Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2 PlayStation 2
Published by Ghostlight
Developed by Atlus
Release Date: March 2nd 2007
Last year we looked at quite a few very good RPG games on the PlayStation 2 and one of those that really impressed us was Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga (click here to read our review of Digital Devil Saga). Although the Shin Megami Tensei series has actually been running for a long while in Japan, Digital Devil Saga was only the second game in the series to arrive here in Europe. Fortunately the game required no knowledge of the previous games and was perfectly accessible to those who had never played a Shin Megami Tensei game before. However, the story in Digital Devil Saga didn't come to a conclusion as the game was simply the first of two parts. Those who completed the game will have been waiting for the conclusion to what was a great game and finally it's here with Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2.
First of all let's have a little background information. Digital Devil Saga was set in an alternate universe, in a place known as the Junkyard, where six factions are at war with each other in a power struggle for supremacy and the right to ascend to Nirvana. To keep things short, and to not give too much away to those who would rather see the story unfold for themselves, Serph, Argilla, Sera et al managed against all odds to escape the Junkyard and reach Nirvana but things were not what they had hoped for. Nirvana doesn't offer a better way of life. In fact it's just as disturbed as the Junkyard and the evil Karma Society rule the humans with terror. The humans have been forced to live underground as the sun has turned black and is turning anyone who lives above the ground to stone. There's a whole lot more to the story but to go into further detail would really be spoiling the surprise. Suffice to say that there's a meaty storyline here and it's a great conclusion to the story.
For a game that's a conclusion to a story you might not expect to find any modifications made to the basic game formula. However, there have been some improvements made to give the game a slightly more polished feel. A new 'Karma Ring System' has been included to improve the character development aspect of the game. There are new demons to battle against. The battle system has been reworked. The game is a turn-based RPG that allows you to use three characters in battle. There are times when you will have more than three characters in your party and you can swap members at any time during a battle. For the most part you'll have to deal with random encounters. The rate of the random encounters doesn't seem as excessive as in Digital Devil Saga although at times it still feels like they come a bit too thick and fast for comfort. The mantra grid has been improved too (mantras being the groups of demon powers that each of the characters has access to) and allows a lot of scope for character customisation. There's a new Berserk Mode where your characters can be half human and half demon (in Digital Devil Saga the characters could either be in their human or demon form). There are some nice touches here too such as the ability to heal the whole party with a single button press (using the Recover option) which uses the appropriate party members skill to carry out the healing.
Naturally with the game being part 2 of Digital Devil Saga 2, this second game may not be a good place to start for those didn't play Digital Devil Saga. There are no obstacles to newcomers jumping straight into the sequel as the characters you'll begin with (Serph, Argilla and Gale) are all at level one and enemies are not that difficult to begin with. There are some bonuses for those who do have a Digital Devil Saga completed save game data on their memory card but it's absolutely fine just jumping straight in if you haven't played the first game. However, it's not really advisable as you're not going to fully appreciate all that goes on in the game. Digital Devil Saga can be found online for as little as £17.99 and it's well worth playing through. In fact you can buy Digital Devil Saga 2 online for £17.99 so for just under £36 you'll have two great role playing games that will provide you with 80 to 90 hours (each game offering 40+ hours on average) of enjoyment which is excellent value.
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2 is fine for deaf gamers and shouldn't cause any problems. The game is subtitled and subtitles are shown during the cutscenes and the main game dialogue. During the cutscenes, which are shown in a letterbox format, the subtitles are placed in the lower border and don't have any character names or portraits placed alongside the text. Whilst we would have liked to have seen character names and portraits placed alongside the text to show who is saying what, it doesn't appear to be much of a problem. During the main game the dialogue does display the speakers name above the text which is more helpful. All tutorial messages and other communications are displayed in text.
2006 was a great year for PlayStation 2 owning RPG enthusiasts with many great games arriving on the console. 2007 has certainly got off to a flying start too with Final Fantasy XII and now Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2 bringing the Digital Devil Saga to a satisfying close. Digital Devil Saga was a great RPG but this sequel manages to just pip it in terms of quality. Sure the graphics are just as good as before and the game is subtitled once more. There have been a good amount of refinements made for this sequel and when you combine this with the richer storyline that this sequel has, it makes the experience more satisfying. However, as we mentioned earlier, it would be better for newcomers to experience Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga first as it will not only allow you to appreciate this sequel even more but also to fully appreciate the impressive storyline.
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2 is a great sequel and wraps up the Digital Devil Saga very nicely. There have been a fair number of improvements made since the previous game and they all serve to make this a better experience and a memorable conclusion to the Digital Devil Saga.