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   Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2 - Reader Review  

Nirvana in CD form
by Vyse The King

BATTLE SYSTEM
INTERACTION
ORIGINALITY
STORY
MUSIC & SOUND
VISUALS
CHALLENGE
Moderate or Very Difficult
COMPLETION TIME
25 to 45 Hours
OVERALL

4.5/5

Rating definitions 

   Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2 brings to us the much anticipated -in my eyes anyways- conclusion to its predecessor, which reached us earlier this year. Simply put, the game does not fail to impress. DDS 2 puts players back in the shoes of Embryon leader Serph and his comrades. Having finally attained "Nirvana", the Embryon soon discover what the world is really like and some interesting properties about themselves that Iíll leave for you to find out. This new realm holds a blackened sun which turns humans to stone, a lone city left standing and a mass exodus of the majority of population underground, not to mention a horde of Karma Society demons feeding on helpless humans.

Who exactly calls this paradise? Who exactly calls this paradise?

   Without a doubt, the story will be the biggest draw for gamers. The most engrossing tale to come around in the past few years, DDS 2 will have you riveted from opening sequence to closing credits. Far more robust story-wise than DDS, DDS 2 makes playing through the ginormous dungeons (they are a little bit smaller, but not by much) more bearable. Also, cinemas will interrupt the monotony of battle more frequently, linking the game together, unlike the first which was split into battle-story-battle-storyÖ. parts, and ultimately providing a more satisfying gaming experience. Once you finish the game youíll undoubtedly remember two things: the incredible story and the insane amount of battles you got into.

   Battles have not changed a great deal since the first game. The game still follows a ď3 turn-exploit the enemy-while making sure your ass is coveredĒ formula, which remains extremely challenging. Difficulty is definitely a concern; one wrong move and regular enemies can take you out quite handily. I canít speak for normal mode, but hard mode (unlocked after 1 play through or with DDS clear data) provided me quite the rigorous trial. Weíre talking Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter hard, but not quite SMT: Nocturne hard. Equipping appropriate skills and choosing commands effectively are essential victory in battles of all magnitude. Without care and attention you could be seeing the game over screen fairly often. Oh, and if youíre wondering what those four words mean read this http://www.tibet.com/Buddhism/om-mantra.html.

   The few new additions to the game are welcome ones. Karma rings provide stat boosters when equipped and can be customized by using stones found throughout the game. The recover feature in the main menu makes healing quick and eliminates the tediousness of cycling through menus to heal characters, especially important since youíll probably be healing after every fight. The biggest change is also the best. Gone is the rigid Karma grid of old, replaced with a hexagon like board that offers a lot more freedom to develop characters as the player sees fit. You do have to be careful when selecting mantras, as money to purchase said mantras can get very tight. Also, I wish all characterís stats could be customized like those of Serphís, but alas you canít get everything.

Itís like an eclipse, only less fun and way more deadly Itís like an eclipse, only less fun and way more deadly

   Music remains as solid as it was in DDS. A large variety of tunes exist and each one suits specific situations properly. You will be hearing the battle music very frequently (remember, thereís a lot, I mean a whole lot of fighting) and thankfully itís more than bearable. No squabbles with controls and such. The camera can be adjusted as much as you like and both battle and main menus never get cumbersome. Thankfully the map system is very solid, since without it would take all of 7.3 seconds to get lost in the dungeons. The only real concern in the miscellaneous category (this is a miscellaneous sort of paragraph, canít you tell?) is the lack of money received from fights. I canít even count the amount of times I had no mantras on anyone, because I couldnít afford the ones I needed. This problem hurts very much as you near the ten-hour mark where you need to purchase $50,000+ mantras, and are earning less than $2,000 per battle.

   All in all, DDS 2 is an excellent game. Those of you who did not play the first one, go get it right now before it disappears from store shelves forever and you have to buy it for $80 at some overpriced, locally owned game store. Battles in DDS 2 will challenge the grizzliest of veterans and the awesome story forces gamers to play all the way through. Digital Devil Saga 2 has no major problems, and hardly any minor ones. Thereís plenty to love hear as long as you give the game a chance. You owe it to yourself not to miss this one.

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