Review by wolverinefan

Reviewed: 06/01/06

Just as good as the first

I loved the first Digital Devil Saga game. It hit just the right spot for me after having played RPG after RPG; it had a nice refreshing feel to it. I normally don't jump right into the sequel but I couldn't wait to finish off the story line because it was that good. How does 2 stack up to the first? Read on!

Digital Devil Saga 2 picks up right where the first game ended. The only thing that seemed odd to me is that the first ended with everyone separated and this one starts with a number of people already make together with little explanation. Oh well.... The story kicks in quickly and it digs a knife deeper and deeper into your stomach as it advances. The plot is good but this game has way too many gut wrenching moments near the end that I was just blown away.

Graphic wise this looks the same as the first game. A dark setting for a RPG. The areas are interesting, a little more so this time around than last. Character models are nice and I found the enemy models slightly better this time around. Although the last boss was kind of odd locking and reminded me of a Power Ranger, which seems to be a theme lately. The game uses cell-shading for the characters but they don't come off as cartoonish like say in Zelda: Wind Waker.

Sound wise I'm mixed. Voice acting is still top notch and the entire cast is back. Sound effects are what's to be expected. I just found the music not to be as good as the firsts but it's still good. Actually, the music this time around is much more forgettable than in the previous game. The opening theme song is nice but again it isn't as good as the originals. Heavy guitar for the battle music is here so it does still retain the same feel.

Control is the same as before. Dungeons you use left analog to move around, right analog is the camera. X is your select button, opens doors, chests and inspects things ect. Battles are all menu based. No problems at all.

Game play itself is exactly the same but some things have changed. The game doesn't have a world map. Again it's a selection of locations (more open as the plot advances) that you pick and you end up there. The outside areas seem much smaller.

Dungeons are still huge and rather complex at times. You also don't revisit them as often as you did in the first. The problem is that the puzzles just aren't here. The first game had some wicked puzzle based dungeons but this time around we don't see any that are up to par with the first and to be honest the only dungeon that had puzzle moments was the final dungeon and they were pretty easy. The dungeons are much bigger now though and some just have a complex design.

Random battles still happen just as much. They still play out the same as well. You have three characters on your side. You usually get to go first but not always. You have two forms. Human form, which is weak and only good for enemies who are weak against guns. There is also the demon form which is the form to stay into 99% of the time. Now, you have normal options like attack, spells, and items, escape ect. You gain exp as normal. Only Serph allows you to pick what stats to up. I think this is so you can't screw up every character.

Now, the game uses a Mantra system. Think of them as skill classes you equip the one you want to learn and you gain AP as you win fights. Level it up (they all have just one level) and you learn the spells for that skill. It feels a lot like the sphere grid in Final Fantasy X. Sadly the overly simple look of the Mantra board in the original has been changed. Now it's a hex grid. It grows in size as you gain more stuff and there are secret spots as well.

Each character still has the base element for them. This means they are always weak against something unless you have a block against it via the Mantra grid. Every enemy also has a weakness, for the most part anyway. You can use the weaknesses for more than doing more damage though. It can give you an extra turn but it can do the same for the enemy if they use your weakness. Also, if you miss you lose a turn (you get 1 per character).

Replay Value is a lot less this time around. The game is a bit shorter but it also seems to have less to do. A few secrets and a decent dose of secret bosses but it lacks the backtracking the original had with its 3 colored keys. It will take a good amount of time to get the Mantra board to where you need it to beat the game though.

Is Digital Devil Saga 2 worth playing? If you've played the original then of course it is as it does wrap the story. For those who want to skip the first it is possible to enjoy this game on its own but I think you lose a little bit on the character development and it will also ruin the entire first game for you if you ever do decide to go back and play it. A good game but it's missing the puzzles from the first which was something that made the game just a bit more interesting.

Story - 8/10
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 8/10
Control - 8/10
Game Play - 8/10
Replay value - 4/10

Final Score - 8/10

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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