Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor is a JRPG for the Nintendo DS.  I got my hands on the game since it was released on June 23, 2009 and since then “Devil Survivor” and I have spent some quality time with each other.

Here are my thoughts on our stint together:

Are you a survivor?
I feel like one of the main reasons why the “Shin Megami Tensei” series is so popular is because of its engaging stories.  The characters are interesting and the story keeps you coming back for more.  This DS installment is no exception.  With a sudden lockdown of the Tokyo metropolis and surrounding districts, citizens are forced to live like animals and survive by any means necessary.  What caused this lockdown and blockade?  Why are demon and angel sightings suddenly happening?  The main hero is trapped with his 2 close friends within the city and stumbles upon the power to summon demons.  Mysterious forces are at work as the team learns that the city will be destroyed within 7 days.  7 days! ZOMG!?  Can you save the city and SURVIVE this ordeal?  Will you be a hero of the light or a harbinger of Doom? (like me!)  Such questions compel the player to progress to find out.

Its got that “PERSONA-L” feeling
If you’re a fan of the Persona/SMT series then you will like this game.    “DS” is an isometric view, tactical version of the other console titles.  True to the series, this version has likeable characters that are memorable although annoying at times.  “Yuzu” the ditzy childhood friend is the typical eye candy.

The game still has the strange commands, for ice (bufu), fire (agi), lightning (zio)., etc, etc.  Outside of the main story you can interact with different locations on the Tokyo map via a menu.  Although they seem to have no affect to the game play, they do!  Special dialogues and the choices you make strongly affect the nonlinear story.

Sore wa nan desu ka?! Classic JRPG gameplay ?!
I don’t know if this is a positive or a negative but DS is a classic JRPG.  Lets see.. its got pretty anime girls, over the top storyline, SAVE the world scenario, you name, DS got it.  If classic JRPGS aren’t your thing I would steer clear of this one.   This was a positive for me because I was in the mood for some good ol fashioned JRPG action.   The gameplay doesn’t deviate from the tried and true classic formula.

What A GRIND~!
One aspect of the game that I didn’t like was the level grinding.  It might just be me, but I have little time to play games these days.  Therefore it pisses me off to waste time leveling and not really progressing with the story.  Grinding is also a chore because DS forces you to level up in the same area fighting the same enemies.  If you are too weak for a boss you only have 1 option to level up.  This gets to be a pain and if you aren’t a fan of the RPG grind. You’ve been warned. DS requires solid grinding to summon monsters to progress in the story.  This definitely hurts the pacing and can be a turn off.

CONDITIONAL Annoyances
Another thing that bothered me is that some stages require you to achieve certain conditions before you can claim victory.  At first this seems like a great idea to mix up the game play and for the most part it definitely adds a twist to an otherwise monotonous system.  However in actual execution it ends up pissing you off.  Some stages require you to protect civilians and defeat the enemy.  Simple enough right? WRONG.  These civilians get 1 shotted.  Meaning if you don’t block of the enemies route, RIGHT away you will lose the battle.  Not only is this unfair but at anytime if any enemy gets in range….GAME OVER.  OMG that is a pain in the ass.

FUSION FTW!
One of the more positive aspects of the game and the series in general is the ability to FUSE demons together to create STRONGER demons.  At one point in the game, most of my crew had unique demons, allowing me to have a wrecking crew of a team.  This is not only very satisfying but hilarious as you watch weak demons crumble before your might.


DIESAL Unique Demons FTW!

Lasting value
I’ve been playing DSS for quite some time now.  I got it when it was released in 6/23/09 and although I’ve been playing it on and off I still haven’t beat it.  The game is paced pretty well with the exception of some level grinding.  Its a long game and I’ve been told that it has a New Game + mode.  You know how I feel about “new Game +” :) .

 



Conclusion
Devil Survivor is a solid DS game.  It features a long engaging storyline, memorable characters, and challenging battles.  The classic JRPG game play can get tedious and times but if you can over look that you will enjoy this game.  The level grinding and the occasional bullshit conditional losses will piss you off but they don’t happen that often.  I definitely recommend this title for any SMT fan or any JRPG fan.  wrixel highly recommends Devil Survivor!

If you are familiar with the Acekard the R4 you can go through that route too.

For more info please visit the official website:
www.atlus.com/devilsurvivor/