Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2 PS2 Review

May 31, 2010 by Simon Wigham  
Filed under PS2, Retro Content, Retro Reviews

Featuring a finely crafted storyline and RPG gameplay at its most enthralling, the original Digital Devil Saga was excellent. Its sequel: the aptly titled Digital Devil Saga 2, has eradicated the majority of niggles present in the first title, making for an even better game.

Those lucky enough to deliver the coup de gruae to the final boss in the original game, will recall that Serph and friends, having wiped out all opposing factions ascended to Nirvana. As you’ll discover in this sequel, it turns out that Nirvana is not quite the heaven that Serph and the others had imagined. What follows is a refreshing and somewhat complex tale, pleasingly devoid of the usual spiky haired teenagers and damsels in distress stereotypes that traditionally flood the genre.

At its heart, Digital Devil Saga is a dungeon crawler, but whereas in the first game, narrative took a backseat to the random battles and dungeon exploration, here story plays more of a pivotal role in the game.

Another much appreciated improvement is the reduced battle encounter rate, which, still manages to send more skirmishes your way than many others in the genre but thankfully allows for less interrupted exploration than the first game, which were at times so incessant, that they could infuriate.

In regards to the battle system itself, not a lot has changed. But it remains as a fun system, which encourages you to exploit enemies weaknesses (doing so will reward you with additional attacks) and is at the least moderately challenging. The new random berserk mode, sees your characters beginning battle as half demons, with heightened strength but seriously reduced defence and accuracy, being victorious (which can be easier then done) in a battle, whilst in this form will reward you double exp.

Outside of combat, there’s also few new additions to speak of. Rings can be equipped to enhance certain stats and the Mantra Grid has been reconstructed, which allows for less linear character development then the grid featured in the first instalment.

Along with the aforementioned cut down encounter rate, save points are more common throughout dungeons, both of which make for a more forgiving game than its predecessor, the game mercifully retains its harder than average difficultly though, so it‘s thankfully not to the point that it‘s stupidly easy.

It’s somewhat distinct and very appealing visual style (which in case you’re wondering, consists of a more grown up form of cel shading reminiscent of the wonderful Killer 7) also makes a welcome return as does the fantastic soundtrack, which offers up even more enjoyable and diverse tracks.

The only real notable problem with Digital Devil Saga 2 is its repetitive and drab dungeons. Everything else is executed to such a marvellous degree, that if they had been more interesting to traverse, then this could so easily have been a ten. Sad, but a nine is rather good too, eh?

9/10

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