Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor - NDS - Preview
The Shin Megami Tensei franchise has long been an established universe in gaming, with titles launching across all platforms. While there have been many spin offs of the series, from Devil Summoner to Persona to Digital Devil Saga, there are elements that tie each entry to the series together, namely bizarre and fascinating stories and impressive characters and enemies. Now, Atlus is looking to launch an all-new SMT game for the DS, a strategy role-playing game called Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor.
The universe in Devil Survivor keeps in line with other SMT games by putting the player in a modernized world with technological advances, as well as demons, magic, and other supernatural elements. You play as a young man who must team up with a group of friends to stave off a demonic invasion. Your main tool in this conflict is three devices known as COMPs, each of which looks like a slightly modified Nintendo DS, and allow you to defeat and tame the demons and creatures that you encounter. Additionally, the COMPs receive emails that will guide you to your next destination and perhaps the demons’ next victims.
Also as in other SMT games like the Persona series, much of the game unfolds via dialogue between the main characters. You’ll speak with your cohorts through long text chains, where you’ll occasionally have to weigh in and choose a specific response. At first glance these don’t have much of a bearing on the conversation, but sometimes they’ll have pretty large ramifications to the course of the game and can even determine which ending you’ll eventually get when you finish the game.
The combat element of the gameplay is pretty easy to get into, but it still is quite deep and pretty innovative. You begin with your characters on a grid similar to SRPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics, allowing you to position your characters against your enemies on the map however you see fit.
However, once you make contact with a foe you’ll get into an RPG-style turn-based battle. These battles only last for one turn (one attack each for both you and your opponent), but occasionally you’ll get an extra turn that gives you each one more attack. The order of attacks is determined by who instigates the battle, so a well-placed attack and a fortuitous extra turn can be a real balance changer.
The art direction is very impressive, falling in line with the other titles in the SMT universe. While the game doesn’t have the impressive 3D polygon models of other DS games, the game’s characters and enemies are well-rendered and look great.
Devil Survivor is shaping up to be a fine addition to the SMT franchise, with great DS-centered gameplay and an interesting storyline. Look for a full review when the game launches this June.