Shin Megami Tensei - Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker

Shin Megami Tensei - Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker

Written by Matt Mirkovich on 6/17/2015 for 3DS  
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I skipped out on the initial release of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2, opting instead to get a quicker summary by watching the show on Hulu. Then Atlus had to come along and release Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker. This isn’t some rinky-dink update with a small epilogue, but rather a full additional campaign that expands on the ending from Devil Survivor 2 and puts you back in the shoes of the main character, and shows you the results of your decisions from Devil Survivor 2. Granted it has been almost three years since gamers experienced this title on the DS, so what makes it worth picking up again? A fair amount of balance changes, some new demons, and a whole new scenario to experience.

If you happened to forget the events from the first ‘half’ of Devil Survivor 2, or you happened to watch it and want to jump right in to the new content, there’s a handy recap feature that will take you through the canon ending and send you on your path to battle the Triangulum, who have replaced the Septentrione as the arbiters of humanity’s demise. This second ‘half’ of the story contains a fairly lengthy campaign and easily justifies the price of entry.

This game didn’t receive much for a visual update though. The 3D for the game has mostly been relegated to menus and movies, and while it is appreciated it doesn’t add a whole lot to the experience. That said this is already a really good looking 2D title. The title also features a fair amount of voice acting as well, which is always a welcome addition. But we’re all here for that sweet sweet gameplay.

Gameplay takes place over the course of seven days, and players are given a choice on how they want to spend their time, viewing the story arcs of the myriad characters that make up the party. There’s plenty to see, and you’ll be hard pressed to see everything in just one playthrough, as some parts of the story are timing specific, however all the mission critical events are presented at set points throughout the game, so you’ll never miss the main story. Occasionally there will be an event that requires a fight, and that’s where this game really shines.

  

Combat revolves around strategic placement of your units, but the combat is done in typical Shin Megami Tensei fashion. That means paying attention to your weaknesses, the enemy’s weaknesses, what skills they are carrying that you can steal, and whether it’s worth the loss of experience points and Macca to take out the center unit and end the fight early. If you’ve played any other Shin Megami Tensei game, then you should be able to pick this one up fairly quickly. Especially thanks to some of the gameplay tweaks that were added to Record Breaker.

Devil Survivor 2 on its own is already an incredibly complex and deep title, putting a game like Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions on its heels for my own personal favorite strategy RPG. Record Breaker adds an adjustable difficulty, making it easier for people who aren’t big on the difficulty that Shin Megami Tensei games are known for, this change alone is pretty significant as the original game is not an easy experience by any means. The combination of Strategy RPG elements and JRPG gameplay make this a fairly unique but also brutal title, so the lowered difficulty is definitely a welcome change. There is also downloadable content that Atlus has made available that can be accessed after reaching a specific point in the story.

Like it’s older sibling Devil Survivor: Overclocked, Record Breaker is jam packed with content and makes a great pick-up if you happened to gloss over the first release. The gritty story, great localization, excellent gameplay, all come together to make this a must-own.

This update to a DS classic doesn't give you much in terms of hardware upgrades, but the additional campaign and gameplay changes make Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker worth playing for a second time, or a first time if you skipped the first release.

Rating: 8.5 Very Good

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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In a past life I worked with Interplay, EA, Harmonix, Konami, and a number of other developers. Now I'm working for a record label, a small arm of casual games in a media company along with Gaming Nexus, and anywhere else that sees fit to employ me.

 

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