Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Soul Hackers Review
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Soul Hackers Box Art
System: 3DS
Dev: Atlus
Pub: Atlus
Release: April 16, 2013
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: N/A Blood, Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence

Maintaining befriended demons will tax you just as much as recruiting them. Besides just managing your demon’s health and stamina, a demon has to be maintained using a finite resource called MAG. MAG, short for magnetite, depletes every time you summon a demon. It also decreases with every step you take. Each step depletes you more if you’re bogged down with a high quality or quantity of demons. Although MAG can be gained through a variety of ways, one bad decision can leave you stranded. In the more expansive dungeons you’ll find yourself checking your MAG levels often, biting your fingers if the number gets low.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Soul Hackers Screenshot

Soul Hackers will take an incredible amount of your time to complete, and this is not simply because of the lengthy story. If you're the type of gamer who likes to simply move along with the plot, by the third dungeon you'll find yourself overwhelmed. This game requires plenty of grinding. Equipping your characters with the best weapons and armor and keeping your item supply stocked is not cheap. You will need to recruit many demons, fuse them into stronger allies, and build up their trust before progressing. This is a time consuming process, but tailoring almost every aspect of your team is ultimately fulfilling.

The 3DS version offers a few extra features. Using the StreetPass you can collect D-Souls from players you pass, which can then be used to purchase exclusive demons. You can also trade in Play Coins for D-Souls, which is finally a good use of this system feature. An extra dungeon and challenge against previous summoner Raidou Kuzunoha are also unlocked after clearing the game. Yet other useful features, standard in many 3DS games, are sadly omitted. The bottom screen displays party information, but touching the screen simply brings up a game setting screen. It would have been more useful if you could tap vague statistics or spells to show more detailed descriptions. Also, there is no multiplayer, local or online. Pitting your custom team against friends is something you can only dream about.

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Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Soul Hackers was a great JRPG that unfortunately never made it across the Pacific when it was originally released. Fifteen and a half years later, we finally get our hands on the game, except it feels more like a port than a genuine remake. Although the incredible gameplay depth remains from the original, so too does the antiquated design. Since it feels so old, it should be a digital title available on the eShop, not sold at stores for the full 3DS price.

By
Sean Engemann
Contributing Writer
Date: April 16, 2013

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.0
Graphics
Any touchups Atlus claims to have done to the visuals are difficult to discern amongst the dated graphics. The 3D effect does only what it needs to, nothing more.
3.2
Control
The controls are simple, filled with menu scrolling and rigid first-person exploration. The lack of a worthwhile touch screen implementation is very disappointing.
2.8
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The newly arranged themes are nice, but the brunt of the game is untouched tracks from the 90s. The voice acting is terribly delivered.
3.5
Play Value
There's still dozens of hours of content if you're interested in a full demon roster. The story is outdated, though, and there's no multiplayer.
3.1
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Enter a first-person, dungeon crawling RPG set in the future where otherworldly forces meet in a macabre fusion of cyberpunk and gothic horror.
  • Soul Hackers on 3DS includes access to 30 additional demons, a new opening animation movie and theme song, improved controls, and quicker loading times.
  • Enjoy a variety of new gameplay features, enhancements, and a full English localization.
  • Upon finishing the game, the 3DS version of Soul Hackers also delivers an extra dungeon, where players will witness the appearance of Raidou Kuzunoha from the previous Devil Summoner games.


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