The 3DS receives yet another upgraded port in the form of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor, a tactical turn based strategy game where you control a party of demon summoners in demon infested downtown Tokyo.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked is a port of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor for the Nintendo DS. It's a tactical turn based strategy game where you control a party of demon summoners in demon infested downtown Tokyo. Summoners can only be flanked by two summoned demons, although enemy only parties of three demons are common. Turn order is determined by speed and not player or enemy phases. Each unit on the grid represents a team of 3 combatants. Units can use various skills to heal, buff, or debuff before engaging in battle with other units. Battles between units are carried out in traditional turn based RPG style with a heavy emphasis on earning extra turns and taking advantage of elemental weaknesses. At the end of each battle you'll get a macca (funds) bonus based on your performance.

You'll obtain new demons by spending macca at the demon auction house or by fusing demons together and carrying over their skills. Fusing demons offers hours of chart reading and research if you want to build an optimal party. The fusion, auction, and party user interface could be improved and streamlined, though. It can take quite some time constantly rebuilding your party throughout the game to slot in new demons or reloading a save to reset the auction house. If you love party building and customization there's a decent amount of depth to play with.

In the newly added demon compendium you can register demons, resummon or duplicate them, and read biographies of each demon. It's nice that you can re-summon rare demons that would otherwise take a lot of time in the fusion and auction house, but the macca cost for summoning from the compendium is steep. Summoners can learn new skills by assigning an enemy's skill to the summoner then defeating them only with that summoner. You can occasionally teach your demons new skills by using them in combat. There is a couple of new demons to play around with, but no new demon races, so it's nothing to get excited over.

For difficulty settings you can choose between "Normal" or the newly added "Easy" mode, but there is still no "Hard" mode available. Repeatable Free Battles are available if you feel stuck at any point. However, it is possible to complete the game on the first playthrough on normal mode without ever entering a Free Battle. No doubt this fact will be lost in a sea of endless grinding, but it's nice to set the record straight. Quicksaves are available for mistakes or bad luck, and there are no penalties for your units falling in battle. Overall it's a very forgiving game that never punishes players too harshly.

Main story battle objectives often involve rescuing, healing, or protecting fleeing NPCs. Sometimes you're tasked with defeating fleeing enemies as well. Most of the non-boss battles are generic filler that can be completed by moving forward and using your strongest attacks. If you have a decent demon setup you'll have no issues steamrolling through a majority of the games battles. The boss battles on the other hand are tricky and require some specific strategies and setups to win efficiently. There isn't much strategic content left once you cut out the bland filler of free battles and similarly generic main story battles, but bosses can still pose a serious threat.

Achievements have been added, granting the player titles and points to be spent on New Game+ features. You now have to earn points to carry over your demons, skills, etc. on a New Game+. Along with the usual collection and completion based achievements, there are a few challenging ones such as completing the game without entering a Free Battle or without anyone falling in battle, or by defeating tricky optional bosses.

The plot remains one of the strong points, featuring multiple opposing factions and multiple endings. If you've played a Megami Tensei game before, you'll generally know what you're getting into. It's angels vs demons with your Hero caught in the middle, given the choice to side with one or the other or neither. Depending on your choices during the game, you'll gain access to one of several ending routes. New content has been added to some (not all) of the ending routes, showing the consequences of your actions and providing new adversaries to deal with. My only issue is that you basically have to use a guide to experience most of the games endings. Miss one of a dozen important events or say something seemingly random or innocuous and
your access to that route is gone.

The graphics are sharp and clean, but as a DS port it doesn't look all that impressive given what the 3DS is capable of. Only the intro movie, title screen, and a select few cutscenes such as demon fusion are in 3D. I don't think it would have been too difficult to add 3D to some of the static menus on the upper screen, so it's a bit of a disappointment. The music is generally the same as before - lots of heavy metal to emphasize the "survive or die" nature of the plot. Cutscenes are almost fully voiced, but unfortunately the voice acting is uninspired, bland, and irritating at times. It's puzzling why they went through the effort of adding voice acting, only to hire the sort of actors you'd hear in a second rate anime dub. Thankfully it can be turned off, but it's one less reason for owners of the DS version to buy.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked is a good port with a fair amount of new content that's worth playing if you don't own the DS version, especially considering the dearth of lengthy 3DS RPGs. Only die hard Megami Tensei fans should consider it if they already own the DS version, though.

  • Solid tactical turn based gameplay and customization
  • Good port with no related flaws or issues
  • New missions, demons, achievements, voice acting, and the demon compendium
  • Easily one of the best and most lengthy 3DS RPGs thus far
  • Most non-boss battles are generic filler
  • Almost none of the game is in 3D
  • Easy to miss out on content without a guide
  • Voice acting is second rate
  • If you've played the original, the asking price may be steep
Quote: "Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked is a good port with a fair amount of new content that's worth playing if you don't own the DS version, especially considering the dearth of lengthy 3DS RPGs."
Reviewed by Matthew Emirzian | 09.01.11

Similar Games: SMT: Devil Survivor 2 (8.0)


Shin Megami Tensei
Devil Survivor

Released (US)
August '11