Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 brings more tactical gaming to the DS in its sunset year.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 is the sequel to Devil Survivor for the DS, also re-released as Devil Survivor: Overclocked (review) for the 3DS. Devil Survivor 2 lacks the voice acting and slightly higher resolution art of Overclocked, but makes up for it with a better campaign and more features. It's likely to be the last turn based tactics game for the DS unless 'Pokemon x Nobunaga' is localized, making it a solid end to an excellent library of tactics games.

Devil Survivor 2 looks and plays very much like the original Devil Survivor, reusing the same engine and interface. Combat still takes place on a turn based grid, where two units engaging in combat enter a sub-screen where a menu based 3v3 battle takes place to decide the outcome of the fight. Recruiting and fusing demons to fight with is still central to customization and combat, as is the strategic use of the many skills and abilities you have access to. Carried over from Devil Survivor: Overclocked is the demon compendium and the achievement based New Game+ system. While most of the core mechanics are the same, there are dozens of new demons, new skills, and a larger cast of playable characters to employ.

New to Devil Survivor 2 is the fate system, where your party members gain in friendship and trust as you make appropriate dialogue choices, granting you combat bonuses and access to more demon fusions. It's fairly easy to build up rapport with your allies by viewing cutscenes they're involved in and saying agreeable or encouraging things to them. You're more or less guaranteed access to all the ending routes as long as you pay enough attention to your party members. That's an improvement over Devil Survivor's ending routes, which required a dozen seemingly random and easy to miss dialogue choices.

While the combat mechanics are very similar to Devil Survivor, there are a few important differences. The Fate system makes it easier to learn new skills by being able to share enemy targets. Instead of the Magnetite skill system, you'll occasionally earn fusion add-ons that can be used when fusing a new demon to improve its stats or give it new skills. Demon racial abilities can be upgraded to a more powerful version, some of which are extremely powerful. I still find that combat animations take too long, and there should be an option to speed or skip them. Unlike Overclocked, there's no easy mode, which is a strange omission considering Devil Survivor 2's difficulty.

The campaign is improved over the original, featuring more interesting boss fights and less generic filler against weak enemies. Bosses tend to have unique skills and traits that require individual strategy, although most of them can be brute forced by a magic focused main character. Mission difficulty only ramps up late into the final day when your enemies start packing some of the best skills in the game, although your average gamer may feel overwhelmed much earlier. Like the original Devil Survivor, it is entirely possible to complete the main game while never entering a Free Battle if your strategy is efficient enough (just ignore all the other reviews complaining otherwise). Grinding can't solve all of your problems, though. You'll still need to implement more strategy than running forward and mashing attack to clear some of the later boss fights. If all else fails, it's still possible to save/load repeatedly for better combat results.

The plot is similar to Devil Survivor, with the same 7 day time limit set in a post-apocalypse Japan. Add demon summoning, a device that predicts your companions' demise, strange object-shaped foes, and a shadowy organization trying to "protect" Japan. As apocalyptic as the plot is, it's lighter and more fanservice oriented this time around, with more jokes, more campy humour, and a stereotypical anime cast. I felt the plot was rather poor, leaning heavily on grade school philosophy with little sense of danger or conflicting powers that permeated the original. It just doesn't have much "mojo" going for it. Luckily, the gameplay fares better.

Devil Survivor looks and sounds great for a DS game. Sprites on the battle map are well animated and the demon portraits are detailed and interesting. The music moves somewhat away from the hard rock of the original and includes a number of laid back and jazzy pieces. The UI is fairly good, although I still think the Fusion menu could be a lot more helpful at setting up a desired demon.

Devil Survivor 2 improves on the original formula with a better campaign, more demons, and more skills. Fans of tactics games shouldn't pass up Devil Survivor 2's interesting take on the genre.

  • Another solid Devil Survivor entry
  • More interesting boss fights, less filler battles
  • More demons, skills, and playable characters
  • Poor plot
  • Slow combat animations
  • No easy mode
  • UI could use improvement
Quote: "Devil Survivor 2 improves on the original formula with a better campaign, more demons, and more skills. Fans of tactics games shouldn't pass up Devil Survivor 2's interesting take on the genre."
Reviewed by Matthew Emirzian | 03.09.12

Similar Games: SMT: Devil Survivor Overclocked (7.0)


Shin Megami Tensei
Devil Survivor 2

Tactical RPG
Released (US)
February '12