Their lives aren't the same anymore in Hirasaki City.Devil Summoner
, or Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner
(Which is the game's official title) is the first game in the Devil Summoner series that takes place in modern-era Japan. In addition, it's also the first game from the Megami Tensei frachise that is released in the Sega Saturn in December 20, 1995 with another release on the Playstation Portable in December 20, 2005 with several releases over time with the latest one from the Japanese-based Playstation Network in 2010. A live-action TV adaptation was aired in Japan in the early 2000s with 25 episodes, having some basis with the game, except it has a story of its own. They were released in DVD.
The game is followed up (in terms of canonicity in modern times) by Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers.
A prequel game, Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs The Soulless Army
explores the origins of the Kuzunoha clan and how they were involved in fighting against hostile demons in a post-Meiji Revolution Japan.
The story of Devil Summoner takes place in Hirasaki City in the mid-1990s. You play a normal university student who's living out an ordinary life in the city... That is until he gets reports on the local news that there are witnesses who had reported to the police about sightings of mysterious demons prowling around the city. The city's police force are also in trouble since they were now investigating cases that they can't solve since the only perpetrators responsible for them are not human. But never mind that now. The student's girlfriend, Kumiko Hatano, informs him that she needs to borrow a book written by Professor Azuma at the city's library in order to read up on his studies regarding the dark past of Japan prior to the 20th Century. After doing a few errands, the students is ambushed by demons and is saved by anti-demon detective Kyouji Kuzunoha and his partner, Rei Reiho.
Despite this event, Kyouji is assassinated under unknown circumstances. Later on, the student is also hunted down and assassinated by a man named Sid Davis, who wants the book Kumiko has borrowed from the library. While his soul is suppose to be transported through the River Styx, Charon informs him that he needs to get back to the real world. Thus, the adventure begins when the student's soul gets planted into Kyouji's body. Together with Rei, they work together to hunt down Sid and eliminate the demons prowling in the city. Along the way, Kumiko gets kidnapped thanks to Sid and the duo later learns that the city has a dark past tying back to the early history of Japan and why it involves her abduction.
Like in the mainstream Shin Megami Tensei games, the core mechanic of recruiting and using demons to fight alongside the player is retained. This involves using appropriate answers or handing out money and macca to any kind of demon before it joins your ranks. Sometimes it doesn't work due to either their personality or due to the presence of a full moon. Quests are given by the various residents of Hirasaki City due to Kyouji's reputation as an anti-demon detective, most of them to advance the story while some allow the player and the demons to earn experience, money and macca. Demon fusion is also retained, allowing the players to create any kind of demon with specific strengths/weaknesses and skills.
As of 2014, the game is the only game in the Devil Summoner franchise to not have an official release outside of Asia. There is an attempt to get a fan translation for the Sega Saturn despite Atlus' attempt to promote the game for an international release before the company decided to end promoting the game aside from Japanese.
Currently a work in progress
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Devil Summoner provides examples of:
- Bittersweet Ending: Even though the new Kyouji and Rei defeated Inaruna and Sid to save Hirasaki City from a disaster, the former noted that he can't return to his original body since he's stuck in Kyouji's body forever. The "other" Kyouji has to jump from body to body in order to survive.
- Chance Meeting Between Antagonists: How the protagonist and Sid first meet in Hirasaki City, until the latter bluntly tells the former that he'll kill him for not having the book with him.
- Divine Conflict: After killing Sid, the new Kyouji and Rei must fight a resurrected Inaruna in order to save Hirasaki City from being wiped out as foretold by prophecy.
- Mythology Gag: The presence of Gotou from the first Shin Megami Tensei game. This time, the officer was arrested by JGSDF military police officers for attempting to create an arsenal of small arms from the JGSDF in order to launch a revolt. The police don't know if he needs psychiatric attention since Gotou's fellow JGSDF officers mentioned in the news that he was acting very unusual prior to his arrest.
- Police Are Useless: The city's local police force can't seem to get a grip on who is responsible for a sudden rash of criminal incidents since they cannot find human culprits. It gets worse when the detectives learn that Chief Atsushi Nakagomi is Kumbhanda, a mole (and a demon) working on behalf of Sid.
- Split Personality Takeover: A literal one since the "old" Kyouji is forced to use another body in order to live while the student uses Kyouji's own body.
- Stealing The Credit: Unwitting example — one of the many drawbacks of your soul being stuck in someone else's body is that they get the credit for your work.
- Sword and Gun: How Kyouji and Rei fight against hostile demons aside from magic and siccing their own demons against them.
- Unholy Ground: The city itself whenever parts of it gets distorted by the Makai thanks to Sid.
- Urban Fantasy: Is one set in modern times away from the mainstream Megami Tensei games, next to the Persona games.
- Yakuza: A minor enemy in league with Sid.