Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Review
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor box art
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.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor screenshot

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 aren’t any animated cutscenes, but the game still does its job visually, which I can’t really complain about. The game’s 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 can’t 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, you’ll like it!

By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor

Sprite-based animations are not technically impressive, but SMT fans will appreciate the game’s style and character designs.
Turn-based mechanics work very well and the entire game is controlled with the DS face buttons.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Background music is extremely good and fits the dark narrative well. Lack of a voiceover is regrettable, but in lieu of the excellent music, it is not sorely missed.

Play Value
SMT: Devil Survivor is an intense game that has branching paths that allow for an endless amount of plot twists and ending possibilities, so replay is not just recommended, it’s a must.

Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Shin Megami Tensei goes portable: The absorbing story, addictive demon-fusing, and hardcore RPG battle that define the Shin Megami Tensei experience finally arrive on Nintendo's popular dual screen handheld. Expressly designed for Nintendo DS, SMT makes a seamless transition with trademark gameplay features built into an intuitive presentation you can take anywhere!
  • Collect and fuse demons like never before: Demon collection is updated for a new generation: competitive bidding determines the outcome! Place your winning bid through the easy-to-use menu interface to add new demons to your roster. Then, fuse them together to create new, more powerful creatures to aid you in battle.
  • Hybrid SRPG/RPG combat system: A perfect synthesis of strategy and traditional RPG combat, you'll need more than the usual battle strategy to come out on top. Deployed in teams of 2-3, you must choose the right combination of human and demons for each unit placed on the grid, then prepare to launch into first person turn-based battle in the tradition of the classic RPGs!
  • Many possible conclusions: An epic story of mythological proportions lets you decide whether your loyalties lie with the angels, demons, or only yourself. Decisions made throughout the game will affect the course of the story, ultimately ending in a showdown where your choice of alliance will determine the survival of thousands.

  • Screenshots / Images
    Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor screenshot - click to enlarge Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor screenshot - click to enlarge Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor screenshot - click to enlarge Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor screenshot - click to enlarge Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor screenshot - click to enlarge Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor screenshot - click to enlarge Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor screenshot - click to enlarge Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor screenshot - click to enlarge

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