Raidou and pals have just shown the Soulless Army the door — now the citizens of the capital can rest easy again, right? Wrong. There's been a sudden run of bad luck all over the city, and a bunch of strange fellows in bug masks have been hanging around and causing trouble. On top of all that, yet another mysterious dame has shown up at the Narumi Detective Agency with a missing-persons case for our intrepid gumshoes to solve. And then there's this blond boy who's definitely not Louis Cypher... What exactly any of these things have to do with each other — well, that's for you to find out.This game is a direct sequel to Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army, a rarity for the Shin Megami Tensei franchise. The changes to the gameplay range from minimal to enormous — most notably, the previous method of catching demons by hitting their weak point and mashing a button until they're trapped in a tube has been replaced by the "demon contract" system seen in many other Megaten games. The battle system has also seen a massive overhaul, replacing the static pre-rendered screens with larger areas suited to more dynamic combat and revamping Raidou's attacks. He also has the ability to summon two demons at once and the fusion system has been expanded with the addition of Passive Abilities and longer, more flexible ability lists, creating a larger advantage to using fusion instead of relying on capturing alone. Many other changes have been made across the board to address issues from the first game and this sequel has seen much praise for the improvements. Plotwise, the story is much darker and now includes a return of the traditional MegaTen alignment system.It was released in Japan in October 2008 and shipped in extremely limited quantities for the US on May 12th of 2009. The Japanese version also offered a limited edition version of the game that included a new copy of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne Maniax Chronicle Edition, which simply replaced Devil May Cry guest star Dante with Raidou. The US version is bundled with a Raiho plushie, which Japan got as a pre-order bonus.
A God Am I: The Tento Lords going by the name of Old Ones believe they are actual Gods. The Mushibito don't.
Bag of Spilling: Raidou has lost all of his skills since the last game and apparently needs to recruit all of his demons from scratch again. Somewhat alleviated in that a Soulless Army save game on the same memory card will allow you to automatically recruit some of the demons from Soulless Army without needing to negotiate with them.
Big Creepy-Crawlies / Bug War: The Fukoshi assassins primarily use insects to kill their targets. Some of the insects are small, like the luck locust, which literally causes the target to die of bad luck (though it's unpredictable as to when the target will die, but it'll be of some untraceable accident, like being run over by a car). Some of the insects are huge, like "Jiromaru," a grasshopper the size of a tour bus.
Bonus Boss: Quite a lot. And depending on your alignment, some of the bosses can be fused to fight on your side once you beat them. Major ones that are fought at the end of the game and New Game+ are Asura, Masakado, and Lucifer.
Bonus Dungeon: The Nameless Shrine's Training Facility is back, along with Akarana Corridor, which was the final dungeon of Soulless Army.
But Thou Must: You're not gettting out of plot-line mandated choices. Trying to do this will affect your alignment though.
Cataclysm Backstory: One of the Old One Npcs mentions that a great disaster happened in ancient times that wiped out most of their race. The survivors either left for another realm or were on a boat that traveled for countless ages until it at Japan.
Character Alignment: In-Universe. This game sees the addition of the traditional Law, Neutral, and Chaos Alignment system (translated as patient, adaptable, and selfish), although greatly scaled down - the only things that affect it are storyline decisions. This also affects your ending and access to a few alignment-exclusive demons. Certain case rewards are also affected by this.
Charged Attack: Raidou's Triangle attack (for Axe-types, at least) is a hold-type and drains magnetite for increased power.
Cursed with Awesome: Gouto's powers and status as The Mentor... Although the awesomeness of being an immortal cat depends on how much weight you put on either the 'immortal' or the 'cat'.
Continuity Nod: The case files have a few. "The Crown of Victory" has you feel a terrifying presence and ask if you want to stay (doing so results in a fight with White Rider), a nod to the entrances of all non-Dante fiends in Nocturne. "Off The Map" has Titania and the Love Potion sap from Shin Megami Tensei II.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: The controls and much of the gameplay are completely, totally different from the first installment. It's for the better, after all, but if you jump right into the second game after playing the first you'll be in a pickle.
Dark Is Not Evil: This game's Chaos path is probably the most outright heroic portrayal of the Chaos faction in any SMT game. Unlike in some of the main games, where Chaos is a "might makes right, the weak die and the strong live" mindset, here being aligned with Chaos means you believe in free will and not being bound by fate.
Author On Board: The game does not pretend the two sides are anywhere near equal; Chaos is portrayed in a rather positive light in this game. The game even rewards you on New Game+ for choosing Chaos with extra missions, while neutral gets the comparatively minor reward of use of the rather powerful Masakado (which also requires all case files completed, which means you also need to have done Chaos as well) while completing Law on a previous cycle gets you nothing but a crown on your save file (and the other 2 endings also have their own crown).
Disc One Nuke: It's possible as early as Chapter 2-3 to fuse the Rider series of Fiend demons (if you're able to outlast and beat one), as they are technically accidental fusions (there's no level restriction to get them), and will usually be at a much higher level than Raidou with lots of great immunites and skills, making a majority of early bosses much easier.
