Review by blasster
Best SRPG for 3DS, literally.
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked is an enhanced port from DS game Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor. However, despite that being the case, this game is worth getting for those who have played the DS version and definitely a worthy purchase for those who have never played the DS version, as it is easily one of the best SRPG available for 3DS currently.
Before I get to the actual review, allow me to shortly brief you on Shin Megami Tensei (SMT) series if you are unfamiliar with it. Shin Megami Tensei is a long running series from Atlus that revolves around appearance of demons in modern days.
In short, the setting naturally call for a disaster for human being, and taking the advice of fighting poison with poison to the extreme, humanity in SMT find a way to fight back with the ability to call demons themselves.
Thus the basic premise of SMT game is to call, collect, and make stronger demons to combat enemy demons, and from there, naturally come the grindy and RPG element like every other monsters-like raising game. Over the time, the popularity of SMT series spawned sequels and spin-offs alike, and this Devil Survivor Overclocked (DSO) is one of them.
Now then, the first thing I want to make clear is that despite being a spin-off, DSO story is a standalone story, you do not really need to know any of the previous SMT story or any of the spin-off to get started on this game.
Thus for those of you who reluctantly getting this game because you never heard or play any previous SMT series, I assure you that is not a problem at all. The only consideration you need is whether you are looking for SRPG on 3DS or not.
Now, with all that background for SMT out of the way for people who are unfamiliar with the series, lets get into this game exclusively.
The story begins on one innocent summer between three friends who meet up somewhere in Tokyo on their holiday. The main character is a silent protagonist that can name freely, then theres a girl with awfully big boobs called Yuzu, and wannabe hacker nerdlinger called Atsuro.
The three meet up in Tokyo where demons suddenly appeared mysteriously, and to make things worse, the area of Tokyo get locked down. With no electricity and demons running around, our protagonist must now survive within Tokyo and look for an opportunity to escape, hopefully.
Honestly, compared to common video game cliché where hero travels and unravels his awesome destiny to save the world, the story is Devil Survivor is unique to say at least. The conflict is presented very early on the game, and it is clear what you are trying to do from day one. That will certainly will not bore you even though you are the type not to bother with story much.
If you do, as further bonus, there are also multiple paths presented to you. There are five paths available in this game that would naturally give you the incentive to do another run of the game just to see how the other possible storyline unravels.
Sound - 9/10
The music are generally good and fit the theme of the game most of the time, the most you gonna heard is the out of battle music, in-battle music, and engaging enemies music. While nothing groundbreaking, they definitely good enough to keep up with the game.
New to the 3DS Overclocked version, you also have voice acting, which would also make you able to feel the character emotion while speaking, compared to the silent dialogue on the DS.
However, I must say even voice acting nowadays have high expectation, and the voice cast ranged vastly from great to bad. Some of the voices in this game, are just trying to hard to be a teenager, and at times, that just does not sound all natural, especially considering the cast are supposed to be in great danger, being locked down in an area with demons and no electricity running.
So again, the music and voices are good, and definitely no slouch by any means, but not without flaw to deserve perfect score.
Innovation - 10/10
This part is where this game really shines, and totally deserves this Overclocked port. Like the genre suggest, DSO is a SRPG game, thus outside exploration is simply done by clicking the location or people that you want to talk to. Doing so will proceed the time and move the story forward.
Generally, it will take 30 minutes in-game time to view any event or talk to any people. The game will also generously tell you which event that will take you to battle, effectively serves as a warning before you proceed to do so.
However, while you are completely free to pick any location or choose people to talk to, there is indeed a catch. Some important events may be lost after you passed an appointed time, which will effect the ending you get. The game is generally lax on this, but still can be hard at times in order to get the ending you want.
In turn, this also definitely contributes to give players a reason to play the game at least two to three times to see all the possible events and how the storyline unveil if you pick another choices or doing different action compared to the previous game.
For those of you who have played the DS version, there is also a new route presented in this DSO. Three new extra day can be played upon the completion of the original 7th day, which is present on Yuzus route, Amanes route, and Naoyas route.
So for those who seek to know what could have happen after the 7th day on the DS version for those three, now you can. Especially considering how one of them is basically a cliffhanger in the DS version.
Gameplay - 10/10
On to the actual battle itself, the battle map is consisted of grids and tiles on rendered 2D background. This grid and tiles however, generally will not show up unless until you get a turn to move, in which the space you can move is indicated by blue tiles and you can only attack the enemy unit besides you. There are of course, demons that are able attack enemies from far away, but so are enemies unit as the game progress.
The moment you choose to attack enemy unit (or they choose to attack you), you will be taken into battle screen, in which you can choose your attack or skills to use, which either take health (HP) or mana (MP) to cast. Rather than turn based, you simply choose action and whoever attack first is depend solely on agility stat, so there is a clear discrepancy how agility can effect your character.
The battle stats are divided into four, which are STR, MAG, VIT, and AGI. STR and MAG are obvious, unless you are totally new to gaming. STR increase the damage of your physical attack and skills that use HP, while MAG increase your maximum mana the damage of your skills that use MP. VIT increase your maximum health, which is generally viewed as the least useful, as you also get a little increase of maximum health and mana upon level up. Lastly, AGI is generally clear cut about who will move first when engage enemy on the battle screen.
Other than that, the staple of SMT game concern the demons themselves, there are many, many stuff that you can do with your demon. You can buy stronger demon via auction, and even moreso with the fusion mechanic that is unlocked on the very first day.
The fusion is like exactly what the word means, rather than just simply buying new demon, you can combine two demons and give their skill to the new demon, as well as stats boost from the demons that are using to fuse the new one. This is really one of the selling point of SMT series where you make two strong demons into one stronger demons, with even stronger skill than normal.
Now you would ask, If I combine two demons, wouldnt that mean I will lose two strong demons just for one strong demon?. Yes, that is exactly the problem with the DS version. However, new to this Overclocked version, now players have Demon Compendium, which can register the demons that you have gotten or fused, and calling them back (or just summon more of the same type) by simply paying money.
This is definitely a huge leap of improvement that make DSO grindy to be less so, for those who do not want to spend awfully a lot of time in it. Now you can experiment to make more demons easily. Not to mention that there are a lot of brand new demons added to Overclocked version, compared to the original DS version.
Conclusion 9.75/10 => 10/10
Seriously, get this game for your 3DS if you are looking for SRPG. You will not be disappointed, whether you have played the original DS version or not.
If you like SRPG especially, one of the main reasons to get this is really the fact that the current 3DS library is severely lacking on the SRPG genre. The only other great choice is Fire Emblem Awakening, other like Project X Zone is really just sub-par, so I would recommend people to get this and FEA together If you must, and play both games until your fingers break.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked (US, 08/23/11)
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