Something went wrong. Try again later

    Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor

    Game » consists of 2 releases. Released Jan 15, 2009

    Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor is a hybrid Strategy/turn-based RPG with three-on-three command-based battles in which you summon monsters in modern day Tokyo. The plot revolves around preventing the world's end that is predicted to come in only seven days.

    infinitespark's Megami Ibunroku Devil Survivor (Nintendo DS) review

    Avatar image for infinitespark

    Surviving the Demon Outbreak

    The government has locked down Tokyo that's run down with demons running amok and humans trapped inside losing hope. Your only hope is to find out how to drive all demons away before Tokyo succumbs to either being overrun by demons, or by government intervention. Using your COMP to manage demons, the trust of your friends and other notable people along the way, and ultimately, your wit, can you manage to change the fate of Tokyo before time runs out?

    Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor is a strategy/turn-based RPG game where you manage a team of demon tamers and demons to battle against demons and demon tamers while solving how to stop the impending apocalypse of Tokyo. On the surface, the gameplay seems simple enough. You control four teams, which consist of a leader and two demons, on a battle grid to battle against your adversaries. But as you soon find out, there is much more to the battle system and the game than meets the eye. There are many details that a player must pick up and exploit in order to successfully progress and reach its conclusion.

    The game starts you off on the morning of a day receiving an e-mail from Laprace Mail detailing key events for the day ahead. From there, you can select an area of interest to advance the plot during the day. The day usually starts at 0800 and ends at 2000, where you are going around parts of Tokyo talking with others to gather information on the origins of the outbreak and how to stop it and battling demons. There are certain times where you can talk with a specific character one-on-one. During these character dialogue, you make select choices whether or not you agree with their particular views of the situation and their resolution to the crisis. Depending on how frequent you talk and agree with the characters will determine which route and ending you pursue on the final day.

    The writers do a good job in giving the large cast of supporting characters a distinct personality. You can tell how each character goes about their business, whether it's scared, angry, cheerful, stoic, etc. It's also amazing how they give some of them as much attention throughout the story and involved in the story one way or another. The pacing and progression of the story is fantastic. I find it engaging, especially since your choices during the story will impact what path and ending you get.

    The meat of Devil Survivor's game is the managing and using demons and skills sets constantly in the course of play. Numerous decisions have to be made both in and out of battle. Out of battle, not only you dictate your path with the decisions with the choices mentioned above, but also the abilities to acquire new demons by way of auction and fusion, and to manage the skills and demons used by your human team leaders. In battle, you can adjust your demons and skill sets before heading into battle, decide which skill to crack, exploit your enemies weaknesses in battle, and deal with the changing elements of the battlefield. The amount of information to review, decisions to make, and adjusting on the fly is where the game shines, if you stick with it and be truly involved with what the system offers.

    Outside of battle, you can choose to go to Demon Auction to buy new demons, the Cathedral of Shadows to fuse two of your current demons to produce a new demon, and to manage your teams. The game encourages you to fuse and buy new demons frequently as the amount of time and effort to level up demons would take a very long time. Utilizing both auctions and fusions are essential to progressing through the game. In auction, you sort through a list of demons offering themselves of service. Each demon is listed with a starting bid price, buy now price, and a star ranking. The higher starred demons are more expensive to acquired, but they have higher stats and more set moves available to use from the start once you acquire them. You can either acquire them by outbidding three other bidders or by buying them outright at a set price. With fusions, you take two demons from your inventory to produce one new demon. The biggest takeaway from fusions is to decide which skills from the "parents" to carry over to the new demon, so some thinking is required before going ahead to fuse to the new demon. Fused demons also carry some bonus stats carried from the parents as well.

    The battle portion of the game is where the game flexes its system muscle. Before you officially jump into battle, you can edit the teams to set up which leaders and demons to set that'll best match up against the opposition on the field. You can also scour the field to see what demons are out there as intel to also assist into what skills and demons to use. As well as setting up your team pre-battle, you can also assign a team leader a skill to crack using skill crack. In the middle of a battle, if a user defeats the assigned demon with that skill, that skill is available for the player to use. However, if another user defeats that particular demon with that skill assigned to crack, the skill crack is lost. As you can tell by this paragraph, there is a lot to think about before you even make your first move on the battlefield.