Dual-World Gameplay: More important than the first game. Here, going to the Dark World is the only way to get random encounters (and thus new demons, or to train up existing demons). You don't get assaulted on the streets of Normal Tokyo any more.
Dump Stat: Luck used to be this, but luck in general is very important in this game, both in gameplay and in story. Random roulette chances occur which can totally screw you over if you have bad luck. The relative ease of finding Luck Incense and the bonus from captured Luck Locusts (Up to +15 in a game with a cap of 40) do work to make hard points in luck a lower priority though.
Dying Race: The Old Ones in the Tsukigata village are the last of their kind and have to mate with human females to continue their species at the cost of deforming the females in the process.
Evil Twin / Evil Counterpart / Mirror Boss: The Fiend Kageboushi is a robotic doppelganger of Raidou who starts appearing after the Riders are defeated. Might count as a Goddamned Bat or Metal Slime considering that he ALWAYS COMES BACK even though you kill him many times over. The two good things about the fight is that he gives a lot of XP and drops a rare item needed for weapon fusion and a case file.
Fate Worse than Death: An optional conversation at the end of Chapter 6 reveals that Gouto committed an unspecified crime as the first Raidou Kuzunoha, and his punishment is to mentor all his successors and to watch them die.
Considering that his mentoring has helped his successors become true Summoners that have protected the world for years, this could be argued as a case of Cursed with Awesome.
Funetik Aksent: Japanese country accents are hard to localize meaningfully, so Ah hope yew don't mind seein' a buncha people talkin' like Southern folk.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: At one point, a fellow Devil Summoner, Nagi gets foolish and rushes in to train without the aid of her mentor. Her demon dies. She cries about it. Now why didn't she just use a Jin Dan? Wouldn't it have returned to whatever she kept it in for that purpose? In the ending credits, it turns out Nagi does just that, now that she feels strong enough to make sure that High Pixie won't just die on her again. So, double subverted, kind of?
Nagi also has a High Pixie at a point when she is shown to be inferior to Raidou and he (shouldn't be) a high enough level to be able to use it; it is revealed late game that the High Pixie is a gift from Geirin, so it's kind of explained.
Gender Bender: The first game to have Mara portrayed as a Goddess rather than a God. As stated in her compendium info.
Gratuitous English: On the part of Nagi and Geirin, in the Japanese version. This is Lost in Translation in the English version; instead they just speak formally and have a habit of repeating certain phrases.
The Grotesque: The Mushibito and Tento Lords are deformed and mutated under their insect like masks. The Mushibito are nice while the Tento Lords aren't.
Guide Dang It: Although generally it's not too hard to make an educated guess on the meaning of most alignment choices, at least if you know other Shin Megami Tensei games, you're probably going to shout this if you find out at the very end that your alignment isn't quite what you had in mind (where else are you going to learn that the way Raidou appears on the overworld, clockwise=law, counter clockwise=chaos tells you your current alignment?).
Raidou has two special moves (Roundhouse kick and ambush attacks) and can Lag Cancel by dodging. The infromation about these things is given in game, but it is told to you by one of a set of NPCs that gives recaps on the basic controls only if you revisit and talk to him later in the game. No indication is made that these characters will give additional lessons latter.
Want to see the one time Louis Cypher is referred to by name? In the middle of one sequence you must leave and go to another location on the other end of the game world with no prompting to talk to Dahn, who will mention that "Louis" tricked him.
Guns Are Worthless: Raidou's gun does minimal damage and will only rarely stun enemies, while his sword does much more damage. Averted with the use of buff spells, which can make Raidou's revolver into an unlimited ammo high rate of fire shotgun.
The Heartless: Late in the game, due to nearly all the luck/fortune being drained from the Capital, the negative emotional buildup inside peoples' hearts drives them to insanity, and it manifests in the form of black "psycho Apolloyons".
Heel-Face Turn: Dahn, after his plan to save his sister from the Tento Lords goes disastrously awry.
Heroic Mime: As per usual for the Megaten series, the main character Raidou never says a word on screen. However, in this game, he does have voiced grunts and shouts during the battle sequences.
Hopeless Boss Fight: The first time you fight the Apollyon, it's immune to all of Raidou's attacks due to it being able to heal faster than you can damage it. Pretty much all of Chapter 5 is spent hunting down the materials needed to make a Sword of Plot Advancement—a katana that can weaken Apollyon and make it vulnerable.
And even earlier than that are the Jiromaru bosses and Binbou-gami. Early on you either only get the bosses down to half health and then they run away, or in the case of the first fight with Binbou-gami, you cannot hit him at all.
100% Completion: Actually 103-104% completion for case files (all case files need to be done before even getting a shot at fighting Lord Masakado). Beating King Mode just gives you a little crown (like the alignment complete ones) on your save file.
