” route, which wouldn’t be helpful at all on a doomsday. After that, your only options are to ask Polaris to revert the events of the Apocalypse (which would mean 99.999999% your memories of dooms-week would also be erased) and everything would happen all over again, or you kill Polaris (my route). You’d think killing God would make things worse or have some dire consequences, but miraculously that means humans gain freedom.

All in all, any route you take seems to have very half-baked ideals and/or solutions, so I really wish the game accounted for that. But it probably would’ve become too political and too boring/complicated if the plot actually delved into explaining that, so I guess there’s not that much salvation on that front. Then again, they did just tack on the Akashic Records towards the end, which was explained badly and was everything but simple…

And now the final breakdown!

Rating Breakdown
Gameplaywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The game is your run-of-the-mill turn-based RPG with the usual MegaTen battle system, but still very fun. Just like the first game, but the routes are more linear and obvious (so many points off) and they added the Fate system which is a lot like the Social Links in the Persona series (plus points). Some features also need to be unlocked through a second playthrough.
Plotwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Your token MegaTen Apocalyptic situation. However, the game tried too hard in vain to incorporate more serious reasonings behind the doomsday situation; the routes needed more fleshing out, the individual ideals of the routes were really half-baked and vague. Also, some important themes, such as the Akashic Records, were hastily tacked on in the end.
Presentationwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
I'm not sure what to say for here. The game looked good? It had an OP sequence with actual singing, the graphics were quite clean although basic, and there were actual video clips that played during the game.
Characterswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The characters were probably the most worked-on aspect of the game. All of them had their own backstories, and you have a chance to get some great character development out of them. They were also very different from one another, but at the same time still relatable to the player.
Artwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The art is in the same style as the first game, and is overall pretty good save a quirks here and there.
Soundwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Pretty mediocre and unmemorable, although there is an actual song for the OP. The battle music does get annoying after a while.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
A great game if you overlook the plotholes; I clocked just under 27 hours for my first playthrough, although I could have done it in much less time. Also good for playing through a second and even third time. It felt easier than the first game though, so I actually recommend that you play this game before Devil Survivor 1.

Over and out, gochisousama deshita!

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Just someone who was born with mugibrows.

Pluffei

Just someone who was born with mugibrows.

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