    Once you start the battle, everyone on the field moves on a grid. Different people/demons have different amounts of steps and some of them have particular perks that either increase or decrease another's movement. The battle field definitely looks like a typical field and system from other strategy RPGs. Unlike many strategy RPGs, Devil Survivor lacks initiating attacks from long range. Only select demons with evil/chaos wave along with some bosses can initiate attacks from afar. (Though having a demon that attacks at a range, as well as facing enemies, is a tactic that players have to consider.) Many times, the players and AI will have to work their way to get next to their intended target to attack. Typically, the one who initiates that attack will attack first in battle. Before entering battle, both the player and AI can use some skills to sure up their team such as healing, powering up for a critical hit, restricting movement their next turn, and other skills.

    Once engaged in battle, each team will have a turn on planning their moves against the opposing team. The top screen shows the team's skill sets and strengths and weaknesses against certain elements. A member of the team can earn an extra turn by exploiting a demon's weakness, or if they land a critical physical attack. A maximum of two turns are allotted per team. After the turns are done, the battle is done and depending on your performance, get award mecca and experience points. The process repeats until a victory or defeat requirement has been reached. But...

    The game throws plenty of twists during the story battles. When you complete one victory requirement, or reach a certain stage of battle, the game throws either a new victory requirement or throw more adversaries at you. This can frustrate some players who may have committed so many of their resources pursuing the initial victory requirements and then have nothing left to continue the fight. The game does not even provide any clues that a shift in the battle would occur. It may seem frustrating on battles that you can't seem to grasp the upper hand on, but continued persistence and carefully planning out your moves, attacks, demons, and skill sets, you should be able to adjust and finally break through for the victory.

    I relate playing Devil Survivor as being a manager of a sports team. Each battle represents a new game where you have to continually mix your teams, demons, and skill sets to give you the best match ups against the enemies on the field, as well as earning new skills through successful skill cracks. Auctions and fusions serve to keep your demon levels up to date with the jumps of levels that the enemies as you progress through the game. You can mesh the MC to a specific type of user, but have to be mindful of what skills and demons to attach your MC and human teammates with.

    Though I have enjoyed Devil Survivor, the game is not perfect. The major complaint I have with this game are the jumps in levels with each oncoming story battle. The game plays it easy on you for at least the first two days to get you accustomed on how to use your tools. From the third day on, the jumps in difficulty spike. More likely than not, you will not succeed in winning the battle the first time through. There is no transition period like in typical RPG designs where when you move into a new area, the levels and difficulty gradually rise as you progress. In Devil Survivor, you are thrown right into the fire with each oncoming battle.

    There are also jarring difficulty increases during the course of battle, especially where the victory requirements change or where demons constantly respawn. They make the battle almost impossible by setting you far back at the start and going through so many obstacles (by way of the changing requirements and/or constant demon respawning) to win. Despite the jumps of difficulty, I still enjoyed the challenge and it forced me to rethink my strategy whenever I failed a battle and made me pay more attention to the sudden changes and the skills and elements used in my team and the enemies faced in said battle. Do I go with another set of skills and demons, should I have gone after that enemy or requirement first, etc.

    Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor is a challenging game that really pushes your logic skills to the max with its expertly designed system with demon management, skill sets and changing battle situations. If you are willing to put in the time and dedication in using all the tools in your arsenal, and not easily off-put with the high level of difficulty, you will likely find the brilliance of the Devil Survivor's RPG system and enrapturing on how to survive in demon-filled Tokyo.

    Other reviews for Megami Ibunroku Devil Survivor (Nintendo DS)

      Devil Survivor: The Game Able to Topple (This Reviewer's) Doubts 0

      Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor is something which, by all superficial accounts, shouldn't be for me at all. While I've absolutely adored some installments in the venerable RPG franchise, more often than not, I've typically been at least apathetic towards games bearing that series' name, if not outright disliking or loathing them. Throw in the fact that this game is a strategy RPG, a genre I find to be usually too inaccessible to me, and you have a game which I should probably be despising. S...

      16 out of 18 found this review helpful.

      A Game That Not Only Survives, it Excells 0

      The only other SMT games I've played so far have been Persona 3 and 4, both of which I was a huge fan of. So when I picked up Devil Survivor I was both excited and hesitant. Well luckily my excitement was rewarded, and my doubts were pushed aside. Devil Suvivor has a powerful story and colorful cast of characters to match its SMT brothers, but is also unique enough that it is its own game experience. Demon summoning is just one of the features on the new DS.Let's begin with what in my opinion i...

      1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

    This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

    Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

    Comment and Save

    Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.