Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2 (Second Opinion)
PlayStation 2
Reviewed: 08/11/2006

The unique plot and superb battle system in Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2 make it a must-have for any RPG player looking for an RPG that is unafraid of exploring darker waters.

Digital Devil Saga 2‘s story is a direct sequel, and as such, it is virtually a requirement to have played the first. Some direct sequels fill in enough backstory to make the game understandable, but this is not one of them. The story follows Serph as he attempts to meet with his fellows after being seperated in the first game. As it progresses, Serph and his comrades meet a wide range of threats, and discover many things about their past and what the future has in store for them. The game has many shocking moments and superb plot twists, and brings the overarching plot to an incredible conclusion. It is hard to fault Atlus for anything in the storyline of this game, as it manages to remain wholly dark and entertaining throughout.

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“It means I’d better lean over and give you a sweet cleavage shot. That’s what it means.”

Battles in Digital Devil Saga 2 are strategic affairs. As with the previous installment, the game forces players to learn the weaknesses of enemies and exploit them. When battling, if a character lands a critical hit or hits the weak element of an enemy, players gain an extra turn for the battle. However, if the characters miss an attack or foolishly attack the enemy with an element they are immune to, players lose a turn. This constant shift in battle keeps the gameplay fast paced and intense, as every action can truly affect the outcome of the battle. Another way that battles keep players on their toes is the ability to fight either as humans with guns, or as demons. Some enemies are weak against weapons, whereas others are weak against the demonic strength of avatars. All the characters can learn combination moves which can be used by combining the strength of their avatars other characters’ human abilities. The difficulty in the game is high compared to other RPGs, though fans of the Shin Megami Tensei series will find the Digital Devil Saga offshoots to be less challenging. Battles also remain random and the encounter rate is high, but this is no annoyance as players will need to fight hordes of enemies in order to build up the strength to survive.

Players of the original game will note the return of the Mantra Grid, although it has been changed significantly. Players purchase a Mantra at a Karma Terminal, thus unlocking a piece of the grid. As players master the Mantras (and learn the skills locked in them), the adjacent panels will be unlocked, allowing for further advancement throughout the grid. This allows for a huge amount of customization and specialization of characters, although all can eventually access the same skills.

The majority of the gameplay is spent dungeon crawling, though there is an overworld map. Even gamers who did not play the original game will be right at home here, as all that is required to travel is to select a location, and the characters are there. While there isn’t an enormous amount of locations in the game, and the dungeons are fairly linear, the game has solid design and never seems to lead players by the nose as to where to go.

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Some carnage in battle.

Graphically, Digital Devil Saga 2 is virtually identical to the original, though it does seem slightly cleaner around the edges. The characters all look fantastic, and the game has the same stark look and vivid lighting that is the Shin Megami Tensei series trademark.

The sound is of high quality throughout Digital Devil Saga 2. The music is certainly different from most RPGs’, yet remains well tuned to the situations and emotions going on during cut scenes and dungeon crawling. The voice acting is of superb quality, and all the characters’ voices are suitable.

Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2 is an excellent RPG that combines an intricately woven plot with an exciting battle system. The dark story with its tons of twists, the gameplay’s good difficulty, character customization, and high production values all make the game a must-have title for RPG players. The overall experience is a unique one that is rarely matched in RPGs.

-Joseph Wartick

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Excellent
Story Excellent
Graphics Great
Sound/Music Excellent
Replay Value Average
The Verdict: 9