Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga is an enigma. Some
times it begins to make sense only to throw you into
the dark with more unanswered questions than before.
It's a cycle that continues throughout the game. This
is a prequel to another game in the Shin Megami Tensei
series that will be released this summer so don't
expect anything to be resolved until then, but at
least you can begin the adventure now.
Devil Saga takes place in a fantasy world which is
overrun with occult forces which can be used for good
or evil depending on your perspective. As with all
games in the Shin Megami Tensei series, the atmosphere
is dark, oppressive and violent. There certainly aren't
too many laughs in this game which may seem inappropriate
but it really does more to add dimension to a game
that is otherwise so serious it's in trouble of alienating
the average gamer - Goths not included.
the epicenter of the story is the gargantuan Karma
Temple which is surrounded by different factions that
comprise an area called the Junkyard. These various
cultures are all vying for their slice of Nirvana
and consequently are not all at peace with one another.
This becomes more than evident when a strange artifact
arrives to bathe the population in waves of light
that gives them the ability to transform into flesh-eating
demons. A young girl named Sera was found in the artifact
and has become sought after by the inhabitants of
the temple who have commanded that only the survivors
of a great Junkyard war may scale their way to the
temple with the girl to attain Nirvana as their reward.
the world of the Junkyard kind of reminds me of some
surrealistic combination of a trailer park and a mall,
although that's not meant as a slam on the graphics
which are so good one would be correct in referring
to them as art. Think Heavy Metal magazine if you
can go back that far. It doesn't take much to believe
you're part of this environment which speaks for itself
with cryptic text and images from an unfamiliar civilization
carved into the stone walls.
into a demon gives each character incredible abilities
and attributes. Any skills can be purchased with mantra,
allowing you the freedom to customize your character
any way that you want. Magical spells, elemental attacks
and other skills such as the ability to counter and
even reverse attacks can not only be purchased but
can be traded. Certain skills are available for free
as the demons do come with some standard accessories.
You will even be able to access different skills when
you revert to a human although you remain largely
unprotected in this state so you'll want to do your
damage and turn back fast.
are similar to experience points. They allow your
skills to become permanently assimilated into your
character. They're gained by attacking and eating
your enemies which is the only way you can stay alive
since you've transformed yourself into a flesh-eating
ghoul. You'll earn more Atma if you terrorize your
victims before or while you're eating them. Keep in
mind that your enemies also want to make a meal out
of you since they have similar powers and needs.
are turn-based but you can earn more hits and keep
your turn going if you manage to exploit the enemy's
weaknesses. For instance, if you attack them with
a specific elemental that they are vulnerable to,
you will earn more turns. Conversely if the enemy
is gaining the upper hand on you they can also earn
more turns to eventually devastate you and drain your
energy. Fortunately there are plenty of save stations
in the game which will even transport you to other
locations where you can buy new upgrades.
voiceovers are flat and uninspired. In showing the
relationship between humans and demons a lot more
emotion and soul could have been implemented but considering
how over the top some of these games can be I suppose
it's no sin to underplay it a bit. It's certainly
less annoying. The music tries to narrate the mood
but it only succeeds in the most shallow of veins.
Devil Saga is an intriguing world steeped in mystery
with plenty of action and unanswered questions. If
anything, this game will create a population of rabid
gamers waiting impatiently for the release of the