Reviews: Devil Survivor 2

The Enhanced Port Is Okay

Devil Survivor 2 improved on a lot of things that the previous game needed improving on. The characters are better written and have more depth to them, the amount of demons and races has been increased, a few mechanics were altered or added and the amount of Escort Missions has been drastically lowered, not to mention made less annoying, as now your Escortees are capable of holding up on their own.

All in all, a good second game. The story is not as intense or interesting as in the previous game, but still good, nonetheless. The 3DS Enhanced Port didn't alter too many things, aside from adding Voice Acting. I personally do not like the English voice acting, the voices do not fit in my eyes.

But what I really want to talk about is the Triangulum Arc added for Record Breaker. It's alright, but as I played through it, I saw more and more flaws with it.

It starts off and runs practically identical to the main Septentrione Arc, with an earthquake bringing about the End Of The World (again), each day having a specific alien-demon attacking, etc. But the details have changed and those are overall pretty interesting. I just wish more could have been done with that.

The new character, Miyako, is put too much into the center. It feels akin to Marie from Persona 4 Golden, a character who didn't really exist before, added into a port and made much of, when there is nothing really great about this character enough to stand on their own.

The Triangulum Arc also has Multiple Endings, just like the main arc, but I don't know if it works on its own enough to replay it several times and keep enjoying it.

One thing I noticed, as I played through it, is that there was a much bigger emphasis on Fate Link scenes with the characters and much less Story scenes. Unfortunate, as the scenes here are much more humorous, certainly, but if one has maxed out a character's Fate Link in the main arc, nothing new is unlocked by doing the same in this arc. Exception being, again, the new character of Miyako.

And a pet-peeve. No changed appearances. Despite three characters appearing in portrait and sprite form, with altered appearances. If they went the way of making extra sprites for those scenes, why not continue to use them? (Or give an option to pick which one you want, as an unlockable bonus)

Takes Steps Forward, But Also Back

This game came out following the great success of Devil Survivor, including in America, and it was probably because of that success abroad that some notable changes were made. Some of this was good, but some of it might have been less well thought out. Please note that there will be unmarked spoilers throughout this review.

Probably the biggest change (probably for American religious sensibilities) was going from a plot centered around the eternal conflict between Law under YHVH and Chaos under the Bels in the first game to one that featured bizarre alien enemies attacking while you used demons to protect yourself. The design for the aliens is in general fine (save for perhaps the ridiculous Dubhe) but without any familiar myth or faith, you have little sense of how awed or fearful your character should be, not even with the entity Polaris which is repeatedly called the ultimate being. Ultimately the major figures of Alcor and Polaris just come off as the poor man's Lucifer and YHVH, and the impending disaster is less fearsome.

The second largest was the structure of events. While it keeps the system of time being consumed as you go to events, the game takes heavily from the Persona series that made Atlus popular in America, which has problems. The emphasis on character interaction means that often you just feel like you're hanging around, not experiencing the apocalypse; and even speeding through text quickly gets dull as the feels like the events are just to speak to one character and then another. There is some defense for this as increases in allies' Fate Levels mean stronger allies and the game is not dependent like the first on keeping one character alive for most of the routes, but what worked in the much longer Persona 4 (70-80 hours) does not nearly so well in this game (30-40 hours).

However, one should not take that to mean that the game is bad. It noted the problems in Devil Survivor and created a better New Game Plus, more skills to use in battle, far fewer of the hated escort missions, a Compendium, better team interaction and more and better demons. It's just that what was done here to improve on Devil Survivor would be used to largely fix the problems of the original in Overclocked, with only the certain character and escort missions mentioned left unresolved.

So I'd say buy the game, but expect it to be good, not incredible.
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