((Note: Yes, I know I haven't been updating lately. Summer job has been keeping me busy, preventing me from playing as many games as I want. But, I managed to finish this one! :D))
My history with the Shin Megami Tensei series has been somewhat mixed. I've always been intrigued by the ideas, but I guess I've never been "hardcore" enough to finish any of them. Or rather, I never learned to think like the game wants me too. What does that mean? Not really sure, but it sounded good. :P
I've been able to get my hands on Nocturne, but I wasn't able to really get into it. The idea of the game," It's the end of the world, now what?" intrigued me at the time, along with the nice demon designs, but the story wasn't able to hook me in. So, I sent it back to gamefly. I got my hands on Persona 3, as the concept intrigued me, but I got to a boss I couldn't beat, gave up, and sent it back. (There was more frustration than just a boss battle, but I digress).
So, here I am. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor (henceforth known as SMT:DS) once again drew me in with its interesting concept. Tokyo is in lockdown when demon show up. Now, armed with your demon-summoning DS's (Called COMPs in game) you and your pals have to survive the chaos. And I am proud to say that SMT:DS is the first SMT game I completed, and I'm eager to look back into other games in the series.
Box Art showing off the characters, tho in game they are far more colorful than just red.
The set-up is above, and I won't go into detail about the story. Suffice to say, it's really quite good, quirky, but realistic, and lots of fun. A wide cast of characters with nice portraits do a great job. I only wish there was some voice acting, and maybe a few more portraits. Character art, while expressive, is quite limited. Maybe 5 different poses for each character.
Graphics are also well done. SMT games have a history of looking slick and this game is no different. Everything fits together nicely with a lot of thought clearly put in. The menus seem a little cluttered at first, but after about a half hour or so you'll be surprised just how much they display in a very logical manner. In battle, the character sprites that move around the grinds are well-done, but when attacking all you get is still shots of the (kickass) demons.
Speaking of battle, this is where the game really shines. Playing like a combination of Final Fantasy Tactics, EarthBound, and Pokemon, the game feels old and new at the same time. You move your group of up to four parties around a generally small grid, attacking groups of demons. Your parties consist of one human flanked by two demons. Here's the pokemon element. There are well-over 100 demons in the game, and you can use them in battle. You don't have to "catch them all" however, you can just go to the "Demon Auction" and buy them.
When you attack another group of demons, battle switches to a first-person perspective where you select your attacks EarthBound style. You fight three-on-three battles against evil demons. Battles have a variety of missions too, ranging from the general "Kill them all" to "protect person X" and many others. And they are difficult too! Not for the faint of heart!
The game is divided into 7 days, and each day you only have around 10 in-game hours to do tasks. This may sound like a lot, but just about every action you take, with the exception of leveling-battles, consumes a half hour of time. So, you'll have to choose how you spend it wisely, and it's impossible to see everything on one playthrough, giving the game quite a bit of replay value.
And that's really the surface of the game. There is a lot more to it that I just didn't cover here (Cuz I'm sleep-deprived). Basically, go out and buy this game. It's awesome. :)