Item Caddy: Not only will demons assist you in battle, they will also sometimes give you free items as they did in the original game. The chance increases if the demons' loyalty is maxed. The items range from simple Medicines all the way up to valuable Gemstones and Sake. Mikaboshi is arguably the best of the bunch, as he is the only familiar in the game that gives you the Uranus Stone, which can be exchanged for a lot of yen.
Infinite Supplies: Raidou no longer needs to keep buying ammo for his gun, but he does need to reload after every 6 shots. This is tempered by the fact that his gun is not as powerful as it was before, shot-for-shot, and can't be loaded with elemental bullets.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Chaos-aligned Raidou is a good example. The quickest way to get Chaos points is to act like a sullen jackass during dialogue choices...but even so, you're going to save the world. (Like in Mass Effect, you're still going to save the world, you just might or might not be a jackass about it).
Just a Kid: Raidou gets this a lot due to him wearing his school uniform.
Kick Them While They Are Down: The whole point of exploiting enemy weaknesses, as attacking an opponent who's frozen due to Raidou hitting their weak point allows more critical hits and absorbing magnetite.
Lag Cancel: The game explicitly points out (if you know where, and more importantly when, to look) that dodging works for this.
Louis Cypher: Guess. The only people he's fooling are those that have never played an SMT game before.
Mana Drain: Familiars in this game no longer have a MP stat, instead they use Raidou's magnetite (MAG) to cast spells and special moves. To refill Raidou's MAG, he can kill demons for a small amount, or exploit an enemy's weakness and then beat the hell out of it for crits and more MAG absorption. Any demons under Raidou's control that drain an element it is hit with will also recover a lot of MAG.
Marriage to a God: Stopping this between Akane and Lord Tento is what drives Dahn's motivations at the beginning of the game. Lord Tento has been taking wives for a long time before it as well.
Mercy Kill: A case file given to you by Narita has him giving you what seems to be a poison pill to give to the Tento bride in the sanctuary. It's very sad, to say the least.
Metal Slime: Fiends (specifically, the four horsemen of the apocalypse) tend to pop up from time to time. The difference here is that you are the one who most likely needs to run away if you encounter them; they're tough. If you can beat them, you unlock them as a fusion monster and you get a nice reward.
Milking the Giant Cow: Dr. Victor. His default pose is holding up both hands, spread fingers, palms inwards.
Multiple Endings: Your alignment alters whether you see one of two different endings.
My Card: Demons will hand over their business cards to Raidou in certain occasions. It doesn't do much except potentially make it easier to get that same type of demon again during negotiation.
On a related note, the guitar riff that plays when you summon the Great Kohryu is from the main Soul Hackers theme.
Nice Hat: Raidou's, of course, carried over from the first game. To a lesser extent, Narumi and Tae don't lack for snazzy headgear.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Turns out that by releasing the Apollyons into the real world to devour everyone's fortune and attempting to seal off the Abysmal Gate, Raidou helped Shinado (who's been giving YOU advice for most of the game), the god that Tsukigata worshipped (at least the "Anger" aspect of it), pursue its true goal—to infiltrate the minds of people and drive them to believe they have no future, giving Shinado reason to bring about the end of the world. Oops.
Ninja: The primary antagonists for the first part of the game are ninjas who happen to use insects as their tool of killing.
Old Save Bonus: When starting a new game, you are asked if you want to scan the memory card for a Soulless Army save file. If you have one and if it's met certain requirements the Herald of Yatagarasu congratulates you and gives you some items that sell for a lot of yen. Some demons that appeared in Soulless Army, if first encountered, will join up with you without having to negotiate.
Unexplained Recovery (Gouto seems to have recovered from his Heroic Sacrifice in the first game. Granted, he's a former Raidou reincarnated as a cat-ghost thing to provide support for you and he even hinted before his demise in the last game that his sacrifice wouldn't really kill him.)
Urban Fantasy: A perfect example, too. The Anachronism Stew of early-20th-century Japan has one foot in the modern era, with battleships and riflemen, and one foot in the past, with kimonos and rickshaws, so this seems like a completely natural setting for a story about a private eye who solves mysteries about (and with) demons.
Vendor Trash: Although some of the "trash" are now used to complete case files.
Wake-Up Call Boss: Cybele or Atavaka (the one you face depends on your alignment) will kill you very quickly if you don't dodge them and does not suffer from hit stun unless repeatedly hit with their weakeness (i.e. ___ blade).
Cybele has no weakness or frailty, unlike every other boss you've fought up to that point, and tends to spam a hard hitting electric spell, making her much more tricky to deal with.
Yandere: A schoolgirl in Tsukudo-Cho at the end of the game decides that if Raidou won't notice her, she'll just kill him.
Also the Jorogumo boss, who wants to drag Raidou into her web and make the poor sod her lover for eternity. She will beat the crap out of him to do so.
Yaoi Fangirl: A seamstress in Mannen-Cho is convinced that Raidou is chasing an old lover (Dahn), looking for a sugar daddy (Tatsumi), and trying to seduce a single father.