By Apathylad 0 Comments
NOTE: There will be some SPOILERS to Devil Survivor in this blog post. You have been warned!
I just finished Atlus’ Devil Survivor Overclocked on the Nintendo 3DS. It’s an enjoyable strategy RPG with tons of ways to customize your team of demons, although by the end I found the difficulty to be overly grueling. I only reached one of the multiple endings, and while I would be interested in seeing the other portions of the story, I don’t know if I have the patience to revisit the sequences that I found frustrating and tedious. What I found the most appealing and was the theme of high school students given powers to defend themselves from the invasion of demons, and through their experiences and backgrounds, each character has a different perspective of what should be done to fix the lockdown in Japan. It’s appropriate that I just got done with college recently, because the fear of uncertainty is an emotion I share, and I don’t know what my role in society will end up being.
If you are not familiar with the story, Devil Survivor opens up in modern-day Japan, where you take control of a 17-year-old nameless character, and his group of friends, Yuzu and Atsuro. Yuzu is feisty and insecure, and not very interested in this new responsibility she comes across. Atsuro is a brilliant programmer, and tries to find solutions logically despite the illogical nature of their predicament. They are given DS-like devices called Communication Players (or COMPs) by the main character’s cousin, Naoya. These devices typically support e-mail and web browsing, but they soon discover that demons are invading the Yamanote Circle, and these special COMPs allow them to harness the power of demons for protection. The Japanese government has formed a blockade around the Yamanote Circle in response, and so the protagonists have a week to find a way to survive. Throughout the game, they come across other COMP users, or “demon tamers”, who either have good intentions for their new found power, or wish to exploit others in order to reach their goals.
Eventually, the young, naïve Midori joins your party, and once she is given access to a COMP, she has an overly idealistic perspective of doing what she believes is right. She soon reveals that her mother died when she was younger, and she idolizes the fantasy stories her father would tell her about heroism and justice. It is this mentality that gets her into trouble, as she often unintentionally ends up scaring off the civilians she is trying to save when she uses her demons. The main character and his friends are able to convince her that she should act more responsibly because of this. On the opposite side of the spectrum you have Keisuke. While Midori is interested in protecting civilians, Keisuke feels that he should punish all wrongdoers. Through this anger, he summons Yama, Judge of Hell, and goes as far as killing other humans. Keisuke is soon talked into his senses by the protagonists, and he shares that he was bullied in high school. He at one point tried to defend another student from bullying, and that classmate turned on him, which heightened his sense of retribution. Despite the polarizing nature in Midori and Keisuke, the main character is able to coerce both of them that the solution is not as black or white as the two see it.
A third, more neutral perspective is seen through Yuzu. She has no interest in the power of demons, and her ending is perhaps the most cowardly option, avoiding responsibility for the sake of your own survival. To me, she reflects the teenager who is more concerned with enjoying life in the moment, and fears the change itself, while the other characters embrace that new power. Some may find her constant nagging deplorable, but I found her character relatable in representing the average teenager who isn’t certain about what he or she wants in the future. Instead, Yuzu takes pleasure in being passionate about music, or clothes.
One fascinating aspect to these characters, particularly Midori, is that they want to fit in and be accepted. At various points in the story, the characters talk to one another about the importance of online relationships to their lives. Midori, unable to fit in with her peers, was able to find other like-minded individuals on the internet. Atsuro finds a friend that he had made on the internet, and is able to find out more about what the Japanese government is plotting through this connection. I couldn’t help but to relate to these characters, as I sit here, wondering about what I have learned in college. I lived at home these past four years, so I didn’t meet as many people as others have. If you’re reading this, you probably know me well enough to know that I have an introverted personality. I was never popular with the girls I’ve liked, I had no interest in sports or anything like that to get me involved in the school community (plus, there was that horrible commute). Instead of all of that, I would play video games. Gradually, I began participating more on GiantBomb, and getting to know the people on here or on Twitter, and was able to make friends with people with common interests. For better or worse, many of us are more comfortable communicating over the internet, and being able to visit this site and talk about video games with our peers is an important part of our lives. Online friendships will likely become increasingly common in the future, and I would be interested in seeing more films, books, and video games discuss the topic.
Is Devil Survivor worth playing? I enjoyed it despite my frustration with the difficulty. The gameplay will not appeal to everyone, but it is a fairly unique game that has made me think about its characters and their motivations. Each character has flaws or grievances, and throughout the story we see them overcome them. Perhaps it is because of the current position I am in right now in life, but it has giving me a lot to think about what the future holds, and what I will do from here on out. In any case, I hope you all enjoyed reading this. It is a different sort of post than what I tend to do on here, but it is a topic I have been thinking over for some time.