Atlus pleases action-RPG fans once again with the recent release of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzonoha vs. King Abaddon.
Devil Summoner 2, set in Japan during the Taisho Period, places the player in the shoes of Devil Summoner and Private Investigator Raidou Kuzonoha on his quest to save the world from certain destruction. Along the way, Raidou is assisted by his black cat Gouto, Raidou’s boss at the detective agency Shouhei Narumi, investigative journalist Tae Asakura, and the various demons Raidou recruits throughout his journey.
The best way to describe this game is an action-RPG meets Pokemon with a little bit of 1930’s detective stories mixed in between. The battle system is the most interesting and fun aspect of the game. During battle the player controls Raidou, attacking enemies with either a katana or a revolver, both of which can be upgraded to deal more damage. The player also commands up to two demons at once, all of which have various abilities and attacks. These demons are gained through negotiations before the actual fight, by responding correctly to dialogue choices, the gift of items requested by negotiating demons, or the abilities of the demons the player already has. Unfortunately, the demons are not always recruited, even if their conditions are met. Recruited demons can then be fused together in a laboratory, not unlike something out of Frankenstein, to create different and stronger demons. This is an important part of the game, as the most convenient way to gain MAG back, used for special attacks by both Raidou and his demons, is to take advantage of the enemy demon’s weaknesses. Having at least one demon of each element group is essential to complete the game.
There is only one major negative point to Devil Summoner 2: the absence of voice acting in the game. In fact, there is absolutely no voice acting at all, which seems very “last generation” and lazy in the game’s design. One of the best parts of the previous Shin Megami Tensei games on the PlayStation 2, most notably the Persona series, is the voice acting for the main characters. The absence of voice acting may have made English localization easier, but may also turn off some gamers who are used to hearing the main characters talk.
Overall, this is a very well designed action-RPG. The demon collecting elements and the battle system are a lot of fun, and the detective-like story will have the player guessing at every turn. The graphics, while not great, have a nice stylized look to them which seem to fit the universe of the game, and the character designs capture the look of the era perfectly. The difficulty may be a bit too much to handle for most new fans of the genre, but for any veteran RPG player this is a great game and a must play.