Review: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzonoha vs. King Abaddon

Atlus pleases action-RPG fans once again with the recent release of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzonoha vs. King Abaddon.

Devil Summoner 2, set in Japan during the Taisho Period, places the player in the shoes of Devil Summoner and Private Investigator Raidou Kuzonoha on his quest to save the world from certain destruction.  Along the way, Raidou is assisted by his black cat Gouto, Raidou’s boss at the detective agency Shouhei Narumi, investigative journalist Tae Asakura, and the various demons Raidou recruits throughout his journey.

A train conductor and his cat observe...

A train conductor and his cat observe...

The best way to describe this game is an action-RPG meets Pokemon with a little bit of 1930’s detective stories mixed in between.  The battle system is the most interesting and fun aspect of the game.  During battle the player controls Raidou, attacking enemies with either a katana or a revolver, both of which can be upgraded to deal more damage.  The player also commands up to two demons at once, all of which have various abilities and attacks.  These demons are gained through negotiations before the actual fight, by responding correctly to dialogue choices, the gift of items requested by negotiating demons, or the abilities of the demons the player already has.  Unfortunately, the demons are not always recruited, even if their conditions are met.  Recruited demons can then be fused together in a laboratory, not unlike something out of Frankenstein, to create different and stronger demons.  This is an important part of the game, as the most convenient way to gain MAG back, used for special attacks by both Raidou and his demons, is to take advantage of  the enemy demon’s weaknesses.  Having at least one demon of each element group is essential to complete the game.

There is only one major negative point to Devil Summoner 2: the absence of voice acting in the game.  In fact, there is absolutely no voice acting at all, which seems very “last generation” and lazy in the game’s design.  One of the best parts of the previous Shin Megami Tensei games on the PlayStation 2, most notably the Persona series, is the voice acting for the main characters.  The absence of voice acting may have made English localization easier, but may also turn off some gamers who are used to hearing the main characters talk.

Overall, this is a very well designed action-RPG.  The demon collecting elements and the battle system are a lot of fun, and the detective-like story will have the player guessing at every turn.  The graphics, while not great, have a nice stylized look to them which seem to fit the universe of the game, and the character designs capture the look of the era perfectly.  The difficulty may be a bit too much to handle for most new fans of the genre, but for any veteran RPG player this is a great game and a must play.

0 comments on “Review: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzonoha vs. King Abaddon”

  1. Was the last sentence mixed up? Too much for vets, easy for newbies?

    I saw about the first hour or so of Devil Summoner 2 played and it looked pretty decent. The lack of voice acting was quite odd though. I didn’t mind it in Nocturne, but that’s several years old. I guess no voice acting is better than terrible voice acting though, so meh.

    The graphics I didn’t like as much as Persona 4. They were stylized and didn’t just look like dated 3D, but I didn’t really like the style. (Why is everyone wearing eyeliner?) That’s just personal taste though, really.

    I’ll probably pick it up eventually, I haven’t heard anything really bad about it and I generally like SMT games.

  2. @MasterChef: I’m just going to edit it to say the Taisho Period, because in the Wiki page and some articles it’s listed as taking place in the 1930’s and other places say the 1920’s.

    @evilpaul: I like the stylized graphics, even the fact that everyone is wearing eyeliner, because I feel they fit the whole “demon world” vibe to the game.

  3. @Bup – Ah. I was just wondering, since by the 30s, we were already beginning the Showa period, and Japan’s descent into militarism in the leadup to WWII. I imagine the game would feel different in such a setting.

  4. How long is it?

    From what I can gather from your article, it seems like it might be worth playing sometime. Demons and Detectives, huh?

    Interesting.

  5. @Thea: The game is as long as you want it to be, really. You could spend hours just recruiting every demon in the game and fusing them and all that fun stuff.