|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Atlus||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atlus||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jun. 23, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Actual battles have a two-part combat system. You begin battles on a big grid-based field, and you will use your first few turns to stake out a nice strategic location for your characters. You can also use status-enhancing magic and healing mechanisms on this board. However, once you approach an enemy and launch an attack, the game puts your character in a first-person battle mode where you can trade attacks with your enemy.
Attacking is as simple as selecting from a sub-menu with attacks, but there is a subtle hint of strategy embedded in this aspect of the game. You see, each enemy will have demons of their own which will spawn when you launch an attack. These demons are weaker than the enemy you initially attacked, but the catch is that if you kill the head demon, then the other two will be eliminated as well. So, strategically speaking, you have to figure out whether it is best to focus all your attention on the head enemy (who might be getting status upgrades or healing potions from its minions), or to take out the subordinates first.
Visuals in this title are pretty basic as far as the DS hardware is concerned. Characters and enemies are represented by sprites during gameplay, and immobile character silhouettes during plot scenes. There arent any animated cutscenes, but the game still does its job visually, which I cant really complain about. The games visual style is also very good, and it should feel familiar to fans of the SMT franchise.
Audio in Devil Survivor is well done. Although there is no voiceover, the background music is amazing. The score is nicely varied, and there is a good balance between moody themes during the plot scenes and high-energy battle music. This is definitely a title you want to play with the sound turned up, and the soundtrack greatly enhances the dark tone of the game.
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor is an excellent entry in the Shin Megami Tensei series, and I cant recommend this title enough. Though it is the series first foray onto the Nintendo DS, none of the gameplay has been sacrificed in the transition to the handheld. However, it is not the gameplay (as good as it may be) that will keep you coming back for more. It is the plight of the main characters and the branching storyline that will keep you coming back again and again to this title. Devil Survivor is a game that will get under your skin, and trust me, youll like it!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor